Handspring Visor Neo

visor-neo-thumb.gif
  • Editors' rating
    6.8 Good

Pros

  • Flashy colours
  • updated Palm OS
  • 33MHz processor
  • good price.

Cons

  • Basic Visor design is looking a little tired compared to the competition.

Not content with launching one new handheld, Handspring has come up with a brace. The Visor Neo is an entry-level device, whereas the Visor Pro is aimed at power users. The Neo is priced accordingly, at £169 (inc. VAT) or £144 (ex. VAT). It fits into the current Visor product range just ahead of the 8MB Visor Deluxe, which is itself one step up from the original 2MB Visor. The two new products mean that there are currently no less than seven Visor models to choose from.

The Visor Neo comes in three colours -- smoke, red and blue -- and in each case the casings are made of clear moulded plastic (if you look closely, you can see the circuitry inside the devices). To maintain this design style, the USB docking cradle is also made of clear moulded plastic, revealing the tiny circuit board that controls synchronisation with your main computer.

The remainder of the Visor Neo's design is unchanged from previous models. The display is a 16-greyscale backlit screen, with the Graffiti handwriting recognition pad beneath it, with application and navigation buttons below that.

The Neo's software bundle includes the standard set that comes with Palm OS 3.5 (Date Book, Address Book, To Do List, Memo Pad, Mail, Expense), plus some additional applications and tweaks provided by Handspring. The latter include Date Book Plus, City Time, Advanced Calculator, and Fast Lookup (for stylus-free contact searching). These programs are all installed on ROM, leaving the Neo's 8MB of RAM free for data and additional applications.

Like Handspring's other entry-level devices, the Visor Neo is powered by twin AAA batteries. This helps keep production costs down and means that you don't need to get to a mains power supply to restore depleted batteries, as you do with Visors (and other PDAs) that rely on internal rechargeable cells. Some people find this liberating, and certainly if you don't dock very often, or are a frequent traveller, it can be a preferred option. But it's worth bearing in mind that the key selling point of Handspring Visors is the Springport slot -- an expansion port that allows for the easy addition of hardware and software using cartridges called Springboards. Many of these take power from the Visor, and some can be quite draining. A Visor user relying on disposable batteries will always want to keep at least one spare set to hand at all times.

A 33MHz Motorola DragonBall VZ processor provides the Visor Neo's power. This is the fastest processor Handspring uses, and is up to the job of keeping everything running smoothly. The Neo would certainly be a good choice of handheld for first-time users, although the basic design is now looking a little tired despite the flashy colours.

Specifications

Display
Type LCD display
Output Type monochrome
Color Support 4-bit (16 gray levels)
Native Resolution 160 x 160
General
Operating System Palm OS 3.5.2
Miscellaneous
Color smoke
Color Category silver
Included Handheld Accessories stylus
Processor
Type MC68VZ328
Manufacturer Motorola
Networking
Wireless Connectivity IrDA
Input Device
Type touch-screen
Multimedia
Audio Microphone
Battery
Installed Qty 2
Installed Qty (Max Supported) 2 (installed) / 2 (max)
Type standard battery
Form Factor AAA type
Header
Brand Handspring
Product Line Handspring Visor
Model Neo
Localization English
Country Kits Europe
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
System
Platform Other
Handheld Type handheld
Expansion and Connectivity
Expansion Slots 1 x Springboard Module
Interfaces 1
1
Expansion / Connectivity
Device Type docking cradle
Free 1
Free Qty 1
Chassis
Included Expansion Base(s) docking cradle
Audio Input
Type microphone
Expansion Slots
Type Springboard Module
Total Qty 1
Interface Provided
Qty 1
OS Provided
Type Palm OS 3.5.2
PDA Software
Type Advanced Calculator
Power Device
Type none
Supported Battery
Max Supported Qty 2
System Requirements
OS Required Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts and labor
Location carry-in
Full Contract Period 1 year

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