Wanted: The perfect handheld for backpacking

Handheld_searchA 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?

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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