Xda Mini S

The Windows Mobile 5 powered Xda Mini S, also sold as the SPV M3000, MDA Vario, K-Jam, Qtek 9100. Built by HTC and codenamed the Wizard.

We'll kick things off with the specs:

Screen
65k Colour Transflective LCD Touch Screen (240 x 320 Pixels)

Imaging
1.3 Megapixel Camera
Zoom
Flash
Night Mode
Video Record (MPEG4)
Video Player (MPEG4, H.263, Motion JPEG AVI)
Video Indicator
Video Download
Video Calling
Photo ID Contacts

Messaging
SMS (Text Messaging)
MMS (Multimedia Messaging)
Picture Messaging
Instant Messaging (MSN® Messenger)
Email
Email Pocket Outlook
Predictive Text

Sound
MP3 Player
Polyphonic Ringtones
Voice Recorder
Voice Dialling
Voice Notes

Entertainment
Java™ Games
Embedded Games
Downloadable Games
Organiser
Phone Book (500 Entries)
Calendar
Calculator
Clock
Alarm Clock
Tasks
Notes
Dictation
Themes
Personalise Alerts
Microsoft® Windows® Mobile™
Handsfree Speakerphone

Connectivity
Bluetooth™
WIFI
WLAN
GPRS
Infra Red
USB Cable

Network
Quad Band (GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800 & GSM 1900)

Internet
WAP
HTML
WML

Memory & Talk Time
128 Mbytes Memory plus 64 Mbytes Mini SD™ Memory Card
5 Hours Talk Time
200 Hours Standby

Weight & Size
160 g
109 x 58 x 23.7 mm

OK so that's all well and good. This device is however fitted with a 195-200Mhz OMAP dual processor CPU, so that is a little sluggish compared to most Pocket PCs today, but that's the price you pay for the much smaller form factor. How much smaller? Well here it is stacked up against the SPV C500 (HTC Typhoon):

Xda Mini S (Wizard) vs SPV C500 (Typhoon)

Much smaller than typical Pocket PCs. Yet not lacking key features like Wi-Fi. Some firmware only allows 802.11b connectivity, but some allows 802.11g too, many have had success using different providers firmware to get the extra speed, although realistically it's highly unlikely a portable device like this could reach 54Mbps even if the firmware used does support 802.11g.

Xda Mini S (Wizard) Wi-Fi

How does the slower CPU impact the performance of games though? I've tried the following games, and have had no performance issues:

Xda Mini S (Wizard) games

No, they don't all come bundled with the device, mine came with Bubble Breaker and Solitaire.

One feature that has surprised me is Microsoft Reader, which can be downloaded for free. I wasn't expecting much with readability given the small screen and QVGA resolution (VGA is now common on full size Pocket PCs). However with ClearType I was very impressed with how easy reading was on the device, I've since moved all my eBooks over.

Xda Mini S (Wizard) reader

One of the key features that is always mentioned when talking about this device is the slide out qwerty keyboard. Personally I usually use the onscreen keyboard, but it is handy for when you really need to enter a lot of data quickly; or entering cheats for DOOM 1, 2 and Quake.

Xda Mini S (Wizard) keyboard

Video, and performance for media in general is fine. It probably won't handle video not encoded for the device (ie down to QVGA resolution) very well. I've not had any issues either using Windows Media Player 10, or the DivX players with any of my content at 320x240. I generally use Windows Movie Maker to encode WMV content using the Pocket PC profile, Windows Media Player 10 can also automatically sync over content and convert it as needed. The device has a Mini-SD slot, although not up to its bigger brother with capacity 2GB Mini-SD cards are now pretty common and can handle a lot of media and applications.

Xda Mini S (Wizard) video

The device certainly isn't as snappy as the latest high-end Dell Pocket PCs, but some people have had success with overclocking the device, 240Mhz seems to be an average speed people achieve. Personally although it can be a little sluggish with a lot of things running - and when changing the screen orientation. For me performance is acceptable and doesn't interfere with what I'm doing on the device.

Battery life seems fine. Wi-Fi use does really eat into battery use, if you're using Wi-Fi expect to have to charge once a day, other wise from my usage it should last several days. Generally this isn't a problem for most Smartphone or Pocket PC users as the machines are connected with a PC and charge themselves over USB.

Overall I'm very impressed. An excellent replacement to my SPV C500 and highly recommended.