Dell's Axim: Still the Best Pocket PC Deal

At a Glance

Dell's affordable Axim X30.
Dell's affordable Axim X30.
Dell may not win style awards for its PDAs, but you won't find a better bargain-priced Pocket PC with cutting-edge technology than the company's Axims. The new Axim X30 adds Intel's latest mobile chip, Bluetooth, and better security to the already impressive feature list of last fall's Axim X3--all at a slightly lower launch price of $349.

I tried out a shipping Axim X30 with a 624-MHz PXA270 processor (code name, Bulverde), Intel's latest CPU for personal digital assistants. Bulverde processors aren't just faster than the X-Scale CPUs employed in previous Axim models; they have the PDA equivalent of Intel notebook CPUs' SpeedStep technology, which prolongs battery life by adjusting power requirements depending on the applications in use.

In appearance, the X30 is identical to the silvery, lightweight X3; and with its stubby antenna, it looks bulkier than HP's IPaq 4150 (though at 4.9 ounces it's not much heavier). The unit's 240 by 320 display remains one of the brightest, sharpest PDA screens available, and the silver recharging cradle's second slot for accommodating a second removable, rechargeable battery is a smart and useful extra.

The X30 runs Microsoft's Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition; this latest version of the OS for handhelds permits landscape-mode display orientation, lets Internet Explorer force Web pages into a single column, and adds support for Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), the most recent Wi-Fi security scheme.

Dell also markets a $279 version of the X30, offering all the same trimmings but a slower 312-MHz Bulverde processor. A third alternative is a $199 version providing the slower chip, no integrated Wi-Fi, and 32MB each of flash ROM and SDRAM (compared with 64MB each in the more expensive models). The two lower-cost X30 versions come with a syncing cable instead of a recharging cradle--but whichever way you go, Dell continues to set the standard for value in a connected PDA.

Dell Axim X30

Cutting-edge PDA technology in a serviceable package carrying an exceptional price.
Street: $349
Current Price (if available)

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