Sony Clié NR70V - My Former Favorite PDA

I like my Sony Clié NR70V more each day. IMHO, the NR70V is the best Palm OS 4 based PDA on the market today (summer 2002). It is definitely at the top of the "cool" list with its 320X480 display, swivel clamshell design, enhanced sound capability, and magnesium construction. Equally important to me is the 66MHZ processor. I definitely see a vast improvement in the execution speed of some applications. Database filters are executed in ½ the time of my former favorite PDA, Visor Prism (33MHZ). A 3500 record Jfile database takes 4 seconds to execute a filter that took 8 seconds to execute on the Prism and Palm IIIc. An equally impressive improvement is realized with spreadsheet calculations, gMovie clips, and various Paint Programs.

Of my current applications, WordSmith, Action Names, MiniCalc, QuickSheet and TinySheet take advantage of the high-resolution screen. It is certainly nice to see additional rows of your spreadsheet or contact lists. However, the most impressive business application with the high-resolution screen is Word Smith. The 320 X 480 screen combined with WordSmith's font technology results in an impressive display, definitely the best I have seen on any Palm OS or Pocket PC PDA. It is like looking at a laser printed piece of paper and is very easy to read.

If you like to use your PDA for audio or video, immediately go to your nearest dealer and purchase the NR70V. Gmovie (now Kinoma Player) plays much better with the 66MHZ processor and now you can download movie trailers in wide screen format the use the full 320 X 480 screen. MenInblack II trailer is impressive on the 70V in wide screen format. The NR70V has a dedicated audio chip that results in much better sound than your usual Palm OS PDA. Although I do not use the 70V as my main MP3 player (Apple iPod), I have played MP3's on the 70V and the sound quality is excellent when using earbuds.

The built-in keypad is a nice-to-have, but not a critical component for me. The keys are small and may be useful for some applications; however, I still use grafitti most of the time for direct input. The graffiti area echoes your keystroke and I find this a benefit. I am definitely more confident with my grafitti input when I see my stroke echoed on the grafitti section. The feedback is definitely a confidence builder. Of course, the grafitti area can disappear when using the 70V with applications that supports PDA's with soft (able to disappear) grafitti areas. The soft graffiti area allows the 320 X 480 display.

The 70V is an excellent PDA for displaying photos. The included software, Clié Paint, PictureGear Pocket and Photostand, allow you to import, edit and display your photos individually or in a slide show. There are some templates included with Photostand that allow you to add digital or analog clocks, along with a changing picture, and use your Clié as a desktop photo album - cool, very impressive, and functional.

It is obvious that I like my 70V, are there any negatives? I have noticed on my 70V that there is a shadow on the top of the screen (in clamshell mode) or the bottom of the screen in traditional PDA mode. I am very particular about any computer or PDA display I use and this shadow bothers me. It is usually hidden by a menu or status bar; however sometimes it is not hidden and is prominent in the display. I am mellowing the more I use the 70V and the shadows do not bother me as much; however, the shadows will always bother to some extent. Every unit I have seen has these shadows so I do not believe my unit is defective. The shadows are probably a necessary evil to accommodate full use of the screen real estate.

The more I use the MemoryStick expansion with OS 4.1 the more I like it. Most applications I use recognize the MemoryStick and can display the files directly from the media. I have several 20MB gMovie's on the MemoryStick and they display quickly without any problems. I know it is an insignificant feature to most, but I like seeing the little red light glow next to the MemoryStick slot whenever data is read or written. I know, it does not take much to impress me.

The built-in camera is nice, but do not discard your digital camera. It is very convenient to have a camera available at all times and, although the picture quality is good, the pixel count is small. The built-in camera is convenient and could be useful for thumbnails; however, you will want your regular digital camera for any serious photos.

Should you purchase the NR70V or one of its successors? If you only use your PDA for appointments and contacts, the 70V is probably overkill. The appointments will be displayed better than you've seen before, but over US$500 is a lot to pay for contact and appointment info, no matter how nice they look. If you use business applications that could utilize the additional speed of the 66MHZ processor, definitely consider purchasing. If you want to use your PDA for photo, videos, MP3's or other A/V uses, run don't walk to your nearest store or on-line site and purchase one. Chances are you will enjoy using the 70V and like it more each day as you discover more of its features and powerful applications.

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