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Monday, 30 April 2007

The Intermec CN3 Computer - Page 3

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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 GPS

The GPS functionality of this unit was quite nice. When I first started the CN3, the GPS software automatically installed itself from the provided memory card that sits deep under the battery, behind a screwed on plate of hard plastic. Once installed, the internal GPS was quickly detected and set up. Satellite signal in the open was generally obtained within a minute or two of starting the software and accuracy seemed generally good. The included basic version of Copilot was a solid navigation solution that was effective at getting me around, and included voice directions as well as visual cues. The provided license offered an upgrade option, and seemed to have no expiration date.

Other functions

One of the more interesting things about the CN3 is the bar code scanner on top of the unit. This may seem to be entirely useless to the average traveller. Not so. In fact, the bright red light proved to be an excellent emergency flashlight bright enough to move or even read by if necessary.

Down sides

One of the biggest issues I had with the CN3 was the battery life. The unit I had came with the standard 2200 milliamp/hour battery. With all of the various connectivity options, the bright screen, and the powerful processor, I had trouble getting through a day of normal use. For the CN3 I think the extended battery is a must.

Another weak point was the lack of a single directional control, something that is generally standard on most of the convergence devices out now. Such things are very useful for navigation on the screen.

The memory card was physically hard to access. In order to get to it, I had to take out the battery, and unscrew a plastic plate. While this may be necessary for durability reasons, if you need more than a couple of gigs of storage, this might become a problem.

The Good Part

As you can see, the CN3 was designed more for the business market than for the consumer. As such, it has several different design priorities. It’s less designed for elegance and more designed for indestructibility and raw functionality. In order to make it as tough as it is, it had to be a bit bigger and sparser than most other combo devices. And it is tough. It was mentioned that it could work under extremely damp conditions. I turned it on and put it in the sink for 15 minutes. Here’s what I got:



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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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