Acer n311 Wi-Fi PDA

A feature-rich PDA - but is it worth the asking price?

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Review The introduction of the smart phone may be slowly killing off the PDA, but there are times when you need the larger screen of the handheld. The Acer n311, part of the n300 series, offers plenty of other interesting features too, but are they enough to make you want to splash your cash?

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The n311's stand-out feature is its large, 3.7in TFT display, which is very bright and easy to read, a feature helped by its 480 x 640, VGA resolution and the ability to display up to 65,536 colours. This makes it a rather wide device, but at least Acer has managed to keep the thickness down. Overall measurements are 11 x 7 x 1.4cm - any wider and it wouldn't be comfortable for most people to hold. It weighs in at 135g, slightly more than your average mobile phone.

Although the screen is the dominant feature, there are plenty more on offer. Let’s start with the design, which is actually rather good. The silver and black colour scheme works well. The battery has an aluminium lid, but it's a shame that the silver details appear to be plastic. Rather than a four-way navigation pad with a button in the middle, Acer has fitted a small joystick. It works quite well, but having recently reviewed the Orange SPV M600, which has the additional buttons under the screen alongside the Start and OK buttons, navigating around the n311 with one hand feels awkward.

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There are four buttons on the front - two on each side of the joystick - which are short cuts to the Today screen, the calendar, Outlook and your contacts. Oddly enough, Acer decided to have soft buttons for the calendar and the contacts on the Today screen, which is really pointless. The left side is home to the power button and a hold switch. On the top of the device is a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones, a slot that accepts SD, SDIO and MMC cards and, on the far right side, the stylus. At the bottom is a proprietary docking connector and a reset button.

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