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robertcloud
Hello, I am a university undergraduate and I have been lugging around an apple powerbook since 10th grade in high school. I have always struggled with the weight and the bulkiness. It is now time to upgrade it and my uncle is going to buy it for $1000.

I certainly planned on going with a 12" ibook but then I became curious about subnotebooks. I learned about the zaurus product from PDAbuyersguide.

I am a humanities student but I am proficient in unix because unix underlies mac osx and I have experimented with the terminal quite a bit.

I would love to have a small computer that I could slip into my pocket and free me from having to carry a backpack.

I am a touch typist and my only real concern about this machine is that I couldn't keep up with the lecture notes. I'm far ahead of what the professer speaks on my laptop because I can easily hit 65 wpm.

I would be interested in the clamshell model. I would need wifi because I am addicted to the internet and the university has wireless.

I would also need to be able to attach an ethernet cable.

Does this machine easily sync with windows? I have a windows desktop which I use for all my heavy duty computing.

Would this be a viable solution for a humanities university student to take notes, browse the internet, download pdfs, and listen to music?

Can I read and edit word files on this machine?

Edit: Oh yes, can I instant message? That is the main way I communicate with my friend.
hubcapboy
hiya rob,

I'm using an sl-6000 as my campus day-to-day computer, and I can keep well ahead of class notes on my infrared keyboard. I can't imaging being that fast on the small keyboard on the clamshells, not just because I'm used to the thumboard on the sl-6000, but because I used to be able to keep up in class on an HP 320LX, which, for those of you who didn't have the good fortune to be stuck with one, was one of the original palmtop greyscale LCD's with the first edition of windows CE. On to your questions:

slip in your pocket: yup, I sometimes keep mine in the inside of my jacket. very james bond.

touch typing: I use a microinnovations pocketop, like a lot of people here. it's supported by the irk driver, and although it's small, they keyboard is "cupped" so your fingers are stopped from going too far. aluminum shell, very worth finding. mine was $3 brand new on ebay.

wifi: clamshells only have wifi as a CF card, the people with clamshells seem to love this, and power to them. the 6000 has it built in, and that means I don't have to play around with CF cards when I move around. I like this better.

ethernet: all I can tell ya is that you'll need to ask around here for a supported ethernet cf card. no experience there.

windows sync: the word "easily" concerns me. word on the street is that they "do" sync with windows. I couldn't tell you. all I can vouch for is that they don't sync with Linux

Internet: yup, 640x480 is surprisingly satisfactory. I never get anything done anymore.

pdf's: qpdf2, load it up and drag around the page on the touch screen.

mp3: yes

word files: yes, but don't let it bring you down

instant message: gaim will talk to anything, that's what I use
Mahoro
I am an University students and I am sticking w/ my 5500 tongue.gif
Coz I am an newbie to Linux and command line stuff (I am a double-click guy)

I happpened to go to Japan for a backpack tour this summer and saw quite a lot of 860 on sales....selling like $400-500 USD....760 even cheaper...laugh.gif

Yet 5500 is fine w/ me since I am still an newbie tongue.gif


Anyway, for US ppl, I believe 6000 is the only choice, well, the only *cheaper* choice.
Amazon is doing promotion on $399 for 6000. Of course w/out craddle (you don't need it, a waste of space for a cradle indeed)

Lookin for cheap one? ebay.com. There are tons lying around.
anonuk
I've used my 860 the past year or so for university, also with a pocketop IR keyboard - but occasionally without. The externak keyboard definitely helps with speed but i can touch type on it quite easily nowadays.

I use it in class for word & excel files - it can also display powerpoint and impress files. I have a pdf reader and a dvi/tex reader also, as well as a mirror of wikipedia.org in zbedic (200Mb on an SD card) - this is really useful in just about any class :-)

Apart from that, I can check my email and IM with wifi in the library - Opera, netfront, konqueror, dillo all run as well as mozilla and firefox (albeit with very slow start times) and gaim is great for messaging.

FreenoteQT and Inkpad are great for taking notes (I study journalism and find them useful in interviews), and the Qualendar updated calendar helps organise my life nicely... MP3s are great, oggs too and also most video files work well - i use it on the train on the way to uni and back whilst reading the newspapers in opie-reader or playing doom...

Generally the battery lasts well, about twice that of most of my fellow students laptops (although wifi sucks it fast so i don't use it so often) - although sometimes it is very very low at the end of six-seven hours of classes, but i have a battery extender and a spare battery so the zaurus is almost never completely dead.

I had a 5500 before, and would recommend the clamshell design over the other - i find it smaller so i take it out far more often (although i would like built in wifi) and i love the jogwheel on the side for reading e-books.

I dont sync with anything - but transfer files back and forth via either ssh or a SD/CF card reader which works nicely, but some programs will sync ok with windows as far as I am aware.... Ethernet should also work, but maybe not every cf card, you should check first.

Hope this helps.....
skoorb
you can buy a CF ethernet card. I have a trendnet one. the only problem with this one is with high end cisco switches 4000 and 6000 series. Doesn't negotiate properly with them
robertcloud
wow! thanks alot for all the responses.

for the last week or so I have been taking notes on my palm with fitaly. I easily keep up with the teacher and am probably typing faster with it than I could write with pencil. I am a bit afraid of replacing my beautiful powerbook with something like the zaurus though. I'll probably get a 12" ibook now, sell my palm, and get a zaurus around christmas.

How much could I get a low end one for? I know there are 700 models that are cheaper than the 860. Should they be significantly cheaper if I wait a while?

I know this is an amazing machine and it could probably replace my laptop if I modified my habits a bit. I'm sure other university students can understand my anxiety about spending near 1,000 on something so untraditional as this.

Again thanks for the replies.
hubcapboy
I feel your pain over the price for something unproven... but here's how I made up my mind: I went from carrying a full size desktop replacement PC laptop (about ten pounds) to school every day, to carrying a smaller and older dell with a 12" screen. the dell was "ok," but after six months of kicking it around in my messenger bag my back hurt. The last straw was a durability issue: somehow I cracked a joint on the board that the memory clips to, because it'll now only recognize my RAM if I stuff a piece of paper in the case. When I read the sl-6000 was advertized to survive a three foot drop, I figured this was the answer. Since I've got it probably the best feature is the time it takes me to go from Z in my backpack to in my hand online. It was a hassle with a laptop to find a table, find and slide in the card, and either boot or resume.

in short, I used to look like the dork who carried his laptop with him everywhere. now I don't.
ScottYelich
I'd also recommend getting an 860 instead of the 700.

I can hit about 40wpm on the clamshell, but it's not sustainable as on
a keyboard. ie: I can IM and do ok, but I wouldn't want to take notes
that way, etc. With an IR keyboard, this shouldn't be a concern.

If all you want to do is IM and take notes, sure, ANY zaurus would do.
For me, I wanted a pocket workstation for development -- so the
lagest ram and best CPU was a driving factor.

Scott
obscurite
I've been using Freenote QT (http://www.urban.ne.jp/home/kanemori/zaurus/freenote_e.html) to take informal notes in my classes. This program supports freehand or typed notes with a search function for your typed portions. It has a large canvas with an autoscroll function (which I haven't gotten to work in the latest release, but maybe I just dont know what I'm doing), and takes some getting used to, but is very handy.

If you plan on studying off of your notes, then I suggest typed notes. For informal note taking (just to do the act itself, without needing to study later) and for recording homework problem numbers and so on, the Z is very handy. I haven't tried an IR keyboard yet, because I have a clamshell and supposedly it's not easy to get an IRK to align with a clamshell Z's IR port (though I don't see why really).

I haven't started using the KO/PI KA/PI apps yet for PIM, but I'm hoping to soon. I also hope to make some custom software that suits my personal needs using QT in near future.

I don't think a Z can substitute for a laptop in terms of compatibility with your peers and your professors, but it will certainly allow you to do basic word processing and web surfing with comfortable performance most of the time. Of course, even a $1000 pc will beat the pants off of a Z in terms of power. It's all about portability... I would not want to have one and not the other. If I had to pick, I'd probably use a notebook instead.

-Daniel
Mahoro
12" won't be a problem getting around to take notes...
but my friend w/ 12" Ibook also get an Zaurus...I mean he upgrade his PDA from 5500 to C-700 (Selling his 5500 to me)

Coz Zaurus is just have soooo much fun to play w/

Now my Zaurus would be my:
- MP3 player, sound quality is fine, compare to my Audigy2NX Sound card
- Mobile anime player, I download tons of anime, I don't have time to watch all of it, tongue.gif
- Manga (Japanese Comic) viewer, I download a lot tongue.gif
- PIM for my testes, assignment etc..
- Game..(not a lot but chess would be fine w/ me)
- PDF viewer for my classnotes and Justreader for ebook
- Dictionary, have multi language dictionary too...
- Bible
- Web Browsing and GAIM for ICQ when I have wi-fi internet access
- Bought a keyboard for notes taking.

There are more function that I won't use such as:
- wireless hacking throught nmap and krimest.
- GPS map....
Guest_jepjepjep
Syncing with a windows PC is pretty easy. I just bought a SL-C860 and I sync with my windows xp desktop (outlook calendar, tasks, notes) and files. Once properly connected, the zaurus shows up as a network device (in the Network Neighborhood), so you can transfer files easily to the internal flash and/or SD and CF.
informer
How fast is the transfer speed between PC and Zaurus?
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