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Hands-On Review - HP's Jornada 525

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While neither the fastest nor smallest PDA, the HP Jornada 525 Pocket PC is perfect for educators looking for a high-quality, low-end PDA. Part of the Jornada Pocket PC series, the Jornada 525 offers a 133 MHz 32-bit Hitachi processor with 16 MB of RAM. It weighs 8 oz. and measures 5.2"x 3.1" x 0.7", which makes it just small enough to fit in your pocket, but heavy enough so you won't forget that it's there.

The Jornada 525 is housed in a metal case with rubberized sides, which started to come off the unit immediately after I received it. It lacks the hard-cover flip lid that comes standard with higher-end Jornada models, though it is available as an add-on accessory. Instead, this model comes with a leather pouch that includes a hidden, and hard to find, sleeve to hold the stylus. The Jornada 525 includes a 3.75" color display with 8-bit color, which is just right for an electronic organizer, but is inadequate for displaying high-quality Web pages or other digital images.

It comes with the Pocket PC versions of Microsoft Windows, Word, Excel, Outlook and Reader. The Jornada 525 includes Windows Media Player to listen to digital files such as MP3s, and features a built-in voice recorder, which is a great feature for any busy educator. The addition of four configurable quick-launch keys on the front of the PDA is another great feature. These quick-launch keys let you jump from one application to the next with the touch of a button.

The Jornada 525 also lets you choose how you want to input data: you can use the stylus and the touch-screen, the handwriting-recognition software, or attach a keyboard. It comes with a CompactFlash Type I card slot located conveniently at the top of the unit, but only offers a serial port with a serial sync cable. This model in the HP Jornada series d'es not have USB connection options, which may cause a problem for some - especially tech-savvy users who don't like to wait around while their PDA transfers files or synchronizes with their PC. Overall, the HP Jornada 525 is great for educators who need an easy-to-use, affordable PDA with all the basic features to help them survive in today's wireless world. Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, CA, (800) 552-8500, www.hp.com.

Grade: B -

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/2002 issue of THE Journal.

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