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O2 XA Atom

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An Atom for Life - It has Power
Sep 04, 2007 05:19 PM 6128 Views
(Updated Sep 04, 2007 05:37 PM)

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I am a baddie; at least Carlos feels so.

You know why… I spend more time with the gadget sellers to look into very minutiae and I compel him to show me many items before I could reject all. At times I am alleged to have gone extremely opposite of good reviews. Conversely though he took my advice when he bought his Camera, PDA, Laptop and Getz.

A Nomad's Outlook

After using the series 40 smart phone for a number of months, I felt the need of having a more advanced companion to support me as a connected mobile computing assistant. I was looking for a compact hand held that apart from the normal mobile phone features, should have the features of internet connectivity on move, office applications.

My Quest for a Companion

I became serious on a Nokia E-90 after reading a detailed review in the august issue of T3 magazine saying "it's got everything you can think of except a built-in-toaster". I was also keen to have a look at Motorola-Q which is also rated very high by various reviewers. I ended up taking a totally different twist after I explored options in the market.

While the E-90 was very bulky to become an easy companion (with some concerns by the shop keepers on its software) the Motorola-Q is not out in the market. Doing some more research I thought why not to look for a PDA instead of the usual mobile handsets.

What is a PDA/XDA

Personal Digital Assistants (or PDAs) are handheld devices with mobile computing power originally designed as personal organizers.  The term is often used synonymously with palmtops, handheld PCs, Palm PCs, and Pocket PCs, though some of these terms refer to specific brands of handheld devices.  Originally designed as personal planners, PDAs have become much more versatile over the years.  PDAs are behind laptop computers in memory, storage capacity and processing speeds, but they have the advantage of smaller sizes, less power consumption, fast boot-up, quick program start-up time, silent or near-silent operation, and low heat generation.

A top class all in one device, an XDA is a 3G PDA mobile powerhouse. Running on Windows Mobile 5 or 6 the XDA has a swivel screen that allows you to use the handset as a phone, as a laptop. The XDAs are programmed to synchronize seamlessly with Outlook using the supplied ActiveSync software. Ideally a ever traveling businessman's companion, facilitating the user with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF viewers, not to mention Pocket Outlook for e-mails. As usual, it also supports games and Windows Media Player for that occasional song or video that a business user would demand. It also supports wireless LAN, 3G and GPRS connectivity.

Offers in the Market

There are few good and reliable options in the market. I could see DOPOD 818 Pro, Dopod U100, Samsung i718, HP rw6900, Imate-JasJam, Nokia e90 and a new offering from ASUS. On the basis on my personal preferences (Size, feature, user interface, Price and support) I find O2 XDA Atom Life serves my purpose as a near perfection.

Why XDA Atom Life?

The Xda Atom Life offers built in support for HSDPA 3.5G; a new data transfer standard that boosts downloads to a staggering 3.6 Mbps. 1GB of onboard memory with the option for expansion up to 2 GB mini-SD card empowers to carry almost all data in digital format. The Intel XScale PXA 270 Processor that powers the Xda Atom Life runs at a scorching 624 MHz, making the Xda Atom Life the fastest in its class. Microsoft Office applications give extra power to the mobility. With built-in Wireless LAN (802.11b/g) and HSDPA support, the Xda Atom Life is gives an optimal Internet experience when it comes to information downloads, updating blogs, and sharing your songs and video stories. Transfer or synchronize files with your PC using either USB or Bluetooth. All these come in a Pocket PC Phone Edition of Windows Mobile 6 (WM6) Professional platform.

After I used it

Just to keep it compact Atom Life comes without a keyboard. I had to be satisfied with the glossy surface. As with most touch screen handhelds, sans a physical or QWERTY keypad, getting used to the onscreen keyboard can be trying at times. However the stylus works well while working on the touch-screen. The Atom Life uses 2.7-inch QVGA screen serving the purpose very well in terms of its usage in daily texting, Web surfing and document viewing. As I stated my requirements earlier, it came as a perfect match to my need.

Atom Life runs on Windows Mobile 6.0, so you get the standard office applications such as Word Mobile, Excel Mobile and PowerPoint Mobile to create new, edit and view Word and Excel documents on the move. You cannot to edit PowerPoint slides with the application. There's 3G and HSDPA (High-speed Downlink Packet Access) which is capable of reaching claimed speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. The catch is you'll have to subscribe to a data plan with your local telco. Alternatively, you can tap on Wi-Fi networks via the wireless manager if you're near a hotspot. The thing about hotspots is they are usually detected only within a certain perimeter and, once you're out of the zone, the signals drop and the handheld will automatically try to connect to a GPRS network instead. With the free wi-fi zones becoming more common you will certainly have the benefit of this pocket instrument. The O2 Media Plus allows you to access and categorize all your multimedia files on a single interface. Many programs come pre installed on the Atom Life. If you live your life in a mess (or simply cannot be bothered most of the time), you'll appreciate the O2 MediaPlus--a single interface from which you can access and categorize all your multimedia files.

I always believe an integrated camera in your hand held should not replace your exclusive photo camera. I merely use it to have a snap on useful information or a quick document image. I am sure it serves more than that and in addition its 3G compatible (front lens) enables video conferencing.   However, in spite of these features I struggled with my own self when it comes to price.

On the flip side, the screen washes out slightly in direct sunlight, though, it happens to all such devices. The concern with the unit is Battery Life. It is rated at 150-200 hours standby and 4 hours of talk time warranting the PDA to be charged everyday. Another negative point for the Atom Life are its the casing's glossy finish (fingerprint smudge galore). The speakers are still disgracefully weak. Atom is not known for good speakers in all their handhelds. This seems to be with a slight improvement. No comments on customer service. Except some small irritants like installation of themes etc. I am highly satisfied with this hand held.

Do I recommend?

I certainly do with a “conditions apply” tag and the conditions are (1) You are ready to loose your wallet by 34000 (2) You really wanted (savvy and needy) a hand held to substitute your note book computer and mobile at the same time.

Do you also agree with my friend Carlos? Shoot your comments to help me improve…………….


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