If you are on the look-out for a PDA running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC, then mid-priced models that hover towards the £300 mark may seem attractive. In theory they should offer better features than the really budget-priced models, yet they won’t burn quite such a large hole in your pocket as the top-of-the-range hardware. If this mirrors your thinking, then NEC’s MobilePro 250E may be in the running.
This device is a mixed bag in terms of its two core specifications. The processor is Intel’s capable PXA 255. This is not quite top-drawer, as it runs at 300MHz and not the optimum 400MHz, but to be frank, the speed difference shouldn’t affect usability.
Where you may feel the pinch is that only 36MB of RAM is allocated for your own applications and data. As you need to leave some of this free for applications to actually run in, you may find yourself a bit short.
A further 36MB of ROM is available and you can also store software and data here (bit of an oxymoron given that ‘ROM’ stands for ‘Read Only Memory’, but there you go), but as this memory can retain your data even when the internal battery runs down completely you may want to set aside a portion of it for backups.
The long and the short of the memory specification is that you’ll probably need some memory cards to pop into the SD card slot sooner rather than later.
This being a relatively basic PDA there’s no Bluetooth or WiFi support, and the screen is 3.5 inches measured corner-to-corner where some others are 3.8 inches. The screen size differential probably won’t bother you unless you’re used to the slightly larger option, but the lack of Bluetooth might rankle, especially if you have a Bluetooth mobile phone and want to use the Pocket PC for activities like SMS management.
There is a very usable scroll dial wheel on the left side of the casing and a rather large, lozenge-shaped navigation button beneath the screen. The former is better than the latter for moving between and within applications. The unit itself is slim and light; it won’t make much of a dent in your pocket or bag.
Power is supplied by a non-removable battery that NEC says should last for eight hours, but that depends what you do with it. During our test it managed to loop MP3s for two and a half hours, and then carried on providing power for a while, finally stopping altogether after three hours and fifteen minutes. There are Pocket PCs with longer-lasting batteries around.
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