Wanted: The perfect handheld for backpacking
A reader named Sara is on the prowl for the ultimate handheld device to accompany her on a mid-September backpacking trip in Australia. She emailed to ask me to help her find it; based on all of the terrific suggestions some of you offered to a reader who was on a similar quest last month, I’d love for you to join us in hunting it down.
Sara is looking to spend less than $1000 on a keyboarded unit that weighs about a pound (up to 3 pounds is acceptable, though not preferable) primarily for reading/writing email while traveling and for storing music and other recordings. She’s also somewhat keen on a CD/DVD burner that’s either built-in or connected via USB.
Though open to other operating systems, she is partial to Windows XP and would like wi-fi connectivity and an easy-to-see display that can be viewed for extended periods with little to no eyestrain. She says she’ll "settle for the thumb-typing style" of keyboard, but would really prefer something a little more conducive to touch-typing (or at least more than just thumb-typing).
In light of the notebook-style UMPC discussion going on right now, Sara’s timing couldn’t be any better. I think she’s a great example of someone who could benefit from something like the HDD-based Kohjinsha SH6 (SH6KB04A), a convertible clamshell that:
- won’t weigh her down too much while backpacking,
- has a 7-inch display and roomy keyboard well-suited for emailing, and
- has 40GB of internal storage and a 3-in-1 memory card slot for media content.
Best of all, it’s available now from Conics.net for under $910.
The SH6 weighs 2.2 pounds, which is more than double her ideal weight but still within her 3-pound max. It also lacks an integrated optical drive (as do all UMPCs and UMPC-like devices) and comes standard with Vista Home Basic. Neither is an immediate deal-breaker for her, but it’s still not exactly what she wants.
Although Sara would have to make a few concessions, I think the Kohjinsha SH6 is worth a look.
What do you recommend?