About 10 years ago, Psion's handheld computers were the ones to beat and the Psion Series 5 was at the top of the heap. The keyboard was tiny but so well designed that it was really possible to touchtype on it. Indeed, the Series 5 set the standard for others to emulate, and, quite simply, as far as usability is concerned no …
If I was anything to do with the actual Psion company, I'd be very annoyed to find that good name continually attached to this poorly conceived device. The "Psi" in the name, and constant references to the Series 5 etc, are thoroughly undeserved and unwarranted in what is, at the end of the day, just another mediocre OEM product from China.
Why is it so difficult
1. Take the basic Psion 5mx design. Why no one has managed to get close to the keyboard design of these in all these years is beyond me
2. Add Colour touch screen
3. Install a mobile friendly operating system such as android
4. Sell for £250
Is that so hard?
Psion of the times?
If this is 'state of the art' for 'the times', then I think there's been an interruption in the blah, blah, blah.
Psions had style, a bullet proof OS and were works of art in their own right. Just give me a Series 5 chassis with network connectivity...
sounds like a step or 2 backwards from my 4 year old Sony UX180 - and mine has a 60gb HD, triple booting xp, win 7 and osx. oh - and it has a 1024x600 screen and is smaller...
Absolutely agree with the conclusion.
At £200, I'd buy one today. At £300, I'd be quite keenly looking for a requirement that would let me justify buying one. At £500, I'll pass, thanks. Shame, but that's life at the sharp pointy end of the free market....
For around the same money I can have a Nexus One with the same res, put a 16GB (or now 32GB) microSD card in it and have storage etc in a device designed to run at this sort of tiny formfactor. Or for less money I can have an iPhone which will work similarly well at this form factor.
And if you want to run XP and do useful stuff, like type documents or emails, with a decent screen resolution etc, why wouldn't you spend less money on a netbook?
This seems to be the answer to a question nobody is asking.
Nice to see the Psion style hinges and lack of space wasting touchpad! a bit of a pity the look and feel of the hardware packaging is not quite up to original.
You didn't mention the 3G modem was internal (I had to google that to be sure)
A real shame about the battery life being so poor - but maybe this can be improved with a decent operating system - speaking of which XP?! they obviously expect it to be upgraded to Ubuntu (which wil also avoid the mentioned modem setup software irritation!
I wonder if they can get it subsidised by the network operators - or would that be stepping on the toes of iphone and Nexus? Maybe Three would be interested.
If only we could have one of these with an ARM processor like the original
The 5 still looks better
Why doesn't someone just buy the rights to copy the old Psion's case and keyboard design. Couple that with more modern display and comms and I think you'd have a winner. Why persevere with these crappy flat keyboards.
Not XP Tablet PC?
They're using vanilla XP Pro on a touchscreen device, so you can't use handwriting input?
(and more to the point, the reviewer doesn't know about the onscreen keyboard that's a standard part of XP's accessibility tools?)
And that 2-hour battery life if you're doing intensive stuff isn't very Psion-like. If only they'd talked to the OLPC guys and had a go with their transflexive screen technology... better resolution and longer life in monochrome mode, and that's still perfectly fine for word processing or the majority of emails and webpages. The Series 5 would go for a couple days of constant use on a pair of AAs, didn't it?
Mind you I'm wondering what's happened to our productivity software in recent years. My independent mobile computing - after the abortive Palmpilot + Keyboard days - started with a bevy of near-scrap laptops, one mono and a couple in colour, all at 640x480 VGA resolution. And running Office v4 on them, it was just fine. Word worked best when run in fullscreen mode (more for the width than the height) and Powerpoint did require frequent use of zoom, but otherwise it was fine. So how come 800x480 (same rez as "some" netbooks btw) is inadequate these days? In fact, how is it that 1024x600 on my mum's netbook feels so cramped when 800x600 was the standard for pretty much any PC I had access to for many years?
Without those snags - and the laptopesque price - I'd have one of these in a shot.
I've been looking at the Toshiba u820 but it's very expensive and I can't find where to get one. I've also been looking at the Umid M2 and Viliv S7. But I'll probably just go with a Nokia N900.
Looked like I had at last found a replacement for my zaurus but they leave the bloody screen exposed. BTW, check out the Eking S515, about the same price so no big deal. Exposed screen, no built in GPS, fairly crap battery life, windows tax. Nope, wont be getting one.
Anyone tried toshiba g910?
My family has a drawer of deadish psion 5mx's. When the screen cable breaks you can get it fixed but then the power seems to go and batteries drain away and the keyboards start to become stiff. All in all I think they are all reaching the end of their lifespan
I have been looking at the tosiba portegeeg g910 which is described as the worlds worst mobile phone but a reasonable pda with the best keyboard and available second hand for under a £100. Has anyone tried this or found a decent alternative? My mother now has a nc10 netbook but its still not something you can easily open on a bus and make a few notes.
It's not a PsiXpda, it's an eKing S515?
I thought comments on Mr Orlowski's 7 December article on this subject  had established that the PsiXpda isn't, it is actually a badge-engineered eKing S515.
But as other people have commented upon, the price is ludicrous. With all of the other options out there I honestly cannot think of who would buy this.
As an aside, I wanted to buy a netbook a few months ago but once I got an apple-themed telephone i didnt feel the need.
Was going well until..
I realised it ran Windows XP. I would've prefered Android or even Symbian which of course is the modern equivalent of EPOC.
Yes, yes, yes....
...it's all well and good, but what does JF Mezei think?
There's no point making this device if it's only going to end up as yet another £500 paper weight.
What a disappointment
I never had a Series 5, but I did have both a Series 3 and 3a and both were positively svelte compared to this.
Dare I say it? Psion at their best were like a UK Apple when it came to industrial design.
This is pig-ugly and running an OS that really isn't tailored for the form-factor.
Contrast to the Series 3/3a OS (only because I know less about the Series 5): proper multitasking, extremely capable PIM/word processor/spreadsheet/database/programming environment, and all running in 256k of RAM. And about 3 months on 2xAAs. OK so it lacked a touch screen and any kind of multimedia which would be essential now, but in a decade of use I think I only had to reset the thing about 3 times. Now that's stable!
Something this clunky, with a desktop OS that only lasts a couple of hours on a full charge, really doesn't cut it in a world where you can get a netbook for less if you want to type a lot, or you can get an iPhone or Android phone for less: both much more pocketable and entirely capable of doing most of what you want to do on the move apart from write a thesis.
The previous poster who suggested that someone should licence the Series 5 case design and put modern hardware and software into it was spot on.
Good step now lets see what they can do next
I like this direction. We do need a pocket computer that's not deficient in todays tech. It's my hope the next one has even more RAM and storage. Also good to see the very good Windows XP in use here. It would do MS well to keep it available just for this kind of device.
I want it
But with a better battery. What I've wanted from my phone for some time now (and this does voice calls from the sound of it) is a Windows (real, not CE) device that I can, when required, do real work on.
I don't mind charging it each night. But it has to last a day.