A nice unit but with several limitations
I bought this to replace an NEC 750c. This has a larger processor and the same size and form factor. It also has a different processor and a much larger pool of available software. Pros: Instant on. That’s the biggest advantage. Sit down, open the unit up and its on. No booting, as in zero seconds, as in instantaneous, the machine is on! This is very cool! Very useable keyboard. Its almost full size which means touch typing is possible, and if you have smaller fingers, it works even better. No finger stretching. Touch screen. This is very convenient. Because the keyboard is very close to the screen, you can use your fingernail to move and position the cursor. This actually speeds up typing as you don’t have to shift over to the mouse. Long battery life. I’ve been getting 1-3 hours, but the batteries are old. New, the literature says these can get 6-8 hours. Adding storage space is now cheap! Compact Flash (CF) cards are approaching $10 for a Gigabyte! That is huge, I defy anyone to fill that much space up on a unit like this! A very nice color screen. Large enough to see 12-13 lines of text (single spaced) at the normal use distance, you don’t have to scrunch over the unit. Rugged! There are no moving parts in the unit, and it uses a flash drive. It doesn't need to be babied like a laptop. There are however some disadvantages The sizable keyboard means that this is not a ‘pocketable’ unit. Its not huge, about 1/2 the size of a 'real' laptop and it's very light. (1.5 pounds?) Parts are far and few between. You can’t even buy battery packs. But, with a bit of work, you can put new batteries in the pack. You’ll need 2, (~$5-6 each) but they need to be soldered in. The screen is not useable outside. Not at all. Even sitting under a tree, the screen is just not bright enough to see. You’ll need to pull the shade down on airplanes. The original OS is buggy, and has 'viewers' instead of programs that you can use to edit ms office files. Fortunately there are some folks who've found a way to make this thing better. Google 'cmonex' and you can get a program to replace the OS on the unit with a system that is much more stable, and has all of the 'good' programs from previous versions (i.e. the pocket word and pocket excel) and retains the viewers and explorer from the newest version. There are also lots of useful apps that you may or may not need. The process does require a bit of work (your rewriting the flash rom on the unit) but the instructions are very good. In conclusion; This is the last of the NEC units with this form factor, which I like very much due to its portability, ruggedness and useability. I think that NEC rushed this to market and the stock OS was bad! Luckily, there is a way to fix it!Read full review
Cool, but don't get your hopes up
I really like this little guy. If you're like me and you like messing with yesterday's high tech stuff at a lower cost than original, it's fun to play with. Downside is you have to work at it to get it to do things you want it to do. The main problem is that the whole Handheld PC thing never took off the way people thought it would. Generally, people want the screen and the apps, and can leave the keyboard at home (example: iPod Touch / iPhone) That being said, softare - even abandon-ware is hard to find for HPC. I'm not saying that there isn't any, you just have to hunt. Yes - people put linux on these things. No, I havn't done it. I might, but right now I use my MP 900 for taking notes at school. It works great for that. Given that you don't have Win 98 to XP (Nightmare with vista) and you have time to play with it.Read full review
NEC MobilePro 900
This handheld PC is nice for taking notes during class while voice recording. It has a very nice battery life. Nice keyboard size for touch typing. Cons: very difficult to use the internet using PCMCIA wireless cards. If you intent to go wifi with this then i would not recommend it. If you think you are tech saavy then you can try. You can go with using this wired to the internet via modem or LAN card. Drivers are very difficult to find. Screen resolution could have been better. Very limited functions since this is an old Handheld PC.
The truth behind the Mobilepro 900
This was the last of the NEC HPC line. It diverged from earlier Mobilepros in that it uses the XScale processor, a newer version of the ARM processor found in the Jornada HPC 720/728. This means it runs the newest and best of the HPC software for Windows CE 3.0. It is also the best built of the Mobilepros, carefully designed and reinforced. With 32mb of internal flash ram, you never lose data due to a power failure or software failure requiring hard reset. A feature envied by Jornada 720 owners. On the other hand, it is not portable like the Jornada either. The cons: It does't fit in your pocket. It needs to be carried in a small pouch about the size of a double CD case. The DSTN screen stinks outdoors and is practically impossible to see. All DSTN color units are this way. Even with the 400 mHz processor, it handles animated graphics marginally as do all HPC units no matter the brand. The pros: A real workhorse for typing on and data entry. Responsive touch screen and great colors indoors. Lots of HPC software available to do most anything. There are hundreds of great utilities, games, and productivity programs available for free. Batteries last a long time...you can use this thing for well over 6-7 hours without a recharge. Try that with a laptop. Instant on means just that...no warm up time. Works great with wireless networks and the Windows CE 3.0 offers a much better Internet Explorer than you will find with the CE 2.11 machines such as the Mobilepro 780 and earlier, or the Jornada 690 and earlier. One great thing is that NEC upgraded this machine to CE.NET 4.2 during the last year of production. This newer operating system features a full Internet Explorer 6.0 which allows secure connections and much more. With the additional install of Jeode Java, nearly any site is accessible except those with propriatory connections. Again AOL seems to just be stubborn. The CE.NET operating system did away with the old Pocket Office Suite of applications, and instead, separate 3rd party applications are available. The software changes allow for many more hardware devices such as CD roms, USB memory drives, cameras, and much more to be used with the Mobilepro. With the install of the DLLS from the HPC 2000 operating system, the 900C runs not only all of those older HPC ARM programs, but will also run many pocketpc 2000, 2002 applications as well. This is really the ultimate HPC in HVGA format. To see more info, visit HPCNEC.COM for non-partisan information, or the forums at HPCFactor.com to talk with real everyday users.Read full review