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Agenda Fusion comes pretty cheap, but if you'd rather try before you buy, there's a 14-day trial version available at the Developer One Web site. You don't have to provide a lick of personal information before downloading the software, either, which installed without a hitch on our NEC MobilePro P300. During setup, you can even opt to remap your handheld's buttons to automatically launch Fusion instead of the built-in Pocket Outlook apps, or you can do this later, via Start > Settings > Buttons.
Fusion's cleverly grouped appointment calendar, task list, and contact database will win you over instantly. Indeed, whereas Pocket Outlook divides these components into separate programs that all have to be manually launched, Fusion unifies them under a single interface. Six tabs span the bottom of the main window; you need only a single tap to hop between a current-day summary, a multiday agenda, a week-at-a-glance view, a month view, a task list, and a contact list. That aspect alone qualifies Fusion as the best in its class.
What's more, each of these grouped applets provides much more power than its Pocket Outlook counterpart. For instance, the contact list features a preview pane that displays the full contact information while you browse. That preview pane may be a simple trick, but it's an absolutely wonderful improvement over Pocket Outlook, which makes you open the contact file to see e-mail, phone, and address data. Likewise, the task manager supports color-coding and prioritized sorting, which gives you much more control over how you list and view items. You can add notes to any appointment and insert a hyperlink to any file on your Pocket PC. Best of all, you can modify colors and font sizes for virtually every screen, so you get to decide how your data will look and how much of it will fit onscreen.
We also love Fusion's powerful linking feature, which you use to create relationships among various items. For instance, suppose you put "Call Bob Smith" on your task list. You can create a link between that task and Bob Smith's contact record so that you'll have easy access to his info when it's time to make the call. We needed a peek at the manual to learn the intricacies of this feature, but we found it easy to work with thereafter.
Put some paper in the printer
Speaking of the manual, the 50-page PDF document provides much more info than you get with most Pocket PC software, but you'll probably need to read the whole thing in order to understand all of Fusion's features. In fact, despite its size, the manual lacks information in certain areas. For instance, Fusion can keep a journal of items you've viewed, completed, and deleted, but how do you view that journal? The manual doesn't say. As for support, Developer One offers it via e-mail, and we received a satisfactory answer within two hours. Nice! There's also an FAQ page that contains about two dozen items.
We were hard-pressed to find any real problems with Fusion, save this one: in its present version, Fusion doesn't support the creation of recurring tasks or appointments. It does, however, link you directly to Pocket Outlook, where you can set up a recurring item. Developer One says that it plans to remedy this shortcoming in a "near future" update.
A bargain at twice the price, Agenda Fusion turns an ordinary Pocket PC into an information-management powerhouse. Don't leave home without it installed.