Day with Mal, PSHUG swap meet results, thoughts on new devices

My girls are always asking me to take them to the Pocket PC user group meetings and I take my oldest two about twice a year. Danika came with me a couple months ago so it was Mal’s turn yesterday. We went to my work early and then left at noon to head on up to Pike Place Market for lunch and some great pastries. We then hit the Seattle Aquarium for about 30 minutes using our 1 year pass. We then went to Bellevue Square to visit the bookstore and the Apple Store. If I ever get a laptop, it will be an iBook or Powerbook because they are absolutely beautiful! Harry Potter 3 was next on our agenda and we both enjoyed the movie. At last we headed to the PSHUG meeting in the cafeteria of Building 117.

Food was provided from Qdoba and was actually quite good. It was my first time trying their food and it was fresh and tasty. I was disappointed in the turnout of probably only 20 people and expected more like our 50 or so turnouts, especially with free food. Mal stated she wanted to see if anyone was selling a color Pocket PC or laptop that she could buy and I told her not to expect too much. I sold my Abacus SPOT watch, I am keeping the Dick Tracy model for myself, and then spotted a color Compaq Aero 2100. We bought it for Mal for $30 and she was very excited to get home and charge it up. I also picked up a NEC MobilePro 880 Handheld PC for $20 that works well and only has a slight screen flicker. If it bothers me too much then I may take it apart to see if there is a loose wire. The 880 is the same as my 780 with a much larger display and works very well for mobile writing.

Jeff also brought some new devices along to try out, including the Orange SPV C500 Smartphone, Motorola MPx220 Smartphone and iPAQ 6315 Pocket PC Phone Edition. I was very surprised at the larger display on the C500, compared to other MS Smartphones, and am now much more impressed than when I read about it online. It seems like a very nice Smartphone and my only concerns are the use of mini SD cards under the battery and the directional/joystick controller. The size wasn’t as small as I thought, which is a good thing. It felt very professional and I can see people buying this over the E200 for size compared to other cheap cell phones.

The MPx220 did not impress me even though it was a flip form factor and I still like the MPx200 design better. The screen was very unimpressive compared side-by-side to the C500. I don’t think bumping the camera up to 1.2 megapixel is really much of an improvement and think cameras on phone are really a novelty that wears off. I do use if sometimes for quick snapshots, but primarily used it within the first 3 weeks of ownership as I suspect most people do.

The 6315 did not have power so I couldn’t see it slow processor in action (or is that inaction:). The benchmark testing looks very poor on this device, but that is the sacrifice that was made for a reportedly very long battery life. However, the type of people that buy Phone Edition devices should be data centric and the phone functionality should be a secondary priority so I am not sure that hampering the performance of the PDA with a 200MHz processor follows the logic of the Phone Edition design. While it is nice to see a newer Phone Edition on the market in the U.S., the $450 to $600 cost is a bit much for the lack of memory and processor speed. In my opinion, the XDA/MDA II is a super device that blows away the 6315 and if it was a product sold in the U.S. I think consumers and enthusiasts would flip over the fast processor, ample memory (128MB RAM and 32MB ROM), great speaker and decent speakerphone, and outstanding quality (rarely have to reset it).

  1. #1 by Wayne on August 25, 2004 - 10:02

    I was a little disappointed with the swap meet turnout as well. I did get in a good visit with some of the PSHUG regulars, though.

    Good luck with the NEC HPC. I hope the flicker doesn’t bother you too much. I really regret dropping it last winter. It was one of my very favorite machines.

  2. #2 by Robert on August 27, 2004 - 03:49

    I recently had to replace my router, and now have a wireless connection in the house. I think I want a laptop, and have always been a Dell man. I did recently visit the Apple store in the Houston Galleria, and was impressed.

    I have never owned a Mac, but have always been tempted. Until very recently, software for access to Houston Association of Realtors MLS has effectively PC only. Now that MLS is totally web based, I am no longer tied to only PC.

    Have you ever owned an Apple? Is portability the only reason you choose PDA over laptop?

  3. #3 by Robert on August 27, 2004 - 11:41

    Stupid question: If I have two Dells networked with a LINKSYS Router and a wireless 802.11g Wireless connection, can an Apple Ibook link to it without any reconfiguring?

  4. #4 by palmsolo on August 27, 2004 - 11:52

    Robert, I started using Apple computers back in 1989 and have always kept one around the house. We currently have an iMac that is wirelessly connected to my SMC (and tried a D-Link) 802.11b router for my daughters to use. I love the Apple interface and the quality of their laptops, long battery life, integrated Bluetooth options are persuasive to me. You should have no issues connecting both PC and Apple products on a single wireless network like I do at home.

    I have PDAs primarily for the portability, but the slim 12″ Powerbook and iBooks I saw weren’t really that much bigger and I am seriously considering selling off some hardware to get one since I could be even more productive. Then again, as a PDAGeek contributor I need to keep my PDA collection up to provide reviews and feedback to our readers.

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