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Visor Edge
Sunday March 18, 2001 - 10:37 PM EST - By James Hromadka

Visor Edge modelsWith the Springboard slot, Handspring has given the Visor the capability to do it all. But wouldn't it be nice to leave it all behind? With the Visor Edge, you can utilize the power of the Springboard slot or shed the extra girth and have one of the thinnest handhelds on the market.

Hardware Summary

The Visor Edge is without a doubt the sleekest Visor model yet. This is the thinnest Visor ever made and the first to (finally) have a metal casing. The Edge uses an internal lithium ion rechargeable battery similar to the Visor Prism and Palm OS 3.5.2H. Like the Visor Platinum, the Visor Edge has 8 MB of RAM, a 33 MHz processor, and a monochrome screen.

The old adage "it's what's on the inside that counts" is definitely challenged by Handspring's latest release because it's all about what's on the outside of the Visor Edge. To get the thin form factor, Handspring has made the Springboard slot an external attachment. The detachable Springboard is plastic and weighs only 0.1 ounces. The Visor Edge's flip cover detaches to reveal a connector that the "sleeve" slides onto and clicks into place.

Visor Edge stylusThe Stylus

The stylus is also external. Thankfully, it's metallic and clicks into place by sliding into a groove on the right side of the Visor Edge; this protects the tip of the stylus from any bumps or scratches. Remove the stylus by pressing in the release button at the top of the stylus.

The stylus is contoured yet flattened. It isn't quite as bad as the popsicle stick that comes with an HP Journada, but it will take some getting used to since the tip is also flattened. Another strike against the stylus is that there is no reset pin. I'm sure stylus manufacturers will step up to the challenge and make an Edge stylus that has the traditional cylinder shape we're used to.

Flip Cover

As for the flip cover I mentioned earlier, it covers the Edge's screen completely. The cover is also made of anodized aluminum and flips back to be in one of two positions -- perpendicular to the Visor or angled away a la the Star Trek communicator. If you liked the flip cover of the Palm III series you'll love this one. Even if you hated those lids like I did, you will probably like the cover of the Visor Edge. It is bare except for an embossed Handspring logo and two bumps that keep the Edge's up/down buttons from accidentally being pressed. The flip cover is easily removed and can be replaced by a small "nub" if you don't want to use it.

The best part of the flip lid is that it lets you keep your Visor Edge in your back pocket at all times. Whether wearing blue jeans or pants, I was able to keep the Edge in my back pocket, even while sitting. Because of the thin form factor, the Visor Edge feels like a wallet in my back pocket. Whether in my office chair, in my car, or in the uncomfortable seats at the Cullen Theater, the Visor Edge weathered all types of chairs. The best part is that the cover is flared so that it makes a seal over the handheld; I never got any pocket lint or dirt on the Edge's screen.

Speaking of the screen, it's monochrome like the Visor Platinum but seems much clearer. The biggest problem that Palm OS handhelds have had since the Palm III is that backlights are pretty much worthless in dim light. Handspring has made some alterations to the Visor Edge so that its screen isn't as green as other monochrome screens and has a much better backlight. I tested the Visor Edge's backlight dim lighting and it is much better than prior monochrome Visors but not quite up to the "flashlight" brightness of the Palm III. At least it's finally usable.

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Product Details
Name: Visor Edge
Company: Handspring
Size: 4.7" x 3.1" x 0.44"
Weight: 4.3 oz. alone; 4.9 w/ stylus;
5.8 w/ stylus & lid; 5.8 w/ stylus & slot
Processor: DragonBall VE 33 MHz
Memory: 8 MB
Ir Port: lower left side
Casing Colors: Silver, Blue, Red (all are anodized aluminum)
Price: $399.00

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