The next most significant change is that the operating system has been upgraded to Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, adding support for landscape mode. This can even be activated without having to reset the device. Landscape mode is a useful and long-awaited feature that should have been added to Pocket PC a while ago as it makes viewing web pages and Excel graphs easier to view and is great for movies too. In fact, once you’ve got used to landscape mode, you’ll begin to wish it was the default mode with the four shortcut buttons and the D-Pad placed on the longer length of the device rather than the shorter.
However, while landscape mode enhances the likes of Excel, the screen resolution of 320 x 240 is still a limiting factor. Indeed, if VGA resolution was standard by now, I would image more people might be tempted to buy a Pocket PC over a smartphone.
The X30 is powered by the same 950mAh Lithium-Ion battery as the X3i but the faster processor doesn’t seem to have affected battery life too drastically. Enabling wireless will inevitably drain power more speedily but with sparing use, the device will definitely get you through a working day. With moderate use, on average I had to charge every three days. A plus is that the battery is swappable so you can carry a spare with you, and Dell offers a higher rated 1,800mAh battery for £45.
So how does the show stopping 624MHz perform in our recently adopted SpB benchmarks. The overall score of 1,862.73 is satisfyingly faster than the 1378.84 achieved by the recently reviewed Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox, which is powered by a mere 400MHz CPU. The X30 was faster in all tests save the Active Sync test. This tests the speed of communication between the PDA and the PC over USB. However, I didn’t find the syncing speed to be much of an issue.
If you’re looking for a well featured PDA, the Axim X30 has a lot going for it. The high clock speed is impressive and with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Consumer IR built-in the only cutting-edge feature absent is VGA resolution. The Dell is lacking on the bundled software front but this would add considerably to the cost. The iPaq hx4700 is better featured but costs a lot more at around £430. By contrast you can pick up the X30 at Expansys for as little as £250 – a bargain if ever there was one. At that price it won’t be too painful to pick up a spare long-life battery and an SD card at the same time. And with a one year warranty as standard the Dell Axim X30 is highly recommendable.