While the new units from Toshiba are not due out until Monday, a few have slipped onto store shelves. Active forum member Lavalamp has picked up the new e355 and weighs in with his thoughts and pictures.
Got the Toshiba e355 with Pocket PC 2003 OS and a transreflective display. So far, this thing is speedy, has a great screen and the battery life appears to be a HUGE improvement over the e335. Windows Media Player 9 hustles along smoothly. The PXA255 and the new PPC 2003 OS together certainly make for marked performance and battery conservation. I love the charcoal-metallic case which is almost identical to the past silver colored cases of the e310 and 335. The new OS seems to include subtle differences to slightly improve the user experience includes a status icon in the title bar for connection to the internet. (This will prove helpful when the SD Wireless Cards become available.) Although this unit only has 16MB of ROM (64 MB RAM), the ROM image already includes Windows Media Player 9 and Transcriber; unlike the iPAQ h1910 which also has 16MB ROM, but in the case with the iPAQ users are forced to install these applications from a CD. Overall I feel that this unit is a compact, powerful, great-looking PDA which will make a fantastic option for the first-time buyer and power user alike.
The only disappointment that I have discovered at this point is not with the unit itself, but the incompatibilities with my favorite Pocket PC 2002 Applications. Although the new Pocket PC 2003 OS has a lot of new little improvements, it can prove downright unstable and incompatible with PPC 2002 apps. For example, I tried to use my Omega One Battery Pack. No incompatibility warning during install, but TOTALLY locks up the PPC when you try to use the "X" to close anything out. Sadly, I have also discovered problems with Omega One Journal Bar (my favorite app.) as it exhibits problems with updating weather, etc. When I tried Hexacto “Slurp”, the unit totally locked up upon choosing quit from the game’s menu. Many programs will give you a warning that they are “not compatible with this OS” but work fine. I guess many users will have to play the guessing game to see if they truly work under PPC 2003. Just a word to the wise, you may find yourself losing out on many of your old favorite apps with the new OS. However, I am sure many developers will update the most popular apps to adapt to PPC 2003 in time. After contacting Omega One concerning some possible issues with their software, I was given this response: “Both Battery Pack and Journal Bar have been used as test products by Microsoft when producing PPC 2003. We will make sure that both Battery Pack and Journal Bar work perfectly on PPC 2003 and if an update is required you will be able to download this free of charge using your email receipt download link."
In final, I feel that the e355 is a good buy at $299. It offers considerable improvements over its e335 predecessor including SDIO, a great transreflective screen, and a 300 MHZ PXA255 processor. The case is super thin, molded in a cool almost gunmetal alloy and feels durable. The DPAD is smooth and easy to use. ALL 64 MB of RAM are user accessible (unlike the Viewsonic v35). Therefore, Toshiba gives the other competing "$299er's" a challenge.
-Barry J. Doyle “Lavalamp”
I would like to thank Lava for sending his thoughts to us. We surely have something in the prize bag that would make an adequate reward!
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