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Compaq iPAQ 8/10

The Compaq iPAQ (which sounds alot like iMAC!) is a PocketPC, which runs Windows CE 3.0. At its heart is high performance MIPS processor. Consequently it is rarely short of power, and you can multitask several applications at once. You can for example play MP3s and work on Word at the same time. The quality of the audio output through headphones is even better than my Minidisc player, the small speaker is a bit tinny though, just as it is with most portables! The Windows CE interface is similar to the Windows desktop interface, and you have "Pocket" versions of many desktop apps, like Word, Excel, Access, Internet Explorer and Media Player. They can both read and write the "Desktop" file format (although some require conversion). Because of a new style Lithium Polymer battery, you can run the iPAQ for hours without having to resort to an external power supply. However, running the device without any power saving does make a big difference in battery life.

You can use the iPAQ to surf the web with Internet Explorer. The small screen does a make it a bit difficult, but with Avantgo channels (which are synced when you contect to your desktop) you can download newspapers, journals etc. which are designed to fit onto the vertical screen. If you want to surf the net directly, you can connect through an infra red phone or by plugging in a CompactFlash or PCMICA modem. Since the iPAQ is small, it does not have an internal expansion slot, you have to put on either a CompactFlash or PCMICA jacket for expansion. This black device can be seen in the picture and also accepts other cards for example to expand the memory. The internal memory of 32 MB or 64 MB is enough for most people, but not if you wish to use this as an MP3 player. Unfortunately the CompactFlash jacket does not have an eject button, so you'll have difficulty removing Microdrives (it can be done, though, as I have tried). You can easily put a Microdrive, in a PCMICA adapter and then put that in the PCMICA jacket. Beware though, adding a Microdrive does decrease the battery life. Syncing the machine is easy, either via a USB or serial connection or network card (which is far quicker and more reliable than USB).

This impressive looking machine is great and the service is very efficient in case anything inside it breaks. It is not as reliable as I would have liked (it's been repaired twice). Consequently I recommend buying the extended warrantly. However, in all, this is a fine machine, faster than most competitors and better looking to. It's certainly more than just an organiser.