Toshiba Pocket PC e300 review: Toshiba Pocket PC e300

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.7
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Relatively inexpensive; great-looking screen.

The Bad Stripped-down operating system; only 16MB of ROM; no photo-editing application.

The Bottom Line Because the e350 lacks image-viewing software, the e355 or other Pocket PC 2003 devices are a better deal.

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Review summary

When Microsoft released its Windows Mobile, or Pocket PC 2003, operating system, Toshiba updated its e330 line with the e355 and the e350. Beyond the new OS, the e350 has a brighter, better transflective screen and Intel's tweaked 300MHz PXA255 processor. But the new handheld does have its drawbacks: it has only 16MB of ROM compared with the e330's 32MB, and the Pictures application, which ships with other Windows Mobile devices, is absent. Unlike the e355, the e350 doesn't have ArcSoft PhotoBase to make up for the missing program, so the step-up model is a better deal. The most-notable difference between the e350 and earlier Toshibas is that the new case is charcoal gray rather than silver. The size is the same at 4.9 by 3.1 by 0.4 inches, and the weight increased by only 0.1 ounce to 5.2 ounces. Below the screen remain the typical program buttons; the five-way directional pad; and the small, internal speaker, which is still a bit weak, but now you can boost it a little using the Advanced Sounds control panel.

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Except for being gray rather than silver, the e350 looks just like the e310 and e330 Toshibas. Flat as a pancake: The e350's depth is a very slim 0.4 inches.

On the other hand, the 3.5-inch display is new. The e350, like the e750 , moved up from the old screen to a transflective one, which is much brighter, more evenly lit, and capable of producing 65,536 colors at the standard Pocket PC resolution of 320x240 pixels.

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The cradle is heavy and bulky, but you can charge the e350 without it. The leatherette jacket protects the screen.

Like the e310, the e350 syncs with your PC via a sturdy cradle. It's great for home use, but the base is a bit too heavy to lug comfortably; you can purchase an optional USB power/syncing cable for less than $20. If you want to simply recharge during travel, all you need is the AC adapter, which plugs directly into the bottom of the unit. While the different screen is immediately noticeable, some subtle changes are equally significant. The 300MHz Intel XScale processor is the PXA255, which is slightly speedier than the e330's PXA250. The amount of RAM is the same at 64MB, but surprisingly, the e350 has only 16MB of ROM--not much room for the OS or data backup. You can--and should--add storage space via the Secure Digital/MultiMediaCard (SD/MMC) slot on top of the device.

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The e350's somewhat weak and tinny speaker sits just below the function buttons. You can add extra storage space via SD/MMC media, a must for backing up files and data.

The e350 also uses the latest Pocket PC OS, Windows Mobile. It includes all the staples, such as Word, Excel, Outlook, and Internet Explorer, plus two new apps: Windows Media Player 9.0 and a game called Jawbreaker. But the aforementioned ROM shortage forced Toshiba to leave out a couple of the usual preinstalled programs, the most notable of which is Windows Mobile's Pictures application.

Toshiba's other e350-series Pocket PC, the e355, also comes with ArcSoft PhotoBase, so the Pictures omission is not a problem. Unfortunately, the e350 doesn't have PhotoBase, leaving you with no image viewer/editor at all. Unless you don't plan to look at pictures with your Pocket PC, we suggest going for the e355.

The main software CD includes Outlook 2002 and ActiveSync 3.7, but aside from those, you get little more than a handful of Microsoft applications, a link to AvantGo, and Adobe Acrobat for Pocket PC.
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The e350 moved to the great-looking transflective screen of the pricier e750 series.

Overall, we were pleased with the e350's performance. The 300MHz PXA255 processor made short work of most of the tasks we put before it. Test videos and video games played smoothly, though an occasional hiccup occurred in Hexacto Bounty Hunter 2099 Pinball.

Music didn't seem loud enough until we'd cranked up the volume in the Sound and Advanced Sound control panels. Then our tunes were loud enough to hear in any environment, but they lacked a bit of the richness we've heard from other handhelds, such as the Garmin iQue 3600 .

There's a lot to like about the e350's 320x240-pixel, 65,536-color screen. It's transflective, so it's bright and crisp in all lighting situations. The e330's display was sidelit, but the e350's is backlit for a more-even appearance.

Battery life was also pretty good, considering the unit's smallish 1,000mAh lithium-ion cell. For our test, we played a video loop with the brightness at 66.6 percent. We usually choose 50 percent, but that setting is unavailable. Even so, the e350 ran the movie for 3 hours, 51 minutes. While that time is not astounding, you can make the battery last longer by decreasing the brightness or shutting off the backlight completely, as you would while listening to MP3 files.

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Where to Buy

MSRP: $349.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jun 23, 2003