Review: Hand To hand Combat

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted March 01, 2000
by Melchor Quagliata

Compaq Aero 1530
Rating 91

Trogan C2000 PLus
Rating 89

Handheld devices are quickly becoming every professional's favorite PC companion. They extend a user's ability to keep up with the office and stay organized. We pitted the Compaq Aero 1530 against the Trogon C2000 Plus to see what the real differences were. These sleek handheld PDA devices come in very similar form factors, using stylus pens for input, rather than a keyboard.

The Aero 1530 is Compaq's new handheld PDA (personal digital assistant). The Aero uses version 2.11 of the Windows CE operating system and has a slim, thin design, which fits perfectly in hand. The Aero has a sharp grayscale screen that offers 16 shades of black and white. We were very impressed with how well we could read the Aero's screen in low light, without the backlight. With the backlight, however, the contrast was poor.

Battery longevity is no problem with the 1530. We used the Aero for 13 hours straight with no problems. The rechargeable battery is a great money-saving feature.

The Aero has a speedy 70MHz Processor. With 16MB of RAM included, all but the most demanding users will have more than enough memory. Those that need extra memory can purchase an optional memory card that fits into the Type I CompactFlash slot.

Compaq has also improved on the built-in CE OS by adding an extra taskbar menu called Qlaunch from which a user can quit or start applications, access the File Explorer, and adjust power settings such as contrast and volume. The included CD also offers some nice goodies such as a Spanish-English dictionary and a program for viewing image files.

The Compaq Aero 1530 is a great choice for a PDA, and at $299 it's very reasonably priced.

The C2000 Plus is Trogon's newest PDA to hit the market. At $249 the C2000 it's hard to beat.

The grayscale screen, which offers only four shades of black and white, was a bit hard to read without the backlight enabled. In its favor, the Trogon has some features the Compaq Aero does not have, such as voice recognition. The Compaq has a voice recorder but does not have the ability to convert recordings to text.

With 66MHz of processing power, slightly less than the Aero, the Trogon gets the job done without too many hiccups. It has the same 16MB of RAM, with expandable memory via an optional Type I CompactFlash memory card. Rechargeable batteries also come standard.

>If you run Windows 98, be aware that the Windows CE 2.0 operating system that comes with the Trogon will not sync well with your desktop. However, Windows CE 3.0, which Trogon offers as a free upgrade on their Web site, works fine with 98. They plan to bundle the new version with future shipments of the C2000 Plus. If you plan on purchasing the Trogon, make sure the Windows CE upgrade comes included so there is no need to download it.

Both the Aero and Trogon devices come bundled with Microsoft Pocket Outlook for synchronizing e-mail messages with a PC.

These two PDAs are comparable to one another and both are well priced. They offer generous memory and practical rechargeable batteries. Priced $50 less than the Compaq, the Trogon is a great value, despite its minor shortcomings. However, screen clarity is stronger on the Compaq. It also offers a bit more processing power and comes with a newer version of Windows CE. With these advantages the Compaq Aero is a step above the Trogan.

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