Industrial-Strength Processing in Your Pocket

by Matt Klare

Intermec 6651 Handheld PC
Rating 88

Intermec’s windows ce-based 6651 is a handheld computer aimed at users who produce documentation that requires text and images. It’s well suited for taking inventory, conducting inspections in the field, or just carrying on business. Making the 6651 unique in its class is a 350,000-pixel, CMOS-based digital camera built into its chassis, just below the display.

The 7-inch (diagonal) screen displays 16-bit color at a resolution of 800×480 pixels. This resolution is high for an H/PC, so there’s a generous amount of screen real estate. Naturally, the tradeoff is that text appears fairly small on the screen. The images we created with the 6651 won’t win any prizes, but the camera did a credible job of focusing and exposing shots.

Although the 6651’s keyboard is on the small side (14-mm keys), one can touch type, albeit carefully. Typical of H/PCs, the 6651 eschews a mouse in favor of a touch screen and stylus. The sensitive screen had no problem registering even gentle taps. Inkwriter, part of the 6651’s software bundle, did well at capturing sketches and handwriting on this screen.

Intermec designed the unit’s Lithium ion batteries to last a full workday on one charge, and recharging takes only about 2.5 hours. The unit can also operate on AC power, provided by a small, lightweight transformer. While the 6651’s battery lasts quite a while, its proprietary nature might prove a disadvantage if there’s no time to recharge.

The 6651’s 129MHz MIPS processor, teamed with its 32MB of RAM, provides ample oomph. For connectivity, the unit has an internal 56.6K modem. Slots for both Compact Flash and PC cards permit both expanded storage capabilities and additional connectivity options such as wireless networking. Connection to a host PC can be made using the USB, serial, or IrDA port. Additionally, the 6651 can drive an external VGA monitor via a supplied cable.

While the 6651’s $1,495 suggested retail price is on the steep side for an H/PC, the unit’s numerous features and excellent design make it a powerful tool. We would happily take it on the road!

Intermec Technologies Corporation
PROS: Great screen real estate; responsive touch screen; integrated camera
CONS: Keys on the small side

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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