Tiny Echo organizer can get in sync with PC applications...


August 28, 2000

Tiny Echo organizer can get in sync with PC applications

Oregon Scientific has packed a lot into a very small package with the Echo personal digital assistant. The $79.95 Echo is billed as the smallest synchronizable PDA. About the length and width of a business card and a mere quarter-inch thick, the Echo weighs less than 2 ounces.

Its size may draw users in, but its features will keep them happy.

The Echo comes with a PC docking cradle and Companion Link software to synchronize data with Microsoft Outlook, Act!, GoldMine, Lotus Organizer and Schedule+. Just tell the software which organizer package you use, and the Echo pulls the data right in.

If you don't already use one of those applications, the PDA ships with WinLink, a small but full-featured title that manages personal information such as a calendar and contacts. Data also can be entered directly into the unit with a small keyboard that appears on its touch screen. There is no handwriting recognition.

Other features include an alarm clock, calculator, notepad with Internet bookmark list and a currency converter. At about half the size of a Palm V, the Echo slips easily into a shirt pocket or purse, and its 512 kilobytes of memory can store hundreds of data entries.

If you're looking for a tiny organizer and don't need the expandability or extra features from third-party software available with some PDAs, the Echo model 293 deserves a close look.

Information: 1-800-853-8883 or www.oregonscientific.com/pd293.html- Jim Rossman/KRT

Go cordless in comfort with Logitech Desktop Pro

When I use the drawing tablet attached to my PC, I need to free up precious real estate in front of my monitor. Logitech's Cordless Desktop Pro keyboard and mouse solve the problem.

The wireless keyboard and mouse use AA and AAA batteries, respectively, to send low-power radio signals to a small box attached by cables to your PC. In turn, you're free of the tangling cords that ordinarily act as leashes. The devices have a range of about six feet.

The $129 Desktop Pro has an ergonomically correct layout with the keys broken into two batches for natural hand positioning. The well-contoured mouse with soft-rubber sides feels natural, too.

Desktop Pro comes with iTouch software which allows you to map buttons on your keyboard as hot keys to Internet sites, computer programs or to the CD or MP3 program that plays music on your PC.

The neatest feature, however, is the speaker mute button just above the F10 key. My wife hates our computer's chirping and beeping and mutes the sound. I use it all the time for PC games. Once in a game, however, it's nearly impossible to turn on the speakers without shutting down the game. The mute button comes in handy when I've forgotten to turn the sound on before flying combat.

So if you want a little bit of freedom, go cordless.

Information: 1-800-231-7717 or www.logitech.com.- Kevin Washington

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