Looking at the Phenom Express handheld computer you can't help but wonder-how did LG Electronics manage to pack so much into such a small package?
The machine has a good-sized and very responsive 74-key keyboard, but it will take a user a few moments to adjust to touch-typing on it, mostly because of the smallish space bar (users who are hunt-and-peck typists won't have a problem). The Phenom also features an excellent graphics system and a crisp, bright display making it a natural for note taking, number crunching and even running basic PowerPoint presentations (note that you will need to create those presentations on your primary PC, since the pocket version of PowerPoint is just a viewer). The screen is much wider than it is high, a design choice that LG made in order to conserve battery life. In our tests, the Phenom Express got 11.5 hours off one full charge of its Li-ion Triple Cell Rechargeable battery pack.
But the main function of the Phenom Express, and what it was specifically designed for, is to facilitate easy and fast communications-especially e-mail. Of course, it's not limited to receiving and sending information (it can do all the things any handheld CE device can), but it truly excels at keeping its users connected and in touch. One of the ways that the Phenom does this is with an Internet Connection Wizard for use with an existing ISP account that can automatically and quickly configure connections to most of the major ISPs. Since the wizard stores nationwide access numbers in its database, it makes it extremely easy not only to set up a user's primary account, but also to auto-configure login settings while on the road. So instead of spending time hunting down a local access number, and then having to manually set up a new connection, your sales reps can let the Phenom take care of that.
The unit has an integrated 56K V.90 modem, along with an infrared port, one Type II PC Card slot and a serial connection port. In an industry first for a handheld machine, the Phenom Express also boasts a standard-sized parallel port and a VGA port which lets users run PowerPoint 97 presentations by connecting the unit to a monitor or VGA display, without any need for a special cable or VGA PC card.
The Phenom can also be used as a voice recorder. An external button on the side of the case turns the machine on and launches Microsoft's Voice Recorder application.
Bundled software-besides the Microsoft Windows CE 2.11 operating system with the standard Pocket Office Suite applications (Word/Excel/PowerPoint Viewer, Outlook and Internet Explorer)-includes AnyWare Consulting's Pocket Finance, Bsquare bFAX Pro 4.0, a File Viewing application that lets users view e-mail attachments in a range of formats (including Microsoft's Word, PowerPoint and Excel; Lotus Development's 1-2-3 and SmartSuite; and Corel's WordPerfect), Mail On The Run! (Remote Access to LAN-based E-mail Systems), Database Backup/Restore and Citrix ICA Thin Client. Some of the software is pre-loaded, the rest resides on an included CD.
The Phenom ships at $599 with serial and modem cables and an AC adapter and is backed by a one-year warranty. For more information, contact LG Electronics at www.lgphenom.com or (800) 243-0000.