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O2 Xda II review: O2 Xda II

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The Good Abundant features. Beautiful display. Excellent build quality and finish.

The Bad Pricey. Network connectivity issues. Missing Bluetooth profile.

The Bottom Line O2's Xda II combines a tri-band GPRS/GSM phone with Bluetooth, a digital camera, 128MB of RAM and a SDIO slot into a sleek Pocket PC-based device.

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O2 has targeted the enterprise users since entering the Australian mobile marketplace with the Xda. It seems O2 is now strategically approaching the converging devices market with their latest releases, the Xphone and the Xda II. The Xphone, targets users on one side of the fence who like their mobile phones with added PDA-like functionality, and on the other is the Xda II, a powerful PDA with phone functionality tacked on.

The Xda II still boasts its predecessor's sleek, silver design but bestows a much smoother guise due to the external stump antenna being chopped off. Antenna aside, the casing is very similar in size to the original, measuring 70 x 130 x 19 mm. There's no denying the Xda II looks like a PDA. Its specs even outshine some of the best pure PDAs (without phone functionality) available on the market.

Running Microsoft's verbosely-titled Windows Mobile 2003 Software for Pocket PC Phone Edition, the Xda II will be competing with other smartphones such as the Treo 600 (which uses Palm OS), and the Sony Ericsson P900 (Symbian OS-based).

Key features have been considerably bumped up on this latest incarnation of the Xda. Its massive 65,000-colour LCD takes up 74 x 56 mm of the front of the device and appears clear and bright in a range of lighting conditions, thanks to a transflective screen. Housed under its silver exterior is a 400MHz Intel XScale PXA 263 processor with 128MB of RAM, double the amount of memory found in the original Xda.

Layout of the keys is pretty much the same as its predecessor; calendar and contact shortcut keys at the top of the screen, answer and end keys surrounding a clickable navigation pad at the bottom. The SD/IO slot has jumped to the at the top of the phone wedged between the power button and infrared port.

A digital camera with a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 pixels is located on the back of the Xda and a camera shortcut key is conveniently placed on the left side of the unit along with a volume switch and notes shortcut key -- ergonomically designed for easy reach with a swift press of your thumb. Clicking the camera key once turns the entire display into the viewfinder. Clicking again captures photos. Video with sound can be captured at 15 fps and played back on the device through Windows Media Player. MP3's and video stored in memory or on SD cards can also be played back. O2 supplies a stereo headset with the Xda II but the Bluetooth headset is a separate purchase.

O2 provides a docking station that connects the Xda II with your PC via a USB connection. With Microsoft ActiveSync software (a free download from Microsoft's site) you can synchronise data such as contacts, e-mails, files, calendar appointments and notes. Dropping WAV files into various Windows directories on the Xda II allows them to be assigned as ringtones or other alerts.

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