Hard-to-find Pilot PDA comes highly praised

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 July, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 July, 1996, 12:00am

My wife showed me a clipping from a Chinese newspaper last week about a new personal digital assistant called the Pilot. She said the writer recommended the device highly, but didn't go into any great detail about what was so good about it. Have you come across this PDA and is it any good? JOHN POTTER Discovery Bay Is it any good? I've been using the Pilot - made by US Robotics, a firm better known for their modems - for about two months now and would definitely recommend it to people.

Let's go through the plus points. It's cheap (US$369); it's small (fits into a shirt pocket); it has handwriting recognition software (Graffiti, actually) built in and is easy to learn to use; and its functions include an organiser, card file, to do list, memo pad and calculator.

One of the Pilot features I like most is that it comes with software that can be installed on your desktop and be synchronised with the Pilot itself.

A cradle for the Pilot comes with the device and hooks up to your PC's serial port. Simply stick the Pilot in the cradle, hit the synchronise button on it and your data is made to match up in a matter of seconds.

From the desktop software, you can drag memos on to a Microsoft Word icon, for example, and have them automatically formatted for you in seconds.

On the minus side, the Pilot does not come with built in communications features. Although it can connect to an external modem with the right adaptors (which you can buy separately from US Robotics), it does not have a slot for a PC Card modem.

Another sore point is that the Pilot is not yet available in Hong Kong. Even Synergy, US Robotics' distributor here, does not know when it might be available.