Posted by Lisa
Gade, Editor in Chief, posted June 24, 2003
Toshiba along with HP,
was first to the gate announcing PDAs using the new Pocket PC
2003 (also called Windows Mobile 2003) operating system on June
23rd, 2003. The e355 looks nearly identical to its predecessor
the e330 but has a gunmetal finish
rather than silver, sports a Pocket PC 2003 sticker on the front
and has a transflective display. The e350 and e355 are the same
device—the e355 simply adds
ArcSoft PhotoBase software for image viewing and editing. Note
that the Toshiba e405, introduced
in Nov. 2003, replaces the e350.
What is Pocket PC 2003, aka Windows Mobile 2003?
Pocket PC2003 is based on Windows CE 4.2, while
prior Pocket PC and Pocket PC 2002 PDAs were based on Windows CE
3.0. Microsoft is calling all new devices based on Pocket PC 2003 "Windows
Mobile 2003", including Pocket PC Phone Edition PDAs with
the new OS. What's the difference between Pocket PC 2002 and Pocket
PC 2003 PDAs? You won't notice much difference at all. There are
numerous bug fixes, improvements in page rendering times for Internet
Explorer, a more friendly user interface for setting up network
connections, networking changes under the hood, and support for
3rd party applications that are written for the XScale processor.
The OS itself still has not been optimized for the newer and faster
XScale processor, but now developers can offer enhanced versions
of their applications that should run noticeably faster. This means
that demanding applications like multimedia players and games will
likely offer more features and run faster in the future.
There are two versions of Pocket PC 2003: Pro
for the more basic Pocket PC models and Premium for higher end
Pocket PCs. To the end user, the differences won't be terribly
important except for the absense of MS Reader from the Pro version.
Apps like Terminal Services, MS Reader and the new Pictures app
are built into the OS stored in ROM in the Premium Edition, while
you must install it from the CD into RAM on Pro Edition (or not
get it at all). You can download MS Reader for PPC 2003 here.
Features and Horsepower
The Toshiba e355 (that's the model we have, so
we'll use that model number) has a transflective display, an SD
slot that supports SDIO (but doesn't work with SD WiFi cards),
a 300 MHz PXA255 Intel XScale processor, 16 megs of ROM and 64
megs of RAM. The full amount of RAM is available to the user.
The e355 feels zippy in all operations, even
playing games, and videos in Pocket Windows Media Player 9 and
Pocket TV Enterprise. How fast is this unit? You can check out
the benchmark numbers for yourself below.
If you're familiar with either of the older Toshiba e310 and e330 models,
then the e355 won't hold any surprises since it uses the same casing
and design. The finish is gunmetal, which makes the unit look slicker
and more classy. The buttons are chromed, and the record button is at
the top left, as on previous models. The circular directional pad rotates
smoothly in a 360 degree circle and supports diagonals. It doesn't seem
to support multiple button presses, however. When playing Hexacto
Bounty Hunter Pinball, pressing two buttons simultaneously to activate
both flippers, instead only activated the left flipper. While many Palm
OS games make use of the PIM buttons to make up for the lack of a D-pad
on many models, not as many Pocket PCs rely on them, so this may not
be a deal breaker unless one of your favorite games relies on this feature.
The unit is quite slim and light. Though the diminutive
iPAQ 1900 series is the smallest Pocket PC, the e355 should easily fit
in your pocket, and is still one of the thinner and lighter Pocket PCs
on the market. It is noticeably longer than the iPAQ
2200 series, but it is a bit thinner.
The SD slot, IR port, headphone jack and power button
are located at the top of the unit, while the record and jog dial buttons
are on the unit's left side.
Despite the new OS version, most applications ran fine
on our e355. It's interesting that when installing a variety of applications,
I got a warning on the e355 that the software was written for Pocket
PC 2002 and might not work. I did not get this message installing the
same applications on the iPAQ 2215 Pocket
PC 2003 model, so I imagine it's not an OS warning, but rather Toshiba
has added this. What didn't run correctly? Pocket MVP, Thunderhawk, CNETX
FlashFormat, and prior versions of MS Money. You can now download Money
for Pocket PC 2003, but you'll need to buy or upgrade to MS Money 2004
if you want to sync Money on the Pocket PC to your PC. As for the other
apps, I'm sure in the coming month we'll see new versions that do work
well on Pocket PC 2003. Some demanding games didn't work properly, including Hexacto
Bounty Hunter Pinball (can't press multiple buttons at once and sound
drops in and out), Sorcery PDA, Geopod. Interstellar Flames runs fast
and flawlessly with particle effects; Bust
'Em runs fine, as does Age of
The e350 and e355 works with existing e310 and e330
accessories such as cradles and chargers, though 3rd party keyboards
may need a driver update.
Screen and Sound
Transflective displays are the best currently available
on PDAs, and the e355 has one .
It's a 3.5" display, which is the same size as most other budget
and mid-range Pocket PCs, and it looks much better than the reflective
screen used in the e330. The screen is brighter without looking milky,
and colors are richer and more accurate. While not as bright as the iPAQ
2200 series or the Dell Axim X5, it
is still a very usable and good quality display.
The speaker volume is adequate, and like other Toshiba
Pocket PCs, not very loud . MP3s sound great when using stereo headphones
connected to the standard 3.5mm audio jack. You can adjust the left and
right headphone balance and set automatic gain control for the built-in
The battery on the e355 is not user replaceable. It's
a 1,000 mAh Lithium Ion battery that gave us decent, but not spectacular
runtimes. For the average user who uses the PIM apps, Word, Excel, MP3s
and occasional games, you'll probably get about 3 hours on a charge.
I played games (intensive ones) for one hour straight, and had 50% charge
left. When using the unit for standard business and PIM purposes, and
MP3 playback for about 1 hour, I got 3 hours per charge.
This is a budget Pocket PC and you don't get
any bundled additional software other than Toshiba's Home application
(a launcher) and Backup. Pocket Windows Media Player 9 is included,
as are the usual suspects: Pocket versions of Outlook, Word, Excel
and Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger and Pocket MSN. MS Money is
no longer included and neither the version that ships with Money
2003 nor the version that came wtih Pocket PC 2002 PDAs will install. *Terminal
Services, MS Reader and the new MS Pictures applications are not
included. The Toshiba e355 runs Pocket PC 2003 Pro Edition and
comes with MS Outlook 2002 for the PC and ActiveSync 3.7.
Changes to MS Built-in Applications
1. Pocket Internet Explorer now supports HTML
4.0, xHTML, JScript 5.5 and WAP 2.0. It does render pages better
and more quickly, and better still, it requires less memory to
2. The Contacts app now supports vCAL and vCARD.
3. Media Player 9 is a great improvement: you'll definitely notice improved
framerates and buffering.
4. File Explorer now can connect to network shares (shared folders on Windows
5. You get a new game built into ROM, called Jawbreaker. It's the same as Bubblets.
Pro: A nice update to the successful e335 and
one of the first Pocket PC 2003 devices. The transflective display
is a welcome improvement and will be a strong selling point with
most users. The SD slot supports SDIO, which means you can use
Toshiba's Bluetooth SD card with the e355, but not SD WiFi cards
due to driver issues. The d-pad is very pleasant to use, and supports
diagonal movements for you gamers. It's a fast performer and 64
megs of RAM is generous for a budget Pocket PC. Con: The feature
set may not be competitive enough to fight off the upcoming iPAQ
1940. Battery isn't user replaceable. E-Book fans will be disappointed
that MS Reader isn't included with this model, but you can download
it from Microsoft's web site.
TFT color LCD, 65,536 colors, Screen Size Diag: 3.5",
Resolution: 240 x 320, .24mm dot pitch.
mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is NOT user
XScale PXA255 300 MHz processor. 16 MB Flash ROM,
64 MB built-in RAM available to the user.
Size: 4.9" x
3.1" x .4". Weight: 5.3 oz.
in speaker, mic and stereo headphone jack. Voice
PC 2003 Pro operating system. Microsoft Pocket Office
suite including Pocket Word, Excel, Internet Explorer,
and Outlook. Also, MSN Instant Messenger for Pocket
PC, Pocket Windows Media Player 9 and Voice Recorder
as well as handwriting recognition. ActiveSync 3.7
and Outlook 2002 for PCs included. MS Reader is NOT
included, but can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/reader/downloads/ppc.asp.
SD (Secure Digital) slot, supporting SDIO (but not
WiFi SD cards and doesn't have SDIO Now! support).
1-USB port (Client Host: optional cable required).