O2 Xda II mini

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O2 Xda II mini
Following the recent launch of the Xda IIs and Xphone II and a lot of speculative buzz over the II mini, O2 today finally unveiled its latest and smallest PDA-phone to date.

The Pocket PC device touts to offer the best compromise between form and function for mobile users, and has been designed to appeal to the female segment which has traditionally skirted around PDA-phones due to their bulkiness.

Upside: The first thing that catches the eye is, well, the Xda II mini's tiny form factor, particularly when placed next to its heftier sibling, the Xda IIs. According to O2, the Xda II mini is about two-thirds the size of the Xda II and weighs just 150g, making it a far more portable PDA-phone for frequent travelers. The matt silver-white finishing on the exterior adds to the overall clean and comfortable touch and feel, although our first impression is that the mini somewhat lacks the design elegance of the earlier Xda offerings.

Impressively, O2 manages to equip the Xda II mini with a faster 416MHz processor than the Xda IIs. The tradeoff is a cutback on the onboard memory size to 64MB RAM and 64MB ROM, although O2 makes up for this with a free 256MB SD memory card bundled in the standard package. This will certainly come in handy for storing images snapped by the built-in 1.3-megapixel CMOS camera, again an improvement over the Xda IIs and Xda II's VGA-capable shooters.

Downside: The Xda II mini comes with all the standard connectivity options such as Bluetooth, infrared, triband GSM/GPRS and USB (through the mini USB port). What's missing, however, is built-in Wi-Fi which will probably disappoint avid hotspotters. Although users can still connect to a wireless network via an optional WLAN card, it will mean that the MMC/SDIO expansion slot cannot be used for other purposes.

One of the tradeoffs for the reduced form factor of the Xda II mini is its smaller 2.8-inch TFT touchscreen. Even though it offers the same 320 x 240-resolution and 65K-colour depth as its Xda IIs predecessor, the result is smaller fonts which can be quite an eye strain for some.

Outlook:Despite some minor quirks and tradeoffs, the handheld's smaller footprint should still appeal to those who want both form and function in a 2-in-1 device. Priced at AU$1,199, the Xda II mini is attractive enough for a Windows mobile device, but finds itself competing with the popular Treo 600.