PDA2k... getting close to nirvana.

After less than two months, I'm getting close to feeling that the PDA2k has put the PocketPC pieces together better than any other PPC that I have owned, looked at, or even evaluated.  That's a pretty radical statement for me since it is missing one of the most coveted options on my list... a compact flash slot.

The reason for the praise is the PDA2k provides a combination that covers virtually every one of my needs.  In addition to an easily accessable SD slot, it ships with 64k of RAM, built in camera, Wifi and Bluetooth plus a slide out thumb keyboard.

Those are the obvious points, but details such as nine (count 'em, 9) application buttons, an honest to god serial port, an audio jack that supports standard monoral headsets, replacable battery, simm slot, GSM connection, speaker phone, coupled with regular discoveries that indicate that the people who put this together actually used the device during development. 2003se also has a lot to do with making the move up from my i700 to the PDA2k pleasurable.

While the i700 had an SDIO slot which supported an SD Wifi card, I never got really comfortable using it to access the internet with the fragile card sticking out of the side where my hand wanted to grasp the unit, so ended up doing most of my intenet browsing using my 2002 Dell Axim X5.

With the PDA2k's built in wifi along with the 2003se OS has has significantly improved the browsing experience, and there is more and more support of modern web sites.  As a weather watcher, the ability to view many animated displays such as the National Weather Service's Beta Mobile Site was a huge leap in PDA internet functionality.

As I write this, I am just now beginning to exploit the built in keyboard, but I can already tell that it will likely replace carrying a full sized keyboard when traveling.  One of the surprising features was the ability to easily use the OS' "predictive" word feature... when the word list pops up, use the keypad's up/dn arrows to select the word, then press <enter> something that didn't seem to work with any earlier keyboard drivers.

Since Bluetooth is also built in, implimenting a BT keyboard gives the device a strong argument for replacing a laptop when traveling as extensive editng and other uses where a PC seemed to be required.

With respect to the built in keyboard, accidental or not, the implimentation of the cursor keys on the keyboard is different from the "D" pad cursor movement and, as a result, the combination of the two offers many more navigation options, such as a screen at a time with one, and a line or character at a time with the other.  Hitting the qwerty alpha keys is pretty much second nature... the numbers take a bit of practice at "double tapping" the <Fn> key to turn on the embedded number pad, but I have to admit I'm still not comfortable locating the symbols, especially without glasses, and tend to use the onscreen keyboard for most of them at the moment although I am learning.

I really regret the fact that IMate elected to not put a <ctrl> key on the pad, but have already adapted to using the onscreen keyboard for that need as well.

While the camera's not "great" in terms of quality, it's always with you ready to record visual information and reminders for future use.  The software is well thought out and, unlike the i700's image software, has yet to lock up the device when using it.  The camera has a built in video capture mode as well.

The battery life with the standard battery seems to be somewhere between the i700's standard and extended battery.  I have yet to see it fall below 75% even when running 2-3 days between charging... note... while I do turn the phone off when not mobile, I also use wifi to browse the internet for news and weather plus retreive email several times each day.

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