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Bargain PDAs

Dell has at last released its Axim X5 PDAs in the UK. There are two models and although they look the same from the outside, they're very different inside.

The "standard" model has a 300MHz XScale processor, 32Mb of Ram and 32Mb of Flash Rom memory (that's where the operating system lives). Meanwhile the "performance" model has a 400MHz XScale processor, double the Ram and 48Mb of Rom. The performance model also comes with a chrome cradle, while the standard model only has a synchronising cable.

Axims have a transflective display, despite their budget prices.

Transflective screens, currently the best you can get on a PDA, have so far usually only appeared on high-end models and are evenly lit, bright and gloriously colourful.

The large (removable) battery means a long life and there's a back-up battery as well, so you won't lose your data if the main battery runs out.

For this price (pound;169 for the standard model, pound;229 for the performance), you get the standard Pocket PC 2002 operating system and applications: Microsoft Pocket Office (Word, Excel and Pocket Outlook), Outlook for your desktop, Pocket Internet Explorer, Microsoft Reader and MSN Messenger. You also get IA Presenter to run PowerPoint presentations on the X5, The Axim has a four-way directional pad, a jog dial and the usual four buttons to launch the built-in applications. Both models also have CompactFlash and SD card slots.

The Axims are not the smallest or the slimmest PDAs around and the design has come in for some criticism, but if you're on a budget then this is a great value Pocket PC.

Andy Lambert

Dell Axim X5

Toshiba PDA 740e

Fitness for purpose 45

Ease of use 45

Features 45

Design 45

Value for money 55

Standard - pound;169 + VAT. Performance - pound;229 + VAT.

Standard: 300MHz processor. 32Mb memory. Performance: 400MHz processor, 48Mb memory. Both models have Type II Compact Flash Slot, a Secure Digital card slot and transflective screens

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