“About those PDA’s, what about the cameras?”

“Why didn’t you write about the cameras on the PDAs you reviewed?”, asked a reader.

Quite simply, because all PDA camera’s are shite, that’s why.

Here’s two pictures showing why:

2 Citrix Access Gateway appliance, and a Branch Repeater.crud quality citrix photo

PDA, and mobile phone cameras fail in the following areas:

  • picture quality
  • responsiveness (lack of)
    ie. take a photo, wait for the PDA to process it, take another photo, wait again.
  • depth of field (none)

But for completeness, here’s what those PDA’s had:

Megapixels Largest picture size Flash 2nd camera (for video-call)
Sony Xpedia X1 3.15 2048×1536 Yes Yes
Palm Treo Pro 2.0 1600×1200 No No
HTC Touch HD 5.0 2592×1944 Yes Yes
Samsung BlackJack II 2.0 1600×1200 No No

The Sony Xpedia X1 took the best pictures of the four units.

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The Good, the Bad, and the “Git Off My Lawn, Boy”

I’ve carried these four PDA’s around for the last three weeks.

If it was my money, there are only two I’d consider.
Leaving one I could live with, and one which would make me reach for my trusty scatter gun.

So, I give you the Sony Xpedia X1, Palm Treo Pro, HTC Touch HD & Samsung BlackJack II.
Sony Xpedia X1 - Palm Treo Pro - HTC Touch HD - Samsung BlackJack II

The Good: Sony Xpedia X1
I’d part with money for one of these.  It’s got Bluetooth, GPS & WiFi.

It’s also got the fastest processor of the four.  The slide-out qwerty keyboard looks small, but is much easier to use than my HTC Tytn II:
HTC Tytn II phone
The only niggle is that the Xpedia has a small screen.  But I’d still buy one.

The (almost) Good: Palm Treo Pro
A good dependable phone.

So many Windows Mobile PDA makers have “customised” the Windows Mobile interface.  Palm, bless them, don’t do that.
That makes the Palm Treo Pro, a very responsive handset.  You should not have to wait for the phone to do something.  It should be instanteous.  Like the iPhone.

One interesting feature.  When you connect the phone to your Windows PC, you’d be greeted with this screen:
Palm Treo Sync Setup screen

Good for novice users, annoying for people testing phones.

The square screen (320×320) may cause problems with some applications.  Here is an example of that:
Palm Treo Pro - screen issue

There is only one thing which would stop me from buying this phone, this proprietary connector:
Palm Treo Pro - Non standard connector

It’s a combined syncing and charging socket.  Which means you need two cables if you’re going to do any serious travelling with it.
That, sadly, is something that Palm is going to continue with their next model phone, the Palm Pre.

The Bad: HTC Touch HD
This PDA is like dating a model.  Great to hold, and great to be seen with.
After a while, the flaws appear. Making you wonder if the good looks are worth all the other crap you have to endure.

To the average punter, the HTC Touch HD looks like an Apple iPhone.  That’s where the similarities stop.

I wasn’t impressed with the HTC Touch HD, as it was slow.  I would select a menu option, and wait.  And sometimes, still wait.
The stylus could be larger as well.  The phone is too expensive, considering all it’s flaws.

Git Off My Lawn: Samsung BlackJack II
If this was my company-issued phone, it would be accidently dropped down a stair well.


There is nothing I like about this Smartphone.  Here are the flaws:

  • Proprietary device syncing and device charging socket.
    Samsung BlackJack II - Non standard connector
    It’s even a different socket compared to the original BlackJack.
  • Small screen.  It’s like looking at the world though a peep-hole.
    This makes it difficult to navigate though the options.  To use this phone is hard work.
  • Windows Mobile Smartphone OS.

If this phone was make in a Communist country, the company executives would be executed for wasting State Resources.

Summary of features

3.5mm audio socket GPS Bluetooth WiFi Mini-USB charging plug Phone carry case included? Cost
Sony Xpedia X1 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No $678
Palm Treo Pro Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No $630
HTC Touch HD Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $805
Samsung BlackJack II No Yes Yes No No No $459

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