Sony Clie model PEG-NX70V and NX60
Oct. 2, 2002, (updated Jan. 2003) by Lisa
(note these models are discontinued and were replaced
by the NX73V and NX80V introduced
late June and early July 2003 respectively).
It's here: Sony's first Palm OS 5 ARM-powered
device! After using it for one day, it quickly became one of my
favorite PDAs. And man, is it fast. Sony has always done amazing
things to extend the Palm platform and compete with Pocket PCs
in terms of multimedia and they just keep getting better! The NX70V
came out in early November, and sells for $599, while the NX60
sells for $499. Think of these new models as the replacement for
the NR70 and NR70V. Both run Palm OS
5, and have 200 MHz ARM compliant processors. The NX70V has a built-in
camera while the NX60 does not. Other than that, they're the same,
just as with the NR70V and NR70.
I never found previous Cliés to be anything
less than zippy, but the NX series really screams. The device takes
about 1 second to reset and the image and video apps are noticably
faster. Once ARM-native applications are available from 3rd party
software companies, things should get very exciting. The new processor's
power will allow developers to add more features and enhanced graphics,
which means Office apps, multimedia apps and games could become
much more sophisticated.
While the NX series looks much like the older
Dragonball processor Palm OS 4 NR70, other than a hump on the back
that houses the CF slot, a good deal has changed inside. These
+ Palm OS 5
+ ARM processor
+ CF slot for Sony's WiFi card
+ The Grafitti area can now be hidden in all Sony apps and in Documents To
Go 5, so you can use the full 480 pixels.
+ A new application Launcher which makes uses of the full screen
+ Camera now does video with audio
+ Voice recorder which can record several hours on a 64 meg Memory Stick
+ NetFront web browser, supporting full screen mode is included
+ Clie Mail 2.0
+ Sony Image Editor 1.0. Nice image editor!
+ You can watch standard MPEG movies such as the ones available for Pocket
PC (see sidebar for how-to).
+ Uses Palm OS 5 video APIs, which means greater compatability and support
for the high res and high-res+ display modes.
NX70V Camera does Video now!
The camera has been improved to 310,000 pixels
640 x 480 that can also capture video in MPEG 4 format (using 2
megs of space per minute of video). The playback size is 320 x
240, while the actual capture size is about half that. You can
also record audio with your movies. These files can be saved on
Memory Sticks. The NX70V comes with a remote control you can use
not only for MP3 but also for movie playback-- such a Sony touch!
To view movies created with the Sony, copy them
to your computer and use the free Quicktime 6 Player as the viewer
(see sidebar for details). Note the NX70V comes with Quicktime
5 on the CD, but you'll need to upgrade to version 6.
You can also view the same cool MPEG movies that
Pocket PC folks do using the NX70V's Movie Player app (again, see
sidebar for details). These movies, especially the widescreen ones
look great when played back in landscape mode! Very sweet.
Voice Recorder built in
Voice recorder fans rejoice: both the NX70V and
NX60 have built-in voice recorders. The recorder can record in
long play and standard play. Standard play sounds surprisingly
good and beats Pocket PCs. The audio format is very efficient and
1.5 minutes takes only 115k of space. You can record sounds/voices/etc
and save them as alarms.
Also new in the audio department is an optional
$99 speaker cradle.
As you'd expect with a high end Sony PDA, the
NX series play MP3 and ATRAC format audio. The device comes with
Sony's own audio player. You can rip MP3s using the included Sony
desktop software, or better yet, use your favorite MP3 app and
drag the files to your Memory Stick. The sound quality through
headphones is excellent, and you can even use AVLS and bass boost.
The MP3 player can play in the background so you can listen to
music while using the PDA for other tasks- yay!
The audio jack accepts the included remote control,
or you can plug your own headphones in since the jack is a standard
CF Slot for Sony's WiFi (802.11b) card
Yep, these new models have a CF Communications
Slot. However, only the Sony WiFi card is supported, so you'll
have to buy Sony's $149 WiFi card. There are no drivers for CF
memory cards or other network cards. Sony did release a few drivers
for some CF analog 56k modems in Japan, and a fellow who goes by
the name Pelaca on cliesource.com has translated them into English.
You can download the files here.
The AmbiCom CF56M-EZ is supported, and is the easiest of the few
supported modems to find in the US (Amazon.com, BestBuy and some
other retailers carry it).
The NetFront web browser is included with the
Clié and while at times slow, it does render pages beautifully
and offers support for .css, frames and cookies. The neatest thing
about it is that it runs full screen, so you'll have the full 320
x 480 pixels to view web pages. If you want a much less beautiful
but faster browser experience, try Handspring's Blazer which costs
$20. While it doesn't give you full screen capabilities, it is
fast and efficient.
For email, you get Clié Mail, which is
a decent app that supports multiple email accounts, signatures,
filters and syncing to your desktop.