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Sony Clie SJ33

Posted Feb, 2003
(note this model has been Discontinued. Check out the Sony TJ37 instead).

Sony, bent on constantly improving their PDA line, has Introduced an enhanced version of the popular SJ30 only 5 months after the SJ30 was released. The SJ33 adds a built-in MP3 player and a 2x faster processor, yet lists for the same price as the SJ30 did when it was released. The SJ33 is a reasonably priced color PDA that competes well with low end Pocket PCs and Palms alike. It runs Palm OS 4.1.

The case is made of shiny black plastic, and the black flip cover is translucent so you can see the screen with the cover closed. The corners are rounded, which not only looks great but feels great in the hand. The front bezel is silver. It looks really hip and attractive-- certainly an improvment over the SL and SJ series models. You can remove the flip cover, but the relatively large hinge assembly it mounts to on the top front of the SJ33 is not attractive when the cover is removed.

Sony CLIE SJ33

The screen is a backlit hi-res transflective 320 x 320 pixel, 65,000 color TFT screen and offers sharp images, text and icons. Comparing the SJ30 and SJ33 side by side, I'd say the SJ33 is a bit brighter. Like many recent Sony PDAs, the screen has a slight blue cast.

The front buttons are recessed, which looks modern and attractive, but are harder to press than non-recessed buttons. As with the new NZ90, the power button on previous models has been replaced by a slider switch on the side of the unit. Unlike the NZ90, the power slider also functions as the hold button. Slide the switch down to turn the unit on and off, slide it up to activate the hold switch. If you're new to Sony, the hold switch prevents the unit from accidentally turning on when you press a button (handy if you like to keep it in your pocket or purse). It also allows you to listen to MP3s with the screen turned off to conserve power. You'll also get the standard Sony jog dial for moving up and down in apps and etc., which is very popular with users, as well as a back button positioned just below the jog dial.

You'll be able to use Clie SJ, T and NR series accessories such as thier camera, cradle, keyboard and more with this PDA.

Power and Expandability

The SJ33 has a 66 MHz Dragonball VZ processor that's plenty fast enough for the average user's needs. The SJ30 had a 33 MHz Dragonball processor. The SJ33 is the fastest Palm OS PDA in the low and mid-price ranges. It has 16 megs of internal memory, 15 of which are available to the user to store programs and data, and runs Palm OS 4.1.

If you find you need more room, you can store docs and apps that are expansion-card friendly to optional Memory Sticks. These are tiny stick-shaped removable memory cards already used in past Cliés, some Sony digital cameras, and supported by newer Sony VAIO notebooks. They come in 32, 64 and 128 meg capacities.

MP3 Player

Like higher end Cliés, the SJ33 has a built-in MP3 (and ATRAC) player. The unit comes with earbud headphones and an inline volume controller. Higher end Sonys have an inline controller with play/stop, AMS, volume and hold buttons, but hey, for $299, this ain't bad. The Sony MP3 app offers bass boost, repeat, and background play, so that the music won't stop if you use another application.

Software Bundle

The software bundle with Sony PDAs is always excellent, even for budget models. Sony includes their own software for image viewing and editing that runs at high resolution, an MP3 player, and you get some nice 3rd party software like Kinoma Player (great movie viewer) and Intellisync for syncing to Outlook. Documents To Go standard edition from DataViz is bundled with the SJ33. Docs to Go is an application suite that allows you to work with Word and Excel documents. See the specs section for a more complete list of included software.

Size and Battery Life

The SJ33, like previous SL and SJ models, is quite small in terms of height and width, but is thicker than Sony's slimmer PDA models. It's easily pocketable and is smaller than the once pricey T665C, while offering all the features of the T665C. The battery life is quite good given the bright screen and MP3 player. You should get around 9 hours of use with the backlight set at 1/3 brightness (this is a bright screen, so that's a very usable setting). The unit has a Lithium Polymer battery that is not user replaceable.


Pro: This is an attractive and compact multimedia PDA at a reasonable price. High res color, bright, sharp screen and a zippy 66 MHz processor. You can use Sony SJ, T and NR series accessories. The software bundle is generous and you'll even get Documents to Go Standard Edition for working with Word and Excel files. Con: No cradle included. You'll get a USB cable for HotSyncing instead. You can buy an optional cradle, but prices for these are high.



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Display: 320 x 320 pixels, 65,000 colors backlit TFT. High resolution allows for much sharper images and text compared to other Palm OS competitors' PDAs.

Performance: 66MHz Motorola Dragonball VZ processor. 16 megs of built in RAM (15 megs available to the user). 4 megs of Flash ROM for flash upgrades and OS.

Size: 4 1/4" (H) x 2 7/8" (W) x 7/8" (D) . 6.1 ounces.

Modem: None included

Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Ion Polymer.

Audio: Built in speaker for alarms. MP3 and enhanced polyphonic sounds.

Software: Palm OS 4.1 and the usual suite of Palm applications, including Palm HotSync, Address Book, Date Book, Clock, To Do List, Memo Pad, Calculator. In addition, you get Sony Software: Audio Player, CLIÉ™ Paint, CLIÉ™ Photo Stand, Memory Stick Autorun, Memory Stick Backup, Memory Stick Export v. 1.2 (for PC), Memory Stick Gate, Memory Stick Import, PictureGear Lite (for PC), PictureGear Pocket World Alarm Clock, and a lot of trial/demo software.

Other software: Palm Desktop 4.01, Intellisync™ Lite v. 4.0 for syncing to desktop programs other than Palm Desktop, Documents to Go Standard Edition for editing and viewing Word and Excel files on your PDA, gMovie™ (Generic Media), MobiPocket Reader (Franklin® Electronic Publishers) and StreetFinder Express.

Protective cover, USB sync cable, AC adapter/charger included.


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