Delightful Mobility

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff
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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
This article was originally published on June 01, 2001

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