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Toshiba e805 Pocket PC

Toshiba's e805 Pocket PC nearly has it all: a fast processor, gobs of memory, easy navigation, Wi-Fi, and a large display. It is, hands down, one of the best Pocket PCs we've seen. The only difference between the e805 and another Pocket PC called the e800 is that the former model includes ArcSoft PhotoBase software.

First off, at 5.3 x 3.0 x 0.65 inches and 6.8 ounces, the e805 isn't one of the smaller Pocket PCs on the market. What sets the e805 apart from all current Pocket PCs is its large and bright 4.0-inch display that supports 65,000 colors. It is the largest display available in a Pocket PC. The iPAQ h5550 from Hewlett-Packard, for example, has a 3.8-inch display.

The e805's display can run at 480 x 640 pixel or VGA resolution, which is unique for a Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC device. While only a few applications in the ClearVue suite from Wesstek that are bundled with the handheld can run at this resolution, it is a sight to behold. These applications include Document for Word files, Worksheet for Excel files, Presentation for PowerPoint files and Image for pictures.

For software that isn't written for 480 x 640, the display automatically drops down to the Pocket PC standard of 240 x 320. You can easily switch resolutions in the Start Menu, after which the Pocket PC is restarted to go to the new resolution.

Microsoft recently announced an update to its handheld operating system called Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. This upgrade adds a number of significant features to the platform, including support for VGA screens. Toshiba is expected to release a free upgrade to Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for e805 series owners. For those who can't wait for the upgrade, there is a couple of freeware applications that let you use most applications in VGA mode. Resfix 2.0 is one of these applications. In addition to allowing you to use software at VGA, it also let's users switch between landscape and portrait modes, another feature that won't be available universally until Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition starts to ship.

As well as a a fantastic display, the e805 also offers an ample amount of memory; 32MB of ROM, 128MB of RAM and 32MB of NAND Flash memory for backup. In addition, the fastest Intel XScale processor currently available drives it. (Intel recently announced its next series of mobile processors. This new line goes as high as 624 MHz.)

The e805 uniquely includes a Secure Digital slot as well as a CompactFlash slot for both memory and peripheral expansion, a nice touch. The comparable Hewlett-Packard iPAQ h5550 only has a Secure Digital slot. It also doesn't have the 32MB of NAND Flash memory mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Toshiba's Wi-Fi software makes it easy to get up on the Internet access via a hotspot or wireless router. The unit doesn't include Bluetooth, however, which would be nice just for the ability to use a wireless headset, as the unit includes Toshiba's VoIP 2 phone software for making Internet phone calls. Of course, the unit does include a stereo headphone/microphone jack. In terms of sound, the Toshiba offers excellent audio that rivals even the best MP3 players.

The bundled 1320 mAh Lithium-Ion battery is removable, and an even more powerful 2640 mAh battery can be bought as an option. The bundled battery did a good job of lasting throughout a day of fairly heavy use with Wi-Fi turned on intermittently.

As we mentioned in the beginning of this review, the $550 e805 is a terrific handheld. It has nearly all the features (Wi-Fi, memory, expansion, and power) one would want in a Pocket PC. But what sets it apart is the device's display, which is one of the brightest and largest available. In most areas, it rivals or surpasses Hewlett-Packard's iPAQ h5550. Now, if only it had Bluetooth...

Reprinted from PocketPCcity.