Delightful Mobility

by Jamie McAfee

Ericsson R380
Rating 95

The latest rage among techies is the smartphone, which combines the PDA with a mobile phone. A recent offering from Ericsson is the R380, a small, dual-band phone which combines the functions of a mobile phone with features such as WAP, SMS, and e-mail. It has a complete range of PDA-like tools including address book, calendar, notepad, and support for synchronization with Microsoft Outlook, Schedule+, Lotus Notes, or Organizer. Synching the phone with the calendar on a PC was a breeze. After popping in the CD, a wizard walks users through the set up process which takes about 10 minutes. Packing 1.2MB of memory, the phone can hold 200 e-mails, 1,000 contacts, 100 notes, and 700 calendar appointments.

One of the first elements we noticed was the size and weight of the phone. It fits in the palm of a hand and weighs in at 5.8 ounces, which makes it easy to stash and carry this phone without a bag. The PDA screen is concealed under the number pad, which flips back. A stylus is cleverly hidden in the battery so it can’t be lost.

Large touch screen allows for viewing faxes, e-mails, and SMS messages up to 39,015 characters. The size of the graphics made reading text pleasurable. Pull-down menus are an added convenience when searching. The stylus-based, touch sensitive screen with handwriting recognition JOT makes inputting text seem quite natural. If handwriting recognition doesn’t appeal to you, there is also a touch keyboard. The built-in modem with infrared (IrDA) port can beam contacts to a colleague or exchange Virtual Business Cards. Browse WAP sites for useful information including maps, forecasts, and travel reports. Conduct safe e-commerce and online banking transactions with WTLS (Wireless Transport Layer Security).

Navigation of all functions is self-explanatory, so even the novice won’t have a problem using this device. There is a choice of 22 display languages. Set up of the browser took approximately five minutes to complete, and it was quick in navigating. While cruising the Web we received a call, the phone alerted us, and asked if we would like to answer it. Afterwards, it put us right back on the Web.

Phone calls can be made in various ways: traditional keypad dialing, via the PDA screen, touching the number in the address book, or voice activation. There is a complete list of successful, unsuccessful, received, and rejected calls. Another unique feature is that it allows for the users own ISP and uses the security of e-mailing with Secure ID and Safeword.

Overall, this phone is a buy. Users will be happy to have all this functionality in the palm of their hands. It’ll make any mobile worker’s life much easier.

Price is determined by carrier

PROS:Easy to use and set up; all PDA and mobile functions in one

CONS: Limited coverage and server availability makes browsing a pain at times

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.
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