Time for an old brain

I recently switched from a Psion to a Windows PDA, and I’m beginning to regret it (except for the gained experience). As it turns out, my fears and objections against Windows Mobile are mostly true:

  1. The built-in phone is extremely practical! So much worse is the pain to discover that the Bluetooth radio is really bad (lots of noise, and very poor range) and the GSM phone is even worse (suddenly drops calls(!), and lots of noise here too).
  2. The battery life is ridiculously short – no more that 2-3 days of light usage and less than 2 if I try using it seriously. I need a week or two of power so I don’t need to carry that big ugly cradle everywhere.
  3. The Windows Mobile software sucks – the Calendar, Contacts, Tasks are plain awful (so I replaced them with an excellent alternative). Microsoft simply hasn’t learned that mobile usability ≠ desktop usability! Too many choices and tiny controls makes it hard to quickly jot down appointments, either remember to finish those entries later or spend more time up front.

The first two points are really serious! These are not silly gripes but hard facts that make me retire this device and go back to Psion which doesn’t pretend to have a phone and just works. The last point doesn’t matter because of the excellent alternative, but I had expected more from “professionals” like Microsoft. Then again, Psion are the real professionals in this market – they made PDAs before the term “PDA” ever existed.

In essence my ruling on this Windows PDA is nice try, but no cigar. I would use this permanently if not for the above faults.

2 Responses to “Time for an old brain”


  • I’m now 100% back on the Psion and 0% on Windows Mobile. No regrets about going back, but I do notice that the Psion Series 5mx is bigger and heavier than those fancy-shmancy Windows PDAs. And it’ just a PDA – I also need to carry a cell phone. But I leave my camera at home unless there’s a real reason for bringing it. An all-in-one gadget would be nicer though – if only it worked. Perhaps if I had bought a brand-new unit and not a used one from a friend, it would have worked better, but that is just too expensive! (Unless you sell your soul to a cell provider at the same time, which in the end is just as expensive.)

    I guess my conclusion is that *if* there ever comes an all-in-one gadget that *works* then I will go for it.

  • A colleague of mine just noted that Nokia N95 is on the market. Appears to be Symbian based, but I haven’t looked into the details yet. Oh, and no full keyboard, so maybe not that interesting …

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