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Handhelds Hardware

Clamshell Sharp Zaurus Reviewed 211

Bill Kendrick writes "The Gadgeteer has a review of the new clamshell-style Sharp Zaurus SL-C700 Linux-based PDA. This new model, currently only officially available in Japan, sports a larger keyboard than the SL-5500 we have in the US, as well as a full 640x480 screen and 400MHz XScale CPU. The review mostly compares it against the HP200. The reviewer got his hands on an 'English version,' made available by Dynamism for a hefty pricetag of USD$700." (See this earlier story for more screenshots from the English conversion of this device.)
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Clamshell Sharp Zaurus Reviewed

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    the C# Zaurus?
  • Ah, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Doctor Sbaitso ( 605467 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @12:20AM (#5277183) Journal
    But can it play Tux Racer?
  • Cons Pros (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scubacuda ( 411898 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {aducabucs}> on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @12:26AM (#5277216)

    Pros:
    Super-cool look and feel; perfect laptop for your favorite stuffed animal
    Useable keyboard
    Bright clear screen (amazing, actually)
    Fits easily in shirt or jacket pocket

    Cons:
    Expensive ($700 from Dynamism for English version)
    Limited software availability
    Shortish battery life
    No manual yet, PC setup a mystic adventure


    Until it comes down in price, the cons are (in my opinion) a big deal.

    My advice is: pick a laptop or pick a PDA. Make sure that either of them does their respective job well. Don't expect your PDA to be a laptop, and don't expect your laptop to be small enough to put in your pocket (yet!).

    On a side note, Fujitsu [fujitsu.com] makes a killer laptop [fujitsupc.com]! I've seen it in action...perhaps one of the best laptops for its size...

    • by 56 ( 527333 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @12:38AM (#5277260)
      PC setup a mystic adventure

      I'm waiting for Apple to adopt this slogan.

    • Re:Cons Pros (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      The short battery life on the Zaurus (or any other palm PC for that matter) is a show stopper for me coming from a palm set-up where I could leave the device in my jacket pocket for a month or two without recharging. Unless I remember to plug my zaurus in every few days, it gets grumpy the next time I turn it on. Moreover very few of the packages are willing to install either on CF card or RAM. Most of them seem to need to go in RAM. This requires you to have a RAM disk and also forces you to reinstall your packages if you forget to plug the Zaurus in for a while.

      I found the keyboard much better than Graffiti for inputting stuff but you're still not going to write a book on the thing. Your thumbs would eventually leap up of their own volition and gouge your eyes right out of their sockets. And believe me, that's a hard price to pay.

      I'm currently pondering the Sony Clie, but the only models that seem to have keyboards on them are the $400 and up ones. And I don't need a voice recorder on my pilot.

      I expect where the pocket PCs would really shine would be if you could attach 2 or 3 network interfaces to them. Then you could use them for corporate espionage. You could stash one of those suckers under a desk or in a comm closet, plugged in, for years. Take your choice; your competitor's network packets broadcast to WAP, or the slightly more dangerous option of scanning for interesting bits and forwarding them to an address out on the net (The latter also requires fairly extensive knowledge of his firewall setup.)

    • On a side note, Fujitsu [fujitsu.com] makes a killer laptop [fujitsupc.com]! I've seen it in action...perhaps one of the best laptops for its size...

      As an owner of the latest p-2k I have nothing but praise for the p-2000 series. Integrated wireless, DVD/CDR, firewire, and a host of other features packed in to 3.5 pound form factor. The battery life is amazing especially with the little extended main battery I can get 6 hours. Here is a little review [phataudio.org] I wrote ahwile back,

      • That's a sweet review...I just sent it to a lawyer friend of mine who wanted me to "recommend a bitchin computer" that his "firm would pay for."

        tx

    • Re:Cons Pros (Score:5, Informative)

      by Guylhem ( 161858 ) <(ten.mehlyug) (ta) (todhsals)> on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @02:12AM (#5277576) Homepage
      I currently have one C700 sitting on my desktop for a review. I also have a Sony Clié SJ20 (for old palm medical ebooks I can not read on the Zaurus due to DRM - no matter I *purchased* them I can't legally do what I want with them but that's another story) and a SL 5500. I also had a SL 5000d before, a Clié NR 70, a Clié 760 and various Visors.

      The C700 is a killer - first it feels so cool! I can't remember being so impressed by a PDA except maybe by the Clié 760 which was really innovative for its time. The C700 can really hold in your shirt pocket - honnestly it's as small as the smallest clié available only a little wider. The screen is a pure marvel - forget the cliés or the ipaqs. I know I don't need color but when you see such a beautiful screen you realise can't live without it.. Just plug your CF in and show your digital pics to your friend on a real screen ! Or use the embedded web browser which can load real websites (no downgraded avantgo like stuff), uqtreader (http://www.timwentford.uklinux.net/) to read offline channels or P.Gutemberg ebooks, ...

      The keyboard is big enought for real typing and the battery life is not a problem (~ 4h in a row? That's more than most color palms and pocket pcs!) since the charger is as big as a tic tac box. And I can afford a spare battery and an external charger if I really need ~8 h in a row.

      The real problem is that most software written for the 5500 uses fixed sizes in pixels for a 240x340 screen - that does not scale well on a 640x480. Layouts *should* be used !!! And the emulation for 240x340 takes ~5 sec to load - forever if you need the application *now*. That's not a problem since most 5500 apps are GPL'ed so you can fix the code but if you are using poorly written commercial software on your 5500 forget it !

      Moreover the memory is somehow limited : you can't launch many apps at the same time, especially memory hogs like java applications.

      It is really promising once a) more software will be ported or cleanly coded and b) opie (http://www.opie.info) will be ported, allowing to put the root filesystem on a SD card thus keeping the while 64M of memory for the system.

      If you have $700, if you don't mind replacing the pim by other software (PC syncs sucks - and for some reason they decided to drop the XML format from the PIM) do yourself a favor a get one. In some weeks you will be able to use Opie free software distribution and get the real power out of this baby!

      Please check my C700 forum http://externe.net/zaurus/forum if you have one and need some help.

      Guylhem
      • I know I don't need color

        One of the few arguments I have FOR color screens on handhelds is that maps (and similar data) can be easier to read when in color. :^)

        This isn't saying that full-color JPEG photos and MPEG videos, and 3D 3rd-person shooters [eongames.com] don't need color... they just aren't the best argument for it. ;^)
      • XML sync format (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 21mhz ( 443080 )
        for some reason they decided to drop the XML format from the PIM

        If this is really so, this means they lost me as a prospective customer. I don't want a Linux PDA to play the same old games with proprietary formats.
        At least, until SyncML [syncml.org] synchronization is unavailable for C700, there is little reason for me to prefer it over Pocket PC. Heck, there are SyncML add-ons for Pocket PC already.
    • My advice is: pick a laptop or pick a PDA. Make sure that either of them does their respective job well. Don't expect your PDA to be a laptop, and don't expect your laptop to be small enough to put in your pocket (yet!).

      I reject your advice. I carry a Psion 5MX [series5mx.com] everywhere with me. It's like a PDA, only it's got a proper keyboard. Which means I can take notes and write documents on it. This is a most valuable feature, since it means I can leave my Laptop behind for nearly all meetings etc.

      The fact that it's got perl5, email connectivity, a Spectrum emulator, web browser, etc also is just a complete bonus. The 20hr battery life isn't bad either. However, it is 3 years old and I'm worried about the clamshell screen giving in again so I'm looking for a replacement.

      So, to refute your advice: I am looking for a device with a keyboard that I can put in a shirt pocket (and I don't mind looking like a nerd with a kingsize pocket protector to do so), that I can take notes on, and that ideally has a 2 day (~4-5 hrs) battery life. Running Linux isn't a necessary (I've gotten used to EPOC too), but definitely a plus.

  • by use_compress ( 627082 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @12:27AM (#5277219) Journal
    A review [techtv.com] that does not focus on the lack of English documentation (the most irrelevant thing when discussing a product that as of now, is only released in Japan) sums it up:

    The Zaurus SL-C700 is an impressive PDA that departs from more traditional designs. The stellar display, mated with a comprehensive software suite, definitely impressed us and we look forward to production-level units of the C700. Pricing is estimated between $600 and $700, though that may change at the time of release.

  • Well (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FS1 ( 636716 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @12:27AM (#5277221)
    This is certainly something that should set off a couple alarms in the Micro$oft camp. I really do love competition in such a under-emphasized market. I can't wait for these things to have as much processing power as my home computer has now. I would love to be able to carry around all my games, apps, schedules, and communication gear on something this big without making sacrifices in some form or another.

    What i really think is hurting PDAs today is un-inspired designs, and i love to see someone with a new twist on an old idea. But i think that they need to work on new user interface, alot more than they need to work on making them more powerful. A good user interface would make all the difference. There simply is no blueprint for an interface for such a device, but a "windows"ish interface is not the answer.

    • Re:Well (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@r i n g o f s a turn.com> on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @12:41AM (#5277277) Homepage
      For real, have you used the Palm interface? The basic UI for launching apps and changing preferences is pretty bombproof. Obviously, the UI for individual apps varies according to how much the writer hates you, but the stuff that comes in the box is pretty darn good. (Now, I can rattle off a bunch of stuff that's just NOT very good, but on the whole...it's good, FAST, UI.)

      You'll pry PalmOS out of my cold dead hands. It's cheap, the batteries last forever, and it does everything I need it to. YMMV.
      • by FS1 ( 636716 )
        I'll agree with you for the most part about the palm interface, but i would like something more natural, something that could be used very easily even if your a complete moron, yet reconfigurable on the fly for more advanced use. I am looking for something seamless across all apps, that also recognizes the way i use things, and adjust accordingly. Now i know the only way it will ever happen is if i do it myself, so maybe i will. But at the moment i am content with the crap micro$oft throws at me, it gets the job done, and i have not the time to play with anything but.
        • See, I just don't trust a computer to "see the way I do things, and adjust accordingly". If I find a feature in one place, I expect it to be in that one place when I look for it again. For instance, it drives me to ABSOLUTE DISTRACTION when MS Orifice apps re-arrange their menu system on the fly. Now, of course, on any computer I actually have to WORK on, I kill this "feature" post-haste. Problem is, these computers I work on at school are administered by a fuckwit, and they forget every time I log in that no thank you I DON'T want Clippy, and leave my menus the hell alone thank you very much.

          I guess I just haven't seen a good example of an adaptive interface. One that I can redesign to suit my needs, sure, but that takes me thinking through where I want to put stuff.

          I'd feel the same way about somebody reorganizing my desk or my bookshelf. Sure, it might not be perfectly organized, but I can put my hand on whatever I need really fast. On a PDA, even more than on a PC (which some other poor schlock might have to use after I've set it up for myself), I want the UI to be fast, and if anything tailorable by me.

          In other words, the effort you make to build a good adaptive interface would annoy experts (like you and me) and not really help the greys (who wouldn't understand what's going on).
          • by FS1 ( 636716 )
            you sound like that little voice in the back of my head telling me that no i can't eat my cake, and have it too. Anybody can have their cake, and eat it too. The real trick is to eat your can and still have it, and i think that is what i want and will never have.

            P.S. I love the word "and" it used to drive my english teachers crazy how complex my sentences would be, and how that even though they conveyed multiple points i somehow managed to link them together with the use of "and" and other ingenious ways of using words how they were never meant to be used, and it all sort of made sense, until i realized that maybe i should and could possibly contain my ideas in shorter form, but i would lose alot of my original meaning. (yes in my mind that is all one sentence GRAMMER be DAMNED)

      • Yeah I fully agree; PalmOS rules. I am still waiting for a decent PalmOS phone that doesn't cost a testicle. Then I will finally make the leap into cellular phone technology, which I have so far resisted like a Luddite.... (the way I see it, it's easy enough to get in touch with me as it is. if it's really important, post it to slashdot; chances are I'll read it before I hear it on my answering machine....)
  • by The Tyro ( 247333 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @12:30AM (#5277229)
    I'm still using a palm IIIx, and it's more than adequate. The color screens and multimedia coolness are great though...

    I admit that my use of a PDA is basically as a mobile "black book" and scheduling device. Seriously, how many people honestly require all these awesome features? (I understand the "bragging rights" argument, but I work with a stable of non-geeks who could hardly appreciate this device... they don't even know how to rip/encode an MP3...)

    Still, I do like the fact that it runs on Linux ;)
    • Me too. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by enkidu ( 13673 )
      Exactly my view. I'll change and upgrade with my computers at work. I'll upgrade my apps, I'll patch the OS (particularly since IT will fix it if things get totally wacked). I run Win2000 and RH7.2 at work. I want my home computer to always work. I run MacOSX at home.

      For my PDA, I expect it's primary duties to be a notepad + address book + scheduler + RPN calculator. I want something that is small, nimble, quick to use, easy to backup, and will never crash on me. I'll live with a wait cursor on my computers but not on my PDA. I'll live with multiple clicks to perform one task on my computer but not on my PDA. If I want a portable MP3 player, I'll get a Zen or a iPod. And for my PDA needs, the PalmOS based ones are it. I currently use a Handera330 and have no complaints. I'd take a Tungsten T in a heartbeat. Not for its whizz bang features, but for its formfactor and screen. Oh, and I'd trade color for battery life anyday on a PDA.

      The Sharp would be a cool laptop backup though. If I worked as a SysAdmin, I'd carry one with a CF ethernet adapter and a serial cable everywhere. However, I'm a code slinger and much prefer my Happy Hacking Keyboard to a thumbpad.

      EnkiduEOT

      • I use to have the same opinion as you, and was a avid Palm user, but I bought an Ipaq 39xx series. The Ipaq offered one feature that I needed, that the palm didn't offer. I personally can't stand PocketPC 2002 compared to the palm BUT I have found that I use the Ipaq for a LOT more that I ever used my palm for. This is not to say that modern Palms can't do the same, but to compare it to my Palm V...
        1. I use a 802.11b card to check email in the living room of my home.
        2. I use the "small" and $20.00 month wireless modem (VoiceStream cart) to connect to the Internet from about anywhere. (NOTE: not $40.00/month like the Sharp product)
        3. I actually read Word and Excel documents from work.
        4. I took Video from my wedding and show it to people via PocketTv. It works well..
        5. The games are not too bad.
        6. I use it as an MP3 player when cutting the grass.
        7. I SSH in to work from about anywhere.

        Now I used my Palm for a glorified daytimer, and sometimes used it to catch up on email. It did a great job of that but nothing more for me.

        Now here is what I don't like about the Ipaq that the new Sharp seems to have addressed.

        1. Resolution of 640X480. This would be great for browsing and terminal windows!

        2. Good keyboard. The IPAQ sucks.

        3. Expandable battery. Sometimes I don't care about the extra weight (flights..)

        What it doesn't appear to have though...

        1. Backing by most PCMCIA hardware vendors... So drivers and software will be hard to find. You would be limited to using their "wireless modem" and their $40/month service... :-(

        My main point is that all most people use to use a computer for was a glorified typewriter, but over time they used them for a LOT more. This is no different.

        • I know it's still a bit tough to configure but a Bluetooth enabled handheld computer and mobile phone can get you web browsing and email when on the road.

          There are many doing it with the Zaurus now and looking at your list of features you use and want, the Zaurus would be a better fit than the ipaq. Better keyboard
          extra batteries available
          SD and CF expansion for tons of MP3's and/or movies(not tons;)
          OK and Cancel buttons( pen not always needed )

          Hey, and if you want to tweak your own ROM or use another( opie ), its up to you. It'll give you more of the impression that you own the device and not Microsoft.

          BTW, I recently dropped my Palm VIIx service for Bluetooth enabled remote networking via mobile phone. I miss the Datebk 3 event icons and non-contiguous repeating events but that's about it. Oh, and battery life, though Bluetooth works much better for wireless networking from the couch also( desktop PC is routing/NAT for the ppp connection :).

          LoB
    • If you only need the features of a black book, then why not buy a black book and a mechanical pencil? You will have infinite battery life, better water proofness, better shock resistance, cheap memory, an easy intuitive user interface, and the entire device, black book plus pencil is orders of magnitude cheaper than a Palm.

      For those that want to listen to music, watch movies, and surf the web... well, we can't do that with a pencil and paper.

      Palms are just expensive replacements for tried and true technology: the pencil and paper.
  • Sharp is being cagey [zaurus.com] about whether they will release this in the US. Of course they just could be addressing the issues of only 32Meg of RAM, piss poor battery life, no 802.11b, and lame PIM applications...

    This device could really be a breakthrough device with the cool form factor, great display, and mainstream Linux support. I urge anyone who is interested to write to Sharp and/or post on the above forum. Don't let Sharp fsck this opportunity up...

    • It could be they're waiting to see how the Sharp SL-5600 [sharp-usa.com] does first. It's a pretty high end PDA and would probably compete closely with this clamshell model. I personally believe in casting the net wide and see what it catches, but I suppose the marketing experts know better. Or at least, they think they do!
  • Come on now /. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @12:31AM (#5277233) Homepage
    Isnt it time to change the PDA in that icon? I think we've got something better now.
    • The purpose of an icon is to be, well, iconic. The distillation of the unique features of the thing it's supposed to symbolize.

      So, from that perspective, a big screen in a little box with some sqiggly texty-stuff on it is a great icon for a PDA. If you did as you seem to be suggesting, you'd have to try to get a scale reference to figure out if it was a PDA or a laptop.

      Just a UI thing that I think too few people pay attention to. Go about your business. Nothing to see here. : )
      • folded-up, it merely looks like a kickass PDA.
  • Sadly, the reviewer could only get his hands on a somewhat tarnished, 'Engrish' version. As such, I wouldn't put too much stock in review.
  • Very cool... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mlk ( 18543 )
    So we Psion users might of been forgot by Psion, but not by everyone.
    Lets hope the Linux install is as easy to use, and well though out as EPOC (does anyone have one? or links to some screen shots of).

    Well almost "The battery life is only estimated to be 3 ½ hours", bah my Psion lasts a lot longer.
    And I don't like the look of the keyboard... But yummy big screen, but will not fit as snug in my coat pocket (Psio Revo, very small). Eap, I see a hard desion ahead of me...
    Sharp C700 PDA
    Stick with my Psion, save up for a 17" TiBook.
    Eap.
  • 3 1/2 hours! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m0nkyman ( 7101 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @12:39AM (#5277266) Homepage Journal
    That's when I stopped reading. That's not a PDA, that's an undersized, underpowered laptop. A PDA should have a battery that at the minimum lasts a full day, so that the appointments for the day are accessible without recharging.

    that's my 2cents.

    • Re:3 1/2 hours! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @01:10AM (#5277395)
      3 1/2 hours isn't that bad, my palm m515 doesn't last that long on high brightness. Who looks at their pda for 3 1/2 hours in a day? It shouldn't take longer than 30 seconds to check the calendar. How much talk time do cellphones get these days?

      My big problem with this thing is the size. Even a palm V is a little larger than I'd like. If it doesn't fit discreetly in my hip pocket it's useless to me. Those little keyboards are useless. If I can't touch-type, might as well make it smaller and hit the keys with a stylus. On my palm I use QuickType [palmgear.com], after some practice it's far faster than graffiti (and open source too!)

      • 3.5 hours is atrocious. I just got a treo, and I used it to take notes in 4 meetings today, not to mention using it as a phone. It held up great. And my thumb typing skill is already steaming fast.
      • Who looks at their pda for 3 1/2 hours in a day?

        You've obviosuly never attended a 5 hour seminar and only had your sanity saved because you had Patience installed...

        Playing games? No, I was making notes...! :-D

      • Who looks at their pda for 3 1/2 hours in a day?

        You obviously haven't installed Dopewars.

      • Depends on what you use it for. As a date book and address list, sure, you could get by on an hour a day. However, I use mine for ebooks, time and billing trackin, field data entry, collecting telemetry data from equipment etc. I need one that will give at least five hours on a charge, if not a full day's work.
      • I would partially agree; for me 3.5 hours on a charge would be fine for average use, but for burst mode use I need longer, e.g. when I attend a conference and want to take notes during several sessions I could easily exceed 3 hours of use.

        My Handera [handera.com] with rechargeable pack is good for several weeks of average use; I can also attend a two day conference and take extensive notes using my GoType keyboard for several hours a day with no fear of running out of batteries.

        Perhaps someday all desks will come with one of those Power Pad [computerworld.com] thingies that recharge your handheld device.
    • How many hours a day are you checking your appointments? If you use it as a PDA, it'll easily last all day.
    • A PDA should have a battery that at the minimum lasts a full day, so that the appointments for the day are accessible without recharging.

      That's 3 and a half hours of continuous use. When's the last time you used your Palm for such a long time all at once!?
    • I use my SL-5500 to watch DivX movies on longish flights (SF to Seattle) and one battery lasts 2-3 hours at full use. (I carry an extra battery, $38) I also carry a battery extender (4 AA NIMH in a charger/power pack) for extended Nethack sessions. (9-10 hours at full use, same internal battery) When using WiFi, I can get 3 hours of SSH out of a stock battery. Everyone's idea of usability varies. Getting the task done is what counts. The flexibility of the Zaurus puts it head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd.

      For more info check zaurii.net. [zaurii.net]
  • pda (Score:1, Redundant)

    640x480, 400mhz, 64mb ram... This thing is a lot faster than my first desktop PC was!!

    Costs almost as much though ;-(
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by foo fighter ( 151863 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @12:59AM (#5277355) Homepage
    I'm very tempted by this. My current PDA is the original 2MB Handspring Visor which my life has come to depend upon. I'm in the market for a replacement because I'm running out of room for my appointments, contacts, and notes.

    My requirements for my new PDA are that it supports compact flash (I have tons of these cards for my and my wife's mp3 players, digital camera, and removable storage for her iBook), have more than 2MB memory (at least 8mb), have a battery life that will get me through an 8-5 workday (~3-4 hours of use before recharge), and have a usability that is at least close to that of the Palm platform (everything just works very quickly).

    My wishlist items include built-in or available Wi-Fi, twice my required battery life, and a built-in MP3 player (one-less digital lifestyle device).

    I think these are reasonable expectations for a modern PDA. I speculate many, many PDA owners and potential PDA owners would agree with these.

    My choice up until I read this review was the Toshiba e740. It's tiny & light, accepts compact flash, has more than 2mb memory, has acceptable battery life, comes with built-in Wi-Fi (that can very easily be switched between my home and work setups), and can play MP3s.

    This review made me think twice, but I'll still be buying the Toshiba when my company's next buying cycle comes around. Why?

    The Zaurus gets some credentials for running on linux and having a sweet form-factor with a usable, built-on keyboard. The Pocket PC operating system is much closer to just working than the Linux version (though Pocket PC doesn't work well with my Linux & Mac desktops at home). I can get the Toshiba brand new for half the price of the Zaurus. The Zaurus doesn't offer anything to make up for the price difference. The cool form-factor is moot because the Toshiba is smaller and lighter.

    Nothing else in the market comes close to the e740 except for this Zaurus. The e704 was released last June! I can't believe making a good PDA is so hard. Are there really that few EE's, embedded system programmers, and UI engineer's that it takes a company 3/4ths of a year to come up with a close, but ultimately inferior product?

    Nice try Sharp. Try harder next time.
    • There are plenty of us UI designers and human factors people. Of course actually getting PDA companies (and technology companies in general) to listen to us and bring us in early in the design process is the really difficult part.

      To make Sharp look even more stupid, the original Palm design was simply hammered out by a guy fashioning a block of wood in a rough shape of a PDA and carrying it around with him for a month or two and pondering how the thing should work.

      Stick with Palm. Even though they aren't as astute to human factors issues as they once were, their interface still has better design principles than WinCE or the Zaurus.
    • You might check out the HandEra V330. My mom has one, and it is a pretty sweet piece of hardware. PalmOS, killer high-res screen (with software graffiti area!) No wireless, but it does have both a CF and a SmartMedia slot, so you can have memory and expansion at the same time.

      Built in voice recorder, which is a much more useful tool than I'd given it credit for.

      Enjoy. [handera.com]
    • I'm very tempted by this. My current PDA is the original 2MB Handspring Visor which my life has come to depend upon. I'm in the market for a replacement because I'm running out of room for my appointments, contacts, and notes.
      Do you really have more than 6,000 addresses, 3,000 appointments, 1,500 to do items, 1,500 memos, and 200 email messages sitting on your Visor? Are you SURE? You might want to consider archiving past data if you do, to save some storage on the device.

      Really though, I've never run out of actual storage on those things, unless I've completely consumed the device with third-party applications, and in most cases, there are many third-party replacements for other third-party applications that are smaller.

      If you have, perhaps it's time to rethink your organization strategy.

      As for your wishlist, good luck. I've been using PDAs, tablets, and other handhelds since the late 80's and early 90's, and I've seen people wish for the same things over and over and over (longer battery life), and then wish for other things that just cancel them out (bright color screen, built-in wifi, mp3 player).

      You can't have everything all in one, and get everything you need, so compromise. In 10 years, when the technology improves to the point of making this feasible, maybe, but in the next 3-5, forget it.

  • Does it support WiFi?
    • Yes. i don't think there are any 802.11b cards now that will not work. Most of them all use the prisim chipset but the symbol spectrum cards are also supported.
  • While we all wanna be the first geek on the block to go get the new and cool gadget (and have the privlage to shell our $700)

    By wainting a little bit you can and will get the same device later on at a significant discount
  • Not gonna do it. (Score:1, Redundant)

    by blair1q ( 305137 )
    If it doesn't have a PDA, phone, satellite communicator, and zabaglione beater on it, I ain't buying it.
  • by TWX_the_Linux_Zealot ( 227666 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @01:11AM (#5277397) Journal
    Since it's a linux machine out of the box, and appears to have decent connectors on it for peripherals (like in the CF slot), wouldn't this be an idea candidate for 802.11a/b sniffing? I mean, it's small, so small that it fits in a coat pocket, and since it's a PDA, generally people won't think to look if it's attempting to wiggle into their network or not. It also looks more useful than an IPaq, by having a keyboard, and could probably make a helluva good network diagnostic tool if not used for malovelent purposes.
  • What's with the messed up fonts for the bottom left icon [the-gadgeteer.com]? Reminds me of the problems I'm having with kde 3.1 at the moment :)

    I'd love one of these.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Imagine pulling it out from my pocket, connect it with my client's PC and show a full-function website demo with MySQL, PHP, Apache, CRM, CMS, Sendmail, ....
  • Can I get one (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by blair1q ( 305137 )
    with a 3.08GHz CPU, 1.0GB of ram, a 120 GB hard drive, 104-key keyboard, and 21-inch display?
  • Owner's view (Score:5, Informative)

    by shimpei ( 3348 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @01:49AM (#5277525) Homepage
    As an owner of the SL-C700, I'd like to point out the following:

    • The going price in Japan for the SL-C700 is a touch under US$500 (if you can get any, that is; it's still in short supply, two months after release). Dynamism is getting a hefty margin for their effort.
    • Battery life is one of the biggest problems with this unit. The biggest battery drainers are the LCD backlight and the CF card. If you keep the backlight dim (which is adequate if you're indoors), and you don't have a WiFi card or a wireless modem running, you can easily exceed 3.5h in battery time. If you go full blast on both, the battery life can be as low as 1.5h. If you want better battery life, a better solution would be the SL-6000 (sold as the SL-B500 in Japan), which doesn't have the nice display, but whose battery lasts as much as 18 hours.
    • Memory is the other big problem. Actually, you can get by with 32MB of RAM if you turn off "resident in RAM" flags for the commonly used programs, but then you have to wait a few seconds every time you want to use them. Many Japanese users have resorted to creating swap files on SD cards. For some reason, Sharp is refusing to acknowledge this as an issue.
    • The machine does feel a bit unresponsive, especially when starting applications. This appears to be mostly due to the toolkit (Qt-Embedded) and the unaccelerated framebuffer. OTOH, profiling reveals that a lot of time is wasted opening and closing huge Japanese font files on startup, so maybe the English version runs much faster.
    • Sharp does publish kernel code, in accordance with GPL (although the SD card driver is proprietary). However, the QtE code, as well as most of the PIM code, is proprietary, which means that the users can't do much about the above problem. (Sharp's engineer said in an interview that recompiling the stock QtE library from Trolltech will likely not work.)
    • Sharp's decision to make 802.11b optional makes perfect sense in Japan, because hotspots aren't as ubiquitous or interoperable here as they are in the US. The most popular PDA wireless solution here is a cell phone modem in CF form, which works in almost all urban areas at 32kbps-128kbps. And if you do need WiFi, what's so hard about plugging a modem in?
    • Yes, third party application support is pretty patchy--unless you can live with console applications, in which virtually every non-X applications in Debian is a recompile away from running on the C700! A lot of Japanese users who were fed up with the default mailer are now happily using emacs to read their mail, for example.
    To me, switching from the Palm Vx to the SL-C700 was like trading in a middle-aged accountant for a teenage math genius. The Palm was clearly better at traditional PDA work, and doesn't drive you up the wall like the C700 does sometimes, but there is something unquantifiable that is truly exciting about the C700 that the Palm can't begin to copy.
    • profiling reveals that a lot of time is wasted opening and closing huge Japanese font files on startup

      If you're using Japanese, I wouldn't exactly say that the time is "wasted"...
      • Re:Owner's view (Score:3, Interesting)

        by po8 ( 187055 )

        Most glyph / font file management code is hopelessly unoptimized for Far East fonts: designers tend to make simplifying assumptions about character set size, font overlap, and glyph rendering that are expensive to correct later.

        The latest fontconfig/Xft [fontconfig.org] code has been carefully designed to do a really nice job with Far East glyphs and fonts, as well as most other languages on the face of the planet. Keith Packard is to be congratulated, as usual, for his leading-edge work on this. The problem with Qpe being closed-source is that there is no reasonable alternative for integrating this work except to be patient and hope that Trolltech does it: then hope there is an upgrade path.

    • Main memory in these devices tends to be slow, to conserve power. How slow is this thing when performing CPU-intensive tasks? What's the battery life?

      ...What I'm driving at is: Can I slap this thing down on a LAN and have a reasonably well performing, instant QuakeWorld server?

      Schwab

      • Re:Owner's view (Score:3, Informative)

        Can I slap this thing down on a LAN and have a reasonably well performing, instant QuakeWorld server?

        I dunno. But... I can play networked Doom on my SL-5000D, against someone running Doom on a desktop PC. ;^)
        • Doom deathmatch was great, but Quakeworld deathmatch is a definite improvement, with internet play, true 3D graphics, and free aka mouse look. As I understand it, there are various open source projects that have added these features to Doom. Most people don't want a new game, they just want their old favorite game with a few improvements. Check out Doom 2 with new high resolution textures [quake.cz] and the JDoom project which adds true 3D graphics to Doom [doomsdayhq.com]!

          Compare those screenshots side by side with screenshots of the original DOS Doom. It is the same gameplay you love, but definitely better graphics! You will need more hardware than you used back with the original DOS Doom, but you won't need much by today's standards.
      • Dude, I would own you at some Quakeworld deathmatch on the world's smallest lan!!!
        A 10ms ping, 0 packet loss, dm6, and one lightning gun, will be all I need. Your feet will never touch the ground.
      • One last thing, I saw your website, and your section about Quake. Uhhh, if you still play Quakeworld, I suggest you use the FuhQuake [fuhquake.net] client. It has numerous improvements both graphical and network, in addition to a few interface tweaks. In addition, you can play single player COOP using Quakeworld's network protocol. Isn't open source great? Isn't Id Software great? Well, John Carmack is great, at least.
        • I'm mostly a user of More QuakeWorld [n3.net] these days. It seems to be what most of the hardcore players are using these days. FuhQuake looks gorgeous, however. I'll be sure to give it a try.

          Schwab

          • Yeah, I was using mqwcl for the last year, but switched to FuhQuake once I got a faster computer. I like the jump prediction in FuhQuake better than in mqwcl... FuhQuake also has the eyecandy... but mqwcl is great if you just want raw framerate and ultra tweaked to nothing graphics.

            mqwcl at a solid 300 fps on a lan, with a ktpro server... its just all about the shaft. Rockets are sooo 1997 ;-)
  • by blh ( 414027 ) <bruce.howard@howard.org> on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @01:58AM (#5277546) Homepage
    The prices at Dynamism [dynamism.com] are a bit on the high side in my opinion. I purchased my SL-C700 in Japan at Yodobashi Camera for about 55000 JPY which at the current spot rate is about 460.00 USD.

    Presumably part of that is to recoup shipping and some of the translation costs but a lot of what you are paying is for the after-purchase Fedex replacement service should you ever break the unit.

    Short of hopping on the next plane to Tokyo, one alternative is to order one from Conics [conics.net] for 569USD. You may then switch to SL-C700 (mostly) to English yourself by adding the line:

    Language = en

    to /home/root/Settings/locale.conf.
  • Then you would effectively have a lot more value for your money!
    • That's to miss the point of the form factor though. I'd love a C700, but currently have the 5500. What I love about it is that it really is small enough to fit into a coat pocket, or be dropped into the bottom of a bag, so that it's there when I need it. I don't have to worry about where I'm going to leave it if I want to go out for the evening after work say.

      Also, even with the smaller screen on the 5500, I find it very comfortable to lie back on my sofa and do a bit of email reading and web browsing, something only the far more expensive Tablet PCs come somewhere near.

      A laptop is good for where you need to get lots of typing or editing done, but seeing as 90% of my leisure PC use is web surfing, the small form is what I love. But if I need to, I can fire up a shell, ssh into my servers for some emergency work, fire up VNC to get into my Windows servers, start Kismet to see what's in the area. If I'm sat in a small cramped train seat I can even watch a divx off of a compact flash card, and with a lot lower profile than a mugger enticing iBook.

  • Alternatives (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Herby Werby ( 645641 )
    There are a few Linux-based alternatives over on LinuxDevices.com (http://www.linuxdevices.com/articles/AT8728350077 .html). My only question about the Zaurus is "Where's the Bluetooth?". I couldn't consider pouring money into a PDA which was lacking BT.
    • Buletooth does work with the zaurus.
      Check out the forums at:
      www.zaurus.com/dev/board
      People seem to have been pretty successful at connecting to bluetooth APs using bluetooth CF cards in the zaurus.
  • Say, Jeff, you can prove that you paid for that copy of "King of the Pecos" that you're watching on your Zaurus, right?

    Right? :-)
  • Does anyone think it is likely to get Ethereal running on this little doohickey?
  • by mocm ( 141920 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2003 @02:44AM (#5277669)
    Considering that you can get the SL-C700 for about 55000 yen in Japan and for $569 at conics.net [conics.net]
    and switching to English is just editing one file [conics.net] dynamism seems abit steep in their pricing.
    I am waiting for my shipment from conics right now.
    In Euros it's even cheaper :).
  • I saw this thing in BIC Camera in Shinjuku this weekend. The screen is as beautiful as people say it is. I think its clearer and brigher than the screens on the new Sony Clie's. I actually couldn't even see any pixels.

    One reviewer said that response seems a little slow, especially when opening applications. I have to say that I can vouch for this, at least for the few apps I tried to open (including a basic image viewer).

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