Affordable Pocket PC gives its rivals, Palm run for their money

WHAT'S HOT

January 02, 2003|By Mike Langberg/KRT

Dell Computer Corp. has made a brilliant debut in the crowded field of personal digital assistants with its Axim X5.

The Axim X5, which runs Microsoft's Pocket PC software, is such a good deal that I'm prepared for the first time to recommend PDA buyers consider Pocket PC as a reasonable alternative to the well-established Palm software.

The Axim X5 is sold only through Dell's Web site. There are two models - a basic configuration at $199 ($249 with a $50 mail-in rebate) and an enhanced configuration at $299 ($349 with a $50 mail-in rebate). What makes me so excited about the Axim X5 is the wide array of features delivered at half the price rival Pocket PC makers were charging just a few months ago.

The Axim X5 does the familiar PDA chores of storing phone numbers, appointments and to-do lists, but also plays MP3 music files and even short videos on its 3.5-inch, high-resolution color screen - as well as run scaled-down versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook.

And there's a Compact Flash memory-card slot for networking. Connect a CF modem card, wireless card or Ethernet card and the Axim X5 will fetch electronic mail, display Web pages and play Internet radio. The makers of Palm-compatible PDAs charge at least twice as much for models with a similar breadth of features.

I regard the Axim X5 as a worthy contender - especially for those who want to work with Word or Excel documents or Microsoft's Outlook. All Pocket PCs are designed to synchronize with Outlook, so any data you enter in Outlook on your computer automatically flows to your PDA, and vice versa.

Information: www.dell.com/axim or 800-999-3355.

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