---------- ---------- PC Pro Realworld Computing: Paul Lynch - PDAs


The Series 5mx is just an incremental improvement over the Series 5, as the full review in the last issue has made clear. For me, two things still niggle that have been carried forward from the Series 5: the irritatingly non-PC-standard keyboard layout in a great keyboard; and the lack of built-in communications. The keyboard is an annoying anachronism: there is no reason in a machine that will see considerable use as an Internet machine for the @ and _ (underscore) keys still to be on function shifts. The only way to use a land-line modem is to carry along the hip-flask PC Card adaptor; there is no support for CF card modems, nor is there support for ethernet network cards. The relatively poor support for modems (compared with Windows CE) is, I believe, an acceptable trade-off. Land line modems tie you to phone wall sockets, so the extra load of the hip flask and mains power isn't too great a burden, especially given that GSM infra-red phones are generally available. But given the very low speeds (9,600 bps) that are still the maximum attainable over GSM, the lack of ethernet support is especially galling. In the next model, which I have to assume will have built-in Bluetooth support, this won't be an issue. But for now, it annoys.

For anyone upgrading from a Series 5 to a 5mx, it is a serious temptation to just move any Compact Flash card from one to the other. But this could be a mistake. Make sure that no Psion software is installed on the card that might be incompatible with ER5 (EPOC Release 5); this means old versions of Message Suite in particular. I suffered from obscure error message when attempting to connect to my ISP until I had the bright idea of taking out my CF card. Some third party software may need to be reinstalled: all of my Palmtop applications did, for instance.

Words and design by:
Paul Lynch
Last updated: August 19, 1999

[PDA Columns | Home Page | Company]