Casiopeia E-115 I have owned a PalmPilot Professional and then a Palm IIIx. A few weeks ago I decided to upgrade to a colour device. I knew that if I wanted a colour Palm device then I would have to go for a Palm IIIc, however I got the chance to try a Casiopeia E-115 for two weeks. The Casiopeia E-115 is a colour PocketPC running WindowsCE. When it arrived, I opened the box and the first thing that hit me was the size, the silver case looked OK but when I picked it up I discovered it was very thick, and quite heavy. I pulled out the light plastic stylus (Could have been a lot better) and pressed the small awkwardly positioned ON button. The screen flashed up the Windows logo on the VERY clear and bright colour screen, the screen was far better that the Palm IIIc's. The cradle was a bit light and it was sometimes a little tricky to locate the PocketPC in, but it looked OK. Two cables plug into the back, one to connect it to the computer and one to charge the built-in battery, which I found lasted quite well. On the Casio website it says it has a battery life of 8 hours, well I would say it was a couple of hours less, but still OK. The strongest point of the Casiopeia E-115 is it's screen....at least it is when your indoors. The E-115 is a lot like a vampire, as you step out of a building and sunshine hits the computer, it explodes, turns to dust and runs through your fingers. OK...so I'm exaggerating a little, but the screen becomes useless in light. Windows CE The WindowsCE OS looks great, but is nowhere near as simple as the PalmOS. The START menu in the top-left of the screen drops down so you can access programs and the control panel. A clock is always displayed in the top-right. I began by going to the Microsoft Media Player, it had the same skinable interface as on your desktop computer and the sound quality was very good, especially through earphones. The way files are organi
sed on Win CE devices is far to complicated for a PDA and memory has to be shared between storage space and operating memory. Although this PDA has 32Mb of RAM, about half of it has to be kept for operating memory and 3rd party programs are so big that only a few will fit in the remaining space. AS for 3rd party software, there is nowhere near as many applications for Win CE as for the Palm and most aren’t as good, games for Windows CE benefit from the excellent screen and good sound though. Windows CE exchanges documents with Pocket Word and Word very simply and makes word processing on the E-115 better than on a Palm. I found the E-115 very good for multimedia, but after the novelty wears off, when would you want the multimedia functions? Pocket Word and Excel are very useful. Apart from the screen, the hardware has too many faults and Windows CE is too cluttered and complicated to get anything done. One thing that the E-115 has taught me is that TFT colour screens are no good outside, so, I have decided to buy a black and white Palm Vx and some garlic to keep away Windows CE.
I have to use PDA's (Personal Digital Assistants) at work as I do a lot of R & D into this area and as a result I have had extensive use of the Cassiopeia, and I have to admit that I am impressed. The Cassiopeia looks stylish and sleek, it is a little on the wide side, but once you get a whiff of its capabilities you soon forget about this minor point. The device itself runs on Windows CE which is a watered down version of the standard Windows operating system on a P.C. However you still get full access to programs such as Word, Excel, and Internet Explorer just to name a view. The specs are that it has a 32MB internal memory, of which half is dedicated to running the device and the applications on there. The rest can be used to save work or to install new applications or games which you can download easily enough from the Internet. It comes with a stylus pen used to navigate the touch screen system; the pen is also used to enter 'Graffiti' style text and to type on the virtual keyboard. If you have an infrared handset with a modem you can also create a connection to the Internet whilst you are out and about. It does run a bit slow, but who can complain when you are accessing the Internet on a device that is only as big as two cigarette boxes stuck together! The nice thing about this PDA is the ability to insert external 'card' devices, such as a digital camera. You can have loads of fun with this particular card, but it will drain the batteries in about 45 mins!! Otherwise the average battery life is around 8 hours, and 3 to charge. I would highly recommend this PDA for anyone who is looking to buy one. It is easy to use, stylish and not too big.