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REVIEW: Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox Part 1 - The Hardware
Posted by Arne Hess - on Saturday, 10.08.02 - 12:17:00 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 6719x
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The first part of the PPCW.Net Loox review is about the hardware. How does the Loox feels in the hands, how does all the features works and what's up with the expansion possibilities?

The Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox 600 is a typical Pocket PC as we saw it before from other manufactures like Compaq, hp and Casio. It doesn't includes any Phone Edition today nor it includes as GSM/GPRS module like the Wireless Pocket PCs from o2 or hp. So it have to be compared - on the first sight with the iPAQ, the Jornada or the E-200 but in the long run, the competitors will be also Wireless Pocket PCs cause the Loox will get, later this year, a GSM/GPRS clip-on module which improves it to a Pocket PC Phone Edition.

Therefore I decided to compare it first with Pocket PCs Phone Edition Pocket PCs as size matters! Finally I will have a close look to the Loox functionalities, with it's buttons and expansion slots.

The Loox Package

The Loox - compared to other Pocket PCs

Compared to Pocket PCs and Phone Edition Pocket PCs the Loox is more or less equal. From the slots, the closest competitor to the Loox is the Casio E-200; here the Loox has more or less the same size. However, you have to remind that the Loox doesn't only have a CF and SD card slot but also a Bluetooth slot. On the other hand, the hp iPAQ has still the largest screen. The Loox has a 3.5" screen only while the iPAQ has a 3.8" screen.
The hp Jornada 928 WDA is slightly longer than the Loox while the HTC Wallaby (o2 xda) is the same size - except the external antenna for sure.

From the thickness the Loox, the iPAQ and the E-200 are equal too. But again, the iPAQ has a SD card slot only while the Loox and the E-200 has SD and CF card slots. However, the Loox feels lighter in the hand and in the pocket!
Interesting is the comparison of the Phone Edition Pocket PCs with the Loox. All have near the same size here but you have to remember that the Wallaby and the WDA has the radio module already built-in while the Loox needs an additional expansion pack which is around half of the size of the Loox which have to be added here to get the same functionalities.

The Loox and its Details

On the left side the Loox has (from let to right) the infrared port, the navigation wheel, the FCSSpeedMenu button and the SD card slot

On the right side the Loox has (from left to right) the voice recorder button and the Bluetooth on/off switch

On the top the Loox has (from left to right) the stylus (which pops out by pressing it), the CF card slot and the headset jack which will be used later also for voice communication through the GSM expansion pack.
On the front side of the top you have (from left to right) the power switch, the status LED and the loudspeaker (which is built in on the top and can be used later with the GSM extension for voice calls).

On the backside of the bottom you have (left picture from left) the main power switch (as we know it from the iPAQ H3600 series too), the sync plug, above the extension pack connectors (like we also know it from the iPAQs) and the power jack.
On the front side of the bottom you have (from left to right) the green rounded Calendar quick launch button (which will be also used for GSM later), the Contacts quick launch button, the D-Pad, a Home/Today button and the red rounded Task quick launch button.

The cradle is already designed to be also the host for expansion packs. As you can see above, there is a notch to fit also for Loox with expansion packs, like the GSM/GPRS extension.

The stylus, made on plastic, is extendable which means you can pull it out on the top which gives you additional 5 cm. This is necessary cause otherwise it would be to short to use it.

Final Conclusion Part 1

With it's grey/silver bi-color cover the Loox looks pretty nice and valuable. It's not that kind of shiny silver iPAQ style like the iPAQ or the xda but more that kind of Jornada design. With its weight, the Loox is pretty light and from the ergonomic point of view, it feels pretty comfortable in the hand and also in the jacket pocket it's not to heavy to wear it. Because the sample I got should be the final one it is built pretty well and everything fits.
Compared with other Pocket PCs it's not thicker or thinner (but lighter) and provides you an SD slot as well as a CF Type II slot. A real benefit compared to the Compaq iPAQ. And with its built in Bluetooth it contains even more hardware than the comparable E-200 which has near the same size.
On the other hand, if it is compared to Phone Edition Pocket PCs it's not thinner and if you keep in mind that it doesn't includes any radio today, the attachable GSM pack will make the Loox more bulky than the xda or the WDA. Okay, here it offers one more card slot and Bluetooth but this is something everybody have to ponder for himself.

I like the number of buttons the Loox has, with the Menu button on the left side and the Today button on the top side, the Loox has more possibilities than any other Pocket PC. Something I really enjoy as I like to use hardware buttons for faster program launch. Also the navigation wheel on the left side is a great addition I've already enjoyed before on the E-200. This is pretty useful if you want to scroll though programs like the Pocket Internet Explorer. Not clear for me is the Bluetooth on/off switch. Why to add this as a button instead of using it through a software on/off functionality? At least I didn't turn Bluetooth on or off so often, that I wouldn't need that button at all.

Overall I like the Fujitsu Siemens Loox 600 design, functionalities and extension possibilities. Fujitsu Siemens designed a real great light weighted device which I'm sure many users will enjoy and it will be an eye catcher in meeting - I'm sure.

REVIEW: Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox Part 2 - The Device

Cheers ~ Arne


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Posted by Anonymous on 10.08.02 - 00:00:00

Great photos Arne. The best I have seen on the internet.

Would be interesting to find out if GPRS/GSM connectivity is Tri-Band on machine.


Posted by Anonymous on 10.08.02 - 00:00:00

To bad it is not coming to the USA anytime soon.

Posted by Mun Yip on 10.08.02 - 00:00:00

Quote: Compared with other Pocket PCs it's not thicker or thinner (but lighter) and provides you an SDIO slot as well as a CF Type II slot.

Correct me if I am wrong. I thought Pocket Loox does not comes with SDIO.

Posted by daniel mores on 10.08.02 - 00:00:00

i think the hardware bluetooth on/off switch is a good idea.
this way you can control when and how you connect to other devices. leaving bluetooth on all the time drains the battery. and software on-off can be tedious.

Posted by brianworkman on 11.08.02 - 00:00:00

I agree with Mun Yip, I have read every where that the SD slot was SD/MMC not SD/IO.

Posted by jlp on 11.08.02 - 00:00:00

Me too I read the SD slot is not SD/IO, I even emailed a Product Manager at Siemens in Germany about that and he confirmed this. That may have changed though, because my conversation dated back in march-April and he said this might change in the future.

Anyway, Arne, when you say "you have to remember that the Wallaby and the WDA has the radio module already built-in while the Loox needs an additional expansion pack which is around half of the size of the Loox which have to be added here to get the same functionalities." You have to also note that this module comes with an extra battery, giving it a superior battery lifetime over the Wallaby and WDA.

Thisrd remark, on the P.LOOX box, the one can read (understanding it is another question :-) under the French column : Bluetooth can only be used with "Low power class 3". This text doesn't apear under any other column. Is it specific to the P.LOOX sold in France, or is it specific to the French market, as I read that France has different frequencies for Bluetooth devices. This is important because as I live in the French speaking area of Switzerland I'm concerned about the language, but not the technical specs of French devices linked with the P.LOOX.

Posted by Arne Hess on 11.08.02 - 00:00:00

Thanks for all your valuable input regarding SDIO!
At least that's how I understood the specs of the Loox but I will verify it tomorrow again with Fujitsu Siemens Pruduct Management to get the final information here.
@jlp: Also the Bluetooth I will check with FSC. More if I'm back on my PC, currently I'm away with my xda only!

Posted by Muad 'Dib on 11.08.02 - 00:00:00

About the use of bluetooth in France... The loox is a class 1 bluetooth device (has a range of 100 metres) but since the frequency required for this class is used for other purposes in France, the usage of bluetooth is restricted to class 3 only, only in France. So if you are in France you will not be able to take advantage of the 100-metres-bluetooth, but will be able to use 10-metre-bluetooth.

Posted by DrJ on 11.08.02 - 00:00:00

Was this unit an (final ROM) evaluation unit?  The back has no text on it.  I would assume that the final consumer units would have all the usual ratings etc.

Posted by Mun Yip on 12.08.02 - 00:00:00

I won't be complaining if FSC changed the final specs to SDIO.

JLP: I for one doesn't really care for 100m Class 1 Bluetooth range. I wouldn't want to leave my Ericsson T68 so far away!! LOL!!

Posted by tehoais on 12.08.02 - 00:00:00

if you find that the gsm/gprs expansion sled is too bulky, one can always opt for CF gsm/gprs cards, like the one from audiovox or pretec.

Posted by Arne Hess on 12.08.02 - 00:00:00

Okay guys! Here's the feedback from the Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox Product Management regarding the SDIO support:
Translated from German to English: "SD I/O is not supported by our equipment in the current version. That has several reasons:
On one hand at present the offer of SD I/O cards is still very limited  for the user (actually only a Bluetooth card is available, however this is already included into the LOOX) and on the other hand the XScale supports SD I/O not from the beginning. That means that we would need an additional controller.
I think, as there is still no SD I/O card available for a reasonable price and a I/O functionality is very well covered through CF, we are not forced to include SD I/O into the Pocket LOOX today. The users of the Pocket LOOX will not have the need to use SD I/O and as said, Bluetooth is already integrated."
Sorry for the incorrect information on my part. I've understood the features in a different way but finally good to know what the Loox supports.
Cheers ~ Arne

Posted by Arne Hess on 12.08.02 - 00:00:00

@tehoais: But here - from my point of view - it's questionable how a GSM/GPRS CF card will drains the battery! I'm not sure if it is a good idea to run such a card without any additional power.
I should - hopefully - get the answer soon as I'm on the list for Press samples of the Audiovox card. But don't have a clue right now how long it takes to get the sample.

Posted by SAP on 12.08.02 - 00:00:00

When will we see the second part?

Posted by Anonymous on 12.08.02 - 00:00:00

any chance of a "top down" view of trhe loox ontop of an ipaq? I wanted to see how wide the left side was.
Also, if you want to trade for a e740 I am happy to do that smile

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