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Fondly remembering the Psion 3mx

It's been a decade since the morning in 1999 when I took delivery of one of my all-time favourite gadgets -- the AA battery-powered Psion 3mx handheld

It's been a decade since that morning in 1999 -- the morning I took delivery of one of my all-time favourite gadgets.

With its 28MHz NEC V30MX processor, its 2MB of ROM, 2MB of usable internal storage, 480x160-pixel greyscale screen, twin disk drives for adding memory and applications, and juice from a pair of AA batteries, Psion's 3mx was my favourite handheld until the iPhone came along.

The 3mx had a full Qwerty keyboard, a word processor, a spreadsheet application and the ability to record up to two minutes of audio using a built-in microphone. This somewhat limited me to listening solely to Green Day's 1 minute 34-long Coming Clean -- a song that, to this day, reminds me of my trusty 3mx.


The mighty Psion 3mx

Expandable and connectable
You could increase the memory with flash or RAM disks -- flash disks were battery-free, but the volatile RAM SSDs used their own button battery to retain data. Somehow I was sent a free copy of Scrabble on SSD after registering my purchase with Psion, and it's the sole reason I know more two-letter words off the top of my head than anyone I've met since.

The 3mx incorporated a 115,200bps infrared port for talking to the outside world, and while I had to constantly forgive it for transmitting gibberish when attempting to print a document over the connection, it was always meant to be a secondary connection method. The serial port (which ran at the same speed as infrared), could connect to a PC and Mac for document transfer, and to a modem.

I never had the modem, and I feel like I missed out. But nonetheless the 3mx goes down as a personal tech favourite, even if I did eventually sell it to buy a 20-inch Zildjian china crash cymbal.

Did you have a 3mx, or any other Psion from the pre-2000 era? Let me know below and we can have a lovely little moment together.

(Image: Andy ArmstrongCC-licensed)