CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 review:

Microsoft Pocket PC 2002

  • 1
Hot Products

The Good Excellent Outlook integration; improved interface; has VPN and terminal services client for remote access; includes MSN Messenger.

The Bad Confusing Web connection wizard; Web browser still buggy; excessive hardware requirements; no Mac support.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a handheld with a built-in MP3 and video player, pick a Pocket PC device over a Palm. Unfortunately, only original iPaq owners can upgrade to Pocket PC 2002, and it's not really worth the bother for them.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.0 Overall

Review Sections

Pocket PC 2002, Microsoft's PDA operating system, is more stable than the previous version and offers a barrel of bundled software, including MSN Messenger and a remote access client. But if you want this operating system, you'll have to spend a lot more than the $29.99 its price tag suggests. Only Compaq iPaq H3600-series owners can upgrade from the last version of Pocket PC, and even then, the improvements don't justify the hassle and the expense. If you're shopping for a new device, on the other hand, consider Pocket PC's many extras before you purchase a Palm OS handheld. Pocket PC 2002, Microsoft's PDA operating system, is more stable than the previous version and offers a barrel of bundled software, including MSN Messenger and a remote access client. But if you want this operating system, you'll have to spend a lot more than the $29.99 its price tag suggests. Only Compaq iPaq H3600-series owners can upgrade from the last version of Pocket PC, and even then, the improvements don't justify the hassle and the expense. If you're shopping for a new device, on the other hand, consider Pocket PC's many extras before you purchase a Palm OS handheld.

Pocket XP
Pocket PC 2002 sports an all-new, Windows XP-like user interface, which includes attractive 3D icons, pop-up alerts that appear atop running applications, and a customizable Today screen. Pocket PC veterans will immediately spot the new X in the upper-right corner of all program screens, which closes the current application screen without shutting down the application itself, thereby freeing up RAM. Pocket PC purports to monitor RAM usage and close idle applications as necessary, but we still found it best to manually quit memory-intensive apps such as PocketSTM for best performance.

We're pleased to see new bundled apps, such as Pocket Windows Media Player 8.0, which now supports streaming media, and a handheld version of MSN Messenger. The OS also now has Transcriber, handwriting-recognition software that lets you write whole words or even sentences rather than single characters, along with another new character recognizer that lets you use the Palm OS Graffiti characters. You can still use the old Pocket PC character recognizer and keyboard, too.

Hooking up
Geeks on the go--those with mobile Internet access, that is--will love Pocket PC's new terminal client, which grants access to Windows NT and other servers. If you need to get to your company's intranet, the OS also supports virtual private network (VPN) access. But don't panic, IT managers. The OS supports Windows 2000-level password security so that confidential data stays that way, even if you lose your handheld. Microsoft claims to have simplified the method for connecting to networks and the Web, but we found the new connection wizard baffling.

Better PIM; wimpy browser
Pocket PC 2002 boasts impressive new organizing skills, especially if you use Outlook on a Windows PC. (Unfortunately, Pocket PC still doesn't support Macs.) In fact, Pocket PC beats Palm hands down when it comes to working seamlessly with Outlook. You can finally sync multiple Outlook mail subfolders, and we like the mail app's spelling checker and its ability to record voice replies to e-mail, then send them along the next time you synchronize at your desktop. You can also sort contacts by company and see who's attending the meetings you schedule through Outlook.

However, Pocket Internet Explorer still doesn't handle frames or pop-up windows well, making it impossible to access the Microsoft Exchange Web client. And documents continue to lose some formatting when transferred between Pocket Word and its desktop sibling. Documents To Go 4.0 offers Palm users a better option.

Restrictive hardware requirements
Pocket PC 2002 makes serious hardware demands. Unless you own the original Compaq iPaq, you won't be able to upgrade to the new OS, which requires flash ROM. Casio and HP users will have to buy a new device to run the OS.

If you're looking for a new, high-powered PDA with lots of multimedia muscle and Internet-ready applications, pick one with Pocket PC 2002 onboard. Although you'll pay for those features in price and battery life, this system has offerings that are tough to find in Palm-powered PDAs. For owners of first-generation iPaqs, however, the upgrade simply isn't worth the bother.

Microsoft's latest OS for PDAs, Pocket PC 2002, lets you customize your Today screen, which doubles as a sort of Windows desktop.

Hot Products

This week on CNET News

Discuss Microsoft Pocket PC 2002