New Nextel i700plus mobile phone offers 2-way radio...

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March 13, 2000

New Nextel i700plus mobile phone offers 2-way radio service

Nextel markets the new i700plus as the workhorse of mobile phones. Made by Motorola, its tough rubber grip makes it feel as if it would hold up to serious use.

The mobile phone ($149) comes with the digital two-way radio service that makes Nextel unique, allowing users from the same company or family to call each other for next to nothing.

This Direct Connect service isn't for everyone. The walkie-talkie format can be annoying. Only one person can talk at a time, but free calls make that a minor irritation.

Call quality on the mobile phone side is excellent -- a feature that users of some other mobile phone companies would appreciate -- and dialing shortcuts make two-way or group Direct Connect calling easy.

The i700plus can handle text pages. Also, its VibraCall setting silently notifies users of incoming calls and pages. Nextel plans to offer wireless Internet service.

Service prices vary widely, but one medium-use plan costs $89.95 a month for 600 minutes of local and domestic long-distance calls, plus unlimited Direct Connect calling.

Information: 800-639-8359 or www.nextel.com

- Jennifer Files

QuickLink Pen can scan accurately, send to PCs

From the first wave last year, I've loved the idea of the pen scanner, but have been less than enthused with the results. Wizcom's QuickLink Pen ($149) brings this technology into the realm of true usability.

Basically an electronic high-lighter, the QuickLink allows you to capture text from printed materials (books, magazines, business cards) and store it in 2 megabytes of on-board memory. Using the bundled PC serial cable or an infrared transmitter, you can transfer the data to your PC, and even into Windows applications such as Word, Outlook, Excel and Explorer.

The QuickLink can talk to Palm Pilots and infrared-equipped cell phones via a free software upgrade.

How accurate is the character recognition? Surprisingly accurate. Wizcom claims a 97 percent recognition rate. I had it scanning away seconds after installing the AAA batteries and encountered few mistakes.

Unlike the competing C-pen and others we've tested, the QuickLink has little rubber wheels on both sides of the scanning head. Combined with a notch on the leading edge of the scan head, the wheels guide you through the text for improved accuracy. The QuickLink can read text from 6 points to 22 points and can store up to 1,000 pages.

The QuickLink is not forgotten in your pocket. It's 6 inches long, 1.5 inches wide and an inch thick and weighs 3 ounces. It makes more sense to carry it in a briefcase or purse. A hard plastic case is included.

The QuickLink features next-generation software, such as a URL reader that transfers printed Web addresses directly to your browser's bookmarks file.

With all the improvements QuickLink offers, I wonder how it will hold up under daily use. Can you really use its address book software and data storage capability to replace your PDA? Over time, would one become thoroughly annoyed with having to constantly correct misread text and URLs (more so than with a PDA)?

It's hard to tell if this technology will overcome its limitations, but it holds great promise. The QuickLink Pen is an admirable step in the right direction.

Information: 888-777-0522 or www.wizcom.com.

- Gareth Branwyn

For reviews of the latest gadgets and software, point your Web browser to www.streettech.com.

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