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Psion Buyers Guide: 3, 5 and Revo Which Is Best?

Psion Hand-Held / Pocket PC Purchase Guide

Psion 3aPsion are great small pocket pc devices that although no longer made still hold their own against newer Pocket PC and Palm devices, but which is right for you. This is a simple buyer's guide to point you in the right direction.

First you have to ask yourself what you will be using it for, where you will be using it, how you want to connect to your pc and how much you want to spend.

Psion's are fragile things, made of plastic, so they have to be treated with care. Drops and bangs lead to cracked screens and broken hinges, so a good case is a must no matter which Psion you buy. Psion's last longest if they're kept safe and sound in your briefcase and then on your office desk, I wouldn't recommend having one in your pocket and referencing it dozens of times a day - you will wear the hinges out or damage it accidentally. I use my Psion's for writing content for my websites, I love the keyboards, and I use a tough old XDA Pocket PC phone as my pocket reference tool, it's made of metal and I've dropped it dozens of times with no problems!

Psion RevoPsion's make great organisers, but again you must treat them carefully. The sheer size of the screen makes organising your time, and seeing what's coming up a lot easier than on the small screen of a Pocket PC or Palm. As long as you do them in the right order it's possible to sync all your devices together with outlook, so you don't miss anything. If you've struggled with a Pocket PCs Calendar program, Psion's Agenda will be a godsend.

Other application? Well, the Psion's have everything you need, word processing, spreadsheets, data bases, e-mail, calculator, jotter, agenda, contacts, and they are all easy applications to use, and they will synchronise with your pc. For example I use Outlook 2003, and PsiWin happily swaps information about my schedule, contacts, etc, automatically every time I put my Psion into its cradle. It is worth mentioning that only Psion 5mxs will synchronise e-mails, which for some people will be important.

Psion 5So, which Psion should you buy? I've used 3s, 5s and Revos over the past few years, so I'm in a good position to advise. For me, although cute, the ordinary Psion 3, 3a, 3c isn't as good as the others. I can't speak about the 3mx, I've never used one, but I know I prefer the screen and keyboard of my Revo to the 3 Series, the User interface is more sophisticated, and I like the way that the Revo comes with a proper docking station, no fiddling around with breakable plugs.

What about the Psion 5 and 5mx? I love both of these machines, the 5mx is more powerful, and has a better screen (more contrast) and a nice back-light (although the keys don't light up) and an even better keyboard than the Revo .I'm writing this half of this article on my Revo, but now I'm going to transfer it via infra-red to my Psion 5 to finish it off, to compare the two.

Psion 5mxOk, the file is now on my 5, and immediately I can type a lot faster and the bigger screen is much better, even though the contrast isn't as good. I guess it's about how much you're willing to spend. Revos can be picked up for about the same price as Psion 5s on e-bay, but 5mx are much more expensive. I used to have a 5mx and it was good, but not much better than my 5 which I got for £20.

Both the 5 and the Revo have weaknesses. The Revo needs a spell-checker to be added, and it uses an internal rechargeable battery, which will eventually fail (but can be replaced by specialist repair firms.) The Revo is small and the keyboard not as good as the 5. The Revo does come with a great docking station which makes connecting to the PC a breeze. The 5 has a nice big screen, excellent keyboard (you can just about touch type on it), runs off normal AAs, takes CF cards for extra memory, and is a nicer machine to use.

I have both, so which do I prefer. I guess it's a draw, but I prize the 5 more, I guess because when they first came out I couldn't afford one. But can I do anything on the 5 that I can't do on the Revo? No, so that's how good the Revo is. I guess I'll have to leave t up to you - you can't go wrong with a Psion Revo or a Psion 5!

Ok, a quick section on where to buy Psions. EBay obviously has the widest selection, and certain companies sell reconditioned units (very expensive!). I look for them at my local car boots. I've found 2 Series 3s, a Revo and a 5. The 3s were £1 each; I paid £10 for the Revo with cradle and Modem. My 5 was £20, but it was in the original box. They don't appear that often, but when they do they tend to be in excellent condition & often the buyer's don't know their true worth. I guess if you want one now eBay is ok, but go for a 5 rather than a mx, as they go for silly money. Have fun & good luck!

Comments / Questions:

Can i get a psion series 3A emulator for an iMac G5 running leopard? Hobnob.

I'd try the emulator to go below, with a Windows emulator.

is it  possible to get hold of the Agenda software that is on the Psion 3c and upload it into a regular laptop running under XP ?

If so, help !!

Check out the Psion Emulator.

does the psion 5 have a touch screen? WIll.

Oh Yes.

I have used a 3c for several years. When the screen connection went again I looked on e bay for a replacement. Despite saying that it was a 3c up for purchase I have received a 5 in a 3c box with 3c mint condition instruction manual.

I need to transfer all I have on to the 5 is there an easy way of doing this? Alan.

I think Psiwin sorts this out for you. Check out this link.

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