Give It a Hand

by Matthew Klare

NEC Mobilepro 780
Rating 95

NEC’s mobilepro 780 is a 1.7-pound Windows CE-based handheld PC that has enough computing power and applications, and a sufficiently large keyboard, for mobile folks to actually get some serious work done.

A standout feature of the 780 is its sharp LCD display that is easy to read, thanks to bright backlighting. The 780 is plenty fast too, powered by a 168MHz processor.

Like all Windows CE devices, the 780 lacks a hard disk drive. Instead, applications reside in the unit’s 24MB of ROM. The 780 comes pre-loaded with the “Pocket” versions of Microsoft Office applications, including Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Internet Explorer.

Data storage is handled by 32MB of RAM. Additional storage options include adding a CompactFlash memory card or Type II PC card.

Connecting to and sharing data with our desktop PC was easy, thanks to a supplied serial cable and the 780’s infrared port. The 780 can also print to infrared-compatible printers. It can even be connected to a desktop monitor using the supplied cable.

Connecting to the Internet with the 780’s 56.6Kbps internal modem was also painless. Scrolling through Web pages and documents was made particularly smooth by the device’s new scroll-wheel. The pen-based touch-screen let us highlight text and position the cursor with ease. NEC includes Microsoft InkWriter, a CE application that captures an image of whatever is drawn on the screen. InkWriter worked as billed, but it lacks the ability to convert handwritten notes into editable text.

We had no trouble touch typing on the 780’s spacious keyboard. We liked the row of keys that provide rapid access to software applications. Our biggest complaint here was its linear arrangement of cursor keys.

The 780’s rechargeable battery delivered about five hours of continuous use with the backlight on.

The 780 can’t replace a notebook PC, but it’s a compact alternative for staying connected while out of the office. And with its fast processor and generous memory, it fares well against the competition.

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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