In the cards: The Toshiba is slightly larger than this Bicycle deck.
Without the sticker on the back of the unit labeling it an e330-series unit, you might mistake the e335 for its older cousin, the e310. Below its 3.5-inch, reflective TFT display are the typical program buttons, the five-way directional pad, and the small, internal speaker. While the speaker's sound is rather weak and tinny, it will alert you about upcoming appointments. The LED on the upper-left corner blinks amber when the alarm sounds and glows green when the battery is fully charged.
|On the side: Seen in profile, the unit is quite thin.||Heavy duty: The cradle is plenty sturdy but too heavy for travel.|
To protect the e335, Toshiba furnishes users with a slipcover. The jacket looks just like the e310's except that it lacks the gray trim. To protect the screen, Toshiba also supplies a single screen overlay, conveniently adhered to an order form, so you can purchase more if you lose the supplied one. Internally is where the e335 differs from its sibling. Under the hood, you'll find a 300MHz Intel XScale processor (up from 206MHz) and 64MB of RAM rather than the e310's 32MB. Both the e310 and the e335 contain a MediaQ Graphics Controller, which provides 256K of internal graphics memory. That's nothing like the 128MB behemoths of desktop graphics, but it's a start.
Like the e310, the e335 has a Secure Digital (SD) card slot for adding more storage and even peripheral devices such as Bluetooth adapters. The unit lacks a CompactFlash slot like the step-up e740, but this is a necessary compromise; a CF slot would add unwanted girth to the Toshiba's slim form.
|Home gnome: Toshiba's Home application lets you add your own background wallpaper.||View or edit your photo faves with the included ArcSoft PhotoBase software.|
The e335 also comes with ArcSoft PhotoBase for the Pocket PC. This software lets you view, manipulate, and edit images right on your handheld. While we thought this was a nice inclusion and a useful program, we didn't think it justified tacking an extra $50 to the price of the Toshiba e335--especially considering that ArcSoft sells software for $30 on its Web site. Toshiba must feel the same way, as it's offering a $50 mail-in rebate for the e335. An alternative for the nonphotogenic is the Toshiba Pocket PC e330, which consists of the 335 package minus the ArcSoft software. As with many devices, certain aspects of the Toshiba's performance were impressive while others were a bit disappointing. Due to its 300MHz Intel XScale processor, the Toshiba offered satisfactory overall performance on a number of different tasks. Battery life has been improved over the e310's, but the screen, while decent, isn't as good as some of the screens we've seen on competing Pocket PCs. More on that in a minute; first, a few observations about processing power.
The Toshiba's image quality is decent, but its screen isn't as rich or crisp as those of its competitors.
Battery life was one of the Toshiba's best traits. If you like music, you'll appreciate that even with the backlight on halfway, the e335 can hold a tune for 4 hours and 16 minutes before needing a recharge (it stops playing MP3s when about 16 percent of the charge is left). Without playing MP3s, we got nearly 8 hours of regular use out of the device before the battery drained completely.
On to the screen: granted, the e335's 240x320-pixel reflective display is readable in brightly lit situations and offers a 16-bit (65,000-color) image. But there's something about combination of the backlight and the screen's reflective surface that makes it look a little dim with a slight bluish tint. For example, blacks are never completely black, and all colors glitter somewhat, giving the screen a speckled appearance. In addition, the backlight, which is positioned at the bottom of the screen, doesn't quite reach the top, so the display appears a bit darker at the very top.
It's worth pointing out that this is probably the same screen as the e310's, and while we didn't nitpick its performance in that model, times and technology have changed, and comparably priced competitors such as the Dell Axim X5 and the HP iPaq H1910 serve up brighter, richer screen images.