Dell Axim X5 made Pocket PCs affordable

The Dell Axim X5 was Dell’s first foray in the handheld computing market. It was also an instant hit, largely because it was priced at almost 50 per cent of the existing Pocket PC prices. The buzz began when Microsoft owner Bill Gates demonstrated it during a speech about personal mobile technologies at Comdex 2002.

The market was therefore ready when Dell introduced its two Axim X5 models: the entry level version which has a 300 MHz CPU with 32 MB of RAM and the advanced version that has a 400 MHz CPU with 64 MB of RAM. The only criticism that X5 attracted was for its size. This was because the advanced version weighed 196 grams and its dimensions were 128x81x18 mm. It was considered bulky by several users.

However, there was considerable satisfaction with technology, which was state of the art, and the accessories. The Axim X5 uses XScale processor which packs a lot of power. There are two expansion slots that the user can connect to devices like keyboards, cameras and Bluetooth cards. The advanced version comes with a stylus, a cradle, a special protection case, a user guide and a CD with Activesync 3.5, Outlook 2000 and some other software.

The Axim X5 comes with two keyboards, a cover and a Margi Presenter-To-Go CF-VGA adapter. The Margi device can be used to arrange a mobile presentation on the move. It has a mono speaker and built-in mono microphone, with a jack for stereo headphones. It has a 3.5”, 320x240 pixels TFT screen, which can display more than 65,000 colors.

The Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 Premium software gives Axim X5 a great edge over its rivals. The user gets to use applications like Internet Explorer, MS Reader, Media Player Pocket Outlook, Word and Excel. The other useful applications are Dell Backup that enables users to make backup copies of important files and Dell Switcher that allows users to close down files or to switch between applications.

The front panel of the Axim X5 has a four-way joystick and several functional keys, which are also called application shortcut buttons and are meant for calendar, contacts, mail and home. The reset button can be pressed easily, but is not likely to react if it is touched by accident. The jog dial is useful for scrolling and for adjusting volume, without using the keyboard.

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