Features and Usability Continued Again
I don't intend on covering the included OS of the device, Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003, in great detail since we are focusing more on the device - The OS could have a review itself due to its complexity. However with that being said, we still need to focus on a few parts of the OS which tie in with various hardware aspects of the Toshiba Pocket PC.
- Power Saving Options
The first part of the OS which I think you would all be most interested in is the power settings - the part which determines how long your battery will last for while on the run. Under the "Power" section you are first shown a screen which displays the battery charge status and current power source as well as options to turn the device off after a certain amount of time in battery and AC power modes.
Under the "Option" tab you are able to set when the device should warn you when the battery is running low. Under the "CPU speed" tab you are given the option to decrease the CPU clock speed from the default of 400MHz to 200MHz to save power. You do notice the hit from decreasing the clock speed 200MHz but it does a great job at increasing battery life.
You can also adjust a whole bunch of screen light options which also help with increasing battery life. By default on battery mode the bright level is set to "High Bright" (which is the second highest available) with AC power being set to "Super Bright" (which is the highest available). Further, you can choose to have the screen light reduced to the lowest output after a certain amount of time - by default it is 30 seconds, which is not nearly enough in my opinion.
As far as the battery goes, I was able to use the device (adding notes and playing solitaire) for around two and a half hours when running at 200MHz on the low bright display - and it had only chewed up around 30% of the battery. Very impressive!
- Mini Internet Explorer
Probably the next most interesting part of the OS is Internet Explorer. With the built in Wi-Fi, you are able to surf the Internet and check e-mail as long as you are in a "hot spot" area (a place with wireless Internet network). If you aren't in a "hot spot" area or don't have Wi-Fi at home, you can still surf the Internet and check e-mail on the Pocket PC through your desktop PC connected through the USB system. Of course though, this will only work as long as your desktop system has an Internet connection running but if you are at your desk you will most like use your desktop PC to surf the Internet, if you have any brains.
Don't expect to be surfing websites with bliss - remember we are only working in a portrait-sized resolution of 240 x 320 pixels. As you can see from the screenshot above, we are only able to see a small portion of the top left hand side of TweakTown in the Pocket PC version of IE. While small, it's still fine for checking up on your businesses website to check everything is running smoothly for piece of mind. When connected either through Wi-Fi or USB, websites load slower than on a regular modern desktop PC due to the resizing of images and text which needs to go on.
- Microsoft Active Sync via USB
One of the other great features with the e750 is the ability to synchronize various parts of the Pocket PC (such as e-mail, notes and contacts) with Microsoft Outlook through Microsoft's Active Sync software.
Since the Pocket PC is slower to input data into, you can easily add contacts, notes, appointment and so forth into your desktop PC Outlook. Once you have Microsoft Active Sync 3.7 installed (what the e750 uses) it will automatically transfer the information via USB back to the Pocket PC and visa-versa (if you wish to add the information through the Pocket PC). This all happens automatically and constantly without user intervention. It's lovely...no, bloody fantastic even!
- Windows Media Player 9
Included in Windows Mobile 2003 is Media Player 9, the latest version in the series. It gives you the ability of playing short AVI movie files, MP3 files and so forth on your Pocket PC.
The video playback quality of the sample AVI file is quite amazing. Amazing in that how clear the video and audio playback was on such a small and low-powered device. Later down the track and with the assumption larger than 512MB Secure Digital and Compact Flash cards are created by manufacturers, you could easily copy your favorite DivX encoded movie over to the card and watch it on the PDA while traveling on the train to your uncle's place with headphones plugged in, for instance.
Right now 512MB is just a little too small for a full length movie but with 1GB USB pen drives floating around the place, you could consider buying the optional expansion plug and watch a movie (or around 340 standard MP3 songs) through the pen drive - the possibilities are endless, as long as you have the cash available to fund them.
As far as MP3 playback goes through the included mono speakers, it's not too bad. However, once I plug my $10 stereo headphones into the device, things improve. The sound quality is comparable to Creative's Jukebox series of MP3 players. I am totally impressed. I did not expect this much from the e750.
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