Psion – V.90/GSM Travel Modem review

portable modem for Psion Revo or Series 5
Photo of Psion – V.90/GSM Travel Modem

The Psion Travel Modem is designed as an add-on for either the new Psion Revo or the Psion Series 5. It connects to either, not using a cable but via the infra-red feature built into EPOC32, Psion’s operating system. You simply plug the modem into either the phone line or a GSM mobile, and place it within sight (i.e. less than four feet away on a level surface) of your Psion PDA. Once that’s done, you can potentially browse the Web or send and receive e-mails using a GSM phone or landline connection (the latter offering up to 56Kbps at V.90 spec).

A minor amount of hands-on configuring of your Psion is required but the excellent manual walks you through this step by step. You’ll also have to install the EasySwitch software if you plan to use the modem outside the UK. This configures the modem to accept the varying line voltages in other countries. However, you don’t get a bag of phone socket converters needed to use the phone elsewhere – you’ll have to buy these from somebody like Xircom.

The modem runs off two AA batteries or an external adapter, the latter conspicuous by its absence in the box. We were a little upset that a Ni-Cad or Li-Ion rechargeable battery pack wasn’t included, although we reckon that the two AAs should last for quite a few hours of online use.

We tested the modem with a Psion Revo and had no trouble getting online once we’d configured the unit correctly. But we have two gripes: the first is the size of the unit which, at around five inches long, dwarfed our Revo – it should really be a little more portable. Second is the price, which is rather high for something that is so simple and which is fast becoming an essential tool for PDA users.

All purchasers are entitled to a GSM connection cable once they send off the enclosed form, although at the moment only certain Nokia and Ericsson phones are supported (currently Nokia 5110, 5130, 5190, 6110, 6150 and 6190 and Ericsson 600, 700, 800, T10 and T18).

Company: Psion

Contact: 01908 261686

Given the world's increasing dependence on the Web, and particularly e-mail, this is an essential add-on for all Psion Series 5 and Revo owners. But the asking price is bordering on exploitation. We hope that it reflects the level of technology required to squeeze an infra-red modem into this five inch package, and not an attempt to capitalise on a captive audience.