It also holds some advantages over phone organisers such as our favourite TyTN II or the aforementioned Glofiish devices. The first of these is that it doesn’t need to be a slave to pocketability – you don’t have to keep it handy so you can answer calls – and it can therefore boast a larger screen without being too inconvenient. In this case the screen is a spacious 3.5in and it’s a good one too: bright and clear, and it’s transflective so viewing outside in bright sunshine isn’t a problem. The 114 even has a light sensor on it that -because the display is transflective – will dim the backlight in brightly lit environments and boost it when it’s darker.
The inclusion of Wi-Fi and a phone-style earpiece speaker set into the rear also means you can use the device to make VoIP phonecalls when at home or in the vicinity of a hotspot. I downloaded Skype to test this and it seemed to work just fine, though the quality of calls will of course depend on how stable your connection to the Internet is.
Under the hood it has a more powerful processor than most Windows Mobile smartphones can boast – a 624MHz Marvell PXA310 – and it feels highly responsive to use. I loaded it up with over 400 contacts and stuck a 2GB memory card in its SD card slot that was full of data. I then performed a full data search with a single keyword and it took only a few seconds to complete. Contact searches, meanwhile, were instantaneous and even with a whole load of applications up and running, it didn’t feel sluggish switching between them (perhaps because it’s unencumbered by having to run a phone at the same time). Helping the performance along is a generous allocation of memory – there’s 256MB of ROM and 64MB of RAM – while other advantages include a 3.5mm headphone socket, so you can use decent wired headphones to listen to your music if you want.
It’s a good start, but alas that good performance doesn’t continue. The rest of the 114’s feature-set just isn’t up to the level we’ve come to expect of the modern connected organiser, and even if you pass over the fact that you can’t make mobile calls on the device, it’s impossible to ignore the shortcomings. I’ll start with the screen, which though bright and clear is comparatively low resolution at 320 x 240 pixels. I’d have hoped for at least a VGA screen here, so you have to rely on Cleartype if you want to get more than a few emails on-screen at once.