Handheld PCs

Editors' Choice

Philips Velo 1

PC Magazine

January 21, 1997

Among this trio of Windows CE palmtop computers, one stood out by delivering the goods in terms of performance, upgradability, and peripherals. The Philips Velo 1 put it all together: It's the fastest, most expandable, most richly configured, and best designed unit of the bunch, making it our Editors' Choice for the first wave of Windows CE systems.

Unlike the competition, which opted for PC Card-based data communications, the Velo 1 stands out from the crowd by including a V.32bis modem, which is capable of a maximum throughput of 19.2 Kbps for transferring files and sending faxes. Combined with its MIPS R-3900 CPU, it was the fastest of the three at a variety of common tasks. And there's the bonus of the Velo 1's Voice Memo application, which turns the built-in microphone and speaker into a usable recorder for brief voice memos or sound bites. The Velo 1 also includes a copy of Intuit's Pocket Quicken, a boon to those who want to jot down expenses electronically or review the family's finances.

Both Casio's Cassiopeia A-10 and NEC's MobilePro 400 aimed lower on the PDA scale. The Cassiopeia A-10, which comes with 2MB of RAM (compared to 4MB for the other two systems), is basic through and through, while the MobilePro puts its emphasis on providing file-transfer and -synchronization utilities.

Despite its higher cost, the Velo 1's built-in modem, excellent expandability, top-flight performance, and unique software applications earn our nod as the best of the first group of Windows CE systems. The Velo 1 gives us hope that PDAs may catch on.

Performance Tests

The winner across the board was the Philips Velo 1, which was the fastest of the three Windows CE systems on our trio of timed tasks. The Casio Cassio-peia A-10 and NEC MobilePro 400 were roughly equivalent, although the MobilePro had a slight advantage.

How We Tested
We timed these Windows CE systems performing three typical tasks. In Pocket Word, we spell-checked a 35K Word file that contained 12 errors. In Pocket Excel, we performed 8 recalculations in a 25K file, and we timed how long it took to open a typical Excel file.

Windows CE Systems
Lower scores represent
better performance.
Red type denotes first place.
Open File
Casio Cassiopeia A-10
NEC MobilePro 400
Philips Velo 1

Summary of Features

Windows CE Systems: Side by Side
Cassiopeia A-10
MobilePro 400
Velo 1
List Price $499 $649 $699
(HWD, in inches)
1.0 x 6.8 x 3.6 1.0 x 6.9 x 3.7 1.0 x 6.8 x 3.7
Weight (ounces) 13 13 13
Expansion options One Type II
PC Card
One Type II
PC Card
Two Mini Cards
One Type II
PC Card with
V-Module Cradle
Processor/Speed Hitachi 32-bit SH-3/60 MHz X NEC 32-bit V 4101/33 MHz MIPS 32-bit R 3900/36.6 MHz
Built-in Modem None None V.32bis, 19.2-kbps capable

Copyright 1997