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Review compares Linux PDA with Linux web tablet

Aug 21, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

Sharp's Linux-based Zaurus PDA was ahead of its time, and can still compete with modern Linux-based handhelds such as the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, writes MobileTechReview Editor-in-Chief Lisa Gade in a mostly-positive review of the SL-C3200 model.

Although no longer officially distributed in the U.S., Anglicized versions of the SL-C3200 are available for about $900 from several sources. MobileTechReview reviewed a model obtained from online retailer Dynamism.

Gade praises the SL-C3200's keyboard, which she claims allows her to type 50wpm. However, adding a CompactFlash WiFi card compromises keyboard usability somewhat, because the card's protruding antenna requires a “thumb-stretch,” she writes.

Gade praises the SL-C3200's VGA display, powerful 512MHz ARM9-based Intel XScale processor, and desktop-like web browser. She also likes the built-in Terminal application and bash shell, excellent battery life, and the wealth of free Qtopia applications available for download for the device at sites such as the Zaurus Software Index.

On the downside, desktop synchronization requires fairly complex configuration skills, and some applications suffer translation quirks. Another big negative, in Gade's view, is that despite its 6GB hard drive, the top-of-the-line Zaurus model closely resembles the C-860 model, which shipped in November of 2003, giving current Zaurus users little reason to upgrade. Sharp should add Bluetooth and built-in WiFi, she suggests.

Gade definitely appears to like the device, though, and implies that high price is really the device's worst quality. The full Zaurus SL-C3200 review can be found here.

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