Fujitsu Siemens LOOX 720 review

4 out of 5
£350

For

Twin expansion and a built-in digital camera

Against

Isn’t semi-rugged so may be prone to accidental damage

Fujitsu Siemens may not be the first company you think of when deciding on a PDA but with the release of the LOOX 720 that may be about to change. We recently reviewed the HP iPAQ hx2410, which offers dual expansion and dual wireless connectivity - in the form of 802.11b Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It seems with the LOOX 720 that Fujitsu Siemens is aiming for exactly the same market, as this latest handheld offers exactly the same options.

What’s more, Fujitsu Siemens as also opted for the same processor and internal memory allocation in the form the Intel PXA270 processor running at 520MHz and 128MB of internal memory. This isn’t the fastest or greatest amount of memory that is available on a PDA today but it’s more than enough to keep you active.

So, if the LOOX 720 is so similar to the iPAQ, why should buyers opt for it instead of going with the familiar HP brand? Using both devices for prolonged periods of time, the simple answer has to be battery life - we simply got more out of the LOOX 720. Obviously, battery life is dependent upon how you use the device but we found that with the LOOX we could use it for a working week for the usual office use or diary and contacts or get a couple of days when using it for playing MP3s as well as taking pictures at a party. Overall, we were impressed with the battery life.

The one feature that may well clinch the LOOX for potential buyers is the built-in digital camera, which is a 1.3-megapixel device offers excellent image clarity is. If you are a field worker or an IT manager, you can use this feature to capture images for use in field reports. With the image quality being on a par with only the latest generation of picture phones, images are better than many people will expect.

A neat twist to the power connector is the addition of an extra USB plug that allows you to hook up an external keyboard, so you can write documents in comfort.

On the downside, the one area where the LOOX falls down is that of build quality. We found it strong enough for standard office use. However, where it loses points against the hx4210 from HP is the lack of semi-rugged features - you simply wouldn’t want to throw the LOOX in your kitbag and expect it to survive a journey without extra protection.

The built-in communications program, ConnectMobility E2C, is extremely easy to use. You can easily switch between your Wireless LAN and Bluetooth. If you have a GPRS or 3G mobile phone, you can simply connect the LOOX to it using Bluetooth and either collect and send email or surf the Internet using the built-in Windows Explorer application.

Verdict

HP may be the Number One player in this space but judging by the merits of the Fujitsu Siemens LOOX 720, that may all be about to change. The choice of expansion and wireless connections makes it an IT managers dream.