The XDA EXEC is certainly noticeably a bit larger than your average PDA in terms of both circumference & weight. My initial impression was that it is too big and its size would make it impractical to use as a phone. This first perception would certainly apply to first time Windows Mobile Phone Edition users more than those who are evolving from older versions. Going from a conventional type mobile phone, which in general is relatively small in size to a device like the EXEC, might be a bit of a culture shock to some. However, people who are familiar with the Window Mobile Phone Edition setup would cope easier with the size adjustment which would only be a slight difference.

The device operates in two ways. First of all it can be used in a conventional PDA style; using it in a vertical position putting the screen in portrait mode and using the stylus for text input. At the bottom of the machine you have your four way directional pad which also presses in to select. Next to this you have a VGA video camera which is used for video calls, a new inclusion to the XDA range. On the left hand side of the machine you have two phone control buttons. The green button is for answering an incoming call or activating the phone mode, whilst the red button is for rejecting or hanging up a call, as well as returning to the standby screen from any menu within the PDA. Also underneath these two buttons is the charger/sync cable slot which is a mini USB port along with the soft reset button and the 3.5mm headphone port. On the right hand side of the EXEC you have 4 more buttons one of which is a two directional slide. The first button starting from the bottom working upwards is a to activate the camera and take a photo once within that mode. The next button is to activate voice dialling or to use the voice memo function. The two different functions are differentiated by the way you press the actual button. A short press will activate voice dialling, where a longer press will bring you into the voice record menu. After this you have a big space (which is where the device's infrared port is) and then you come to your 3rd button (camera light activation). Following this is the slide switch to lower or increase the volume. Staying on this side of the device at both the beginning and end of the EXEC are two speakers for stereo sound.
The stylus is located at the top of the device which incidentally has no buttons, as the power switch and memory card slot have now been moved to the bottom, next to the microphone.

Whilst using the handset in this mode, you can still rotate the screen into a ‘landscape' view without the need to open the device. This is done by tapping a little icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. It is worth noticing that when using the PDA in this mode, there is absolutely no feature that cannot be accessed. In other words, the XDA EXEC functions normally just like any of its predecessors and hence could be used like this all of the time.

The second way to use the handset would be like a conventional laptop. The screen opens up to reveals a rather large QWERTY keyboard and then rotates 180 degrees in an anti-clockwise direction so that it (the screen is facing the user, just like a laptop. When swivelled round in this mode, the screen will a automatically adjust into landscape view after a few seconds.

The QWERTY keyboard is something that many Windows Mobile users (myself included) had wished for. Gone are the days of using a tiny thumb keyboard attachment which barely increases your typing speed and still restricts you to using the PDA in portrait mode only. Full fold out keyboard attachments are also ancient history. Although very good for typing due to their size, they still restricted users of  PDA's from using their screens horizontally, as the connection port was at the bottom of the device. Plus it was just another device to carry, in most cases the same size as the PDA itself when folded up.

This combined QWERTY keyboard in my opinion is just the right size for typing. Although smaller than the attachable fold out keyboards mentioned above, The EXEC's keyboard can still be used for touch typing. The buttons are sufficiently spaced out and easy to press as they make a satisfying ‘click' sound to confirm their response to your action. The keyboard also illuminates with a nice blue backlight so that you can use it in pitch black or poorly lit environments. This can be set to automatic (where the backlight will only work when the lighting conditions are poor – via a light detecting sensor) or always on, where the backlight will come on whenever a keyboard button is pressed.

There are also many shortcuts on the keyboard some of which are: the messaging menu, start menu, internet explorer, activating wireless manager, phone mode, (including receiving, making, ending, rejecting and video calls), contacts and calendar interface. This means you can pretty much access all the device's features without the use of the stylus. Of course, the stylus can be used for your convenience if required, but the keyboard does eliminate your need to use this tool if this suits your preference.

If you close the device the screen will switch off (into stand by mode) and will be protected, just like a laptop by the top cover. The EXEC quite cleverly has a speaker embedded into this top cover so that you can still use it as a phone when receiving calls. This saves you from having to open the device when in this mode although you will not be able to see who any incoming calls are from as there is no screen visible to see the caller display.

On the reverse side of the machine is your back cover underneath which lies the battery and then SIM card respectively. The 1.3 mega pixel camera which also has video mode and a flash light is positioned towards the top of the back cover.

 

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Universal
  • Display 640 x 480 pixels
  • Camera 1.3 MP
  • Battery 1620 mAh(8.00h talk time)

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