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Toshiba e310 Pocket PC

(discontinued)
by Lisa Gade, Editor-in-Chief

Toshiba is a relative newcomer to the US PDA market. Their e570, a full-featured Pocket PC which preceded the e310 was a sucess here, despite the fact it was hard to find and not marketed strongly. The e310 was more strongly marketed and sold through many retail channels. At the end of October 2002, the e310 was discontinued and replaced with newer models.

Toshiba e310

The e310 was the first "affordable" Pocket PC device, and lists for $399 (you'll find it for a bit less at competitive retailers). Why was it cheap? 1) It has only 32 megs of built-in RAM which is also true of some other lower-priced and not so lower-priced PDAs. Generally, folks are wanting 64 megs these days, but that can put a Pocket PC out of price range for some buyers. 2) While all Pocket PCs (except the iPAQ which uses a separately purchased expansion sleeve to accomodate CF cards) have CompactFlash (CF) card slots, this unit does not have one. It does have one SD (Secure Digital) card slot for memory expansion and I/O card such as the Toshiba Bluetooth SD card. 3) The 3rd party software bundle is not as generous as that of the Jornada and iPAQs.

Does the missing CF card slot mean anything to you? CF storage (memory) cards are much cheaper than SD storage cards and come in larger capacities. Read our RAM / Memory article and Storage Card article for more info on the difference between these two kinds of cards. If you want to use modem or Ethernet network cards you'll be out of luck because those are available as CF cards and not in the SD format. Toshiba does offer a $149 SD Bluetooth card for those of you with Bluetooth enabled cell phones. If you don't want to use modem or Ethernet network cards, then this could be the Pocket PC for you.

Battery Life, Screen, Sound, Software and Gaming

The e310 is in all other respects a standard Pocket PC with the usual Pocket PC 2002 operating system, Pocket Word, Excel, Internet Explorer and Outlook. You won't be getting any bonus 3rd party software as you do with the iPAQ and Jornada.

Battery life has been decent so far, but we get less life out of it per charge than the Casio E-200, iPAQ 3800 and Jornada 560 series. How much less? About 80% of the runtime that the iPAQ and Casio give us in a mix of gaming, word processing and contacts/calendar/tasks use. While other PDA batteries last at least one year, we've found our e310's battery has gotten old and tired after 8 months of heavy use.

 

 

 

 

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The screen is sharp and reasonably bright. However it's brighter at the bottom, which is a result of the frontlight which illuminates from the bottom (the iPAQ and Jornada use sidelight which is more even). The speaker is not very loud compared to other Pocket PCs. The directional pad, which is round and rotates in any direction like a joystick with no clicks or tactile feedback is comfy but hard to control when playing games.

The unit, like some other recent Pocket PCs, doesn't have much in the way of style or curves, it's a business like angular device. It's like an oversized credit card shape. But boy is this thing thin! This is the slimmest Pocket PC on the market.

If you're on a budget, the Toshiba e310 is a wise choice and likely a better investment than buying a discontinued Pocket PC. With the Toshiba you'll be getting a device with the latest operating system, Pocket PC 2002, which is friendlier and more robust that its predessors Pocket PC and Windows CE operating systems.

Suggested list price $399.

Pro: It was one of the cheapest new Pocket PC 2002 PDAs in its day. This PDA allowed more people to get into a new Pocket PC 2002 PDA. Very slim! Has SD slot supporting SDIO. Con: No CF card slot for cheaper CF memory cards, and modem and network cards. You do get an SD slot. Only 32 megs of RAM. Directional pad doesn't offer feedback when playing games. Battery doesn't last as long compared to other current Pocket PCs, and ours is in need of replacment after 8 months of heavy use.

 

Specs:

Display: Reflective TFT color LCD, 65,536 colors, Screen Size Diag: 3.5", Resolution: 240 x 320. MediaQ Graphics chip with 256k cache.

Battery Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is not user-replaceable.

Performance: Intel Strong Arm 206 MHz., 32MB Flash ROM, 32MB built-in RAM.

size: 4.9 x 3.1 x 0.4. Weight Approximately 5.9 oz.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and stereo headphone jack. Voice Recorder and Windows Pocket Media Player included.

Software: Pocket PC 2002 operating system. Microsoft Pocket Office suite including Pocket Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, Reader, and Outlook. Also, Terminal Services, MSN Instant Messenger for Pocket PC and Voice Recorder as well as handwriting recognition.

Expansion: 1 SD (Secure Digital) slot. Supports SDIO.

 

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