My new toy

As I mentioned a few posts back, I was forced to upgrade my Pocket PC.  I went with a new Dell Axim X30.  I got the mid-range one with built-in WiFi, but a slower processor.  My old one was a Casio E-200.  I know some of this stuff has been around for a while in various devices, but I've never owned any of those, so I can't use them as points of reference.

Since I've never really been a 3-D gamer, there's not much I can say about it's performance besides 'perfectly acceptable'.  Everything I want to do with it seems to work just fine.  There are no noticeable delays.  Most of the time I run it in PowerSave mode (208MHz) or Auto.  Even at the slower speed everything seems about the same or faster than my Casio.

Hardware wise it's a good device.  I love the 30 MB of built-in storage.  It's a great place to put most of my apps without using precious RAM.  The built-in WiFi seems to be more powerful than the old CF card I was using.  I haven't found a use for the bluetooth yet.  The consumer IR has a nice geek-factor to it, but I doubt it will replace my simple TV/VCR remote any time soon (although I have used it a few times).  I'm a rather engineer/geek/square sort of person so the form factor is really appealing (I've always hated the iPaq's silly 'smile' at the bottom).  It also seems to sync faster over USB (not sure if that's the OS or device, or just perception).  It syncs really fast over WiFi!

The upgrade from 2002 to 2003 SE wasn't exactly big, but does have a lot of nice little features.  I'm finally able to sync wirelessly at work now that I can do 802.1x (2002 would only do it if you bought the expensive cards with the fancy drivers).  I like being able to easily rotate my device screen, although few apps really take advantage of it, yet.  WMP9 is a little bit nicer (it can plan more formats).  I like the built-in backup software.  Transcriber seems to do a much better job recognizing my hen-scratches, but I still frequently switch to the soft-keyboard.

Here's my few minor complaints so far:

  • I dislike the rear-mounted speaker.  I automatically muffles most sounds when I'm holding it in my hand.

  • The stylus is about 1cm too short for my hand, but I think eventually I'll get used to it

  • My casio seemed to work most of the day and only use half the battery.  The Axim almost seems to burn through the battery.  That might be because I'm using WiFi way more, but even with WiFi off, it seems to be rather power hungry.  Of course that is offset by being able to charge via USB cable.

  • I don't like the oblong-shaped cursor pad.  It's just too small for my big fat fingers.

  • Although the device is 'instant on', the WiFi isn't.  I often find that I have to disable the radio and re-enable it to get it to switch networks, or even just base stations here at work.

I've only had it about a week, but overall I think it was worth every penny.

On a slightly different note, don't order any non-Dell accessories from their web-site.  Yes you might save yourself a few bucks in shipping, but if something goes wrong, you'll be hating life.  I spent 4 hours on the phone just trying to figure how the would replace the non-functioning AC adapter that was part of the belkin 3-in-1 travel sync cable I bought.

Nobody seemed to know the right department or how to transfer me.  Axims are handled in some other department, but we don't list that on our phone menu.  3rd Party accessories are handled by someone else.  Customer Care says you have to talk to tech support before they can arrange an exchange (I guess to make sure idiots aren't exchanging perfectly functioning units), but tech support wants to charge you for 3rd party accessories (even if you bought it from them, and is still under warranty).  If you complain though they'll send you back to customer care.  Then you can tell customer care that, “Yes I've talked with tech support“ and they'll do the exchange.  Then when I finally got somebody who said they could arrange a return, he said it would take a while so he'd email me with the instructions and return codes when he'd finished.

Within 30 minutes I had an email from him, saying he was working on it and would send the info when he was done.  That was Saturday. Anybody want to start guessing when he'll actually get back to me?

BTW I had a great Father's Day.  Hope you all did too.


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