capsule review

Casio Cassiopeia IT-10 M20

At a Glance
  • Casio IT-10M20

Casio Cassiopeia IT-10 M20
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The water-, dust- and shock-resistant Casio Cassiopeia IT-10M20 is intended for rough conditions. Its hefty design and price, however, are overkill for casual use, particularly since this Windows Mobile PDA lacks standard features such as wireless access and a USB cradle.

Ruggedized features on the IT-10 include thick rubberized covers to protect its SD (Secure Digital) and CompactFlash slots, its battery, and its microphone and headphone jacks from dust. It also comes with magnesium shielding on inner components and a plastic case to protect the device from drops. The rubberized cover for the serial port connector, which sits on the bottom of the unit, is rather small and not attached, so the piece could easily fall off and get lost.

The durable IT-10 is splash resistant, but you should still wipe up spills before they creep under the covers and destroy the hardware. Splashing water on our test unit caused no harm and made no difference in performance, and the device survived repeated drops from a desk without any performance hiccups. One oddity: Despite touting the ruggedized features, Casio warns in the product manual against using the unit in extremely dusty, hot, or wet conditions.

Casio states that the IT-10's battery can last up to 27 hours when fully charged. That should be more than enough juice to take the device through a rigorous workout.

There are several drawbacks to the IT-10. For one, its ruggedness results in a lot of weight--about three-quarters of a pound (other Pocket PCs on our latest PDAs chart are about one-quarter of a pound). This is not an ideal grab-and-go device. It measures 3.1 inches wide by 5.5 inches high, so while you can hold it in one hand, it's rather bulky.

Plus, the IT-10 lacks features that other, less-expensive PDAs include, such as a built-in camera, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. You can add 802.11b and 802.11g wireless access via a third-party card inserted into either the CompactFlash slot or the SD Card slot; Casio says that the device supports the $89 Linksys WCF54G Wireless CompactFlash Card and the $79 Pretec CompactWLAN CF card.

The unit comes with only an AC adapter. To sync, you have to purchase the optional $100 USB cradle--a rather tall order considering that this device is already so expensive.

The IT-10 is an otherwise basic Windows Mobile unit. Its big, bright and colorful 3.7-inch screen with 640-by-480-pixel resolution was easy to work with and to see in bright sunlight. It has a large directional and select button at the bottom of the screen, as well as shortcut buttons to access the calendar, contacts, mail, and menus.

Unless you're planning to use the IT-10 M20 in rough conditions, skip it. At $999 without a cradle or Wi-Fi, it's too expensive.

Kalpana Ettenson

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At a Glance
  • Casio IT-10M20

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