Brighthand Reviews the Sony Clie T665C

by Reads (6,043)

With Sony, good just keeps getting better.

Remember the ultra-thin color Clié PEG-T615C that we raved about back in March? Well, it’s only June and already Sony’s hitting us with the Clié PEG-T665C, which adds MP3 playback and a faster processor to the mix.

We’ve been testing the T665C for several days and it’s everything we liked about the T615C, and more.

Our only questions are, what’s next from Sony, and can it keep up this incredible pace?

 

What’s inside the box?

Inside the Clié’s familiar lime green and turquoise box you’ll find the following items:

  • Sony Clié PEG-T665C Personal Entertainment Organizer
  • USB synchronization cradle
  • AC adapter
  • Mobile charger adapter
  • Soft vinyl snap-on cover
  • Stereo earbuds with volume control
  • Installation CD-ROM
  • Instruction manuals

 

What’s it all about?

As with its predecessor, the T615C, the Clié PEG-T665C is stunning. Encased in the same one-piece aluminum shell, it’s pure understated elegance.

It’s also not a burden to carry around. Similar in size and weight to its main competitor, the Palm m515, it tips the scale at a mere 5.0 ounces (the Palm m515 is 5.2 ounces). And while the Clié PEG-T665C is a tad longer than the m515, it’s also slightly narrower, and just as thin.

For expansion, the T665C includes a Memory Stick slot and four software utilities–MS Gate, MS Autorun, MS Import and MS Backup–to help you use it. Unfortunately, you’ll have to supply your own Memory Stick–a Bluetooth one if you want to go wireless.

A carryover from the T615C is the ability to use the device as a remote controller for your other electronic equipment, such as your stereo and television. I used it with a Toshiba television and it worked perfectly. I found it simple to set it up for my preferences, such as the Jog Dial functioning as the up and down control for the channels and pushing in the Jog Dial to turn the TV on and off.

On the left side of the device (see picture below), Sony has retained its fabulous Jog Dial and Back button, and as I mentioned these come in handy when you’re using the Clié as a remote control. There’s also an eyelet for a lanyard, if you’re into wearing your Clié around your neck.

The addition to the left side of the device is a stereo headphone jack (a standard type rather than the type previous used in the Clie PEG-N710C and the Clie PEG-NR70V) and a Hold button for shutting off the LCD while listening to music.

The Scroll and Application buttons on the front of the device haven’t changed from the T615C. The thin horizontal Application buttons (really Application "bars") require a bit of getting used to, while the Scroll button remains simply too tiny and awkward to use. (We’ll stick to the Jog Dial.)

The interface connector at the base of the T665C fits snuggly into the T665C’s cradle (see picture below), which is now white with silver piping rather than previous ones, which were black.

A major improvement from the T615C is that the T665C can be charged without the cradle, simply by attaching the included adapter (see picture above). Thank you, Sony.

As with the T615C, Sony incorporated a decent speaker into the T665C, something not found in most other Palm OS handhelds. And the included Sound Utility application can play converted MIDI and WAV files, which sound a lot better than you’d expect. The improved speaker also comes in handy for alarms, which can now be voice reminders–you supply the WAV file–rather than the standard beep. And if you prefer a vibrating alarm, the Clié PEG-T665C has that too.

And as with previous Clies, Sony has included a lightweight vinyl flip cover that, while minimally useful, I found difficult to clip on and off.

Color, done right

Sony’s been in the LCD business for years; in addition to the displays for its Vaio line of laptop computers, it makes the highly touted screen for Compaq’s popular iPAQ Pocket PC. So, it obviously knows a thing or two about color displays, and it shows with the T665C.

The Clié PEG-T665C has a high-resolution 320 pixel by 320 pixel screen, rather than the standard 160×160 screen found on most Palm devices. This allows it (at least for the applications that take advantage of it) to avoid the noticeable jagged pixilation found on most Palm Powered devices. Sony includes a thin font that smoother and clearer than typical Palm fonts.

Also, the pixels, or picture elements, are more densely packed, since there are now four times as many in the same space. This eliminates the "black grid" effect found on devices with 160×160 displays (see our Palm m515 vs. Sony Clié PEG-T615C article for pictures).

For lighting, the display employs both a backlight and a reflective layer behind the screen, so it works well indoors as well outdoors in strong ambient light.

Performance-wise, the Clié PEG-T665C is slightly peppier than the T615C, thanks to it 66MHz Motorola DragonBall VZ processor. It probably shows up in benchmark tests (we’ve yet to conduct these but will post the result within the next week) but it’s difficult to discern with the naked eye.

 

Bottom Line

The Sony Clié PEG-T665C is thin, lightweight and attractive, with a beautiful color screen that does the job indoors and outdoors. It’s expandable, thanks to its MemoryStick slot, and is capable of playing MP3 files. We give this unit a hearty thumbs up!


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