Psion Revo

"Svelte", maybe? The cosmetic upgrade is most apparent when you compare the Revo with the older Psion Series 5. Closed, the new unit measures 150mm by 80mm, and 15mm deep. That's quite a diet - by my measurements, a 57 per cent reduction on the volume of the Series 5. Even so, you'll need to think carefully about how you intend to carry it - it's still too long for a shirt pocket, and too broad for a belt-clip.

Under the hood, there are no surprises. A 36MHz ARM710 processor runs version 5 of the EPOC operating system with a slim 8MB of RAM. The LCD mono screen displays 16-step greyscale images with 480 x 160 pixel resolution - overall, the effect is crisp and businesslike. The unit is powered by built-in rechargeable batteries, and shares the endearing Psion trait of running for weeks between top-ups.

While the Revo can run the full complement of high-powered Psion software, the on-board selection is pitched at mobile users. Jotter, Agenda and Contact programs are easily accessed from fixed icons below the screen, while the more powerful Word and Data apps are buried a little deeper. The neat graphics program on the Psion 5 has been replaced by a game and a useful phone-sync feature, with an infrared link to the contact data stored in the SIM card of your mobile phone. (The bad news? You'll need an infra-red equipped phone from Symbian alliance partners Nokia, Siemens, Motorola or Ericsson.) The same infrared link allows the Revo to access e-mail and SMS text messages through your mobile phone - though it's slow, with the current 9600bps limitation on the GSM service, and expensive, with airtime charges on top of your ISP access. Finally, all your Revo data syncs easily with your PC through PsiWin3.1, so, with a little fine-tuning, you can have access to a matching set of contact data on your desktop, PDA and phone.

Sadly, the Revo's keyboard is less than ideal. Psion has been trying long and hard to pack a big keyboard into a small clamshell. The new Revo keyboard has even less key-travel than its predecessors - fine for punching in appointment details and a quick e-mail, but not up to the task of creating full-scale documents.

Overall impressions? Good looking and intelligent, but hard to talk to.

Psion Revo

Price: $799

Distributor: Vodafone

Phone: (02) 9425 7777

URL: www.psion.com

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