Toshiba e740: Pocket PC Sweet Spot - 2

Toshiba's Pocket PC E740 supports 802.11b without a size or cost increase.

Toshiba e740
Toshiba Corp.s $599 Pocket PC e740 boasts both integrated support for 802.11b wireless networking and a speedy new 400Mhz Intel Corp. Xscale processor—without added cost or size compared to its otherwise comparably-equipped Pocket PC rivals.

Although the e740s new chip and built-in wireless functionality certainly caught our attention, we were just as impressed with the devices dual expansion slots, removable battery and overall excellent design, prompting us to give the e740 an Analysts Choice award.

The e740 runs Microsoft Corp.s Pocket PC 2002 mobile operating system, which includes applications for Terminal Services, MSN instant messaging, and secure communications via VPN. The device, which began shipping last month, is uniquely well positioned to take advantage of these networking functions, thanks to its integrated—and well-implemented—support for 802.11b.

In tests, we could switch the WLAN functionality on or off either with a small switch at the bottom of the device or through a software control on the Pocket PC taskbar. We were also impressed with the on-device utilities for discovering and setting up wireless links, effectively fitting a lot of functionality into a spare, usable interface.

The e740 ships with 64MB of RAM and Secure Digital and Compact Flash Type II peripheral expansion slots. The OS and key applications are stored in 32MB of software-upgradeable flash ROM.

We experienced only minor speed gains from the e740s 400MHz Xscale chip, as compared to the performance weve seen from other, 206MHz Intel StrongARM-based Pocket PC 2002 devices weve reviewed. The speed gains were most noticeable while launching MS Reader applications, which weve previously found poky.

The e740 is one of the earliest Pocket PCs to feature an Xscale chip, so it remains unclear whether the Pocket PC 2002 OS the device runs is optimally situated to take advantage of the new Intel processor. We expect to see larger gains from Xscale once devices running the next version of Microsofts mobile OS, Windows, begin appearing.

The e740 measures 5 inches tall by 3.2 inches wide by 0.7 inches thick, and weighs 6.7 ounces. The device features a scroll wheel control as well as the circular directional device customarily found on Pocket PCs.

The e740 features a front-lit, reflective thin-film-transistor display that measures 3.5 inches diagonally. We found the display readable both outdoors and in, but wed like to see the e740 include a brightness control that responds to ambient light (as do Compaq Computer Corp.s iPaq 3600 and the Jornada 560 series).

Toshiba also offers an ingenious hardware add-on that provides VGA and USB ports, for presenting device content on an external display and for hooking up an external keyboard, respectively. We did not, however, have the opportunity to test the $99 add-on.

The e740 comes bundled with software for presenting PowerPoint slides or for outputting the devices display on an external monitor.

Technical Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at

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