XDA Exec Pocket PC Phone Review
Quite simply the o2 XDA Exec is one of the best Pocket PC phones out there. Packed with features, including a clam-shell qwerty keyboard, it is also very expensive, aimed mainly at the business user, but this won't stop us looking and hoping to get one for ourselves!
O2 have been developing their XDA range of Pocket PC Phones' for several years, I myself have an original XDA, and I have to say that it has been, and still is, a superb piece of kit. Fast, reliable and tough, the only damage my XDA shows after 2 years of use are a few marks on the touch screen and these are easily covered with a screen protector.
The XDA Executive upholds these principles of ruggedness and reliability, adding many more features that make any Pocket PC addicts drool with anticipation.
First let's look at the clam shell Qwerty keyboard. When open the screen turns into landscape mode, and finally we have a fast way of entering words & data into a Pocket PC. This will be a very welcome addition for anyone who likes to use their device as a mini-laptop or data entry device. Handwriting recognition or an on-screen keyboard are fine for text messages or small memos, but having the proper keyboards makes writing reports a lot easier. You don't have to have the keyboard out, the XDA
Exec's unique clam shell design means that you can twist the screen around and use it like a normal Pocket PC.
The XDA Exec is capable of high speed internet access (it's a 3g phone), so you can browse the web and send & receive e-mails.
It has all the phone features you'd expect, speaker phone, long & short SMS messaging, media messages, tri-band giving you access to GSM cell and mobile phone networks all over the world.
The Pocket PC has built in Bluetooth and 802.11b Wireless LAN, so you can connect it to various Bluetooth accessories (headsets, GPS receivers) and access the internet from public and home wireless networks.
On the back of the Exec is a XVGA camera capable of taking 1280x960 (1.3 mega pixel) images and video (mpeg4).
We have 64mb of SDRAM for internal storage and 128 MB of ROM for the built in applications. A SD slot for extra storage capacity, tested up to 1 GB, and a mini USB port for easy connection to your PC for synchronising. They even include an infrared port, which is left out of most modern Pocket PC's.
On the Software side this XDA ships with Windows Mobile 2005, so you get everything you need for mobile computing. MS Pocket Outlook, Inbox, Calendar, Tasks, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Media Player, Messenger and Pocket Internet Explorer. Phew!
The o2 Exec is a fabulous Pocket PC Phone, so I guess it's down to price. A new one from the O2 shop will set you back about £100, plus £30 for 24 months contract..... Quite a hefty price tag. New and second hand ones on eBay go for around £300, but obviously you're not tied down to a contract.
Would I get one? At the current price only if my business really needed it, which at the moment it doesn't. You could get a nice laptop for the same price, but you'd be losing the functionality of all that power in such a small device.
I guess the o2 XDA exec will have to remain on my wish list of gadgets until they come down in price, but if you've got the cash it is a fantastic device.
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