First Thoughts – Sony Clie TH55

by Reads (8,036)

I’ve had the TH55 for about 36 hours now, and I’ve formed some initial impressions about it.

The case is rather oddly textured–rather than the usual soft plastic or metal, the main part of the case is rough and somewhat scratchy plastic. The best I can describe it is that it’s like chalk, or finely textured stone. I’m not sure about it, as it feels strange in my hand and pocket.

Since I want to keep this article under five pages, I will NOT give the stylus the textual evisceration it deserves, other than to note that it is the same tacky collapsible toothpick Sony has been using for awhile.

All the basic PIM software has been more or less replaced by a new program called Clie Organizer. I thought I was going to hate it at first, but the more I use it the more I like it. It’s a very powerful program, and it lets you merge most of the functions of the Clie together–for instance, the integration of photos into the address book. Also, the datebook application allows you to merge photos, video, sketches, and written text into listings.

On the TH55, Sony continues their holy war against usable buttons. What is with these people? They seem to go lightyears out of their way to design button arrangements that are as poor as possible. In this case, it’s four tiny bars along the bottom of the screen, left and right buttons placed with the jog–barrel?–and back button on the top rear of the case. What the hell? Okay, I can understand that Sony is trying to make their scroller ambidextrous, but I never had a problem operating a left-mounted jog dial with either hand–less trouble, certainly, than a backwards roller will cause.

I’m unsure about the WiFi integration yet. It seemed a little finicky to get running, but if it works out the way it seems to be designed, with an automatic on/off, it may be very well implemented indeed. I haven’t tested it yet either, but battery life seems very good.

Stay tuned, since I’ll be publishing a much more thorough review in the near future.

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