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Psion have launched their new Series 5 handheld computer, targeted against Windows CE. Series 5 is cheaper, better designed and specified than any current Windows CE model.

Series 5 uses a Cirrus Logic version of the 32 bit ARM 7100, running at 18.432MHz, and comes with 6 Mb of ROM and up to 8 Mb RAM. A slot for Compact Flash cards is provided.

The matt grey Series 5 is slightly bigger than the Series 3c at 170 x 90 x 23mm, and slightly heavier at 360g (including 2 AA batteries), but slightly smaller than the Casio Cassiopeia, which runs Windows CE. The screen is a full 640x200 with 16 grey scales and backlight edged with an extended touch sensitive area for predetermined icons, and is supplied with a pen to drive the new interface.

The keyboard now uses proper typewriter keys, and pitches forward as the Series 5 is opened to make a more stable base for combined typing and pressing the display. Existing Psion users will be pleased to hear that typing with two thumbs is still possible. Buttons on the case operate a voice recorder, and up to 4 minutes of sound can be recorded per megabyte of RAM.

The operating system is an updated version of that from the Series 3, EPOC/32 with updated applications, and is compatible with OPL used on the Series 3C for programming. PC connectivity software and cable is bundled with the system.

Better design and Series 3 compatibility will win over existing Psion users, but web, email and synchronisation with Microsoft Outlook are not available until later. If Psion are unable to beat Microsoft, it looks as if the Series 5 might be capable of running Windows CE.

UK price is 439 GBP including VAT for the 4Mb model, and 499 for the 8Mb version; both models are available now.

Words and design by:
Paul Lynch
Last updated: July 30, 1997

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