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Home > Hardware Reviews > Mobiles

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Dell Axim x51v

4. Windows Mobile 5.0

Windows Mobile 5.0

If there is an Achilles heel to the Aximx51v, it is with the new OS. Now, in fairness, we know that if we are an early adopter of a new OS, there are bound to be some bugs. The few that I encountered were also encountered by several others as I saw on the forum boards of Aximsite and Dell’s own message boards. But, let’s start with the positive:

  • WM5 has adopted "soft keys" similar to those found on Windows Smartphones. These soft keys reside on the bottom of the screen, and provide context-sensitive commands. The soft keys can be activated either by tapping on them, or by pressing the hardware button associated with that key. When a softkey pulls up a menu, the directional pad can be used to select the option you want. Soft keys allow, with a little patience for the learning curve, a more one-handed operation of the PDA.
  • Persistent storage and Direct 3D graphic capabilities have already been discussed but they are welcome additions in the new OS. Activesync 4.0 is new as well and seems to function pretty much like its predecessor. On the message boards it seems that many are having troubles getting ActiveSync to talk to their primary PC – but I encountered no troubles whatsoever.
  • The Core applications have all been upgraded for WM5. Word Mobile and Excel Mobile both functioned well and documents created on the PC were easily viewed and edited. WM5 also introduces Power Point Mobile which was a great addition. You can only view your slides but it is very nice to carry your Power Point presentations with you.
  • Pocket IE Explorer looks relatively unchanged except for the addition of the soft keys which do allow for easier navigation. Mozilla is preparing a Pocket counter-part to Firefox and I look forward to seeing if that is an improvement over Pocket IE.

Problem areas of the new OS:

I mentioned Battery life issues before – but this seems to be an OS problem. For no reason, at times, the battery drains. During regular use, the battery seems great. The rumor mill says that Microsoft is busy on a ROM update to address this issue.

Another major issue was with SD/CF card recognition. Almost 50% of the time I found that for no good reason, the Axim failed to see my CF card with all my pictures and videos. I never “lost” the SD card – although others in the forums seems to indicate that this occurs on cards 1.0 GB and larger. A soft reset usually restored the ability of the Axim to “see” my CF card – but not always. This certainly led me to load my GPS maps and programs onto the SD card and not the larger CF card which was a bit of a hassle.

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