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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Casio E-100 Review
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 1999
 Version 1.01  Revised 4/15/99

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The Multimedia P/PC

It's clear that Casio is focusing on Multimedia with the Wyvern based Palm-size PC called the E-100. They are the first to have support for a 320 x 240 active matrix LCD with 65,536 dazzling colors, stereo sound and video support in the E-100. Also, Casio has created a sexier design with the E-100's silver and grey case.

You will find that the E-100 is a little larger than prior Palm-size PCs from Casio,    however it is easy to hold and use in your hand.  It is also heavier than the prior P/PCs but it is one of the lightest of the Color P/PCs. The added side grips make the unit easier to hold - similar to the Philips Nino who pioneered this technique.

Multimedia

Only the E-100 Plus ships with the Casio MP3 player, Casio Movie Player and desktop converter.  Users that purchase the E-100 can get the Casio MP3 player, Casio Movie Player and desktop converter for $70.00  The desktop converter supports converting MPEG, AVI as well as Quicktime videos into movies that can be played on the Casio Movie Player. The videos play well on the device - clear, and complete with sound and smooth motion. I have a  video of the unit playing a video which you can watch.  (a RealVideo G2 player is required)   A 30 second video (30 frames per second) is approximately 1.4 MB in size and you can play videos directly from flash cards.

casio mobile movie viewer (19301 bytes)

Casio has been first in adding a stereo headphone jack to the P/PC in the E-100.     Casio ships the Casio MP3 Player with the E-100 plus which provides the special ability to turn the display backlight off to maximize battery life.  There is a freeware MP3 player available at Xaudio which supports stereo playing as well but it does not allow the user to turn the backlight off.. The quality of the sound is excellent! I was able to hear both channels of stereo when I hooked the E-100 up to my car stereo via a cassette adapter

casio mobile mp3 player

Finger Real Estate

You will find that the button positions on the sides to be almost identical to the Casio E-10/11.  The power button has been relocated to the top of the left side for one handed use.  On the top you will find another unique feature of the Casio E-100, a finger joystick, which supports the up/down/left/right functionality that the arrow keys and jog wheel provide. Just like prior versions there is a calendar, contacts and task quick launch button as well. You will find the joystick will be important for playing games because you don't have to click with the stylus or redefine your buttons to play! As with prior Casio units, it is setup for the right handed writer to hold in their left hand. A left handed user will have to get used to using the buttons with their right finger tips instead of their thumb.

Connectivity

The Casio E-100 ships with a CompactFlash CF+ type II slot for additional storage and peripherals just like the prior P/PCs. It also comes with a docking station for an easy connection to your serial port as well as an IrDA port. As with all Wyvern P/PCs, the E-100 ships with Windows CE Services 2.2 for desktop connectivity and supports mobile channels in 256 colors due to Microsoft's design.

Hardware Capabilities

The Casio E-100 has 16 MB of ram and the E-100 Plus has 32MB of ram.  These units use a lithium ion battery which charges when the unit is in the cradle or when the AC adapter is directly plugged into the unit. The battery life is 6 to 8 hours with shorter runtimes when using the MP3 player exclusively. The units use a NEC Vr4121 Mips CPU at 131 mhz making them the fastest P/PCs produced yet.

Applications

The E-100 ships with the same standard Windows CE applications that came in the Palm-size PC 1.0 devices: Pocket Outlook, Inbox, Channels, Notetaker. It also comes with a backup and restore utility to allow users to backup all their memory to a flash card while on the road. You can also restore without a desktop! The E-100 Plus adds the ability to play MP3 audio files in stereo and the video player. Users who purchase the E-100 can purchase the MP3 player and the video player separately.

The E-100 is expected to be available at the end of April. The list price for the E-100 will be $499 and the E-100 Plus $599. Overall, it's clear that Casio has advanced P/PCs with the addition of Multimedia capabilities of the E-100. With it stylish design, joystick and the active matrix LCD Casio made a hot game machine with this unit.

For a complete comparison of all the Wyvern based P/PCs, check my P/PC 2.1 Comparison

For a visual comparison of P/PCs check my P/PC Visual Comparison.

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