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Jewish World Review April 20, 2001 / 27 Nissan, 5761

Mike Berman

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Consumer Reports

A $50 handheld organizer -- IN today's world of Palms and Pocket PCs, we tend to forget the devices that started it all - the pocket organizers. In fact, I believe that no matter how many features the more advanced units offer, many of us still use them only to store names, addresses and appointments, which were the primary functions of the older organizers.

Well, these old dogs have spawned a new breed of pups. And, although they're still not as powerful as handheld computers, the added functionality make them worth another look.

Enter the Diamond Mako ($49.95) from Diamond Multimedia.

This pup gives us all the functions we expect from an organizer plus a small (but functional) keyboard, access to the Web, word processing, spreadsheet capabilities and the ability to send and retrieve e-mail. The key to all this is the Revo operating system that was developed by Psion Computers in 1999 for some of its small handheld devices.

What amazes me is that you get all of this functionality for a third of the price of the least expensive Palm and a tenth of the cost of a Pocket Computer and it comes with twice the RAM of the more expensive Palms (16 megabytes).

Using the enclosed software to synchronize the Mako with my computer was a simple process, although I wish they'd develop a USB version instead of using the slower serial port. It was able to convert and upload my Microsoft Word and Excel documents, my Outlook e-mail and contacts list and my calendar with hardly a glitch and created an additional drive icon for easy access from my PC whenever.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Mako is designed to connect to the Internet through the use of an infrared equipped cellular phone or its own modem, which of course is extra ($69.99), and an Opera Web browser, which gives you all the functionality of Internet Explorer and Netscape. Plus you have instant access to your e-mail.

Among its other features are:

The ability to beam data to any infrared equipped device, including Palms and Pocket PCs.

You can compose documents using Microsoft Word on the device and "beam" it to an infrared equipped printer or PC. Or you can purchase an infrared device to attach to the parallel port of your printer.

It's compatible with Microsoft, Lotus and Corel applications including Notes, WordPerfect, Excel Organizer and Outlook.

You get instant access to "today's" appointments when you turn on the device.

You can jot down notes or other information using Jotter, which is similar to Microsoft WordPad.

It gives you access to vital information, including maps, for more than 700 cities.

It includes a world-time clock and alarm.

It comes with built-in rechargeable batteries and a power adapter.

It only weighs seven ounces.

I'm really impressed with this device and strongly believe that it fulfills the needs for a majority of handheld users at a fraction of the cost. The only things that would make it better would be a built-in modem, color LED display and USB connectivity.

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