Enterprise PDA phones reviewed

The new wave of hybrid PDA business phones are here. The gadget gurus from RMIT decide who talks the talk.



The new wave of hybrid PDA business phones are here. The gadget gurus from RMIT decide who talks the talk.


Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Mobile phones began as an incredibly convenient business tool far superior to a pager, (remember those?), that allowed your clients and customers to ring you anywhere and any time.

They were affectionately known as "bricks" and were appallingly expensive; you had to be a successful business person to afford one. Fast forward to present day -- now if a kid in primary school does not own a mobile they are definitely not cool.

Mobile phones have become a disposable consumer commodity to be tossed out with last year's fashion. They barely last long enough to see you through the contract -- I have personally had three die on me in as many years.

For most of the population, the mobile phone is now seen as fashion statement -- it must look sexy, have a colourful display, polyphonic ring tones -- or better still -- MP3 samples of your favourite songs. Let us not forget the integrated digital camera, ranging from dodgy VGA up to two mega-pixel additions that can record and playback video streams.

They are all-singing all-dancing pocket game machines, and we sometimes lose sight of their true function -- to be a convenient portable phone. For a business person they must also manage appointments, calendar, and contacts.


Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Design

Designers have approached the concept of a business phone from two different directions. Some start with a PDA design and add phone functionality (presumably so there will be less of a compromise on usability and functionality). Others start with a mobile phone and add PDA functions -- while trying to maintain mobile phone convenience.

Four PDA phones were offered for review: the O2 Xda IIi, the i-mate PDA2k EVDO, PalmOne's Treo 650, and the Motorola A1000. The O2 and i-mate are full blown Windows-based Pocket PC's, the Treo is a Palm OS PDA, and the Motorola runs a fairly sparse Symbian OS.

The O2 and i-mate are the size and shape of traditional PDA's while the Motorola is a good deal smaller but still resembles a PDA. The Treo looks like a fusion between phone and PDA. Of the mobile phones with added PDA function, we tested the Nokia 9300, Blackberry 7100v, Sony Ericcson P910i, Siemens SK65, and the NEC N410i.

These models have evolved beyond typical mobile phones and now feature much of the functionality of a PDA. The Nokia is particularly interesting as it looks like a relatively large and clunky mobile phone with a typical phone keyboard and small display, but it opens like a clamshell to reveal a larger portrait display and QWERTY keypad.

The Sony is a large and chunky mobile phone that has quite a large display and a standard phone number pad that flips down to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard on the reverse side and the complete display -- similar in size to a full PDA.

The Siemens is just plain weird. It has a typical phone face, keyboard, and medium display. At first glance it looks like it may open clamshell style like the Nokia, but the extra thickness hides a secret -- revealed by twisting the back half of the phone.

This results in a "+" shaped phone featuring a full keyboard with the QWERT half on the left side of the phone and the YUIOP on the right side. Those with long fingernails may break quite a few opening the phone -- the lock is quite stiff and gives way suddenly.

The NEC N410i is a clamshell phone with a tiny display on the front face and a larger display inside, it retains a regular phone keyboard -- no QWERTY. In fact, this is the only phone that still looks like a phone.

Pocketability

There is no such word as pocketability (but there should be). Most men would prefer not to carry a bag, so a phone that fits in your pocket is important.

The weight and bulk of all of these phones renders them poor contenders for trouser-pocket transportation. You (and the rest of the people in the room) will certainly know they are in your pocket.


Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Keyboard

Only NEC has not upgraded from the standard mobile phone keyboard. The keys feel quite dead, although they are easy to use given their size and spacing. Of the dedicated phone keypads the NEC, Nokia, and Blackberry are quite usable -- the Sony, and particularly the Siemens, less so. Making a phone call on the other units involves either using their QWERTY keyboards or the touchscreen.

The Treo's QWERTY keyboard is fairly horrible -- as is the i-mate's. For making phone calls the buttons are simply too small and close together -- most users would find this quite frustrating. In both cases you are far better off using the touch screen to dial a call. This is also quite easy to do on the O2 and Motorola, phones without a physical keyboard.

Inputting data for PDA functionality is met with varying degrees of difficulty. Let's start off controversially by stating that the physical QWERTY keyboard for most of the phones are downright horrid.

Arguably the worst QWERTY is the Siemens, and it sadly has no handwriting recognition or onscreen keyboard alternative.

You have to commend Siemens for trying, you can see what they were trying to do, but the keyboard misses the mark.

The other phone that vies for the worst keyboard award is the Blackberry, but then maybe we are being a bit unfair because once you get used to the weird input system it is probably quite good.

The Blackberry has a slightly larger keyboard than a standard phone and maps the QWERTY keyboard to the keys much like a normal phone does the alphabetical keyboard to its keys. The Blackberry also has a predictive text engine that pops up multiple word options for you to select from. Once you're familiar with the system, the Blackberry would probably blow many of the other more traditional QWERTY implementations away.

The keyboards on the i-mate, Sony, and the Treo have tiny keys. With deliberate perseverance it is possible to become reasonably adept, but if you do not use the feature all the time it could be a pain. There is also an onscreen keyboard but it is not really any better.

With the NEC you only have the standard alphabetically mapped keyboard to input names and data. This is no doubt the slowest and most painful of all the modes.

You would only really want to use this mode in an emergency. The rest of the time you would be better off inputting data into your PC and synchronising it with the phone -- obviously the best option for all the phones.

Easily the best data input keyboard of the group is the Nokia. Its keyboard and keys are quite large and well spaced -- you cannot touch type, but when two-finger typing you can have confidence that the key you poke will be the one that registers.

The Motorola, O2, and i-mate also have handwriting recognition as input methods. The the O2 and i-mate are not too bad, but the Motorola is not that great.

Navigation

Navigation methods vary. The simplest operation is the scroll wheels used by Blackberry and Sony that allow the user to scroll through the screen icons and select the one they want. All other phones have at least a cursor pad and select key to navigate the options with.

The i-mate, Motorola, Sony, O2, and Treo all supply touch screen navigation via small styluses or your finger. Using this mode the Motorola is the clumsiest. The Sony and Treo are better but arguably no match for the more familiar Windows-based interface of the O2 and i-mate; particularly when you start to load the phone with goodies and have to navigate through them. The odd ball of the group is the Nokia -- it has a large display but it is not touch sensitive. Instead the Nokia relies on a series of navigation buttons, but the menu system is so well laid out the system works remarkably well.


Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Display

The NEC and Siemens have the smallest displays so the amount of useful information they can display at one time is obviously limited. Web surfing with such small displays would frustrate most users -- even the bigger displays are a tight squeeze.

The Blackberry and Treo are a step up in size, and both displays are crisp and sharp with the Treo easily the best. None of the phones were bad and all the screens were bright and given their relative sizes, and remarkably sharp.

The Sony and Motorola displays are slightly smaller than the O2 and i-mate. The latter are a joy to use -- large, bright, and very sharp.

The Nokia is a strange beast -- its landscape display is very wide but not particularly tall. It is, however, colourful and sharp, 640 x 200 pixels sharp, and can display surprisingly large chunks of data.

Camera

The digital camera is fast becoming a given for mobile phones. Only the Blackberry, Siemens, and Nokia did not include one.

Low-resolution cameras are fitted to the O2, Sony, and Treo (which has a 0.3 mega-pixel VGA resolution camera). The i-mate has an in-built flash unit while, interestingly, the Sony has infra-red night mode -- much like their consumer video camera range.

The remainder of the cameras are around the 1.3 megapixel range -- only the NEC features a flash unit. The Motorola and O2 make do without.


Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Performance

In terms of application speed the Blackberry, i-mate, and particularly the O2 with its 520MHz processor, are the fastest phones we reviewed. The Treo, Nokia, and Sony are not too bad either but the Motorola can be annoyingly slow at times.

The NEC and Siemens are a lot more limited in terms of processor and their applications, so they perform quite well.

None of the phones are what you would consider small. They have had ample space to implement a decent antenna and all the phones offer reasonable signal levels in many of the poor reception areas we tried, but bear in mind that there were four different carriers used among them.

If you are interested in the concept of video calls offered by the Motorola and its 3G functionality you should be aware that this is only available in a limited area. If you do drift outside 3G coverage, the phone roams over to another carrier so you then lose the extra features of 3G, such as high-speed data transfer and video.

The phone falls back to standard and slow GPRS and voice only. In the past 3G used to roam to Vodafone but it appears that this will change to Telstra. Data transfer performance is definitely the forte of the i-mate as it includes EVDO which typically transfers files around twice the speed of 3G, so you might get around 600-700kbps in a good signal area.

Audio performance for the phones was quite good, with the O2 and i-mate offering the best sound quality. The Motorola was loud enough, but at times it appeared that the processor could not keep pace when playing back MIDI files causing it to sound out of tune, like an old tape player with a flat battery.

Contact Management and Applications

A full listing of the contact management features can be found in the features table but it is worth noting that the NEC was the weakest, and the Motorola's applications were also quite sparse.

The Siemens was surprisingly good but then it does use Blackberry applications for a lot of its functionality. The Blackberry and Treo have a broad range of features and applications, and the Sony is also quite accomplished. The best in this class had to be the O2, i-mate, and Nokia which are remarkably strong in terms of flexibility and features.

BlackBerry 7100V

BlackBerry 7100V

Product BlackBerry 7100V
Price AU$799
Vendor BlackBerry, but distributed through Vodafone
Phone Vodafone: 1800 635 627
Web www.blackberry.com
 
Interoperability
½
Bluetooth, Quadband.
Futureproofing
Good performance, ease-of-use and flexibility with strong security.
ROI
Surprisingly inexpensive given its solid business features.
Service
½
24 months.
Rating
½

Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT



i-mate PDA2k EVDO

i-mate PDA2k EVDO


Motorola A1000

Motorola A1000





Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Product i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Price AU$1399
Vendor i-mate

Phone 1300 850 513
Web www.imate.com
 
Interoperability
IrDA, Bluetooth, Quadband.
Futureproofing
½
Strong feature set with Pocket Apps, data speeds with EVDO are excellent, very good performance and ease of use and flexibility.
ROI
Expensive but quite feature rich.

Service
½
12 months.
Rating
Product Motorola A1000
Price AU$979
Vendor Motorola, but distributed by 3 Australia
Phone 3 Australia: 131 683
Web www.hellomoto.com
 
Interoperability
½
IrDA, Bluetooth, WCDMA 2100, Triband.
Futureproofing
CPU performance is OK, download with WCDAM is excellent, OK ease of use and flexibility.
ROI
Reasonably priced but is lacking in power and features when compared to some of the other products.
Service
½
12 months.
Rating


NEC N410i

NEC N410i


Nokia 9300

Nokia 9300





Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Product NEC N410i
Price AU$989
Vendor NEC
Phone 131 632
Web www.nec.com.au
 
Interoperability
½
IrDA, Bluetooth, Triband.
Futureproofing
Simply not as strong in features and functionality as the competition.


ROI
½
Expensive for a phone with such limited business features.


Service
½
12 months.
Rating
½
Product Nokia 9300
Price AU$1199
Vendor Nokia
Phone 1300 366 733
Web www.nokia.com.au
 
Interoperability
IrDA, Bluetooth, GPRS & EGPRS, Triband.
Futureproofing
½
Exceptionally flexible and feature packed, simple to use with strong security, excellent expandability, CPU a little slow and battery life not great.
ROI
½
Given the functionality and features this phone is very reasonably priced, particularly when compared to other less-featured "wanna be" phones.
Service
½
12 months.
Rating


O2 XDA IIi

O2 XDA IIi


PalmOne Treo 650

PalmOne Treo 650





Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Product O2 XDA IIi
Price AU$1599
Vendor O2 Australia
Phone 02 9699 2220
Web www.o2.com.au or www.my-xda.com.au
 
Interoperability
½
IrDA, Bluetooth, WiFi, Triband.
Futureproofing
Strong feature set with Pocket Apps, excellent CPU performance, good expandability and ease of use.

ROI
Expensive but very feature rich.
Service
½
24 months.
Rating
Product PalmOne Treo 650
Price AU$1199
Vendor PalmOne
Phone 02 9844 5420
Web www.palmone.com/au

 
Interoperability
IrDA, Bluetooth, Quadband.
Futureproofing
½
Strong feature set but additional apps limited, very good CPU performance, good expandability, and ease of use.
ROI
½
Moderate price for a very strong business phone.
Service
½
12 months.
Rating
½


Siemens SK-65

Siemens SK-65


Sony Ericsson P910i

Sony Ericsson P910i





Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Product Siemens SK-65
Price AU$849
Vendor Siemens
Phone 1300 665 366
Web www.siemens-mobile.com
 
Interoperability
IrDA, Bluetooth, GPRS & EGPRS, Triband.
Futureproofing
Based on the Blackberry for functionality, average performance, poorly implemented QWERTY keyboard, strong security.
ROI
½
A lot more phone than the NEC at a lower cost but the keyboard is terrible.
Service
½
12 months.
Rating
Product Sony Ericsson P910i
Price AU$1299
Vendor Sony Ericsson
Phone 1300 650 050
Web www.sonyericsson.com

 
Interoperability
½
IrDA, Bluetooth, Triband.
Futureproofing
Good range of features, very easy to use, good CPU performance, additional apps limited.
ROI
Relatively expensive but nevertheless a good range of business functionality.
Service
½
12 months.
Rating


Specifications

Product BlackBerry 7100V i-mate PDA2k EVDO Motorola A1000
Vendor BlackBerry (distributed through Vodafone) i-mate Motorola (distributed by 3 Australia)
Telephone Vodafone: 13 26 16 1300 850 513 3 Australia: 131 683
Web www.blackberry.com www.clubimate.com or www.imate.com www.hellomoto.com
Warranty 24 months 12 months 12 months
Form factor PDA/Mobile phone PDA/Smartphone PDA/Mobile phone
Average street price (inc GST) AU$799 AU$1799 AU$979
Processor type and speed Intel PXA263 400 MHz processor Intel PXA263 400 MHz 168 MHz processor
Memory 32MB flash memory 4MB RAM 128MB RAM, 64mb ROM 32MB system RAM, 24MB internal memory
Memory expansion N/A SDIO/MMC card memory expansion Transflash memory card
Connectivity (including GSM, GPRS, IR, 802.11b, Bluetooth) Bluetooth, GPRS(Class 8) IrDA, Bluetooth, GPRS (Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots) CE bus connector/Bluetooth, IR, GPRS (Class 10), GPS
Networks supported Quadband GSM/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900 Quadband GSM 850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 2100/Triband GSM 900/1800/1900
Security Password protection and keyboard lock Password protection Password protection and phone lock code
Ports and expansion slots USB cable for charging and PC synchronisation, international travel charger, holster, headset Combined data synchronisation and USB charging port, headset Combined data synchronisation and USB charging port, headset
Predictive text or handwriting recognition SureType predictive text Predictive text and handwriting recognition iTAP predictive text and handwriting recognition
Audio (eg Polyphonic 40 voice, MP3, FM radio etc) Integrated speaker and microphone, hands-free headset capable, hands-free speakerphone WAV/WMA/MP3, integrated speaker and microphone, hands-free speakerphone MP3/MPEG4 player, integrated dual audio speaker and microphone, hands-free speakerphone, person to person video, multimedia streaming
Phonebook features and capacity Phonebook stores 33 fields for contact entry and additional notes Phonebook has quick search bar. Stores 27 fields for contact entry. Sub section for additional notes storage Phone capacity 500 entries storing 12 fields for each contact. Alphabetical list of stored contacts displaying icons next to names. Quick search bar
SMS, MMS and e-mail functionality SMS, EMS, MMS, e-mail (Microsoft Exchange/Lotus Domino), chat SMS, MMS, e-mail, instant messenger SMS, EMS, MMS, e-mail, POP3/IMAP4/SMTP, Chat, instant messenger
Internet Web browser Blackberry Browser, WML/HTML browser Internet Explorer Pocket WAP Browser : Opera 7.0 HTML Web Browser: XHTML
Other applications Calendar, To-do List, Voice Commands, Calculator, Games (J2ME), Memo pad XBackup, Photo Album, Calendar, To-Do List, Voice Commands, Calculator, Notes, Games (Solitaire, Jawbreaker), Pocket Excel, Pocket Word, Pocket MSN, Windows Media Picsel Viewer(odc, xls, ppt, pdf), Calculator, Currency Convector, Virtual private network games, To-Do List, Notes
Dimensions (mm) 56 x 119 x 19 69.8 x 125 x 18.7 117 x 59 x 18.7
Weight 120g 210g 160g
OS Microsoft Pocket PC 2003 Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition Symbian 7.0
Battery life (est.) Talk/Standby 4 hr talk, 192 hr standby 4 hr talk, 168 hr standby, 15 hr PDA 2.83 hr talk/250 hrs standby / 1 hr video TT


Product NEC N410i Nokia 9300 O2 XDA IIi
Vendor NEC Nokia O2 Australia
Telephone 131 632 1300 366 733 02 9699 2220
Web www.nec.com.au www.nokia.com.au www.seeo2.com
Warranty 12 months 12 months 24 months
Form factor Clamshell Clamshell PDA/Mobile phone
Average street price (inc GST) AU$989 AU$1199 AU$1599
Processor type and speed N/A ARM9 150MHz Intel® PXA272 520 MHz
Memory 32MB system, 25MB user memory 80MB expandable to 2GB 128MB SDRAM, 128MB ROM
Memory expansion N/A MMC slot Flash chip 64MB, MMC, and SD/IO slot
Connectivity (including GSM, GPRS, IR, 802.11b, Bluetooth) IR, Bluetooth, GPRS Pop-Port interface, USB 2.0 connectivity, IR, Bluetooth, GPRS Multi slot Class 10, EGPRS Multi slot class 10 Bluetooth, IR, GPRS class B Multi slot class 10, WiFi 802.11b, USB 2.0 connectivity
Networks supported Triband GSM 900/1800/1900 Triband GSM 900/1800/1900, AMR Voice code for 1900 frequency band Triband GSM 900/1800/1900
Security Password protection, phone lock code, bar calls, fixed dialling SSL/TLS, Ipsec VPN for secure mobile access to corporate information, equipped with personal firewall and antivirus software. PIN code, automatic locking of device, changing of the SIM card PIN code, Lock code, and barring password PINS, phone lock, bar calls, and fixed dialling
Ports and expansion slots N/A Combined data synchronisation and USB charging port, headset Combined data synchronisation and USB charging port, headset
Predictive text or handwriting recognition T9 predictive text N/A Handwriting recognition, drawing
Audio (eg Polyphonic 40 voice, MP3, FM radio etc) MP3 player, integrated speaker and microphone, hands-free speakerphone Music player -- MP3, MPEG4(AAC), RA, MIDI, integrated speaker and microphone, integrated handsfree MP3 media player,integrated speaker and microphone, integrated speakerphone
Phonebook features and capacity Phone capacity 500 entries with each storing 18 fields for each contact. Specified picture and melody settings for individual contacts Advanced contacts database. Each contact storing 14 fields storage information. Additional fields can be added to specified contact for more information storing. Individual pictures setting for contacts Phonebook has Photo caller ID with 16 fields of information for each contact. Additional sub section for notes and voice recordings. Quick search bar
SMS, MMS and e-mail functionality SMS, EMS, MMS, e-mail SMS, MMS, e-mail - IMAP4, POP3, APOP, SMTP, MIME, IMAP4-SSL/TLS, POP3-SSL/TLS, SMTP-SSL/TLS, OMA Data Synchronisation, fax SMS, MMS, e-mail, instant messenger, fax
Internet Web browser iMode Browser HTML 4.01/xHTML, HTML 4.01 and JavaScript 1.3 supported, Opera Pocket Internet Explorer, support for Wap 2.0 browser and xHTML
Other applications Currency Convector, To-Do List, Notepad, Voice Memo Nokia PC suite, Word processor, spreadsheet viewer and editor, presentation viewer and editor, Calculator, File Manager, RealVideo, Personal Profile Java 1.0, Compatibility with MS Office programs, To-Do List Windows Media Player, Pocket Excel, Pocket Word, Pocket Outlook, PPT viewer, PDF viewer, XBackup, Fonix Voice dial v2.0, ZIP Manager v1.11, KSE Truefax v2.08 for Windows Mobile 2003 2nd Edition, Voice memo
Dimensions (mm) 101 x 49 x 24 132 x 51 x 21 69.9 x 130 x 19.9
Weight 118g 167g 200g
OS Proprietary Symbian OS v 7.0s, series 80 v2.0 UI Windows Mobile 2003 second edition
Battery life (est.) Talk/Standby 3.2 hr talk/ 200 hr standby 3-7 hr talk / 150-200 hr standby 3.5 - 4 hr talk/ up to 140 hr standby


Product PalmOne Treo 650 Siemens SK-65 Sony Ericsson P910i
Vendor PalmOne Siemens Sony Ericsson
Telephone 02 9844 5420 1300 665 366 1300 650 050
Web www.palmone.com www.siemens-mobile.com www.sonyericsson.com
Warranty 12 months 12 months 12 month
Form factor PDA/Mobile phone Candy bar/swivel PDA/Smartphone
Average street price (inc GST) AU$1199 AU$849 AU$1299
Processor type and speed Intel PXA270 312 MHz processor N/A ARM9 156MHz processor
Memory 32MBâ€"22MB user available 64MB (up to 30MB for user memory) 64MB internal memory
Memory expansion SD, SDIO and Multimedia cards N/A Memory Stick Duo Pro (1GB max), 32 MB card includedNo
Connectivity (including GSM, GPRS, IR, 802.11b, Bluetooth) Bluetooth, IR, GPRS(Class 10)/EDGE, USB 2.0 connectivity Bluetooth ® IrDa (IR SIR 115kBit), GPRS(Class 10), USB 2.0 Connectivity, EGSM, Vocoder FR/HR/EFR/AMR Bluetooth, GPRS (class 8), IR, RS232 cable support, USB 2.0 connectivity,
Networks supported Quadband GSM/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900 Triband EGSM 900/GSM 1800/GSM 1900 Triband GSM 850/1800/1900
Security Password, auto lock device, current privacy -- show records, mask records, hide records End to end encryption (Triple DES), unique symmetric key for each BlackBerry ® Client. Auto key lock, Direct call, PIN codes and this SIM only barrings IP security manager
Ports and expansion slots Combined data synchronisation and USB charging port, headset Data synchronisation and USB port, headset Data SynchrStation and USB port, 32MB Memory Stick Duo and adapter
Predictive text or handwriting recognition Predictive text T9 predictive text T9 predictive text and hand recognition
Audio (eg Polyphonic 40 voice, MP3, FM radio etc) MP3 player, integrated speaker and microphone, integrated speakerphone Integrated speaker and microphone, integrated handsfree, Push to talk (VIP service) MP3 player, integrated speaker and microphone, integrated speakerphone, MPEG4 video
Phonebook features and capacity Phonebook stores 17 fields of information storing for each contact. It has individual sub-directory for additional fields or changing of field names, as well as a additional notes sub directory Phone capacity 2000 entries each storing 13 fields for contact information. Functionality to increase the number of entries to 25 fields. Option to store individual picture of contact Phonebook capacity is dynamic memory. Each entry stores 24 fields information with individual melody allocation and picture identification. Sub directory for additional notes. Phonebook has quick search bar at bottom (abc/def/ghi/jkl/mno/pqr/stu/v-z) for quick navigation through phonebook
SMS, MMS and e-mail functionality SMS, MMS, e-mail - POP3/IMAP4/SMTP SMS, MMS, e-mail - standard ISP Email (POP3/IMAP4/SMTP) and e-mail Push VM based e-mail Push BlackBerry Enterprise Server for corporate e-mail (Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino). SMS, EMS, MMS, e-mail - POP3/IMAP4/SMTP, Chat
Internet Web browser WAP 2.0, Blazer ® 4.0 Web browser supports xHTML WAP 2.0, BlackBerry ® HTML Browser WAP 2.0 (HTML/cHTML/WTLS), Opera Browser
Other applications RealPlayer, PalmOne Installation software, VersaMail, Task, Memo, Calculator, World Clock, link to Microsoft Outlook, DataViz ® Documents To Go ® 7, Palm eReader, Handmark PocketExpress, Zap! 2016 BlackBerry Desktop Software, Microsoft Outlook ™ synchronisation, Business applications (e.g. office viewer), Calculator, Appointments, Tasks, Notes, Unit convector, Stopwatch Voice Commands, Media player, Mobile Pocket Reader, Gate 5 Mobile Guide, Handy Day, AppForge, Handy Expense, Worldmate professional, Handy Base, Handy Safe, datemate 1.0, Photo Editor, handango, Calculator, To-Do List
Dimensions (mm) 113 x 59 x 23 120 x 47 x 22 115 x 57 x 24
Weight 178g 144g 150g
OS Palm OS ® 5.4 Proprietary Customised UIQ v2.1 user interface platform running on Symbian OS v7.0
Battery life (est.) Talk/Standby 6 hrs talk/ 300 hr standby 5 hr talk/ 250 hr standby 16 hr talk / 480 hr standby



Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Test bench

Interoperability
We looked at connectivity, including bandwidth/carrier support and items such as Bluetooth.

Futureproofing
We looked at feature set, performance, and third-party application support.

ROI
We looked at features vs price vs value to business.

Service
What comes standard, extras, and what you get for those extra $$$?


What to look out for?

What to look for when buying a business phone really depends on what angle you approach from. Do you want a PDA, and all its inherent functionality, with mobile phone capabilities? Or do you want a mobile phone -- convenient size and form factor with some handy PDA functionality?
  • Size: Whichever view you take, the phone must be as small and light as possible without sacrificing functionality or usability.


  • Display: The bigger the better -- particularly if you intend to manipulate data or access the Web.


  • Keyboard: No matter what the form factor, inputting large amounts of data on the move needs an efficient input system. The size and spacing of the keys is very important.

    Extensive data input is really beyond a standard phone keyboard. A QWERTY-style keyboard, or robust handwriting recognition is a more reasonable option.


  • Performance: If you only use the calendar and address book then most of the phones will be fine. If you happen to use applications such as Pocket Word, then the faster the processor the better. Look for memory expansion capabilities if your data requirements are large or expected to grow.


  • Battery life: With any phone, battery life is important. And with extended functionality comes a greater drain on battery power, so a unit that won't need charging so often will definitely prove handy.


  • Connectivity: Finally, if you do need to surf the Web frequently or upload and download data regularly, look for one of the faster connections such as 3G or EVDO.



Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

T&B Editor's choice
Editor's choice: Nokia 9300

With mobile phones rapidly becoming a personal item like jewellery, many users are to some extent willing to overlook functionality for form. So it is with considerable trepidation that we embark on the Editor's Choice award.

If size is not at issue, and you are quite happy to sacrifice portability for sheer power and functionality, then the O2 or i-mate would be a good place to start.

We prefer the O2 over the i-mate because we found we hardly ever used the i-mate's slide-out keyboard. Provided you are happy to carry the O2 around (in your jacket pocket), it's a powerful PDA that doubles as a mobile phone.

The best overall compromise between a PDA and a mobile phone, and winner of Editor's Choice, is the quirky but remarkably functional Nokia 9300 which has by far the most usable keyboard of the lot -- a surprisingly good non-touch display with effective navigation buttons, and its memory can be expanded to an incredible 2GB.

True the phone does not have a camera but this is a minor quibble for most business users.

We should mention that with a Vodafone SIM, the Nokia had arguably the best sensitivity of the lot. Battery life of between 150 to 200 hours standby, and three-to-seven hours talk time is relatively low, but the phone's sensitivity may well even this out.

Running a reasonably close second to the Nokia were the PalmOne Treo, and Blackberry 7100v -- all are remarkably functional with their own individual interfaces, and a lot of people will already be familiar with the Palm interface.

Some will no doubt master the tiny keys of the Treo and find the integrated QWERTY keyboard a boon. Others will come to grips with the weird key layout of the Blackberry and wonder what all the fuss is about.

This article was first published in Technology & Business magazine.
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Introduction
Design
Keyboard / Navigation
Display / Camera
Performance / Extras

Phones
BlackBerry 7100V
i-mate PDA2k EVDO
Motorola A1000
NEC N410i
Nokia 9300
O2 XDA IIi
PalmOne Treo 650
Siemens SK-65
Sony Ericsson P910i

Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

About RMIT IT Test Labs

RMIT IT Test Labs
RMIT IT Test Labs is an independent testing institution based in Melbourne, Victoria, performing IT product testing for clients such as IBM, Coles-Myer, and a wide variety of government bodies.

In the Labs' testing for T&B, they are in direct contact with the clients supplying products and the magazine is responsible for the full cost of the testing. The findings are the Labs' own -- only the specifications of the products to be tested are provided by the magazine.

For more information on RMIT, please contact the Lab Manager, Steven Turvey.

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