Review Price free/subscription
specifications. This is a Windows Mobile 5.0 driven PDA supplied with 128MB of flash ROM. The headline figure looks good, but after installing the navigation software and a soft reset I was left with 85MB of this in total and 68.5MB available to me, the rest having been snapped up already. The good news is that whatever you put in this space will stay there till you remove it. As it’s flash memory, even if you let the battery run right down, it’ll remain intact. There’s more good news in the fact that the 256MB SD card on which the navigation software is supplied has 113MB of its space going spare.
Out of curiosity I did a battery rundown test and got seven hours 43 minutes of life looping music and with the screen forced to stay on. You can set the Intel PXA 270 312MHz processor to run at three speed ratings or in automatic mode – which changes the processor speed as the system requires. The faster the processor goes the faster you’ll run the battery down. I did all my testing in ‘automatic’ mode, and while applications were a bit slow to start running, generally they were OK afterwards.
The LOOX N520 supports USB host, which is far from ubiquitous on PDAs, but Fujitsu Siemens doesn’t provide an appropriate cable. I’m never sure why a PDA user would want to attach USB devices, but if you want to, you are but a cable away. It also sports the faster 802.11g Wi-Fi standard, a real rarity on a PDA. Bluetooth isn’t present however.
There are actually two handhelds in this range, with the N500 lacking Wi-Fi and offering only 64MB of built in memory, but coming in at a cheaper £316 (inc VAT).
Fujitsu Siemens adds a fair bit of utility software to this Pocket LOOX. The highlights are a screen and button lock activated by tapping an icon on the Today screen, a replacement for the Windows Mobile voice recorder, a tool called AudioPath which bizarrely lets you send sound to headphones and speaker at the same time, and the extremely useful FSC SpeedMenu.
You activate FSC SpeedMenu by holding down the only side button on the device – on the upper left edge. A short press of the same button provides access to voice recorder. FSC SpeedMenu provides access to system settings, screen orientation flipping and software, and can be called up any time you need it.