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Review (Flashback): Intermec 6651

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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2008-12-27 10:50 AM
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Mr. Gregg Fritchle dives into the latest in our series looking at legacy Handheld PC hardware from a modern perspective with a flashback to 2001 and the HPC2000 release of Intermec's reversible tablet H/PC, the 6651.

Perhaps a good few years ahead of its time, the 6651 offers design features that may be common place in 2008, but were still quite innovative and certainly unique in the Windows CE world of the time.

Join Greg in his evaluation of the MIPS3000 powered 6651 and let us know what your memories (fond or otherwise) and modern uses for the device are as we move into 2009.

View: Flashback: Intermec 6651
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Paianni Page Icon Posted 2008-12-27 11:31 AM
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Ooo ... nice review! (Although I only took a Glance) ... probably my new favourite sub-notebook machine, along with the interestingly styled Mobilon PV-5000.
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theoak Page Icon Posted 2008-12-27 11:14 PM
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Very nice review! I've wondered for some time about the 6651. It is a beautiful machine, and so many features. The lack of mips drivers and software is a crying shame.
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Paianni Page Icon Posted 2008-12-28 4:50 AM
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theoak - 2008-12-28 4:14 AM

The lack of mips drivers and software is a crying shame.
Intermec just wants to make sure their device is fast enough for the users of it. And, since it was designed to cope with media, that MIPS processor would've been right for the job. It's based around the Sharp Mobilon PV-5000, sharing some programs, and of course, the sub-notebook style.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Intermec, along with the Mobilon PV-5000 is easily my favourite sub-notebook Handheld ever. But would I buy one ...

Sometimes a 640 x 240 is large enough, and if you buy a sub-notebook machine you feel like buying a really old laptop. I love the machine, totally, but because the Mobilon PV-5000 is older you get it for cheaper money ... including all those features Sharp seems to have 'lent' to Intermec. The only problem is that the Mobilon came with the Pro edition ... is it possible to upgrade the ROM?

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cmonex Page Icon Posted 2008-12-28 1:26 PM
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Paspie - 2008-12-28 10:50 AM

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theoak - 2008-12-28 4:14 AM

The lack of mips drivers and software is a crying shame.
Intermec just wants to make sure their device is fast enough for the users of it. And, since it was designed to cope with media, that MIPS processor would've been right for the job. It's based around the Sharp Mobilon PV-5000, sharing some programs, and of course, the sub-notebook style.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Intermec, along with the Mobilon PV-5000 is easily my favourite sub-notebook Handheld ever. But would I buy one ...

Sometimes a 640 x 240 is large enough, and if you buy a sub-notebook machine you feel like buying a really old laptop. I love the machine, totally, but because the Mobilon PV-5000 is older you get it for cheaper money ... including all those features Sharp seems to have 'lent' to Intermec. The only problem is that the Mobilon came with the Pro edition ... is it possible to upgrade the ROM?




uhm, who gave you the idea that the intermec 6651 is based on the pv5000? I've seen both machines in real life (I guess you did not), and they are quite different in design, in hardware specifications, and in features.

I own intermec 6651's (don't own the mobilon though almost bought it once)

intermec 6651 has: 800x480 screen, the screen is TFT (!), with obviously 16-bit colour depth, camera, tablet convertible design, .... many very unique features for an hpc. also has usb host (!), both PCMCIA and CF slot, 56k modem, and 32MB ram. it also has cool icons at the screen, some software i've not seen on any other hpc, etc.

mobilon pv5000 has: 640x480 screen, the screen is DSTN with 12-bit colour depth, measly 16MB ram, and a totally normal subnotebook design. many hpc's look like the mobilon in this aspect. and if i remember right it only has PCMCIA slot, no CF.
my memory of it in real life is fading now but iirc the keyboard also was of a different design, more conventional, while intermec's is a bit different design.

as for media, intermec might be better because of the TFT, as for cpu processing power i'm not sure

basically the only things common is what any subnotebook style hpc would have in common with intermec: pcmcia slot, some basic ports (irda, serial), and subnotebook sized device/screen. oh and the processor is the same TX3922 iirc.

if you mean the intermec is actually a Sharp machine, yes it is, but it is not to do with pv5000. Sharp has a japanese model, VJ-something, I forget, that's identical, the english version of that is the sharp telios 7000. Intermec just took that and rebranded it.

to answer your question there was no hpc2000 rom for the pv5000 afaik.

BTW if you bought an intermec it wouldn't feel like you just bought an old notebook. it's special. if you bought the pv5000 then yes it would just feel an old subnotebook (though of course not the same with instant on and all that stuff CE offers). so if you went out and bought intermec...maybe you would actually like it

Edited by cmonex 2008-12-28 1:31 PM
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cmonex Page Icon Posted 2008-12-28 1:33 PM
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theoak - 2008-12-28 5:14 AM

Very nice review! I've wondered for some time about the 6651. It is a beautiful machine, and so many features. The lack of mips drivers and software is a crying shame.



I got a lot of mips software for mine, though it does lack in newer stuff. when I got my first 6651 that was end of 2005, so at that time mips was only a bit behind. now it is more behind with redgear, ce.net 4.x and all that for ARM... (yes you can have ce.net for MIPS, but I mean actual hpc's)
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cmonex Page Icon Posted 2008-12-28 1:44 PM
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to reflect on the review, a few points where I disagree - note that overall I find it a great review and fully agree with the rest of it.

"its footprint is only slightly larger than the NTT DoCoMo Sigmarion III" - this is subjective. yes it is a compact package but way larger than sigmarion, for me at least.

"the coolest stylus, by the way, that I've ever seen" - it's certainly unique. for a while I did not believe it was the original stylus
BTW, the JVC MPC33 has a similar stylus (not the exact same but somehow design is similar).

"Start tapping on the screen, and you're in for another pleasant experience" - disable window animation first... and the touch screen could be more sensitive, but other than that, it's a pleasure enough. I didn't feel it is faster than sig3, though neither is anywhere from Smartbook G138 of course..

"The 6651's battery provides about four to five hours of use at the lowest brightness setting, without WiFi cards or other power-drawing peripherals inserted" - my batteries (last time I tested at least..) are/were able to do 8 hours at lowest brightness with CF inserted (CF doesn't consume much anyway).

"At least two Handheld PC Professional devices did the tablet design right (the Vadem/MainStreet Clio and Samsung IZZI Pro Swivel)." - I think the clio is more awkward than intermec... this again must be subjective. I have not seen the izzi pro in real life (shame!) so no idea about that. do you have one, CE Geek?

"In 2005, however, when many more 6651s were available for resale on the Web, used models were routinely selling above $300.00 USD (£163.04 GBP, €233.15 EUD, ¥32,608.70 JPY, ¥2,486.41 CNY est.), while Jornada 720s were selling for half that amount or less. From this one can reasonably conclude that the 6651 has held its own in resale value, which can be seen as testimony to its quality." - I will have to disagree. you can get one for 100-120 usd now, the prices for them dropped sharply around 2007. as for jornada 720 they were going for a bit more than 150 usd in 2005 and 728's went for 300 easily even in early 2006.

"Weighing out the good and bad points, a case can still be made for declaring the Intermec 6651 the best MIPS-based Handheld PC ever produced" - yes! no question of that in my mind. this is again subjective of course. though, the JVC MPC33 gets really really close. it's a bit hard to decide but the 6651 just wins (has tablet design, better batteries - battery is a SHAME for jvc - etc).

Edited by cmonex 2008-12-28 1:49 PM
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Ceya Page Icon Posted 2008-12-28 4:07 PM
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Cmonex it is the 148 MHz, Sharp Telios VJ2C.

The English ran 129 MHz

The Intermec 6651, Sharp Telios 7000/VJ2C is the best HPC on the market.

I had wished they improved the OS to 4.2 with arm but it was fast at 129 MHz.

The screen was excellent, camera was very good, back up awesome, with text maker , powerpoint editor it completed.

The hard to get VGA cable.


Recording sucked but not the camera with the mic.

I had most of the Telios japanese line and loved this model.

J 720 comes close. I had all sig version up to the 3 and got sig 3 in 2000 but lost it.

S/F<
CEYA!



Edited by Ceya 2008-12-28 4:10 PM
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CE Geek Page Icon Posted 2008-12-28 4:18 PM
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Thanx for the comments.

As usual, you make some very good points, cmonex. You're right about the subjectivity of the size comparison. When writing this review I was quite mindful of the significant difference in size between the 6651 and the Sig 3; however, I was also viewing the size along the full spectrum between the ultra-compact Sig 3 and nearly full notebook-size devices like the NEC 800 series and the Clio. Size-wise, the 6651 is definitely closer to the former.

You know I have an IZZI Pro, cmonex. You even helped me find a mouse driver for it. Simple conversion design: open to perpendicular position, spin the display around, and fold the device together again. The difference with the Clio is that the display is rotated on a horizontal rather than vertical axis. The one advantage of the Clio's design over the IZZI Pro's is that the Clio's design works well for presentation mode, with the display remaining right-side-up. (BTW, both the IZZI Pro and the PV-5000 have TX3922 processors like the 6651: the IZZI Pro with the same 129 MHz speed [though the 6651 outperforms it handily], while the PV-5000 is actually 148 MHz IIRC.) (Incidentally, I don't mind window animation - indeed, it has served as a visual benchmark of the device's speed. Even the animation is noticeably faster on the 6651 than on nearly any other of the many different devices I own.)

As for price, I targeted the Jornada 72x for comparison because of its popularity, and I think cmonex' comments also point up how that device's quality has kept it a sought-after item in the resale market as well.

Sounds like the JVC might be a good target of the next device review.
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Ceya Page Icon Posted 2008-12-28 4:21 PM
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Oh Intermec still repairs the 6651. Expensive but maybe worth it.

S/F<
CEYA!
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Paianni Page Icon Posted 2009-01-03 2:00 PM
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I didn't actually know there was an Intermec Handheld PC, because most of the Handheld PC's I know are there came from 'The Worlds Largest PDA Database'. The Intermec 6651 is basically Intermec's clone of the Mobilon Pro PV-5000. Obviously Intermec allowed an upgrade to Handheld PC 2000, or as the version itself. It's just like when Ericsson made it's Handheld PC to work with a mobile phone, they borrowed the HP 300/320LX's shell, tweaked it a bit, then released it.
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Ceya Page Icon Posted 2009-01-03 4:14 PM
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it is the 148 MHz, Sharp Telios VJ2C, not the Mobilon Pro PV-5000.

S/F,
CEYA!
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CE Geek Page Icon Posted 2009-01-03 6:17 PM
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Ceya (and cmonex) is right, Paspie - the PV-5000 is a totally different design.
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Paianni Page Icon Posted 2009-01-04 11:53 AM
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You do realise that I am talking about this ...



Actually, I might have got confused with the Telios ...



... over this.



I think I just got confused ... it's the SHARP TELIOS the 6651 was based on.




I think the Intermec 6651/Telios HC-7000 is my new sub-notebook dream!



Edited by Paspie 2009-01-04 12:09 PM
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CE Geek Page Icon Posted 2009-01-04 1:24 PM
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Thus my reference in the first sentence of the fourth paragraph of the review.
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