- Compact and lightweight design
- battery is rechargeable away from the docking station
- can connect to a USB keyboard.
- USB connectivity costs extra
- sparse software bundle
- backup application lacks flexibility.
Since its first Pocket PC device appeared towards the end of 2001, Toshiba has pursued the market assiduously. The company now has devices at a variety of price points that are innovative in design and share a certain style. But what can the new e330 -- an upgrade to the e310 -- add to the mix?
Toshiba has clearly thought hard about what should be offered in a mid-range handheld. There is no compromise on memory: at 64MB you get the current maximum on any Pocket PC; the e330’s 32MB of Flash ROM is also standard, and only bettered by a few devices. Toshiba has cut costs by choosing a 300MHz version of Intel’s PXA250 XScale processor, rather than the top-end 400MHz version. The loss of speed probably won’t be noticeable in everyday usage, and there are benefits in terms of battery life: Toshiba manages to stretch its Li-ion cell’s life to a claimed ten hours.
Other vendors have learned to their cost that it’s a false economy to compromise on the display. Accordingly, the e330 is equipped with a standard 240-by-320-resolution, 65,536-colour screen, although it is reflective rather than transflective. Even so, it displays a clear image in a wide variety of lighting conditions.
The general hardware design follows Toshiba's now-recognisable style. The overall shape is squarish and the four nicely concave application shortcut buttons are separated by a large cursor. The speaker, located at the bottom front right of the casing, upsets the symmetry of the design. A small jog dial and voice recording button are on the upper left side of the case, while the top houses the stereo headphones jack and Secure Digital slot, as well as the infrared port, microphone jack and power switch. The right side of the casing is devoid of any controls. The thin and light aspect of the e330 is one of its key features: at 12.4mm and 147g, it’s pretty impressive.
You can charge the e330 away from its cradle via a socket next to the docking port, which will please users who travel a lot –- in fact, the absence of this feature on any device is inexcusable. Slot the e330 into the cradle and you will notice a gap between the handheld device and the cradle’s back edge. This is because Toshiba has reused the moulding from its flagship e740 model, where the space is designed to accommodate a second removable battery pack that slots onto the back of the device. The e330 is not compatible with this add-on pack.
The e330 can accommodate USB devices, but you need to spend £15 (ex. VAT) on a connecting cable to take advantage of this facility. Toshiba should have bundled this cable, as USB connectivity is the only real unique selling point of the e330 (and of Toshiba's Pocket PC range in general): the ability to connect a USB keyboard to your handheld might have wide appeal if it was possible ‘out of the box’.
The software bundle is relatively sparse. Toshiba provides a backup utility that's fine as far as it goes. But it only functions with SD cards, refusing to back up key data to any portion of the Flash ROM. Nor can you select precisely what you want to back up -- this is an all-or-nothing affair. That’s fine if your SD card is large enough to cope, but for situations when your card is too small to take everything, or you only want to back up a selection of your data, it’s less than optimal.
You also get an application that Toshiba calls Home. This is effectively a graphical user interface and application launcher for those who don’t like the Pocket PC Today screen. It offers four tabs -- Running, Main, Programs and Games -- with the first tab letting you shut down running applications. It’s not a bad tool, but it could do with a few more customisation features.
The e330 is a reasonable effort, and should certainly meet the needs of many handheld users. However, the entry-level costs of Pocket PC devices look set to fall dramatically, thanks largely to Dell, whose forthcoming Axim X5 is broadly comparable to the e330 but should cost much less. Toshiba could find that the e330 becomes a victim of bad timing.
|Pixel Pitch||0.22 mm|
|Image Contrast Ratio||10:1|
|Technology||TFT active matrix|
|Diagonal Size||3.5 in|
|Diagonal Size (metric)||8.9 cm|
|Native Resolution||240 x 320|
|Included Handheld Accessories||stylus|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2002|
|Processor||Intel XScale PXA255|
|Clock Speed||300 MHz|
|Type||XScale PXA250, XScale PXA255|
|RAM||64 MB - SDRAM|
|Max Supported Size||64 MB|
|ROM||32 MB - flash|
|Type||5-way navigation button, touchscreen|
|Min Operating Temperature||32 °F|
|Max Operating Temperature||104 °F|
|Humidity Range Operating||10 - 90%|
|Min Storage Temperature||-4 °F|
|Max Storage Temperature||149 °F|
|Vibration Tolerance Operating||1 g @ RMS (random)|
|Max Altitude Operating||9840 ft|
|Run Time (Up To)||10 sec|
|Run Time (Up To)||10 hour(s)|
|Product Line||Toshiba Pocket PC|
|Country Kits||United States|
|Expansion and Connectivity|
|Expansion Slots||1 x SD Memory Card|
1 x headphones
1 x USB
|Expansion / Connectivity|
|Included Expansion Base(s)||docking cradle|
|Installed Size||32 MB|
|Installed Size||64 MB|
|Supported Flash Memory Cards||SD Memory Card|
|Type||SD Memory Card|
|Type||Microsoft Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2002|
|Type||Adobe Acrobat Reader for Pocket PC, File Explorer, MSN Messenger, Microsoft ActiveSync 3.5, Microsoft Outlook 2000, Microsoft Reader for ebooks and audio books, Microsoft Transcriber, Pocket Excel, Pocket Internet Explorer, Pocket Outlook, Pocket Word, Windows Media Player 8.0 for Pocket PC|
|Nominal Voltage||AC 120/230 V|
|Frequency Required||50/60 Hz|
|Service & Support|
|Type||1 year warranty|
|Service & Support Details|
|Service Included||parts and labor|
|Full Contract Period||1 year, 3 months|
|Dimensions & Weight|