I ended my last Zaurus post with optimism, writing that although I wasn’t exactly enamored with the C3200, there was still time for it to pull out all the stops and change my mind. Well, you can chalk it up to laziness, inability, or apathy, but in the end, the Zaurus did not succeed in winning me over. In fact, it sulked and remained largely untouched for the past few days.
My gripes about the PDA-computer hybrid haven’t changed since last time, but I do have a new one. It’s minor and nitpicky, but that’s usually the nature of complaints about gadgets anyway. So here it is.
The TFT display isn’t given enough real estate. Not only is it off-centered, but too much space is wasted on the surrounding black bars. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation for this, as my portable DVD player suffers from the same "problem," but there has to be some kind of workaround out there. Otherwise wouldn’t more gadgets have this kind of "crooked" screen?
Anyway, I really wanted to love the Zaurus, but it’s just not going to happen. My annoyance at its lack of integrated wi-fi or other connectivity option showed me how much time I spend online and made me aware of a standard I didn’t know I had. Without Internet access, I honestly had no reason to use the Zaurus after my initial exploration of its features. Swiveling the screen is only fun for so long.
I will reiterate that the keyboard is fantastic, but I think it’s best suited for short writing tasks such as email and web browsing, both out-of-the-box impossibilities. I’m sure it would be great for light word processing, but I’d rather carry a more powerful, full-featured, and not-much-bigger UX180P for stuff like that.
The C3200 isn’t too bad for multimedia uses, and it would actually be a worthy competitor against an Archos PMP or something. However, since it’s aimed at a different market (business professionals/power users vs. consumers who want portable entertainment for the bus, subway, or airplane), I think it falls a bit short. I’d also rather see it running Palm OS, but that’s just me.
Do hardcore Linux fans love the Zaurus?
This article is part of the Quick Takes series. Quick Takes are based on short-term usage of various gadgets provided by Dynamism, the best place to find next-generation notebooks and consumer electronics from Japan and around the world.