Q

PDA to access WLAN

I am looking for a handheld computer (PDA) to be able to access WLAN's.
I want one that uses:

 

  1. PCMCIA interface-I Have a Cisco 350 card.
  2. Microsoft OS (PC-2000)
  3. Hi-Res color
  4. fast processor
  5. 64 MB RAM
  6. SD ROM or Compact flash memory

What are my choices?

There are many PDAs that run Pocket PC 2002, including AudioVox, Casio, Dell, HP, Mexmal, NEC, Siemens, Toshiba, ViewSonic, and Zayo. You'll find an excellent tool for comparing these PDAs at http://www.microsoft.com/mobile/buyersguide/wheretobuy/compare.asp. Products on this list right now that meet your specs include HP's iPAQ 3900 and 5400 series (with PC card expansion pack) and Casio's Cassiopeia E-200.

Toshiba's e740 and HP's iPAQ H5450 have built-in 802.11 radios. Built-in radios can be more convenient than adding a PC card. But if you require Cisco-specific features like LEAP authentication, you'll need a type II PCMCIA slot for your Cisco card. A PC card expansion pack is available for the iPAQ, but not the Toshiba. Adding a PC card expansion pack makes any PDA bigger and heavier. That's why there are many 802.11b compact flash (CF) cards for PDAs on the market now. SyChip recently announced an 802.11b secure digital (SD) card.

You can add memory to other PDAs to meet your 64 MB requirement, but doing so may limit other expansion options. For example, I use my HP Jornada 567 with a type II PC card adapter that works with 802.11 PCMCIA cards like your Cisco 350. However, the PC card adapter fits into the Jornada's CF card slot, so I cannot simultaneously use a CF card to boost the Jornada 567's 32 MB of RAM. However, the PC card adapter has its own slot that accepts SD and MMC memory cards, so I can add memory that way instead.

This was first published in February 2003

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