HOME | NOTEBOOKS | Slates | Handhelds | Definitions & Specs | Ruggedness Testing | Industry leaders | About us

Handheld PC 2000 on the MobilePro (July 2001)
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

The good news right upfront: The NEC MobilePro 790 is finally here! For those who have forgotten that Windows CE comes in form factors other than Pocket PCs, here's a refresher: NEC has been in the Windows CE game since its very start in the Fall of 1996. The first MobilePros were part of a generation of small handheld computers that, though well-intentioned, didn't quite measure up to the public's lofty expectations. While most competitors couldn't stomach the tough market (and Microsoft's inexplicable struggling), two seasoned electronics veterans toughed it out: Hewlett Packard and NEC. Both companies distinguished themselves by refining and enhancing the handheld form factor through several generations. Today, those interested in a commercial Windows-powered handheld PC can choose between the very compact HP Jornada 720 (see May 2001 issue of Pen Computing) and the significantly larger NEC MobilePro.

The just released MobilePro 790 is the latest refinement of a platform that was first introduced as the MobilePro 750, then, in a new design, as the 770. The 780 added more horsepower through a faster CPU and also introduced a handy scroll wheel. The 790 retains the proven form factor and design of the 770/780, but comes with a built-in 16MB flash storage partition–in addition to the standard 32MB of RAM–for permanent installation of customer software or safe storage of important data. The 790 also comes with Microsoft Windows for Handheld PC 2000. H/PC 2000. This latest version for the handheld PC form factor runs on Windows CE 3.0 and includes all the latest versions of Microsoft's Pocket applications (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook, Inbox, etc.). It also includes the Microsoft Windows Media Player and a much improved version of Internet Explorer.

With a footprint of 9.6 x 5.2 inches (and weighing 1.8 pounds) the MobilePro 790 is still compact, yet offers a large 78-key, 92%-scale keyboard that lends itself to real work and not just the occasional pecking. The 168 MHz NEC VR4121 processor provides decent performance, the 8.1-inch 640 x 240 DSTN color screen is bright enough, there's an internal modem, a PC Card and a CF card slot, and a powerful Li-Ion battery good for over eight hours of operation.

We've always liked the big MobilePro, and the 790 (US$899 list) is the best one yet. Kudos to NEC for persevering in a tough segment of the handheld market. - www.neccomp.com

Conrad Blickenstorfer

Processor NEC VR4121, 168MHz
OS Windows CE 3.0
Memory 32MB RAM, 16MB ROM, 16MB Flash
Display 64k color TFT LCD
Digitizer Pressure-sensitive panel
Storage Internal RAM, 1 Type II PC Card slot
Size 9.6 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
Weight 1.76 pounds
Power Li-Ion pack
Interface Serial, Irda 1.1, VGA, RJ11
Options High speed cables, carry cases
Price US$899
Contact NEC www.neccomp.com