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Toshiba Pocket PC E800

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At a Glance
  • Toshiba Pocket PC E800 PDA

Toshiba Pocket PC E800
Photograph: Rick Rizner

Chunky and Wi-Fi-equipped, with a large screen, the E800 is designed for corporate users. In addition to an SD card slot, the E800 has a CompactFlash slot, plus 128MB of RAM. And its price of $599 is more appropriate for corporate deep pockets than for individual gadget lovers.

Toshiba's version of the program launcher common to many Pocket PCs is called the Home screen, and it can be displayed multiple ways. The full-screen view has tabs at the bottom for views of all programs, the main Windows Mobile applications, and running apps. You can also split the screen vertically to show two of these views, and you can choose to show a third pane at the bottom of the screen with a system status bar and a summary view of your appointments, to-dos, and messages.

Besides the standard navigation buttons on the front of the case, a scroll wheel on the left side lets you navigate and execute commands with one hand. The Hold switch, also on the left side, disables all the buttons except the power button. You can also turn the Wi-Fi on and off with a hardware switch--handy for preserving battery life as well as ensuring that your data isn't vulnerable to snooping. Toshiba includes ConfigFree for finding and connecting to wireless networks. The set of applets provides an easy, graphical interface for setting up your 802.11b connection, but I was able to connect easily using only the Windows Mobile Connectivity utility. The included cradle, though solidly constructed, could have been better designed. The PDA doesn't sit securely in the cradle--it wiggled around when we tapped on the screen. A slot on the back of the cradle can hold a backup battery, which should give the E800 a more stable resting place.

Toshiba's Screen Resolution utility lets you switch the screen from its native resolution of 240 by 320 pixels to 480 by 640, but doing so requires a soft reset, and at the higher resolution only the ClearVue document, spreadsheet, and image viewers are available to use; the other applications disappear. At the lower resolution, photos and text look rather jaggy. Though photos, graphics, and text look markedly better at 480 by 640, we had trouble navigating back to the main screen from a full-screen photo. We finally resorted to a reset, risking the loss of any unsaved data. A movie viewer for the higher screen resolution would be nice, but Toshiba hasn't included one. Windows Media Player 9, which comes on most Pocket PCs, including this one, plays video at 240 by 320, but the E800 displays video with so little detail at that resolution that it's not worth watching.

Advanced audio controls allow you to adjust the amount of bass and treble, and to control the volume going into right and left headphones. Sound through the front-mounted speaker is faint and tinny, even at maximum volume.

Toshiba bundles Text-to-Speech and Voice Command utilities with the E800. You must reset the E800 after installing these applications, and since the reset button isn't where the documentation indicates it is, this can be tricky (it's on the right side of the case, not the left). The text-to-speech application is easy to use and learn, but Voice Command is not intuitive enough to start using without reading the instructions. It also requires you to memorize exact phrases for commands.

The E800 is a handsome, highly functional PDA, but extras like the high-resolution screen aren't as useful as they could be.

Rebecca Freed

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At a Glance
  • Toshiba Pocket PC E800 PDA

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