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Sony Clie model PEG-NX70V and NX60

(discontinued)

Oct. 2, 2002, (updated Jan. 2003) by Lisa Gade, Editor-in-Chief (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.

Sony Clie NX70V

Sony Clie NX70V

 

What's New?

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 include:

+ 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.

MP3 Player

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 mini-jack.

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.

 

 

 

 

Questions? Comments?
Post them in our Discussion Forum!

 

 

Sony WiFi card
Sony's WiFi card: Read our review!

Sample Photos
taken at 640 x 480 on auto settings.

cat

Click on photos to see full size image. They images look fairly good when shrunk down here, but are grainier in full size.

fruit

 

Software

There's a new launcher and it looks very nice (see the image)! You can still use the standard Palm OS home screen if the launcher doesn't tickle your fancy, but that launcher is sweet. There are some updates to Sony apps such as Mail as well. All of the Sony apps support hi-res + now- yay! The bundle of Sony apps is impressive: you get a Paint program, image editor, movie player and recorder, image viewer, ink note app, AV remote control software and several desktop apps for doing such things as viewing photo albums, creating sounds and etc. on your desktop.

Design and Battery Life

The design is the same as the NR series it replaced. The case is magnesium, and the unit can be used in clamshell mode or standard PDA mode (see pictures at the top). It's sturdy and when closed, really doesn't even need a case while in your pocket or purse. This is not a small PDA, though it looks slim and elegant.

Battery life has been better than I expected, lasting about as long as it's cousin the smaller SJ30, and a bit longer than the Clié T665. I've gone 3 days without charging it while using it about 1 hour/day for MP3 playback (screen on and in use), games, document editing and taking photos and making videos.

Conclusion

I love this PDA! I play with every PDA out there and sometimes become jaded, but NX70V really captivated me. Pro: It's stable thanks to the Palm OS, the camera and video are more useful and fun than I ever would've imagined (since I carry it wherever I go, unlike my digicam, I catch shots and memorable moments I'd have otherwise misssed). The voice recorder sound quality is very good and recordings are surprisingly small. The unit is sturdy and the clamshell design means I can frequently go without a case. Palm OS 5 means the NX now has standard display and audio APIs, so you won't have to look for Sony-specific versions of your favorite apps to get good sounds and high res support. The built-in keyboard is great when you need to be accurate for data entry (i.e.: passwords) or don't want to write a doc using Grafitti. Con: It isn't cheap, it's on the large side. I wish we could get drivers to use other CF cards with the NX!

 

Specs:

Display: 320 x 480 pixels, 65,000 colors backlit TFT active matrix transflective display. Hi resolution plus.

Performance: 200 MHz XScale processor. 16 megs of built in RAM (11 megs available), 16 megs ROM.

Camera: Still image resolution: 310,000 pixels (1/3 megapixel) image sizes of 640 x 480, 320 x 240, 160 x 120, 320 x 480). Movies with audio recorded at 160x112 pixels. White balance, brightness and several effects settings are available.

Size: 5 1/2 (H) x 2 7/8 (W) x 15/16 (D) inches, 8 oz.

Modem: None included.

Battery: Uses a rechargeable Lithium Ion Polymer battery. AC adapter/charger included.

Audio: Built in speaker for alarms. Built-in stereo MP3 Player (you better get a larger memory stick if you want to make use of it though!). It plays real sounds rather than only Midi synthesized sounds. Voice recorder built-in.

Software: Palm OS 5, Palm Desktop for Clié and the usual suite of Palm and Sony applications. Sony apps: CLIE™ Album, CLIE™ Camera, CLIE™ Mail, CLIE™ Memo, CLIE™ Paint, CLIE™ Remote Commander, CLIE™ Viewer, Flash Player 5, Image Converter v.1.0 (for PC), Memory Stick Backup, Memory Stick Export v.1.1 (for PC), Memory Stick Import, Movie Player, Movie Recorder, PictureGear™ Studio (for PC), PhotoStand, Photo Editor , SonicStage™ LE v.1.5 (for PC), Sound Converter v.1.0 (for PC), Sound Utility, Voice Recorder, World Alarm Clock. 3rd party software (not trial, full versions): MobiPocket Reader (Franklin® Electronic Publishers), NetFront Web Browser, Intellisync Lite.

USB sync cradle, headphones, remote control, rechargeable battery and A/C adapter included.

 

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