Clever this undoubtedly is, I am not so sure about its practicality. The magnets are strong, but when I accidentally brushed my forearm along the top of the main unit while reaching beyond it to get something on the desk, the main unit just fell over. No problem on a desk, but I wouldn’t want it to fall onto the floor too many times.
Further magnets come into play if you lay the keyboard section keys down on the screen of the Ameo. The two are held together fairly firmly if you are keeping the Ameo on a desk, though I wouldn’t want to trust it in a drawer or a bag.
In these situations you can use one of two carrying cases. One of these holds both sections of the Ameo in a configuration which allows you to fit them together without removing either from the case – it’s quite clever, that. The other is simply a zipped pouch designed to carry the keyboard section, mains power adapter, bundled stereo headset and some other gubbins including a VGA out cable. I found it tricky to get the main unit in this pouch along with everything else though.
The idea of sending the Ameo’s contents to a monitor is a clever one, encouraging you to think of it as a portable computer. But the cable itself is a mere 18cm long, so you’ll be hard pushed to use the Ameo comfortably when it is plugged into an external screen.
The Ameo is a 3G device with HSDPA as well as quad band GSM with GPRS. It has a front facing camera for video calling, and this, rather than voice calling, could well be its metier, because the video calling windows are huge with the larger one about 70mm corner to corner and the smaller one 30mm. Leaving the Ameo on a desk during a video call is a no-brainer, and the whole experience is very positive – assuming you’re into video calls of course.
An Intel PXA270 processor running at 624MHz provides the processing power and there is a dedicated graphics management chipset too. These didn’t prevent the Windows Mobile ‘wait’ icon popping up from time to time, but it didn’t do so any more than we’re used to with other Windows Mobile devices.