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February 27, 2003|By Kevin Washington

Pocket PC SX56 offers alternative as cell phone and PDA

Some people feel most comfortable with the Palm OS system. But if you prefer the Windows Pocket PC platform, you'll find the Siemens Pocket PC SX56 ($600) a solid contender in the cellular telephone/personal digital assistant device category.

The SX56 comes with a docking and charging cradle, earbud, spare stylus and a Lithium Ion battery and SIM card installed.

The telephone book holds 400 contacts and can be accessed using one of the two buttons near the telephone's earphone. Close by is a button for the calendar, which means that the PDA function isn't secondary here.

I liked the telephone. Near the mouthpiece are two buttons that pull up the telephone screen, which has a call log and speed-dial buttons and the numeric keypad that can be tapped with the stylus. Talk time is about two hours, with standby time running up to 15 hours.

You can also send text messages.

Your telephone service is through AT&T Wireless. MLife local and national plans (plans range from $19.99 and $299 per month) are available for voice. You have to choose a data plan for Internet usage (these run between $29.99 and $100 a month based on usage).

In addition to Microsoft's Pocket Word and Pocket Excel, MSN Messenger and Windows Media Player that come with this version of Windows, you can play MP3s on this puppy if you download them from your computer or take them from the Internet.

Information: 888-777-0211 or www.my-siemens.com.

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