Axim X3, X3i Handhelds Demonstrate Dell Has Done Its Homework

Dell's first entry in the handheld computer space-last year's Axim X5-was capable, but I found it too bulky to consider carrying around.

Dells first entry in the handheld computer space—last years Axim X5—was capable, but I found it too bulky to consider carrying around. The latest Axims—the X3 and X3i—best the X5 yet remain affordable. An X3 powered by a 300MHz Intel XScale with 32MB of RAM costs $229, and a version with a 400MHz chip and 64MB of RAM runs about $300.

The $379 Axim X3i, which I tested, offers an 802.11b wireless radio that adds only a nub of an antenna to the top of the units slim form. Both Axims run Windows Mobile 2003 software and include a nice configuration tool that made it easy to set up and switch among my wireless links.

The Axim X3i comes with a removable 950- milliamp-hour battery, and Dell sells extra 950mAh and 180mAh batteries for $49 and $99, respectively. For more details, check out www.dell.com.