- Rechargeable batteries
- high-resolution colour screen.
- Docking cradle not included.
Sony's CLIE PEG-SJ30 has a lot to offer users who are looking for an expandable, colour Palm OS handheld. The SJ30 uses the standard Palm OS 4.1, but adds a few flourishes to the basic theme: a high-resolution colour screen; 16MB of RAM; a Memory Stick slot; and extra software for viewing or editing images. Sure, you'll find CLIEs with more features, but this model will appeal to those who don't need all the extra bells and whistles and are simply looking for a well-designed, moderately priced, colour handheld.
The PEG-SJ30 is rather squat, measuring 7.18cm by 10.4cm by 1.65cm. This CLIE's moulded-plastic case keeps it down to a trim 139g, making it easy to carry in a shirt pocket. Sony managed to shrink the bezel of the unit, so the 2.9in. colour LCD appears larger than it really is. One thing that we immediately liked about the SJ30's design is the battery: although it's rechargeable, it's also replaceable and can be accessed easily by removing one screw from a panel on the unit's back.
Below the screen and the Graffiti area are the typical four application buttons and the scroll rocker. Sony's T-series CLIEs have a small and nearly useless scroll key; perhaps in response to this problem, the company has made the SJ30's buttons bigger and easier to use. However, the controls are still not large enough to play a fast-action game comfortably. Fortunately, there's a jog dial and a back button on the side of the unit to speed up scrolling and switching between programs.
The PEG-SJ30's nylon flip cover is detachable and includes two nubs that keep it from touching the screen or activating the buttons. The cover lacks a clasp, however, so it easily slides to the side or flops open.
In lieu of a cradle, Sony includes a small plastic adapter, a power cord and a USB cable. This is a lightweight and efficient package for the frequent traveller, but we would have preferred an adapter that's not so easy to lose. If you must have a cradle, you can purchase one from Sony for for £24.63 (inc. VAT).
In terms of hardware, the PEG-SJ30 is equipped with a 33MHz DragonBall VZ processor and 16MB of RAM. We should note that 8MB of RAM is more than sufficient to store a ton of contacts and calendar information, but if you need additional space, there's a Memory Stick slot at the top of the unit, which is especially useful if you want to carry around family photos. Aside from the Memory Stick slot, the CLIE has few hardware extras. There's no MP3 playback, although the unit does have a speaker for system sounds and alerts.
Sony includes a suite of CLIE programs with the SJ30, the most notable of which are geared toward showing off the handheld's high-resolution screen. PictureGear Pocket, when used with the included PictureGear Lite desktop application, lets you convert and view files on your handheld. This is a nice perk, but we would have preferred JPEG support out of the box. Once you have images on the SJ30, you can either display them as a slide show in Photo Stand or edit and embellish them using CLIE Paint.
In terms of productivity applications, the SJ30 comes with Documents To Go for working with Word and Excel files. Sony includes HotSync Manager and IntelliSync Lite to synchronise with Palm Desktop or Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes respectively. We prefer Chapura’s easier-to-use PocketMirror, which ships with Palm and Handspring devices. Sony still does not include a Mac-syncing application, so Macintosh users will have to shell out for third-party sync software such as Missing Sync. Our favourite application is this CLIE's World Alarm Clock program, which allows you to set up to five different daily alarms. You can even select the type of chime or whether the alarm is a constant tone or a crescendo.
As we already noted, the CLIE PEG-SJ30 has 16MB of RAM and uses a 33MHz DragonBall VZ processor, which can't compare with the 66MHz processor found in the NR70V or the T675C CLIEs. Despite this, the SJ30 handles any PIM task with ease, although it falls short in processor-intensive activities such as displaying graphics. The SJ30 had no problems sorting through long lists of contacts, but unlike the NR70V, it couldn't keep up with the action when we played the arcade game Zap 2016.
The SJ30's built-in lithium-ion battery delivers an acceptable amount of operating time. With the auto-off function disabled and the screen set to maximum brightness, the battery lasted 3 hours and 50 minutes. This is a far cry from Sony's estimate of 15 days of usage at 30 minutes per day. Of course, you can extend the battery life by using this device without the backlight whenever possible.
However, when the white backlight is off, it's difficult to read text on the high-resolution (320 by 320-pixel) screen under certain conditions. If you happen to be outdoors, it's easy to see the screen display and even most of the colours, but when you're inside, the backlight is a must. And although the text is much crisper than that found on competing 160-by-160-resolution handhelds, the icons are still blocky compared to those of a Pocket PC.
In the end, your decision to buy the £239 (inc. VAT) CLIE PEG-SJ30 should be based on what you want to use it for. If you're just looking to take advantage of this device's capabilities as an information manager, you could find a less expensive, monochrome handheld. But if you like the idea of a compact, high-resolution colour device that's equally adept at managing information and displaying photos, the PEG-SJ30 is worth its price.
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||71.8x16.5x104 mm|
|OS & software|
|Desktop software||Palm Desktop|
|Operating system||Palm OS 4.1.x|
|Software included||Date Book, Address Book, To Do List, Memo Pad, Calculator, Card Info, Security, Mail, Graffiti, PictureGear Pocket 2.2, PictureGear v.4.5 Lite (for PC), CLIE Photo Stand 1.3, CLIE Paint 1.1, MS Export 1.2 (for PC), World Alarm Clock 1.0, Memory Stick Autorun, Memory Stick Backup, Memory Stick Gate, Memory Stick Import, gMovie, Documents To Go 4.0 Standard Edition|
|Synchronisation software||HotSync Manager, IntelliSync Lite 4.0|
|Processor & memory|
|Processor model||Motorola Dragonball VZ|
|Clock speed||33 MHz|
|Display size||2.9 in|
|Native resolution||320x320 pixels|
|Number of batteries||1|
|Accessories||USB docking cradle|
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