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NEC MobilePro 790

Half way between a notebook and a PDA

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Review The number of PDAs on the market has grown considerably, but the main area of growth has been in the keyboard-free designs that use the Palm or PocketPC OS. While many manufacturers are ditching their clamshell designs in favour of PocketPC, NEC has decided to go the other way with the MobilePro 790.

The NEC MobilePro 790 sits between a notebook and a PDA. It's roughly half the size of a sub-notebook, incorporating an 8.1in colour display and a decent-sized keyboard. You can't fit it in your pocket like Psion's Revo, but you do benefit from a much more usable screen and keyboard. The 640x240 screen is good but, like all touch-screens, it suffers from high reflectivity. To get the best out of the display you'll also need to set the backlight to high, which will cut into battery life.

The MobilePro provides plenty of expansion options, including a Type II PC Card slot and CompactFlash slot. There's an internal 56Kbps modem, a serial, IrDA (infrared data) and external monitor port. Unfortunately, the monitor port isn't a standard VGA connector, so you will need to carry an adapter cable if you want to display presentations on the move.

As the 790 runs Windows CE Handheld PC 2000, you'll find all the standard Pocket applications – from Word and Excel to Outlook and Windows Media Player. NEC has also bundled a copy of InkWriter, a note-taking tool although. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support handwriting recognition.

The MobilePro bridges the gap between a PDA and a notebook, and its price reflects this; £559 is a lot of money to pay for an organiser, but it is considerably cheaper than a fully-fledged notebook. The keyboard is great, similar to a notebook keyboard in size and layout, and the screen is good, although power hungry, at its optimum setting. ®

Info

Price: £559
Contact: 0870 010 6328
Website: www.nec-online.co.uk

Specs

Operating System: Windows CE
Weight: 732g
Ram: 16MB
Screen Size: 640x240
Colour: Yes
Dimensions: 242x132x28mm
Modem: Yes

This review is taken from the July 2001 issue. All details correct at time of publication.

Copyright © 2001, IDG. All rights reserved.

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