by September 17, 2001 0 comments

The Psion Series 5mx is a palmtop small enough to rest on your palm, and has a host of functions for business users on the move. It runs on a 36 MHz ARM710T RISC processor,16 MB RAM and has a slot for a Compact Flash card to increase storage capacity. It comes with Symbian’s EPOC 32-bit OS which easily multitasks and has a good user interface. Its metallic silver case is compact, but opens into a comfortable-sized keypad and screen thanks to a hinge-spring mechanism. The spring is a little tight, which causes the palmtop to snap shut. Apart from the keypad, the 5mx also has a stylus for input.

Psion Series 5mx
Price: Rs 32,000
Features: ARM710T 36 MHz processor, 16 MB integrated RAM, touch screen and keyboard input, EPOC 32-bit
multitasking OS
Pros: Easy to use interface, compact, built-in dictaphone
Cons: No handwriting-recognition software, no brightness control for LCD panel, expensive
Contact: Ingram Micro. Tel: 011-6833726, 6834688. D-13/5 Okhla Phase II, New Delhi 

The Psion 5mx has a 4-bit gray-scale 5.25″ touch-screen LCD panel with a resolution of 640×240. Its LCD screen is not bright enough, and there are no brightness adjustment controls. Neither is the backlit display powerful enough to read in bad light. The gadget has an integrated microphone and speaker as well as play, record, and stop keys for dictaphone function. The 5mx is powered by two standard AA-sized 1.5 V alkaline batteries, and its claimed battery life is around 25-30 hours of continuous usage. It also has a backup battery to keep your data safe during battery changes. The connectivity options are a serial cable and an infrared port.

Navigation on the 5mx is easy, as it has lots of quick links on the touch screen itself. It also has a Control Panel akin to that of MS-Windows that lets you configure all settings of the keyboard, screen, printers, sounds, dialing, Internet settings and even an Add/Remove programs option.

The installed software is a complete suite of useful productivity applications. There is a ‘Word’ application, a spreadsheet program, an agenda that is part of the PIM along with the contacts program, a ‘Data’ program that is a rudimentary database program, and a calculator. There is also a Jotter or a quick writing pad that also allows you to embed sketches into it. A Web browser–Web–and an e-mail application takes care of the Net. These are complete in all respects with the browser capable of showing you the history, cache, control cookies, proxy support, and even view the source. And what is more–all of this data can be synchronized with your desktop. This is done over a serial link using the PsiWin software. The desktop software allows you to browse and manage your palmtop easily.

For Internet connectivity, the 5mx has an optional 56K travel modem, for which you have to shell out another Rs 7,000. The modem uses an infrared link and can connect over a telephone line or a GSM link.

There is a big developer community for the 5mx and most of the software is freeware or shareware. A lot of it comes in the CD bundled with the palmtop–for presentation, project management, accounting, and even games. Opera has its own browser version and there is a Java Virtual Machine for it. It, however, does not come with a handwriting-recognition software.

Ashish Sharma at PCQ Labs

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