HP 360LX

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The 360LX was one of Hewlett-Packard's first Handheld PCs (HPC). (There are earlier models, but I don't recommend them for reasons of software incompatibility.) It was released in 1997. It has a 60Mhz CPU, 8MB RAM, CF card slot, PC card slot, keyboard, touchscreen, and runs WinCE 2.0.


[edit] Description

The screen is the main reason I decided to buy one. When HP started developing HPCs, they decided to ignore the standard set by Microsoft and use a 6" HVGA widescreen with a resolution of 640 by 240. This was a brilliant decision; it's hard for me to describe exactly how much more useful this screen is when compared to a regular PDA.

The first nice feature is the backlight because it can be turned off. I've tried the 360LX under may lighting conditions (from bright sunlight to a darkened room), and it has worked in all lighting conditions. Plus, there are keyboard buttons for the back light and contrast. I don't have to be able to read the screen in order to adjust it.

The next great feature is the battery. The 360LX runs on 2 AA batteries. It also has a backup battery, and supports hot swapping the AAs. I think I've gotten about 7 hours use from a pair of rechargeables. The battery situation is also something of a weakpoint; you have to make sure they don't die on you.

I'm not going to discuss the many other things you could do with the 360LX; I'm going to leave that to a masochist. The program load time is too long and the RAM is too small to start and run multiple programs. Also, the screen is grayscale, and some programs won't be able to cope. But it's fine if all you run is Mobipocket, and simply leave it open.


[edit] History

The HP 300LX was the first in this series. It ran Windows CE 1.0 operating system from Microsoft. Unlike other HPCs of the time, the resistive touch screen had an enhanced screen resolution of 640x240 with 4 shades of gray. The HP 320LX, released in 1997, was an improved version of the 300LX. It was largely identical to its sister unit, but included a green backlit screen, an increase in RAM from 2MB to 4MB, and a dedicated compact flash slot. It was also upgradeable to Windows CE 2.0. The 360LX improved the screen to a 16 level grayscale screen with a blue backlight that's easier to read and had an additional PCMCIA slot.

[edit] Reading Experience

I only tested Mobipocket because It's what I use regularly. I used this one; the later versions don't work. I found it to be quite usable.The screen refresh speed is adequate. Unfortunately, this won't become my main reader because there is a bug in this version of the Mobipocket Reader. Screen rotation does not work, so I can't hold it vertically and read. Plus, dictionary lookup is very slow.

[edit] Pro:

  • runs on 2 AA batteries
  • supports Mobipocket
  • keyboard
  • big screen (compared to a PDA) 6.5" 640 x 240 pixels.
  • pocketable
  • back light can be turned on & off

[edit] Con:

  • slow program loading (SH3 processor running at 44 MHz).
  • slow dictionary lookup
  • Mobipocket Reader doesn't support screen rotation
  • weighs just over a pound

[edit] Cost: $65*

  • $55 HP 360LX
  • $10 1GB CF card
  • (I don't include the cost of the batteries or card reader because I already had them.)

[edit] My recommendation:

It's a pretty decent reader for the price. I found it on Ebay from a seller I highly recommend (usedhandhelds). He has quite a few left.

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