MDA Compact III from T-Mobile 

On the face of it this is a similar device to the recently reviewed Mio A501 but there are subtle differences. This is first a communications device and only then a device that has GPS capabilities indeed they do a model without the GPS.
TR-Mobile MDA Compact III

Firstly the dimensions of the T-Mobile MDA Compact III, 10.5x6x1.5cm, the screen is 6x4.5cm. The weight is around 150 grams. It seems PDA manufacturers do not have the same restraints foisted on them that digital camera manufacturers do by the large retail chains as there is a pouch to protect the screen and indeed that of the 2 mega pixel camera. The other items in the box are the power adapter, USB Sync Cable, headset, CD and two manuals, the first labelled a Quick start Guide (36 pages) that has a lot more information than a lot of other peoples manuals. The second the user manual has 228 of close typed information that should enable this PDA - with the assistance of T-Mobiles Web connection software - to do almost anything, alas despite trying I have failed to get it to make the tea.

Below the screen there are nine buttons and rather than the normal joystick arrangement (four outer positions) with a central button the outside rotates to allow you to move rapidly up and down menus.

The right side has the power (on/off) button and camera button with the stylus tucked away at the bottom. The base has the microphone, strap holder and sync connector /earphone jack. The left side has voice control button, volume slider (gives a very good volume level) and the reset button. Apart from the 2 mega pixel camera the back has a self portrait mirror (chromed button but it does work) and the battery cover.

As mine arrived with the SIM inserted I was left wondering for a while (until my natural inquisitiveness took over) where the external storage was and after removing the SIM the micro SD card became visible as it lives under the SIM card. With adapters these should be readable in any SD card slot.

Most people tend to leave there phones switched on and yes of course this is a rather nice phone with a soft keypad. Just press the top left button under the screen and it springs onto the screen, you can use the stylus to dial or I found a finger works just as well. However switch on (should you switch off) does take nearly a minute to a working PDA.

This is a Windows Mobile 'direct push technology' unit and anything any other PDA can do so can this, Word, Excel PowerPoint etc etc. The sending and receiving of emails and of course browsing the Internet via the T-Mobile software. I found GPRS gave you almost any web page within around 25 seconds from the initial connection.

As mentioned this does have GPS capabilities and a copy of Co Pilot is installed. While this will get you from A to B and even has a mode for pedestrians it does not seem to operate with the same functionality as that of the various Mio products but please remember even the recent Mio product was first a routing product second a communications device. Here or course the reverse is true.

However should you be out and about in a strange town or city it should be able to get you safely to your destination.

Finally a word about the camera this PDA has the best camera I have used but then again it is the first 2 mega pixel offering I have used in a PDA so I suppose it should be.

So does this multi function device do it all, yes. However if you travel a lot in a car you might prefer a device designed for in-car use. Is it the best GPS unit for a pedestrian, no. However as a bit or this and a bit of that it certainly does it all. Full details of the MDA Compact III with Co Pilot are available from the link below.

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