A show of handhelds

The GCN Lab takes nine smart phones and PDAs to the office and on the road

Enterprise handheld computers are my favorite topic, because their sole purpose is to make your life easier. Whether they're called handhelds, personal digital assistants or smart phones, these Swiss Army knives of the personal- device world are built specifically to be your assistant during crazy weeks, your entertainment during all-day seminars and your connection to the outside world when you're far from home. And that's a lot to ask of the little guys.

Most people look for the product that best fits their lives, so we chose to not discriminate between PDAs and smart phones in this review. In keeping with this catchall philosophy, we tested nine handhelds from six leading companies with a cornucopia of features, pros and cons.

We tested each device for performance, features, ease of use, price and ' not least ' body design. No one wants a 5-pound handheld that barely fits in your pocket. But a flimsy handheld that is too light and small to use effectively isn't good, either, so we paid special attention to design, looking for the perfect size, weight and shape.

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