There is a lot to like about The Travel Companion. It’s both a powerful Pocket PC and a wayfinder. It comes with award-winning Tom Tom navigation software pre-installed for the entire United States and Canada.
It caught my attention right away with its horizontal orientation and the snazzy copper-colored band around half the ferruled perimeter. It cuddles up in your hand just fine like a puppy crawling over the rest of the litter to come home with you.
For connectivity, this Windows Mobile 5 device features built-in WLAN (802.11.b/g), and Bluetooth 2.0, both of which I applaud for fast connectivity. It sports a Samsung SC32442 400 MHz processor with 64 MB SDRAM in the main memory with up to 2 GB flash ROM, and an SD expansion card slot. Measuring 4.74x3.0x6.5 inches, it weights 5.99 ounces with the 1700 mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable battery installed.
It has no camera, which surprises me, and no InfraRed port. Does anyone really use IR? I like the concept, but I don’t think it has really caught on yet among the masses.On the other hand, those 1.3 MPX cameras included with most devices are practically worthless anyway. You are far better off with a real camera with some hunk.
The 3.5 inch transmissive QVGA color screen with LED power saving-mode has protective antiglare coating, which is a real plus in the GPS mode.
Buttons on the front include a nine-way navigation switch, Start Menu, and an OK function. The nine-way button has different functions in Windows and navigation modes.
Moving up to the top, we find a recessed reset button, a record button, and the SD card slot. On the left side reside the mini-USB charging/synchronization port for which I am always grateful so that I don’t have to pack even more cables and chargers on a trip. In my opinion, every portable device should have a mini-USB connector and no excuses. Above that is a MMCX GPS antenna connector, but note that there is already a built-in antenna onboard that works fine for most purposes. Below the USB port is a 3.5 mm audio jack, which I also appreciate as opposed to those pesky 2.5 mm jacks that nothing fits and you already end up having to use an adapter. To the far right, you can see the top of the stylus nestled in its silo waiting for a red button launch.
On the right side, there is an useful collection of controls. Starting at the bottom is the power switch. Above that are four horizontal chrome bars. The first changes the orientation of the screen. The next invokes Window Media Player. The third puts you into navigation mode. The fourth takes you to a handy launcher screen for the following functions: Today screen, Travel Assistant, Entertainment, Internet, and Navigation. A more useful launcher would also have Programs and Settings.
The backside contains the battery door and speaker. There are no controls on the rolled bottom side of the unit.
In the box...