O2 Xda PDA / mobile phone

Touted as the ultimate all-in-one device for mobile professionalism, O2’s Xda can handle e-mail, voice calls, browse the Web and manage your diary. It measures a svelte 129x73x18mm, and weighs just 201g — much smaller than a jacketed iPaq. Its hardware is similar to an iPAQ 3830, with the same 206MHz processor, 64MB RAM and an integrated SD (Secure Digital)/MMC (MultiMediaCard) slot.

The Xda’s display looks superb, but runs at a slightly coarser 12-bits com­-pared to the 3830’s 16-bits. What makes the Xda unique is that it combines Microsoft’s Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition operating system with GPRS data. Phone Edition integrates many communication facilities, including a Sim card manager, speakerphone, support for caller ID, con­ference calling and, best of all, text messages that are managed by the standard inbox application.

GPRS allows the Xda to remain con­nected to the Internet while only charging for the data actually used, as opposed to time online. E-mail and SMS work beautifully on the Xda, and the always-on GPRS connection even allows mobile instant messaging. Web browsing on Pocket IE is surprisingly good, but even with ‘Fit to screen’ activated, be prepared for plenty of scrolling. The Xda is GPRS Class 8, which realistically delivers downloads up to 40Kbps, but you may want to deactivate pictures to accelerate access, not to mention reduce GPRS charges.

A glance at Telstra’s GPRS pricing page (www.telstra.com.au/mobilenet/network/gprs.htm) at the time of writing stated that on a pay-as-you-go plan with no monthly subscription, a connection fee of 22 cents applied with a transfer fee of 2.2 cents per kilobyte. Alternatively, opting for a $15 per month subscription (several different kinds are available) would mean that after the allotted free 1MB (1024KB), each kilobyte of data would then cost 1.5 cents to transmit, with no connection fee applicable. As such, at this stage GPRS pricing may be a factor to consider.

The Xda boasts impressive appli­cations including Pocket Word, Excel and Media Player; the supplied stereo earphones and microphone double up as a hands-free kit and for listening to music.

In brief: O2 Xda

The Xda’s communications are integrated well and, coupled with GPRS, it’s a current leader. Diehard Palm OS fans will champion the Treo’s smaller size, lower price and quicker keypad, but the Xda is technically far superior — and looks better, too.
Price: $1699
Distributor: Tech Pacific
Phone: 1300 651 124
URL: www.myxda.com

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Gordon Laing

PC World
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