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Comparing the Windows CE Handheld PC to the HP Palmtop

Comparing the Windows CE Handheld PC to the HP Palmtop

By Mark Scardina

As the new kid on the block, the Windows CE Handheld PC had the venerable HP Palmtop to use as a benchmark. I thought it would be interesting to put them up against each other in a software and hardware comparison. This article does not take into account any third-party software. While I do not attempt to draw any overall conclusions (preferring to leave that up to each reader), the results are quite interesting, and I believe they portend a bright future for Windows CE and Handheld PCs.

Specifications Comparison

Features and Capabilities

HP 200LX

Typical Windows CE HPC

Operating System

DOS 5.0 and System Manager

Windows CE

Included Applications

LapLink, Lotus 1-2-3, cc:Mail, PIM, Database, NoteTaker, WorldTime, System ,Macros, Pocket Quicken, Filer, DataComm, Stop Watch, HP Calc, Application Manager

Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Mail, Pocket Internet Explorer, PIM, Explorer, Calculator, World Clock

Included Connectivity

LapLink Remote and Connectivity Pack

Windows CE Explorer (req.Win95)

Processor

80186 @ 8MHz

Risc Processor at 33-40MHz

Screen

640x200 mono or 320x200 with 4 levels of gray scale

480x240 with 4 levels of gray scale

Backlighting

No

Selected models

Keyboard

80 keys inc. 8 Application Keys

61 Keys

Pointing Device

None (not req.) Can use serial Mouse

Pen

Power

2 AA batteries or AC Adapter. Can use AAs and internally recharge

2 AAs, Rechargeable Battery Pack, or AC rechargeable Adapter. Can use rechargeable AAs but must be externally recharged

PCMCIA Support

One Type II Slot

One Type II Slot

IR Support

Serial IR Support

IrDA Support

Printing Capability

Serial Printer or Serial-Parallel Adapter required

None

Printer Emulations

Epson FX-80, HP LaserJet, IBM ProPrinter

None

Supports SRAM PC Cards

Yes

Yes

Supports ATA Flash Cards

Yes

Yes

Supports Linear Flash Cards

Yes with included driver

No

Supports Modem PC Cards

Yes

Yes

Included RAM/Storage

2MB or 4MB (opt 5/6MB upgrade)

2MB or 4MB

Dimensions

1" H x 6.2" W x 3.4" D

1" H x 6.9" W x 3.7" D

Weight

11 oz.

13.4 oz

Can Run DOS Programs

Yes (Those not requiring x386 or above processor)

No

Can Run Windows 3.x Programs

Can run Windows 3.0 or below if Win 3.0 installed

No

Can Run Windows 95 Programs

No

No

Can Run Windows CE Programs

No

Yes

Supports EMS Memory

Yes, with optional Driver

No

Numeric Keypad

Yes

No

Sound Support

.SND Files and Alarms

.WAV Files and Alarms

Word Processor Comparison

Windows CE Handheld PCs include Pocket Word, which is a subset of Word for Windows. It has most of the word processor functions without the desktop publishing and graphics capabilities of the desktop version. It reads and writes ASCII text files and a proprietary .PWD format that compresses the data. Word .DOC files can be imported and .PWD files can be exported with a Windows utility or HPC Explorer.

The HP 200LX includes Memo as a basic word processor. Besides reading and writing ASCII text files, it supports limited formatting and outlining when using its proprietary .DOC format. This format is not exportable to other word processors.

Features and Capabilities

HP 200LX Memo

Windows CE Pocket Word

Document Size Available Memory

400K

Available Memory

Character Formatting

Normal, Bold, and Underline

Normal, Bold, Italics, Underline

Paragraph Formatting

Left Justified

Left, Center, Right Justified

File Type Import

ASCII

ASCII (Word for Windows with HPC) Explorer

File Type Save As

ASCII and MEMO .DOC Format

ASCII, Pocket Word .PWD Format

Font Support

Courier

Arial, Comic Sans MS, Courier New, MS Sans Serif, Symbol, Terminal, Times New Roman, and Wingdings

Outlining

Yes

Yes

Templates

Smart Clip

No

Zoom Modes

40x16, 64x18, 80x25

No

Undo

No

Yes

Macros

Yes, System

No

Graphics Support

No

No

Search and Replace

Yes

Yes

Multiple Files Open at One Time

No

Yes

Spell Checker

No

No

PIM Comparison

Windows CE Handheld PCs include an Information Manager that incorporates three applications: Calendar, Contacts and Tasks. These applications can be kept in sync with Schedule+ with the included HPC Explorer for Windows 95. The Tasks application can double as a project manager due to its category function. The HP 200LX has an Appointment Book application that includes a ToDo list manager. A separate Phone Book application handles contacts, addresses and phone numbers. Syncing with a PC version is available with an optional connectivity pack.

Appointment Book vs. Calendar

Features and Capabilities

HP 200LX Appointment Book

Windows CE Calendar

Views

Day, Week, Month, 6 Month

Day, Week

Alarms

Yes - Sound and Message

Yes - Sound, Message, and Light

Appointment Types

Time and Event

Time and Event

Repeating Appointments

Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, Custom

Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly

Undo

Yes

No

Find Function

Yes

No

Sync with PC PIMS

Yes, with optional CPACK

Yes with included HPC Explorer

Password Support

File Level

No

Phone Book vs. Contacts

Features and Capabilities

HP 200LX Phone Book

Windows CE Contacts

Records Supported

Combined Business/Home

Business and Personal

Custom Fields

No

Yes

Notes

Yes

Yes

Number of Phone Numbers

4

8-12

Custom Display of Record List

Yes

Yes

Undo

Yes

No

Sort Options

3 Field Customizable

Alphabetical by Name

Find Function

Yes

Yes

Subset Functions

Yes - 16 Definable

No

Import/Export

Yes, with optional CPACK

Yes with included HPC Explorer

Password Support

File level

No

ToDo's vs. Tasks

Features and Capabilities

HP 200LX ToDo's

Windows CE Tasks

Priority Support

Custom

1 -9, A - Z

Notes

Yes

Yes

Recurring

Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, Custom

Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly

Duration

Days

Time and Days

Views

Daily All

Daily All, Completed, Active

Carry Forward

Yes

No

Categories

No

Yes

Find Function

Yes

No

Alarms

No

Yes

Password

File Level

No

Spreadsheet Comparison

Windows CE Handheld PCs include Pocket Excel, which is a subset of Excel for Windows. Its largest area of compatibility is with the available functions, as it does not support macros, data, and graphs. It reads and writes to a compressed .PXL format that can be exchanged with Excel using HPC Explorer for Win95. The HP 200LX includes a virtually complete version of Lotus 1-2-3 version 2.4. Support is included for @functions, macros, data functions, and graphing. It reads and writes standard Lotus .WK1 files and no conversion is required.

Features and Capabilities

HP 200LX Lotus 1-2-3

Windows CE Pocket Excel

Spreadsheet Size

Available memory

Available memory

Macro Support

Yes

No

File Type Import

Lotus .WK1, Text Files

Excel .XLS with HPC Explorer

Undo

No

Yes

Graphing

Yes

No

Data Functions

Yes

No

Function Support

Yes

Yes

Zoom Modes

64x18, 80x25

No

Maximum Rows and Columns

8192 rows x 256 columns

16384 rows x 256 columns

Search and Replace

Yes

Yes

Multiple Files Open at One Time

No

Yes

Spreadsheet Linking

Yes

No

Calculator Comparison

Windows CE HPCs include a built-in basic Calculator designed primarily to provide basic 4-function arithmetic with square root and percent. Entries are displayed in "paper tape" format with an on-screen keyboard available for stylus input.

The HP 200LX includes a sophisticated multifunction calculator suited to a wide range of uses. Most types of calculations can be performed, and a "solver" is included for equations and custom functions. A converter for currency, length, area, mass, volume, and temperature is also included.

Features and Capabilities

HP 200LX Calculator

Windows CE Calculator

Arithmetic Functions

Yes

Yes

Date Functions

Yes

No

Time Value of Money Functions

Yes

No

Business Functions

Yes

No

Statistical Functions

Yes

No

Conversion Functions

Yes

No

Math Functions

Yes

No

Equation Solver

Yes

No

Custom Functions

Yes

No

Number Formats

Fixed Decimal, Scientific, Engineering

Fixed Decimal

Calculator Modes

Arithmetic and RPN

Arithmetic

E-mail Comparison

Windows CE HPCs include a built-in e-mail client that interfaces to standard POP3 Internet mail service providers. It interfaces with the Contact Address book in the Information Manager, providing a centralized client list. Connections are via a modem and a PPP connection. Only text messages can be sent or received at this time. The HP 200LX includes the mobile version of cc:Mail that interfaces to any dial-in connection to a cc:Mail Post Office. Local and Network address books are supported, as well as automatic directory updates. Binary or text file attachments can be sent or received. Internet mail access must be through a gateway, such as the ESP Networks.

Features and Capabilities

HP 200LX cc:Mail Mobile

Windows CE Pocket Mail

Mail System

cc:Mail 8-bit binary

POP3 7-bit ASCII

File Attachments

Yes

No

Address Books

Yes - Local and Network

Yes - Local

Address Updates

Automatic

Manual

Message Formatting

Plain text

Plain text

Quoting

Yes

Yes

Message Management

User Assigned Folders

User Assigned Folders

Data Terminal Comparison

Windows CE HPCs include a built-in basic Terminal application designed primarily to log onto a text-based system. No binary file transfer support is provided. There is also no scripting capability to facilitate the session. Multiple communication configurations can be saved as icons.

The HP 200LX includes a basic communications application called DataComm. Support is included for all standard protocols, as well as a Server mode under Kermit. A basic script file function allows for automating logons or basic comm sessions.

Features and Capabilities

HP 200LX DataComm

Windows CE Terminal

Multiple Profiles

Yes

Yes

Terminal Emulations

VT100, ANSI, TTY, Custom

VT100, TTY

File Transfer Protocols

Text, Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem, and Kermit

No

Screen Capture

Yes

No

Scripting Support

Yes

No

Speeds Supported

300 to 115K

110 to 115K

Programmable Function Keys

4

None

Pricing and Contact Information

iPhone Life magazine


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