Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

So having spent the better part of a day bouncing, dropping, heating, cooling, and dunking my Recon (all within the specified guidelines, needless to say), I was now able to relax and discover that underneath that hard exterior, is in fact a pretty warm and welcoming user experience.

For a start, the display on the Recon’s strengthened screen is a joy to behold. Both graphics and text look clear and sharp, while the backlight is one of the strongest I have seen on a Pocket PC. Operation was also smooth thanks to our machine’s 400MHz processor and navigation is instantly recognisable thanks to the familiar four way direction arrows, buttons for Start Menu and Enter and the standard buttons for Calendar, Contacts, Inbox and Power. All of these buttons are reinforced, but they don’t feel clunky in use as a result, and because the Recon runs Windows Mobile (it was originally going to be a CE.Net device) it will run any software that is available for standard Pocket PCs.

With this is mind, the software pack is slightly disappointing. TDS has installed Sprite backup software which can make a one tap backup of all volatile storage as well as make automatic scheduled backups, but beyond this, there is nothing more than standard programs like Word and Excel.

If there is a practical drawback to the rugged styling of the Recon, it’s that being waterproof means that there are no external microphone and headphone sockets. Though if you absolutely must use headphones, you can still plug in a Bluetooth CF card (larger cards can be covered by an elongated optional CF rubber cap made of rugged radio-wave transparent rubber) and get a compatible headset.

The Recon is built to survive the British summer.

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I have to say, during my time with the Recon, I have become a firm fan of its styling and durability, but as with any product, the consumer pays a price for something that is a “first” and at £1,243.79, that price is steep, no two ways about it. There was a vein of logic that ran through me at one point where I told myself that a person might be better off buying three standard iPAQs instead of one Recon and just replacing each iPAQ that broke, but that doesn’t take into account the frustration of data loss and the insecurity of going out with a product you know won’t last.

At the end of the day, if you need a PDA that will survive everything the elements can throw at it, then you really need the Recon. But buyers can be safe in the knowledge that, for the heavy bending their credit cards are going to take, this is not a machine of half measures, it truly is the real deal.


Verdict

Drop, sink, heat or chill this little machine and it just keeps on going. Certainly, not everyone is going to need a rugged Pocket PC, but for those who do, the Recon is a godsend.

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Scores In Detail

Value
7/10
Usability
8/10
Features
8/10

Our Score

8/10
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