The HP 100LX remains the unquestionable powerhouse of PDAs, with Lotus 1-2-3 and cc:Mail built in, an HP financial calculator, strong scheduling, and a serious contact manager.
The HP 100LX also offers strong built-in communications capabilities and options for desktop connectivity and wireless communications (currently via Ericcson GE Mobidem, and soon, via the HP StarLink wireless messaging service).
But, the display is eye-straining and the tiny keyboard offers little tactile feedback. This is not the PDA for you if you write lots of long memos.
HP has not yet released Windows versions of the unit's desktop software, and only the file transfer operations can run in a DOS window under Windows; to run Translate and Merge you must exit Windows.
If you can put up with those few drawbacks, you're going to love the HP 100LX. It has the type of applications power users demand in a package that travels well.
PERFORMANCE: TEXT HANDLING
There's no getting around the fact the HP 100LX is not designed for text entry. The QWERTY keyboard is tiny and stiff not only for touch typing, but even for fast and reliable hunt-and-peck entry.
Once you get the text into the machine -- most easily accomplished, we found, by using the eraser end of a pencil -- you'll find the HP 100LX to be one of the most robust PDA text processors available.
For starters, you can choose whether to create your memo in one of two text processors: the Memo Editor or the Note Taker. The Memo Editor saves each item as a separate file; the NoteTaker groups all items into a single file, limited to 32KB. The Note Taker also lacks the Memo Editor's surprisingly strong formatting capabilities. Because it is the more able of the two, we worked in the Memo Editor.
You can select from three different type sizes, make text bold and underlined, and adjust margins, tabs, and line spacing. Cut-and-paste operations are easy to perform using the well-marked key combinations. Editing is also made easy with a toggled insert/overwrite mode and a deleting backspace key.
The HP 100LX is also one of the few systems that offers a built-in outliner. …