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Monday, 30 April 2007

The Intermec CN3 Computer - Page 2

Written by Nick Atlas
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So you’re going to be away from home for a month or two on that epic trip you’ve always wanted to take. You’re going to be crawling through jungles, climbing mountains, navigating cities in unfamiliar countries, and generally being away from the things you usually take for granted. Still, you may want to be able to make a call when you’ve got cell phone signal. You might want to navigate via GPS. It’s possible that you’ll want to have a handy translator in your pocket. You might even want to drop an email to friends back home or find some information on the web. Even with all of those possible wants, the prospect of lugging a delicate, bulky, and awkward laptop around with you for a month probably doesn’t appeal. Enter the CN3 Handheld Computer from Intermec.


As a Pocket PC

The CN3 is a relatively cutting edge Pocket PC. Powered by a 520 MHz processor with 128MB of RAM, it has a good amount of speed. It runs Windows Mobile 5, the latest of the Windows Mobile operating systems. It comes packaged with a number of standard applications including Pocket Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, a calculator, a solid personal information manager, a voice and text notes program, a picture viewer, and even a couple of simple games. These are nice for journal writing, entertainment, or just keeping track of things, but what makes this system really shine is its expandability. There are thousands of different software programs available for WM5 including translation, currency conversion, e-book reading, and reference. One of my personal favourites is the mobile version of Wikipedia that allows you to load up the entire database as a mobile reference. When out of familiar territory, it’s always good to have a little extra information available.

The CN3 proved to have really excellent performance, coming in with benchmarks that place it well into the high end of the Pocket PC arena. This is good because many of the newer applications, especially those that involve navigation or similar tasks, require a fair amount of horsepower to make them function well.

One of the nicest things about working with the CN3 as a pocket PC was the range of connectivity options available. I could connect either by cell network for a fairly slow but long range connection, or I could very easily connect to any open Wi-Fi network that happened to be in range. This made looking things up online a relative breeze.

As a Phone

The CN3 does work as a GSM or CDMA phone depending on which option is purchased. In this case, the unit I had was a GSM model. While adequate, there were some problems with the CN3 as a cell phone. First off, the reception was only so-so. In places where my normal phone might have seen 4-5 bars of signal, the CN3 only got about 2. Another issue was the internal speaker. First, in order to use it, your ear has to be placed in just the right spot on the case. I found myself missing that spot frequently. Also, that speaker had fairly incredible volume. After my first few contacts complained of a terribly echo-effect through the phone, I realized that the volume on the earpiece was so high that it was feeding back through the microphone to create an echo. On the other hand, it was very nice for hearing my callers in loud environments. I should also mention that the speakerphone is the best I’ve found so far. It is very loud and quite clear.

Suffice to say that, as cell phones go, the CN3 is fairly mediocre. Still, it does the job reliably and never failed to find me some signal anywhere where I would normally have had coverage.


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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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