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  1.    #1  
    A little backstory(err...RANT):

    I went to Best Buy with a 10% coupon to buy a new Zaurus. Took a long time to do everything. Then they forgot to do the 10% discount so they had to do it again (now I feel bad for the cash register guy). Finally I leave and we get on the highway, anxious I open the box and find the Zaurus manuals, the Sync Cradle, but no Zaurus. So I had to go back and get a new one. But I did finally get one that works...

    When you first take the Zaurus out of the box...

    The first thing you must do is recharge it. The charging cord(s) is much like a laptops. (one has a standard sized plug with a transformer on the other end that the cord that plugs into the Z or cradle.) When you first recharge the Z you won't be able to turn it on until there is enough power in the battery even when its plugged in (a feature I assume is there so people don't lose all their data because they get the sudden urge to play froot). But anyways an orange LED is turned on while the battery is charging and turns off when its finished. My charge took only about 2 hours to complete. Battery life has been good so far.

    When you first turn on the Z...

    You get shown a Linux boot script like when any Linux box gets turned on, then a Zaurus logo, and then a screen to enter your personal details (lots of fields) and then a screen to enter your passcode, and finally Qtopia. Anyone who hasn't seen Linux would probably be turned away by being shown the boot up, but nothing that bothered me. From then on you don't have to really deal with it because the Z just goes into suspend mode.

    The GUI...

    Coming from using Launcher III on my Visor the GUI was very intuitive. On top there are tabs. When tab isn't opened then just its icon is showing. Also you can tap the Q in the lower left hand corner to bring up a menu with the programs that you can open like PPC. I find it to be a cross between XP's look with OSX put in a bit. But anyways it comes with some different styles you can use (Windows, Light, QPE) and an assortment of color schemes you can use them.

    The Screen...

    Doesn't seem to be that scratchable. Still haven't gotten a scratch and have put no screen protector on it (waiting for one to be made, hint, hint, fellowes). Colors are very nice. I could use the built-in picture viewer to rotate a picture of my cat then make it full screen and look real nice. The screen seems to be easier to view than my Vdx, you can choose how bright you want that back light (I chose the middle because bright can be really bright and I don't need it that bright, my battery power can go somewhere else), and how long you want before it dims, and then finally turns off. The screen is unviewable outside with the backlight on, however turning it off by holding down the menu button makes it viewable outside in the sun. I also liked that it didn't have a designated graffiti area like most Palm OS devices, because that was the thing I hated most about teh Palm OS....

    The apps...

    Seem to be about the same or better than the ones I had on my Visor. I enjoyed the color graphics with a lot of games and other apps. Just like the Palm the built-in notepad sucks, I use Hancom Word in this like I used WordSmith in my Visor. Also I liked that a lot of the apps that were payware if I wanted them on Palm OS had free versions available on the Zaurus (such as a Graphing Calculator program, web browser, and Hancom office suite). It came with a scrable game, solitare, asteroids, and a few others. There's even an RTS game available for it that has some decent graphics. It was also fun using gnuboy to play game boy games, however gnyboy doesn't support sound right now. Finally the image viewer tends to cause lots of out of memory errors.

    The keyboard...

    It l33t w00t! To reveal it all you do is pull at the bottom sides of the device and it is there, ready for the using. I like holding the device and using my thumbs with they keyboard. I still haven't used the handwriting recognition program so I can't really review that....


    At first I had trouble syncing. After figuring out it was because XP decided to create a network bridge between the Z and my LAN I just deleted the bridge and the Z connects perfect every time. Not like my Visor where I would have to blow at the contacts and resteat the Visor. The Zaurus conects firmly to the sync connection (not much like the palm one, more like the way you connect a USB device). You just have to remember to move the sync connection protector out of the way on the Z. Once its in the cradle the Qtopia desktop try turns green and I can upload files to it, download files to it, or sync my calender, todo list, and address book. If you want to sync documents you have to download them from the documents tab of Qtopia desktop.

    As far as installing apps, you drag them from Windows Explorer into the documents tab of Qtopia desktop to dowload them to the Z, then install them using the install app on the Z. The Z is very flexible allowing you to download any type of file you want to it, even if it doesn't recognize the type. So you can use the Z as a "giant floppy" out of the box.

    Playing MP3s...

    Very nice, just stick the headphones into the headphone jack and hit play.

    Things I noticed that I didn't like not mentioned anywhere else...

    There was a lack of SD card protector when I got it. It didn't come with a case like my Visor. Also there is a lack of AtomSmash, AvantGo, and Bejeweled for this thing.

    Things I like I didn't mention anywhere else...

    It comes with a nice sturdy flip protector for the screen. Seems to be a better material than the Visor one. Also liked having lots of hardware buttons. Finally I liked how I could beam all my stuff from my Visor to Zaurus without compalint. And I liked how beam recieve was set to auto-off because on my Visor I felt it just drained batteries since I didn't use it 99% of the time.

    All in all...

    The Zaurus met or exceeded my expectations in most areas. I would defintly recommend it to anyone who is comfortable with computers (because fixing my sync problem required some networking knowledge). However computer phobes should stay with their Palms.
  2. #2  
    Thanks for the report -- I'm following this with interest. I'll be interested to hear what you think of the handwriting recognition software when you get a chance to analyze it; and what Palm OS apps you miss the most after a few weeks time.

    I hadn't realized that you had that many problems with your Visor when you were using that.
    Jeff Meyer

    "And he died like he lived: with his mouth wide open."
  3. #3  
    I think it was a PIC forum post, but I heard somewhere that you could put a Palm OS emulator onto the Zaurus and gain back most of these programs (I'm not sure if AvantGo would work, though...)
    Blue Visor Deluxe ~ Clie T615 ~ Zire 71 ~ Treo 650 ~ Palm Centro
  4. #4  
    "It l33t w00t!"

    Sounds cool, but what does that mean?
  5. #5  
    Originally posted by terrysalmi
    I think it was a PIC forum post, but I heard somewhere that you could put a Palm OS emulator onto the Zaurus and gain back most of these programs (I'm not sure if AvantGo would work, though...)
    Some folks have been able to get XCopilot (an old PalmOS emulator for Linux) to work on the Zaurus but it requires installing an X11 environment and booting into that. In other words, it takes a decent amount of "hacking" and when you're runing X11, you lose access to all the standard Zaurus apps.

    There is a developer working on a port of Pose for Qtopia (the Zaurus' normal GUI environment) but a release is probably still a couple months away - and there's always the risk that Palm will send their "Army of Darkness" (i.e. lawyers) to kill it just as they've done with PocketPC versions.
    <ul><li>Dave Kessler<br>President - Kopsis, Inc.</li></ul>
  6.    #6  
    Originally posted by dampeoples
    "It l33t w00t!"

    Sounds cool, but what does that mean?
    Reallly, really, nice. And people see the Z and think its really cool, I show the keyboard and they go Holy Crap.
  7.    #7  
    Okay I just finished playing with the character recognition. It is natural handwriting not graffiti (I like it better). You can customize how to make the letters (so if you want to make it all graffiti shaped you can). You can change how long it times out for mult-stroke characters. So if you write a little slowly that's okay. Also the screen is divided into uppercase letters, lowercase, and numbers. I like how it shows the characters as you draw them, and there is even a line if it makes it easier to make neater writing. However the only limitation I found kind of annoying was that it won't register more than 2 seperate strokes. So you have to make a lowercase h or e in the uppercase area, unless you can make those uppercase letters in one or two strokes and retrain the recognition software. All in all I find it a nice change from graffiti. But I still like the hide-away keyboard .

    Other Stuff:
    I found a "Today" application a la PPC. Pretty nice. I haven't tried it yet but there is a script that you can use to make Today come up every time you power the device on. A small annoyance I have is that when you turn on the Z it takes a second for the backlight to turn on. But its just enough time to grab the stylus so it isn't too bad . Also you can customize how long until the light is dimmed, then turned off, then when it is automatically suspended. You can also change the default brightness if you want to save battery. By default its on the highest setting, but I find even the middle setting to be sufficiantly bright. Many people I heard had problems with battery power. I brought it to school fully charged today (Zaurus measures battery power in 25% increments) and it was still on the highest on the battery meter.
  8.    #8  
    After more playing I found a program that backs up the entire Z to a SD or CF card in the settings section . Don't have to worry about Backup Buddy or the like anymore .

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