Mobile Compia M3

Mobile Compia M3
  • Mobile Compia M3
  • Mobile Compia M3
  • Mobile Compia M3
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Runs Windows CE 5.0, data scanner, digital camera, rugged and durable design, dust and moisture proof, drop spec of 1.5m to concrete

Cons

  • Expensive, bulky and heavy

Bottom Line

The M3 is an ideal offering in the enterprise space to cater for mobile computing applications. It doesn't come cheap, but offers computer-like features in the palm of your hand together with a sturdy, rugged design.

Would you buy this?

The Mobile Compia M3 is a smart phone targeted at medium to large enterprise consumers as it caters for mobile computing applications. Masquerading as a "portable data collection terminal" and running the Windows CE 5.0 operating system, it offers a host of features including a mobile phone, a built in bar code scanner, and a digital camera.

The idea behind the M3 is to unchain workers from their desks, giving them access to real time information while out in the sales field, participating in meetings or out on the shop floor. Although this may sound exactly like what most other PDAs do, the M3 has a durable, rugged design and data reading capabilities.

The M3's ruggedness means it is quite large and bulky, despite not featuring a QWERTY keyboard. This is the largest smart phone we've reviewed and it weighs a hefty 250g. Not surprisingly, the M3 is industrial in appearance, with a dark grey and black finish. It is designed to withstand some very harsh treatment. Even dropping it shouldn't cause too many issues. Mobile Compia claims the M3's rugged design also protects against dust, moisture and extreme temperatures. It also has a drop spec of 1.5m to a concrete surface.

The M3 features advanced data capture options, GPRS, native 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, PC synchronisation through USB, Bluetooth and infrared. The internal CF (Compact Flash) and SD (Security Digital) card slot at the top of the handset enables extra memory. The M3 runs the Windows CE 5.0 operating system, meaning this unit is basically a mini PC. It's definitely the fastest smart phone we've ever reviewed, with applications loading almost instantly. It's also compatible with servers, Web services and other devices. An Intel Xscale PXA-270 520 MHz processor powers the M3, and it handles Windows CE without any difficulty whatsoever. Included on the unit are Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Microsoft Word applications, as well as some standard organiser functions such as voice recording. 128MB of RAM is available for data storage, with 64MB of ROM expandable up to 512MB.

The M3 doesn't have a QWERTY keyboard, instead it has a rubber keypad and controls that only add to the units rigged feel and design. The buttons are rather small though, and do require a firm press to register. The front of the M3 is dominated by a large display, but while most will appreciate its size, the 240 x 320 QVGA display has a poor viewing angle and is difficult to see in direct sunlight. Below the screen are a five way navigational pad, and a number of dedicated buttons including phone, power, backspace and enter.

The M3 has removable slim battery and the top of the line model includes two batteries in the sales package, along with a charging cradle. The cradle has a slot for both the extra battery and the M3 itself, as well as a standard USB port on its rear for connecting the unit to a PC. In order to protect your data from a power loss, the M3 includes a backup battery that takes its power from the main lithium ion battery. This means when the main battery is removed or dies your data won't be lost.

There are a number of variations of the M3, but prices start from $1900 for the low-end unit, and go up to $2600 for the highest package. The latter includes the cradle, power supply, USB cable, two styluses, a headset and two batteries.

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