Sony Clié PEG-N760C Review

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Date: Tuesday, October 30th, 2001, 12:18
Category: Archive

The new Sony Clié PEG-N760C PDA is wonderful. Slight, compact, and feature-packed. The screen is, of course, the best feature. With double the resolution of other screens, and custom “hi-res” fonts, reading e-books on your Palm is finally a possibility. (Use your desktop PC’s fonts via WordSmith and you’ll be doubly happy.)

Sony Clie PEG-N760C


The new Sony Clié PEG-N760C PDA is wonderful. Slight, compact, and feature-packed. The screen is, of course, the best feature. With double the resolution of other screens, and custom “hi-res” fonts, reading e-books on your Palm is finally a possibility. (Use your desktop PC’s fonts via WordSmith and you’ll be doubly happy.)

Sony Clie PEG-N760C

Memory expansion is simple via the Sony Memory Stick and synching is flawless on a PC. [Note: Syncing is no longer hugely problematic on a Mac when using MarkSpace’s US$29.95 MissingSync 2.1 software -Ed]

Then of course there’s the multimedia. Movies with sound are fun, but too large to put anything of length on there. MP3s however fit nicely on a 128 MB card (even with my ebooks and other documents, I fit about an hour and a half of music on there). The convenience of having everything in a single device is unbeatable. If you want to write for a bit, or play some stupid games in a waiting room, you can jam tunes while you do it. Great fun.

All in all, the design of the unit is excellent. It feels and looks much more high tech than any other Palm device. (The Palm V users are gnashing their teeth over the Clie, I’m sure!) Unfortunately, the style comes at some price to usability. The power button is strangely placed (right in the middle) and fairly easy to hit accidentally. Unfortunately, the other buttons on the device are rather hard to hit at all — they’re beveled and can’t be easily pressed with the stylus, as they can be with a Visor or Palm. This is slightly mitigated by the jog shuttle, but even that is a bit of a chore to use. (If they did the jog like the HP Jornada — where you can just hold it down to keep scrolling, rather than a wheel, it would be a great improvement.) Some extra functionality can be had if you have dexterous fingers, allowing you to navigate without a stylus, but unless you’re using the thing one handed, it’s typically easier to just use your finger than the arcane jog shuttle/back button combination.

Really, though, the high resolution screen is the whole reason to get the device. If you aren’t going to be viewing movies and pictures on it, you may be better off with the 710 (identical, but for the 16 bit color screen — it’s 8 bit instead) or the 620 (I THINK that’s the number, regardless, it’s the 760 without MP3s). All Clie devices come at a high premium in price (plus count on spending another US$120 on a memory card — not much point in getting less than the full size, particularly if you want to play MP3s). Also keep in mind that while the clie is packed with features, its expansion does NOT compare with the Handspring’s springboard slot, nor even the SD expansion of the latest Palms.

Who should get the Clié? People who like shiny things, want to play MP3s, or intend to do a lot of work on their palmtop. With the right software (blazer, wordsmith, multimail, etc…) you can have a very functional laptop computer in the palm of your hand, and a screen good enough to read off of for hours. That’s hard to beat at the price. If you just want names, addresses, and an MP3 player, you can get a better MP3 player as a stand-alone device for US$200, and a Visor Deluxe for another US$100, saving you a couple C-notes. Me, I got it because I love ebooks and was going blind on my prism.

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