Well-made keyboard makes HP Jornada a handy handheld PC...

WHAT'S HOT

January 03, 2000

Well-made keyboard makes HP Jornada a handy handheld PC

I nervously recommended the Hewlett Packard Jornada 820 ($999) as a birthday present for a relative recently. He was looking for a small, lightweight e-mail device and something that would be easy to type on, write memos, do accounting and so on. The budget was about $1,000.

Because of the typing, a handheld, Personal Digital Assistant was out. Because of the budget, lightweight laptop PCs were also out. That left handheld PCs (HPCs).

I had been unimpressed with the typing abilities of most HPCs, so I was nervous about recommending something I hadn't road tested myself. Pressed for time, I did online research and found the Jornada 820 came highly recommended, especially for its generous and well-designed keyboard. My relative was pleased with his gift, and after seeing it for myself, I decided to take a more in-depth look.

The 820 does not disappoint. Handsomely designed, with an 8.2-inch, full-color VGA screen, it weighs only 2 lbs., 10 oz. and looks and acts very much like a full-size laptop -- it even has a touchpad pointing device.

The 820 is powered by a 190 MHz Intel processor and has 16 megabytes of RAM. Besides the common CompactFlash and PC card slots and Infrared port, it has a USB and external monitor port. Also somewhat unusual is the internal 56.6 modem (many such devices still use 36.6). The 820 uses a Lithium Ion battery that's supposed to last 10 hours on a charge, but as with most such claims, your mileage will likely vary.

I like this little machine. It provides everything you can ask for in a mobile device without forcing too many hard tradeoffs. And more so than any HPC or keyboarded mobile devices I've tried, the Jornada 820 is typing-friendly. With a street price of under $700, this full-featured mobile solution is a bargain.

Information: 800-443-1254 or www.hp.com

Machine gives any home taste, aroma of Starbucks

I can't tell you how jealous I was when I heard that Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee had a Starbucks franchise in their home. Maybe it was this that prompted my wife and me to treat ourselves to a Starbucks Barista Aroma coffee machine ($149) for Christmas.

The Barista Aroma has a variety of intelligent design features that make it a cut above other automatic, high-tech coffee makers. Instead of a heating element and a glass carafe, it uses a highly insulated metal carafe and no warmer. If you pour hot water in before brewing, your coffee will stay hot for up to five hours. No heater means that the coffee gets less acidic as it sits and you won't have the smell of burnt coffee reminding you of what a nasty caffeine habit you have.

The Aroma also has a "shower head" instead of a single hole above the grind basket. This saturates more of the grounds at once, giving you more flavor (and perhaps more caffeine).

The pot and maker are beautifully designed, with great touches such as a rubberized handle on the carafe and a rubberized (and waterproof) touch panel for turning the machine on and programming brew times.

The only drawback to the Aroma (besides its Starbucks-worthy price) is that the coffee made in it is so good, you'll likely crank up your habit -- just what Starbucks' CEO has in mind.

Information: 800-STARBUC or www.starbucks.com

-- Gareth Branwyn

For reviews of high-tech gear, check www.streettech.com.

Correction: Last week's What Hot listed an incorrect price for basic Nextel phone service based on a schedule posted on the company's Web site. Service is in fact available locally in packages that start at $39.95 per month.

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