Sorry it’s taken me so long to get this review up. I can’t even begin to tell you how busy it’s been. Anyway, about the NR70V:
The Sony NR70V CLIE is a fantastic piece of engineering that I knew I had to eventually get. Sony has managed to do a fantastic job of shrinking down the unit, to the point where they can come up with this novel approach to the PDA. Sure, the new T650 CLIE is smaller, but the NR70V is just so much more that I couldn’t resist.
When I first saw it on the Sony Japan website some four months ago, I knew I had to have one. Of course, I waited till the English version was available before I bought one. Adding to the mix, I already had my 760C, so I wanted very much to get rid of my existing CLIE before I made the upgrade. I found a store (though I’m sure it’s not the only one) that was willing to “upgrade” my PDA. The trade-in price wasn’t great, but it brought down the price to a very acceptable level. Of course I jumped at it.
I can’t say enough about this. The flip design is one of the neatest things to happen to the PDA since color. I really like that I have two different ways to view the screen and can “flip” the screen at will. The integration of the camera is icing on the cake. All this in a super cool metallic case. Keyboard, slim profile, camera, two different views – I love it all.
So how does it perform? Well, it’s a PDA and a Palm OS PDA at that. As you know, I’ve become a big fan of Windows CE/Pocket PC because it just offers so much more. From my last review of the CLIE all of you should know that I didn’t care too much for the Palm OS. In particular, the fact that key parts of the offering like the integration of Word/Excel was missing added to my dislike of the CLIE then. But that has changed.
While the Palm OS that comes with the NR70V feels very much the same as the previous OS, Sony did a good job of listening to complaints and bundled the necessary software to get these issues resolved. So yeah, my Excel and Word files work!
The standard Palm OS operations are there so I won’t really bother to go into them. Let’s talk about the new stuff. First the camera. Ok, it’s not going to be the greatest of resolution. Heck, it’s not even going to be very good, but it can be fun. Yeah, I’ve said I never liked “convergent” gadgets (gadgets that incorporate more than one function) because they tend to do all the functions poorly instead of doing one function really well. But, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t fun.
I had a lot of fun with the camera that comes with the NR70V. The fact that you can save it onto a Memory Stick and beam it to others is kind of fun. It’s certainly not something that is probably worth the extra money given it’s limited resolution, but the camera is a entertaining function that I’m glad has been included. More is always better.
I’ve gotten really used to the keyboard and this was probably the missing ingredient in PDAs in the past. The integration of the keyboard was one of the biggest selling points of the NR70V. It is a really great addition and all PDAs should have one.
The other big selling point to me was the so-called “floating” graffiti area. Remember, I had a problem with the small size of Palm PDA’s screen size after moving over to the Windows CE iPaq. But I guess Sony was listening because the finally made the graffiti area “floating”. Well sort of. Under certain applications and with the help of programs like YiShow, you can make the graffiti area disappear so you have the full screen. Fantastic. Now if only someone will write a hack/program where I can get rid of the graffiti area permanently, I’ll be happy. Is the graffiti area necessary at all now that I have the keyboard? Oh well, I’ll have to wait for the next Sony CLIE till they make that truly optional.
The stand/charger for the NR70V is also really cool. It is perfectly set up so you can use the CLIE as a true Photo Stand displaying all of your photographs. It looks much more sophisticated on a desk than any previous CLIE stand.
As for the rest of the functions, what can I say? The sound is magnificent. Just try the new Zap game Demo that is included and you’ll be astounded. MP3 playback is reasonable despite again Sony’s reliance on the white MS for Atrac-3 transfer. All the other functions are really neat for a PDA and I have to admit that Sony outdid themselves this time around.
I’m a reborn Palm lover again. Well kind of. I love the new Sony NR70V CLIE. It’s got everything I want in a PDA and more. There are just a few minor irritations, like the inability to totally get rid of the graffiti area for full screen usage, but these are just teething issues. If you’re going to get a PDA today, this is it. Design, usage, etc. the NR70V just can’t be beat. I was so close to buying the new 3850 iPaq but I’m glad I waited for this. The only thing missing was bluetooth incorporation. Sure there’s a bluetooth add-on MS but then I’d have to take out the Memory Stick with all my other stuff on it. Still if you’re in the market for a PDA the Sony NR70V is today’s ESSENTIAL gadget.