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Sony Clie SL10 and SJ20

(discontinued)
Posted August 2002

Just because Sony is making some of the coolest high end color Palm OS PDAs, doesn't mean they're neglecting the low-end grayscale market! Introduced in August of 2002, the SL10 is Sony's latest low end grayscale PDA and it offers a lot for the $149 asking price. The SJ20 followed a few weeks later, and while similar to the SL10, it's the next step up, offering a better screen, more memory and a rechargeable battery for $50 more.

Sony CLIE SL10
SL10

SJ20

 

The screen on both is a hi-res 320 x 320 pixel grayscale screen and offers sharp images, text and icons. The SL10's display isn't super high quality: it's a bit dark and there's some ghosting (reminiscent of the cursor trails you used to see on notebook computers from years ago). The backlighting isn't very bright. The SJ20 on the other hand has a more paper-white kind of display and is both much easier to read and more evenly lit. Both are viewable indoors and outdoors.

The front buttons are easy to use, especially compared to the un-ergonomic up/down buttons used on the Clié T665. You'll also get the standard Sony jog dial on the left side of the unit for moving up and down in apps and etc., which is very popular with users. There's also a Back button just below the jog dial.

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

Power and Expandability

The SL10 and SJ20 have a 33 MHz Dragonball VZ processor that's fast enough for the average user's needs. The SL 10 has 8 megs of internal memory, which is enough to store a heck of a lot of contacts, appointments and notes, along with some 3rd party apps and Word/Excel docs. The SJ20 has a more roomy 16 megs, which is great if you want to install a lot of additional programs.

If you find you need more room, you can store docs and apps that are expansion-card friendly to optional Memory Sticks. Like past Clié PDAs, the unit is expandable via Sony's Memory Stick technology. These are tiny stick-shaped removable memory cards already used in some Sony digital cameras, and supported by newer Sony VAIO notebooks.

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, and you get some nice 3rd party software like Documents To Go standard edition from DataViz for working with Word and Excel documents. See the specs section for a more complete list of included software.

 

 

 

 

 

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Size

The unit is rather thick compared to some of Sony's slimmer models such as the T-415 and T-655C. Other than the thickness, the unit is quite small, and looks very modern with very little dead space surrounding the screen.

Conclusion

SL10: Pro: This is an attractive and highly portable PDA at a budget price. The software bundle is generous and you'll even get Documents to Go Standard Edition v. 4 for working with Word and Excel files. Hi-res screen is a first in this price range. Con: No built-in rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, instead you'll use disposable AAA batteries (or your own rechargeables). Then again, you won't be tied to an AC adapter while traveling. The screen is dark and has ghosting. No cradle included. You'll get a USB cable for HotSyncing. You can buy an optional cradle, but prices for these are high.

SJ20: Pro: As with the SL10, this is an attractive and highly portable PDA at a good price. The software bundle is generous and you'll even get Documents to Go Standard Edition v. 4 for working with Word and Excel files. Hi-res screen is a first in this price range and the SJ20 screen is bright and much better than the SL10's. Rechargeable battery and 16 megs of RAM are great. Con: You'll get a USB cable for HotSyncing. You can buy an optional cradle, but prices for these are high.

If you can afford it, go with the SJ20: a much better screen, double the memory and a rechargeable battery for $50 more really make this into a PDA you can live with for quite a while.

 

Specs:

Display: 320 x 320 pixels, grayscale display. Hi resolution allows for much sharper images and text compared to other Palm OS competitors' PDAs.

Performance: 33MHz Motorola Dragonball VZ processor. 8 megs of built in RAM for SL10 and 16 megs for SJ20. 4 megs of Flash ROM for flash upgrades and OS.

Size: SL10: 4 1/8 (H) x 2 7/8 (W) x 21/32 (D) inches, ~ 4.0 oz
SJ20:4 1/8 (H) x 2 7/8 (W) x 11/16 (D) inches. 4.5 oz.

Modem: None included

Battery: SL10: 2 AAA alkaline batteries good for 2 to 4 weeks.
SJ20: Lithium Ion rechargeable.

Audio: Built in speaker for alarms (not enhanced audio).

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: 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™ 4.6 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, 2 AAA batteries, USB sync cable included with SL10.
Protective cover, charger, USB sync cable included with SJ20.

 

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