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Casio A11 and Compaq C140 review

WallyB110 Page Icon Posted 2021-12-03 11:25 PM
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H/PC Philosopher

United States

The Casio A-10 and A-11 along with the Compaq C120 and C140 are pretty similar units, released in late 1997. The A-10 along with the Nec Moblepro were some of the first Palmtops to be released with Microsofts at the time new Windows CE operating system.

Both the Compaq and Casio models featured the same SH7700 SH3 32bit processor running at 40mhz. The A-10 and C120 came with 2mb of ram, while the A-11 and C140 came with 4mb of ram. The 4mb rom was replaceable with an updated Rom that contained Windows CE 2.0 and also upped the ram 2mb more. These rom chips are very hard to find these days.

The units weigh 13.4 ounces and the screen is a 480x240 4bit grey scale.

I find the keyboard to be alright, not the best, but not the worst. The Casio models have clearer text on the keys and this makes using the unit in dark rooms much easier to read than the Compaq models. It is very easy to hit the wrong keys on this keyboard. The keys also wiggle a lot which makes you second guess yourself while typing and never feeling very comfortable. I do like the larger backspace key tho, a lot of other units use a shortened key for this.

Screens are what make a difference here. The C120 and C140 models are using the same screen as what the A-10 used. I thought then that the A-11 would use the same part, but this is not correct. The screen on the A-11 is easier to read (less blurry) than the other 3 models. I didnt discover why this was until I opened them up to see the P/N #'s are different. This makes a huge deal for me, I have issues with my vision and trying to use the other 3 units is not as enjoyable as using the A-11. Also the backlights were well known to wear fast and these models def have seen better days with their backlights. The contrast control works fine, but I wish it wasnt somewhere it would get pressed up against when traveling etc.

After reviewing the Nec 450 last video, I can say that all 4 of these units beat the Nec 450 by a mile. Not having a gloss screen is a big difference maker. And also the Nec doesnt display as many shades of grey. Also the profile of the way the screen sits back does not create the dark shadow as bad at the top of the screen as dramatic as the 450. The touch portion of these units is one of the best of all the palmtops I reviewed so far. Very little force is needed to double tap or click items on the screen. This is a very big bonus to me.

I have tested the unit out with a 33.6 modem and it def drains the battery big time. There is a update that fixes some of the early issues with PCMCIA cards draining the battery too quick. But even with that update it still should be run on AC when using a modem. I have gotten around 14 hours or so using the unit with the backlight on most of the time. It says it can get up to 20 hours.

The docking station is very basic and small. It clicks onto the side of the unit and gives you serial and ac ins. It is not a long docking station, so there is nothing to help hold the screen up. Which if youve watched my other videos is a big issue I have with a lot of the docking stations designed for these grey scale units.

The outside of the case sadly, is easy to scratch as its a rubber material over the top of the units. Like the Velo, this material is known to begin falling off and looks like a mess. Luckily 3 of the units I have are in pretty good shape. But if you take a unit like the HP 360LX and compare, the 360 has def stood up to father time much better than units that come with this rubber material on the outside of them. The rest of the unit is very durable plastic. The hinge design is good, you can tighten the internal screws easily to fix any looseness. Thats another thing these are very easy to open up, compared to some models out there.

Performance wise these are right around or a bit faster than the Nec Moblepro, but much slower than the Velo or certain Mips based units from this era. But the Nec unit may actually be faster but the screens response time is slower. These are def on the slow spectrum.

Casio A-10 and A-11
Screen 3.5/5
Speed 3.0/5
Keyboard 3.5/5
Battery 4.0/5
Hinge 3.5/5
Accessories 3.0/5

If you are not after speed and plan to use this with word and excel etc this is def a good option and you can find these for relatively cheap. But be forwarned that finding one of these with CE 2.0 is not an easy task and having the earlier version of windows really limits what software you can install on these.

-Walt B

Plz comment on my videos and let me know what ya think ;-)

Edited by WallyB110 2021-12-04 12:08 AM
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