XDA EXEC (HTC Universal) Review

Memory

The XDA EXEC has 64mb RAM from a 128mb ROM. This is a 50% decrease from previous models which had 128mb RAM. From customer feedback, I know that this has confused many people because from the surface it seems like the EXEC (and similar like PDA's) have a lesser technical specifications than older models. For example compare the following:

PDA Make & Model

XDA IIi / i-mate PDA II / Qtek 2020i

XDA EXEC / i-mate JASJAR / MDA Pro

Built in ROM

128mb

128mb

Built in RAM

128mb

64mb

Processor Type & Speed

Intel PXA272 – 520 MHz

Intel Bulverde (PXA270) – 520 MHz

Camera Type

COMOS 1.3 Megapixel

COMOS 1.3 Megapixel

WiFi, Bluetooth & Infrared

Yes to All

Yes to All

By looking at the above table in terms of raw specification, it would seem like the first set of PDA's have a very slight better specification than second set due to having double the ROM capacity.

However there is a logical reason for this. WM2005 devices operate with a storage system called ‘Persistent Storage' which I shall explain in greater detail. Do you remember on previous models the catastrophic effects of running out of battery? I personally have many painful memories where because my battery had run completely flat, all of my stored data was lost and the PDA was reset.
The reason why this used to happen was because RAM requires a constant source of power to retain any stored data. This is why the old PDA's had a backup battery which was strictly to power the RAM once the main battery was dead. If your backup battery dies once your main battery has run out, then your device will lose its memory and reset itself.

With the WM2005 devices, all user data is stored on the flash ROM and not the RAM. This means that no matter what happens to your device in terms of power, all your information will still be stored. Now because of this new feature (Persistent Storage), the developers have decided to reduce the RAM by 64mb. Why? Well the more RAM you have, the higher the power consumption levels of your device because the RAM needs a constant source of power. In other words, the battery will last longer with less RAM.

Processor Speed & Connectivity

There is one disadvantage of having less RAM; the PDA will ‘seem' to operate slightly slower than PDA's that save data directly to Random Access Memory. RAM is quite quick in terms of writing or reading data to and from the device. Although overall flash ROM is a better storage component as discussed previously, it is certainly slower than RAM.

The XDA EXEC is the ultimate device in terms of connectivity options. The included program 'Wireless Manager' manages your available connections automatically and will use the fastest method available. If your WiFi radio is switched on and an available WLAN is detected, it will give you the option to connect to that network at broadband like speeds. If there is no available WLAN, it will use 3G and connect to the UMTS network (providing you're in an area that has 3G coverage). Failing this the GPRS network will be used.
I feel that giving users these options of connectivity is a key selling point and invaluable to those who use data on the move.

Other connectivity options in terms of communicating with other devices are infrared and bluetooth. Both these features have been improved from previous models. Infrared now can reach a longer range, meaning remote control software that was very popular with some users can now be used effectively. Some old PDA's could only reach around 1-2 meters which in general is an impractical range for a remote control.

Battery Life

The XDA EXEC certainly packs a lot of features. It can be used for multi tasking and running multiple applications simultaneously and for this reason needs a fairly decent battery performance. One major complaint of most Windows mobile phone edition users is that the battery is insufficient to their needs. Although the EXEC does have a stronger power capacity in terms of the battery which is 1620mAh it in my opinion is still not going to be enough to give critics a ‘wow' factor.

The main thing that drains the battery power on PDA's is the screen backlight which even when dimmed is quite bright. Operating even the phone only will always require the use of the screen which in turn will drain the battery quite significantly. In general, you shouldn't expect to get more than 2-3 days usage out of this device. I would say this is an improvement to other PDA/phones which sometimes will only give you between 1-2 days of off and on usage. However, if you are using the PDA functions a lot more (like Word, Excel etc) and you are using the screen backlight and keyboard light then expect the usage time to be considerably less.

My personal opinion is that battery life is quite sufficient and reasonable considering the high power consumption levels of the EXEC's features. Although not comparable to normal mobile phones, I am happy with its performance.

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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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