|Toshiba's cheaper, faster handheld
By Roger Hibbert
Earlier this year, Toshiba dropped a bomb on Palm OS devices when it released the e310, a slim, lightweight, color Pocket PC with a list price of $399. Now the company is offering the $349 Pocket PC e330, which sports a faster processor and extra RAM. More of a step-up model than a redesign, the e330 is definitely an improvement over the e310. But with other big handheld players honing their designs and new Pocket PC manufacturers entering the market, the e330 will be facing some stiff competition this holiday season.
Cosmetically, the e330 is virtually identical to the e310, right down to the same silver case and 16-bit, 65,000-color screen. And at 4.9 by 3.1 by 0.4 inches and 5.1 ounces, it's only a hair bigger than its predecessor.
Internally is where the e330 differs from its sibling. Under the hood, you'll find a 300MHz Intel XScale processor and 64MB of RAM instead of the e310's 206MHz chip and 32MB of memory. Both the e310 and the e330 contain a MediaQ Graphics Controller, which provides 256K of internal graphics memory. That's nothing like the 128MB behemoths found in desktops, but it's a start.
The e330 has all the standard software that you'd expect in a Pocket PC. Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 runs the show, and Toshiba includes the Pocket versions of Word, Excel, Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player. The company also tosses in a Pocket version of Adobe Acrobat for good measure. The only other extra is Toshiba's Home software, which lets you organize your frequently used applications and quickly deactivate programs running in the background.
If you're a photo fanatic, Toshiba offers another new product, the e335. This model is identical to the e330 but includes ArcSoft PhotoBase software for viewing, manipulating, and editing images. The e335 costs $50 more than the e330, but a mail-in rebate brings the price back down to $349.
Both the e330 and the e335 are available now, but you may want to wait until the reviews are in before you buy one. Based on specs alone, the e330 is a superior product to the e310. But with the e310 selling for as much as $100 less on the street, only time--and testing--will tell if it's a better buy. Keep an eye out for our full review.