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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
 All Rights Reserved
A member of the Talksites Family of Websites

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Comparing PDA/HPC Computers
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 1997, 1998
v1.15 Revised 12/28/98

There are a diverse variety of small computers designed to assist users with keeping track of critical information. These vary in size from the Palm PC to the Newton 2100. There is a large difference in features of these systems. Some important hardware features are integrated keyboard, backlighting, modem, IRDA (infrared serial communications), screen size, and voice recording. Some important software features are personal information management (PIM), word processing, spreadsheets,  presentations, web browsing, electronic mail, and database. All of these systems are using graphical user interfaces (GUI) to provide easy access to applications.

Here is a table that compares the basic features of the PDA/HPC systems:

Feature Windows CE 2.11 H/PC Pro

Windows CE 2.0 Palm-size PC

Palm III

Royal daVinci

Windows CE 2.0 H/PC

Windows CE 1.0 H/PC

Size (LxWxH, inches)   3.5 x 5 x .75 4.7 x 3.2 x .7 3.4 x 5.0  x 0.75 7  x 3 x 1 6.5 x 3 x 1
Weight (ounces) 40 - 64 5.5 6 5.6 12-14 12-14
CPU Speed 80 -190mhz 54-100mhz   16.58 mhz 54-80mhz 32-40mhz
CPU Bus 32 32 32 32 32 32
Ram 16 - 32 MB 2-10 MB 2 MB 256k, Pro 1 MB 4/8/12/16 MB 2/4/6 MB
Keyboard Yes Software Only Software Only Optional $29.95 Integrated Integrated
Handwriting Recognition Yes, 3rd Party Applications Yes printed, cursive Yes, Printed Yes, Printed Yes, 3rd Party Applications Yes, 3rd Party Applications
Screen 640x240, 640x480, 800x600 some 256, 4096 and 64k colors 320x240x4 some 16 160x160 160x160, Pro 240x160 640x240x16 Grey or 640x240x256 Color 480x240x4 Grey
Backlight Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, Casio, Compaq, Philips, HP, NEC 450
Touch Screen Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
# of PC Card Slots 1 (plus CompactFlash) 1 Compact Flash I/O Not Available Pro 1 1 (plus Compact Flash) 1
PC Card Yes, ATA, SRAM, Modem, Ethernet Compact Flash, CF Paging, CF Ethernet, CF Modem Not Available Modem Yes, ATA, SRAM, Modem, Ethernet Yes, ATA, SRAM, Modem
PC Card Data Format Standard FAT Standard FAT Not Available Not Available Standard FAT Standard FAT
Serial Speed 115.2k 115.2k     115.2k 115.2k
IRDA (Infrared) Support Yes, Desktop Synchronization, Printing Yes, Desktop Synchronization Yes Desktop Synchronization, and unit to unit No Yes, Desktop Synchronization, Printing Yes, Desktop Synchronization, Printing (some units)
Ethernet Yes Yes No No Yes No
Voice Memo Yes Yes No No Yes Yes, Velo 1, standard Wave file
Printing Yes No   No Yes IR or Cable Yes, with 3rd Party Application (Bprint)
Battery Lithium Ion 2 AA 2 AAA 2 AAA 2 AA 2 AA
Battery Life 10-15 hours 15-20 hours 8-12 weeks 40 hours 15-20 hours 15-20 hours
Price $800-$1000 $299-$500 $399 $99 $499-999 $499-749

 

Feature

REX

Newton 2000/2100

Zaurus ZR5800

Avigo 10

PalmPilot

Psion 3c

Psion 5
Size (LxWxH, inches) 3.375 x 2.125 x .25 Unit: 8.3 x 4.7 x 1.1, Keyboard: 10.5 x 4 x 1.25

Case: 12 x 6 x 2

6.7 x 3.9 x 1 5.5 x 3.3 x .8 4.7 x 3&2 x .7 6.5 x 3.3 x .9 6.7 x 3.5 x 0.9
Weight (ounces) 1.4 Unit: 22.4, Keyboard: 8 13.8 7 5.7 9.7 12.5
CPU Speed   160mhz  Not Available  Not Available  16mhz 7.68mhz 18.4mhz
CPU Bus   32 16 16  32 16 32
Ram 128k to 256k 2000: 1 MB dram, 4 MB flash 2100: 4 MB dram, 4 MB flash 2 MB 1 MB flash expandable to 1.68 MB of flash 128k, 512k, 1 MB, (2 MB, 3 MB from 3rd party) 2 MB 4/8 MB
Keyboard No Separate Integrated Software Only Separate via 3rd party Integrated Integrated
Handwriting Recognition No Yes, Printed or Cursive No No Yes, Printed No Yes 3rd party application
Screen 160x98 480x320x16 Grey 320x240 160x240x4 grey 160x160 480x160 640x240
Backlight No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Touch Screen No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
# of PC Card Slots Not Available 2 1 Not Available Not Available 2 SSD Compact Flash
PC Card Not Available Yes, Linear, SRAM, Modem, Ethernet Yes, Linear, SRAM, Modem Not Available Not Available Yes, Optional External adapter ($139.99) for modem only Yes, Optional External adapter ($139.99) for modem only
PC Card Data Format Not Available Proprietary Proprietary Not Available Not Available Proprietary SSD Card Standard FAT
Serial Speed Not Applicable 115.2k   57.6k 57.6k 57.6k 115.2k
IRDA (Infrared) Support No Yes, Printing Only (Newton to Newton file exchange) Yes, Desktop Synchronization, Printing Yes, File Transfer only Yes, 3rd Party Yes, Printing Only Yes, Desktop Synchronization and Printing
Ethernet No Yes No No No No No
Voice Memo No Yes, Proprietary Format No No No Yes, standard Wave File Yes
Printing No Yes with IR or optional Print Pack ($89.95) Yes, with IR or optional cable No Yes with 3rd party Application Yes, IR or optional printer cable Yes, IR or to Desktop PC
Battery 2 CR2025 4 AA 2 AA 2 AAA 2 AAA 2 AA 2 AA
Battery Life 4-6 Months 24 hours 70 hours   8-12 weeks 80 hours 30-35 Hours
Price $149-$179 $1095 $599 $300 $199, 299 $399, $499 $549, $667

Another critical feature is how PDA/HPC systems communicate with desktop computers. All of these systems provide desktop connectivity for PIM, word processing and spreadsheets. Some systems provide desktop connectivity for additional capabilities such as sound, graphics and fonts.

Here is a table describing how information is moved to and from Windows 95, 98 or NT:

Feature Windows CE 2.11 H/PC Pro

Windows CE 2.0 Palm-size PC

Royal daVinci

Windows CE 2.0 H/PC

Windows CE 1.0 H/PC

REX
File Transfer  

Word 6,7,8, Excel 5,7,8 (reads and writes desktop file formats on the device)

Retains fonts, sizes and graphics

Word 6,7,8, Word Perfect 5.x, HTML, RTF Text Word 6,7,8, Excel 5,7,8, Word Perfect 5.x, HTML, RTF

Retains fonts, sizes and graphics, supports Templates

Word 6,7,8, Excel 5,7,8

Retains fonts, sizes and graphics

 
Synchronization Schedule +7.0, Outlook 97, Additional PIMs with 3rd Party Software Schedule +7.0, Outlook 97, Additional PIMs with 3rd Party Software Proprietary PIM, Additional PIMs with 3rd Party Software Schedule +7.0, Outlook 97, Additional PIMs with 3rd Party Software Schedule +7.0, Outlook 97 Starfish Sidekick 98, Outlook 97, Schedule + 7.0, Act! 3.06, Lotus Organizer 97, ASCII, HP 360LX and 620LX
Other File Types Sound Files (.wav), TrueType Fonts, Bitmapped Graphics (.bmp), PowerPoint 8, Expedia Streets 98  Sound Files (.wav), TrueType Fonts, Bitmapped Graphics (.bmp)   Sound Files (.wav), TrueType Fonts, Bitmapped Graphics (.bmp), PowerPoint 8, Expedia Streets 98  Sound Files (.wav), TrueType Fonts, Bitmapped Graphics (.bmp)  
World Wide Web & Electronic Mail Yes, multiple connections, Java Script Yes, multiple connections Pro - E-Mail Only Yes, multiple connections Yes No
FAX Yes, 3rd Party Application Yes Pro Only Yes, 3rd Party Application Yes, 3rd Party Application No
Speller Yes No No Yes Yes, 3rd Party Application No
Document Size Limit     1k   660k 50 memos

 

Feature

Newton 2000/2100

Zaurus ZR5800

Avigo 10

PalmPilot

Psion 3c

Psion 5
File Transfer Notepad: Rich Text Format, ASCII, Windows MetaFile

To NewtonWorks Paper: Rich Text Format

Spreadsheet: Must load/convert in NewtonWorks on desktop first, Excel 7.0 Only

Requires Zaurus Application Partner (Free Promo until 6/30)

Word 6,7 Excel 4,5,7

 

Excel 5, Text  Rich Text, ASCII Optional PsiWin($99):Word 5,6,7,8, Excel 5,7, 8 PsiWin: Word 5,6,7, 8 Excel 5,7, 8 WordPerfect 5, 6, 7,   Quattro Pro 5, 6, 7, Corel Suite 8.x
Synchronization Schedule + 7.0, Lotus Organizer 2.1, Sidekick 2.0 Requires Zaurus Application Partner

Schedule + 7.0, Lotus Organizer, Act 2.0, Goldmine

Lotus Organizer Act, Now Up To Date, Sidekick, ECCO, Daytimer, Maximizer, Franklin Ascend 97 Optional Synchronizer($19.99): Schedule +7.0, Lotus Organizer 2.1, Outlook 97, Act 2.0/3.0, Novell Groupwise, Goldmine, Schedule+ 7, 7a, Outlook 97, Access, Organizer 2.1 (SmartSuite 3.x, 4.0, 96, NotesSuite 96); Organizer 97
Other File Types  Graphics (.bmp or .gif) Not Applicable     Sound Files (.wav) Graphics (.bmp), True Type Fonts (print only) Sound Files (.wav), Graphics (.bmp), True Type Fonts (print only)
World Wide Web & Electronic Mail Yes Yes, E-Mail Only No Yes, E-Mail to Desktop Only, WWW with 3rd party Application Yes Yes
FAX Yes Yes No Yes, 3rd party Application Yes Yes
Speller Yes Yes No Yes, 3rd Party Application Yes Yes
Document Size Limit  4k in NotePad, Available storage in Works 16k Memo limited to 3584 4k Limited to storage size Limited to storage size

By reviewing this information, you can purchase the best PDA/HPC to meet your needs. If you are shopping for a PDA/HPC, I recommend that you print this out for reference.

Special thanks to Erik Berry, Synchronics Software for the information on the Psion 5.


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