There are expansion slots for both CompactFlash and SD cards, both of which sit in the top edge of the casing. A release button for the Compact Flash card slot saves on the need to prize cards out with finger nails and is a welcome feature. Another nice touch is the Hold button on the left of the casing, which effectively locks the other buttons so they can’t accidentally be pressed. A scroll wheel is also on the left of the casing, where it is well positioned for thumb access.
Bluetooth functioned well on test, and I have no complaints. It can be activated by tapping an on screen icon, and can be disabled using a tiny switch on the bottom edge of the casing. The ‘battery off’ switch is positioned right next to this, and even though it is protected by a rubber cover, I can’t help wondering about the danger of accidentally flicking it instead of the Bluetooth switch by mistake.
Beneath the screen sits a panel of buttons. The usual four application shortcuts nestle around a large lozenge shaped navigation button in whose centre lies a select button. The four outer buttons have second functions for moving between audio media when the on-screen controls for Windows Media Player aren’t visible.
The e800 software bundle includes two voice control applications – Toshiba Text to Speech for Pocket PC and Voice Commands. The former reads .txt documents in a computer generated (American sounding) voice. It works, but I am not sure I’d want to listen to it all that often. The latter provides voice control for applications and try as I might I couldn’t get it to work, so can’t comment on its effectiveness.
Battery life is quoted as 10 hours. I ran a constant mix of MP3s with the screen set on standard resolution and permanently at its mid brightness level, and got four and a quarter hours of sound and a total of five hours 45 of life. This is not too bad at all for a PDA – few break the magic six hour barrier. The battery itself is removable, so you could conceivably carry a spare.
It has come to our attention that there is a 3rd party patch available to enable most PocketPC applications to run in the higher screen resolution offered by the e800. More information and a download link can be found here.
Thanks to PocketGear.com for the heads up.
The e800 is a good Pocket PC with some very strong specifications for a relatively high but not exorbitant price. In time, as applications begin to support it, the large, high resolution screen could become a real boon too. But in the immediate term, the range of applications that do take advantage of this feature is slim, and the disadvantages mean that I am not quite convinced it’s worth having yet.