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Casio PV-S250 PocketViewer

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2 x 1.5V AAA cells
Production year: 0000OS: - Undefined -
Type: PDARAM: 2MBDisplay: Internal LCD
Resolution: 160x160pixels B/W
What's this then?
Some sort of Palm wannabe?

Well, Palm it ain't!

I'm actually a little bit baffled by this one...


because parts of it is well made, and frankly, other parts STINK!

Don't belive me?
Just check out the specs...

Now then, that didn't sound too bad did it, you say?

Let's go deeper...

  1. The screen is not good... I guess that's where they saved the most money...
  2. There's no handwriting recognition, only a virtual keyboard.
    That isn't too bad(I could never manage 'Grafitti' on the Palm, so :-), unfortunately, the keyboard response isn't too good and I continually loose characters when 'typing' on it. It's particularly bad at double characters, as if they have a poor 'debounce' routine. It could also have a smoother handling of special characters...
  3. The stylus is CRAP! Really! I advise anyone who uses this unit to buy a replacement Psion Stylus(the one for the S5/S5mx/S7/netBook) and use that instead. It's longer and won't fit perfactly in the slot, but it's much better and more precise.
  4. Backlighting...
    I wonder what they were thinking...
    Press the 'light' symbol and the backlight switches on and stays on for 15 seconds. That is 15 seconds PERIOD!
    would it be that difficult to make it stay on for 15 seconds AFTER last 'keypress'?
  5. In the 'System menu' there's a line 'Capacity'. When you select it, it shows you how much (in %) of the available memory that your files uses...
    Unfortunately, it's % of Total memory less memory used to store third party apps. this means that you can fill the memory with apps and if you haven't yet stored any files there, it'll show 0%. (I have now installed approx 400KB of programs, that's 1/4 of the available memory)
  6. Power settings - In the 'options menu'. This lest you select the power off time. You can select either 1,3 or 6 minutes...
    What about some flexibility here?
  7. battery management. There's no battery monitor program...
    It will warn you when the batteries gets low, but that isn't good enough. I prefer to know it well in advance that I need to change the batteries.
  8. The docking cradle. Looks well made, it's even weighted down so that it'll be more stable. Unfortunately, there's something wrong with that too...
    It's hinged so that you swing the pocket Viewer forwards when you remove it. Two plastic pieces will then ensure that the PV is pushed straight up and isn't bent to one side, potentially damaging the connector. That sounds good, but...
    The holder isn't tall enough. As it is, the PV have some leeway to move back and forth in the holder. That too can damage the connector. It was a good idea, but it would have been even better if they had made the holder a cm or so taller.
  9. Third party programs. Most models (except the PV-X100, PV-X200 and possibly the PV-X400) can have up to 14 application installed at one time(if there's enough room for it). The strange thing is that it can handle the datafiles for up to 15 programs at one time...
  10. Schedule. For one reason or another, this program allows exactly 100 alarms to be specified...
  11. Security. Nope... There is a password protected area, but... Type in the password and that area is available until the unit is switched off. It will remember the password even if you reset the unit. I'm not certain how well the data is protected during synchronisation/backup to PC, though.
  12. Why only 5 categories in the Memo program? It looks to me as if they've just used the internal storage formats of older machines. On a machine with 64KB, 128KB or even 256KB that might make sense, but NOT when you work with this amount of memory.
  13. If you move from one of the programs to another you loose anything that's not saved. This also happens if you let it power down and then use the wheel to wake it up again. This is BAD! If the system need to shut down a running program then the programs should save its state automatically.

Of course, there are a few good points to it too...

  1. It's CHEAP! Half the price of a Palm M100 or less.
  2. The hinged cover is nice. It's not very solid, but it should be adequate to protect the screen in most situations.
  3. What's saved is saved! Loosing batteries doesn't mean loosing data.
  4. It's lightweight. It's lighter than just about anything else in that size.
  5. Long battery life. They typically give up to 2 months on a pair of AAA's.

In the rear of the manual I found this table:
It shows how many characters may be entered into a given field.
ModeEntry(Field)Max no. of Chars
To DoDescription2046
Payment Type14
Expense Type14
There was also something about storage capacity...

Approx 24.400 items if max 20Char descriptions or 12.200 if 60Char descriptions.

Approx 24.400 items if 8Char name, 10Char phone nr, 10Char fax nr, and 20Char home address, or 8.130 items if 8Char name, 10Char business phone, 10Char business fax nr, 40Char business address, 20Char Company name, 20Char department and 20Char position.

Approx 1.430 if 1024 character memos.

Expense Manager:
Approx 12.200 if 10Character description and Expense type and Payment type set.

Quick memo:
Approx 580 items.

A few comments...

The clipboard takes MAX 2048 characters. It is possible to select larger amounts of data in the spreadsheet. (Each cell can take 255Chars) Select more to copy, and you'll only get partial data copied. Only 256Bytes can be pasted into sheet at one time from another program.

Some of the built-in programs have a 'copy screen' function. This is a 'screen-shot' that can be pasted into a 'Quick-memo. They may be possible to retrieve on the PC.

The sheet program have it's own 'Sheet too big' error listed in the appendix. There's no mention anywhere exactly HOW LARGE a sheet can be though...
(You can have cells from A1 to Z999 though. But that's not what is meant)

My conclusion?
If you add some of the third-party software, it becomes useable, and reasonably good value for money. If you don't NEED a 'real' word-processor or other advanced programs, then this may be just the right thing..
(But stay away from the X100,X200 and possibly X400 machines. You can't install new programs on them.)

Of course, if you can get hold of a cheap PV-S750 cheaply, then...
(It has IRDa and mail client. Possibly other nice stuff too...)

There used to be a few good websites out there where you could download software, but they seems to have disappeared. If anyone knows of one...

Useful links:

Casio Worldwide download site
Contains synchronisation software, a SDK, manuals and a few utilities.

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