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> CURRENT PSION 5mx OWNER NEEDS ADVICE
GoLinux
post Apr 10 2004, 07:46 PM
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Hello fine ZUG folks,

I would be very interested in getting the qualified opinions of former Psion machine owners who have "migrated" to the Zaurus platform.

As the owner of a "crack in the flatcable" doomed 5mx, I'm finding quite difficult to make up my mind between the SL-6000L and the SL-C860 in preparation for the quickly approaching day when my beloved Psion will die.

Beside the obvious and well known differences, I'd just appreciate to hear the stories of those of you out there, now SL-6000 or SL-C806 users, coming from a past "relation" with a Psion.

Personally, I'd rather stick with a keyboard as large as possible. However, being both the SL-6000 and the SL-C860 keyboards not quite comparable to the amazing (IMHO) 5mx keyboard anyway, I wonder if I'm overrating the issue.

Is there life after a Psion..............???

Thanks in advance.
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padishah_emperor
post Apr 10 2004, 08:23 PM
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Well I would not recommend either unless you are comfortable with Linux, I know others will no doubt disagree, but at some point unless you are using it for basic PIM/PDA stuff (in which case another machine may be more appropriate, the Zaurus more handheld Linux workstation than it is a PDA), you will probably have to do some terminal work. You need to ask yourself what you want it for.

If it's a straight forward PDA you want then maybe the Sony UX50 would be more suitable, or one of the Microsoft machines, some have keyboards I believe.

Otherwise, if things like Bluetooth or WiFi are of any use to you, a 6000-type machine would be better, but you loose the keyboard. The 860 has the form-factor and can be used a la laptop or tablet, but no built-in communications. I chose the 860 and disagree with you about the 5mx keyboard as it felt too delicate for me, a good PDA though.

Hope this is of some help.
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offroadgeek
post Apr 10 2004, 09:37 PM
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I agree with some of padishah's points, and disagree with others... if you are not currently comfortable with linux, but are interested in learning (or are about to make the switch) then you will be plenty happy with any zaurus. I was relatively new to linux (~6 months) when I got my first zaurus. The zaurus is a great learning tool for that.

If you simply want a pda for the pim and other simple stuff, then go ahead, get a simple Sony or other MS pda where you can't experiment and play with it (unless of course you get in IPAQ which then you can put OE on it).

Now to answer your question... I think you would have a better transition from the 5mx to the 860. Especially if you like the clamshell style. The 860 definitely has a larger and more comfortable keyboard than the 6000 (I've typed on both). Also, I personally think working with the screen in landscape mode is much more natural when typing emails, browsing the web, etc. I like that you can switch it to portrait mode if you just want to read e-books, catch up on slashdot, listen to music, etc.

It's true, the 6000 has some great hardware attributes, especially the USB host, but I still prefer my 760 to the 6000.

Best of luck in your decision!
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lardman
post Apr 11 2004, 02:20 AM
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I have a Psion series 5 which served me faithfully for many years until the backlight failed. I then bought a 5500 because it looked like I could get the most fun from it (in terms of being able to program and have lots of cool apps which I couldn't have on the Psion), I've now got a C750 (same form factor as the C860, but cheaper -> less internal flash storage, no big deal).

I can say with no hesitation that although the 5500 was really cool, the form factor and small keyboard really annoyed me (though it does actually have a keyboard which is better than many of it's similarly sized brethren), I'd go for one of the clamshell machines if I were you. The keyboard is probably not as good (in terms of size, but in any case it works for me), but the entire unit is significantly smaller than the Psion so you are bound to end up with a smaller keyboard.

In general with Zaurii the PIM apps are no-where as good and the system's not quite as robust as EPOC (though it's not flaky and reboots are few and far between), but it is being actively developed (and you can upgrade) which I think is great, plus there are lots of apps available (for free) and basically with a little effort (sometimes a lot, often very little) you can port just about anything to run on it - just what I was after, I don't know about you.


Si
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PsionX
post Apr 11 2004, 02:58 AM
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After a S5, 5Mx and a Revo, now i use a C750 ... For software, there are some Epoc'like : Portabase (=Epoc database), KO/PI for PIM (Calendar is too basic), Opie-Reader for Ebook, etc.. with Cacko Rom 1.21 (Multimedia enhancement).
But, 2 critics : HancomWord is NOT Epoc Word (or use an X11 Rom with Abiword) and there isn't print implementation sad.gif
PS : I use JZip (java epoc software) on my Zaurus to zip files...
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albertr
post Apr 11 2004, 07:46 AM
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GoLinux,

If you don't mean alittle bit of soldering, psion LCD cable is easy to fix. As far Linux goes, if you fix your cable, you can try to install linux on your 5mx (I ran linux on my 5mx, but I'm using it as a mobile terminal, not a PDA), and see for yourself... But beware - If you get hooked up to Linux, there's no turning back!
-albertr
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bluedevils
post Apr 11 2004, 09:02 AM
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and what Z do you own and why? I may not have had a Psion, but these answers are very interesting to read and I once stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

QUOTE
GoLinux, 

If you don't mean alittle bit of soldering, prison LCD cable is easy to fix. As far Linux goes, if you fix your cable, you can try to install linux on your 5mx (I ran linux on my 5mx, but I'm using it as a mobile terminal, not a PDA), and see for yourself... But beware - If you get hooked up to Linux, there's no turning back!
-albertr
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albertr
post Apr 11 2004, 09:43 AM
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Err, wasn;t that a typo about "prison LCD cable"... funny, thou. I have a 5000d and 5500. Would like to get a C-series machine someday when prices go down a bit. And I still like my old psion 5mx. A couple of reasons - battery last almost forever, excellent keyboard, screen is very good outdoors and good in dark with backlit on. The only reason I'm looking toward Zaurus CXXX is because ARM 7XXX CPU is quite slow by today;s standard. It can run ssh client just fine on slow link, but prerry much any windowing system is out of question. X feels slow, Qtopia (yes, it runs on Psion!) is dog-ass slow. There's PicoGUI, but it has limited application support.
-albertr
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GoLinux
post Apr 11 2004, 12:03 PM
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Hello all,

thanks to those of you that have taken the time to read my post and reply. While I'm certainly interested in fellow present or former "Psioneer", I appreciate everybody's advice.

Just to make a bit more clear my expectations and level of expertise as a user, let me address some of your comments:

TO LINUX OR NOT TO LINUX
Not really a major show stopper, actually quite the opposite. Several months ago I started to get really intrigued with Linux, got a book to start with the basics and I have been experimenting since with a couple of the many liveCD distributions, Knoppix and Slax. One of these days I'll get an additional HDD for my Windows XP machine and install a Linux distribution to get serious. My dealings with computer go back to the days of DOS and in the early years of with my company I had some experience with Unix as well. I'm one of those that thinks a command line on a black screen is cool rather than intimidating......

ADVANCED OR BASIC PDA
I use my Psion for both personal and work stuff. I certainly use all the PIM functions, but I like to tinker and push the thing to its limit just for the fun of it or exploring "advances" professional uses. Right now, the ultimate would be to have a tiny machine able to decently run an Access Database several hundreds meg big. I'm afraid even a Zaurus couldn't do that.... From what I have learned so far, a Zaurus would be much more "fun" than a PocketPC or Palm machine.
I have also programming experience, I think that's another aspect where a Zaurus would shine.

HARDWARE REPAIRS
Can do that too, no fear of soldering iron. I like to tinker with hardware as well. I think I could repair the Psion, but as Albertr wrote, is kind of an outdated hardware implementation. That's why I said I'm going to "drive to the ground" the 5mx before I get another handheld to satisfy the geek in me.... I see as very unlikely to move on to another platform until the Psion keeps working.

About the SL-6000 vs. SL-C860 part, something else that bothers me a little is the stubbornes of Sharp in not selling the SL-Cxxx outside Japan. Lack of support aside (one may say: what support, is Sharp....) it is a little disturbing to think of the price adder I would incur.

Oh, well, can't have the cake and eat it too...

Thanks again for the insigthful comments. If other former/current owner of Psion owning now a Zaurus want to share their thoughts, thanks in advance.
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padishah_emperor
post Apr 11 2004, 12:52 PM
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If you buy a Cxxx from a company that specialises in importing the Z, you may get support as well. I got mine here in the UK, the supplier will try and fix it free if I damage it or return it to Sharp if they can't fix it, I only pay towards shipping. Plus you get a 12 month warranty. It gives me some peice of mind, more than if I'd got it cheaper direct from Japan.

ShirtPocket are the company in the UK, in the States, it's The Kompany and Dynamism(?). Perhaps someone from the US can elaborate further.

As someone who has owned every Psion ever made, including the Acorn versions, except the NetBook, I would say the Zaurus is more of a computer than the 5mx is. (If you know what I mean) It feels like a tiny laptop. I was thinking about getting a Tadpole Solaris laptop until I got my 860. But the Psion has superior PIM software without doubt, Psion were very good at that kind of thing.
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offroadgeek
post Apr 11 2004, 01:03 PM
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I got my 760 from dynamism, and while they are a bit more pricey than the others, they do provide support. If you have a problem, you just ship your Z to them and they take care of getting it fixed thru Sharp Japan. I had a problem with my screen at first, but after I had them fix it, it's great.

True, it's not the same as if Sharp provided support directly in the US, but it's better than no support at all!
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amrein
post Apr 11 2004, 01:19 PM
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There's a enormous pit between Psion S5mx Device and a Zaurus: the software.

Zaurus hardware is exactly what all Psion users were asking for: 65535 colors on a 640*480 screen (instead of 640*240 16 gray scale), imaginative design (keyboard and swiveling screen), powerfull processor (400Mhz PXA255 on a 200Mhz bus instead of 27Mhz on a ARM7110), lot of memory (64Mo SDRAM instead of 16Mo of conventionnal RAM), big internal flash (128Mo of r/w flash instead of 16Mo of ROM on 5mx), CF and SD/MMC card support (full card compatibility instead of only memory CF on S5mx), usb/serial/irDa support (only serial and irDa on S5mx), Wifi/Bluetooth card... drivers (none on 5mx), Multi-media player, Sync with Mac, very tinny...
But the internal software can't be compared. In fact yes, the comparision can be made but you should inverse the device. To be short: Zaurus software are crap and unusable for most Psion users. The Psion 5mx application are still the best despite all this time. With its 16Mo RAM, 16Mo ROM and its old ARM7110 27Mhz processor, a Psion S5mx is more complete and faster than a Zaurus SL-C860 400Mhz 64Mo RAM 128Mo ROM and with an ATI accelerated video card. The 5mx with its 8 years old is a dinosaur. It's the 5mx that should have been called Zaurus and not the Sharp device. The Sharp hardware is very good. The Sharp software deserve the Zaurus name.

Note : Zaurus PDA QT/E libraries are 100 time easier and complete than Psion Epoc ones. In spite of everything, the software are worst. They are million of users on the market that are still waiting to be able to replace their old Psion by something. As padishah_emperor said in another thread, it's not the Sharp plan.

GoLinux, if you want to play with Linux a bit, flash and reflash a device every month, play with X11 or Qtopia on an ARM device, then Go Linux and Sharp PDA. If you want PIM and you are not a developer then... wait. Wait because Palm or Pocket PC are not better and because with some luck, Sharp will sell a SL-C8000 with 860 shape but with bluetooth and wifi inbuilt (and improved software? :cry: ).

Note : With pdaXrom you can run powerful applications like nedit, AbiWord 2.0 or Mozilla Firefox. Opening them is like opening a Qtopia applications but pdaXrom apps are more powerful. If you have already tested a Psion Series 5 (not 5mx), the software speed and screen updates are equivalent. (S5 is approximatively 1.5 time slower than a S5mx).
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albertr
post Apr 11 2004, 09:22 PM
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It's good to see so many Psion owners on this board. Amrein, just a few corrections: 5mx uses ARM720T cpu running at 38.64MHz, and while it can be of course overclocked, there's no way it can be faster than 400MHz PXA255. Not even close. I agree that EPOC is very code and memory-efficient, but still it's a different league. Memory - Psion 5mx/5mxPro and clones have used a great deal of different memory layouts. Different mask ROM/EEPROM combinations, too. For instance, my 5mx has a single 10MB EEPROM, and 16MB of RAM in two banks (8MB each). It could be possible to solder on two additional memory chips to add another 16MB of RAM. Series 5 classic runs CPU at 18.32MHz and it's ARM v3, not v4 as on 5mx. IMHO, in theory it could be more than two times slower than 5mx.
-albertr
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amrein
post Apr 12 2004, 12:05 AM
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Yes, you are true about the processor speed (38,64Mhz), name (ARM720T) and there's no 16 Mo of ROM but 10Mo. Here is what happen when I only try to use my memory.

The software run faster on 5mx and are really better. No comparision with Zaurus one. You can't deny this. I still have to use my Psion for everyday use.

If you want to undestand why it is still faster:

_ It's not a 640*480 65535 colors (2 bytes for one pixel) but a 640*240 16 gray scale (4 bit for one pixel) without accelerated video card.
_ all software in rom are in preloaded state (link already done). Equivalent of the Qtopia fastload option but without additionnal software: software and libraries are saved in ROM like if they were already loaded in RAM and are run directly there (so also for memory saving).
_ all data and programms are installed in an internal dynamic ramdisk (or on CF) and not on flash.

And the S5 with its ARM7110 18.32MHz is not two time slower than a 5mx because the 5mx ROM is not two time faster than the 5 one.

Happy to see that I'm not alone too. smile.gif
Hopping that someday, Sharp or another company will fill my needs (pdaXrom is a good beginning but not enough strutured and open. Would prefer Debian.).
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amrein
post Apr 12 2004, 12:21 AM
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I forgot: the theads management was designed like the new libnspr (introduced with the 2.6 kernel in Mandrake 10 for exemple) and not the old libpthread. Compare Mandrake 10 speed running the 2.4.25/2.6 kernel and the old Mandrake 9.2.
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