Company: Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., www.csd.toshiba.comPrice: $300 (street)Requires: For host PC, 16MB RAM (Windows 95 and 98SE), 32MB RAM (Windows Me), 128MB RAM (Windows XP); 12-65MB hard drive space; CD-ROM driveSpec Data: 300-MHz Intel PXA261; 64MB SDRAM; 16MB ROM; 32MB NAND Flash ROM; 3.5-inch, 240-by-320, 64K color TFT display; SDIO slot; Microsoft Mobile Software for Pocket PC 2003 Professional Edition
Pros: Slender, light, has nonvolatile backup memoryCons:In-betweener (entry-level users will want to spend less, high-end users will want more function)
Bottom Line: The backup memory is a plus, and this is a solid choice for mobile professionals, but plenty of alternatives are equally compelling.
Toshiba’s e405—A Sleek PDA that Doesn’t Forget
The competition in entry-level consumer PDAs is hot and heavy, which may be why Toshiba has tried to aim its Pocket PC e405 ($300 street) more at business professionals who value portability and handheld power over the lowest price. This model costs the same as the e400, but includes ArcSoft’s PhotoBase software for editing and managing digital images.
At only 4.6 ounces and 4.9 by 3.0 by 0.4 inches (HWD), the e405 is light, slender, and shirt-pocket friendly. It’s powered by a 300-MHz Intel PXA261 CPU, comes with 16MB of ROM, 64MB of SDRAM, and—one of its biggest advantages—32MB of NAND Flash ROM, which is nonvolatile. The NAND ROM can serve as additional data storage, or more significantly, as backup memory should power run out. A data save-and-restore utility cleverly named DataBackup uses this memory by default but will also work with memory cards in the e405’s SDIO slot.
Three hands-free applications can make life on the road easier: Voice Command lets you start applications automatically; Text-to-Speech reads phone numbers or other data out loud so, for example, you don’t have to look at the screen while dialing a contact on a cell phone; and Microsoft Voice Recorder is, as always, useful for voice notes.
There are other compelling choices for those considering the e405, though. The HP iPAQ h1940, identically priced, is a bit lighter and has 13MB of backup memory. The $229 Dell Axim X3 is a little heavier, but its 400 MHz CPU is faster.
The Toshiba Pocket PC e405’s slim, sturdy design and 32MB of integrated backup memory are strong points, helping make it a competent handheld in its own right and a solid choice for demanding mobile pros. But it may get lost in the forest of entry-level and business PDAs from other vendors, and even in the shadow of its supercapable (although twice as expensive) brandmate, the e800.
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