DOS Palmtop: HP Omnigo 700LX Details and specs

Hewlett Packard Omnigo 700 LX (HP Omnigo 700LX)





About this machine:

The Hewlett Packard Omnigo 700LX is kinda 200LX clone but still very unique as a Palmtop PC. Codename Columbia (No cat name this time...). It is actually a modified 200LX. What's different is the upper lid which is featuring a cradle for a Nokia 2110 cell phone and a 2nd non user-accessible PCMCIA slot occupied with a Nokia GSM modem card (and hidden inside the device). Obviously the Nokia GSM modem card is not intended for removal and the card and slot are also wired in a non standard (PCMCIA) way, so flash cards and similar PCMCIA devices are not recognized if inserted into that slot. The reason for this rather weird release of a palmtop is obvious: Users in Singapore demanded a wireless connectivity solution. HP's solution is a bit flawed however - with the Nokia phone attached the lid is so heavy that the palmtop falls over when the lid is opened unless supported with your hands or so. The solution HP implemented was a retractable support beam that could be folded out of the battery clasp to avoid the unit from falling over. Although there are ways to browse the web (WWW/LX) this is barely useful for much more than reading emails and sending short messages, so don't expect an iPhone killer here. While it does have a high collectors value the practical value is really limited (Even if you DO have a provider offering dial-up GSM data connections). Other less visible differences are a shielded Infrared port, a slightly modified mainboard and the AC charger port is replaced with one that is compatible with Nokia phone chargers (At least they thought about that!). Also the case was redesigned by Nokia, leaving more space wasted than the original HP design (but featuring some nice rounded corners!). Was only available in Singapore although some importers seem to have been offering it outside Singapore. GSM was not common in the US as of 1996. Earlier models came with a "Globe" etched on the body besides the keyboard, but apperently so many customers didn't realize it's a globe, they complained about the "burn marks" - so the later edition of this did not feature the globe any more.

Specs:

CPU: Intel 80186 @ 7.91 MHz
Graphics: Monochrome CGA, 80 x 25 character text mode, CGA 2 color monochrome graphics mode
Display: 640 x 200 monochrome STN , 4 grey scales, 4.8 inch
Memory (RAM): 2 MB
ROM (Software): 4 MB
I/O ports: RS232 Serial (proprietary 10 pin cable was optional accessory), PCMCIA 2.0 Type 2 slot, Infrared (SIR, NOT IrDA)
Sound: PC Speaker - Piezo
Operating System: MS-DOS 5.0
Software: Lotus 1-2-3, basic word processing, phone book, calculator, file manager, database, CC:Mail, Pocket Quicken and much more
Size: Length 8.7cm, Width 18.7cm, Height 5.7cm
Powered by: 2 AA batteries - rechargable or non-rechargable or AC adaptor (optional accessory), CR2032 Lithium button cell as memory backup
Weight: 397 gram (14 ounces) including 2 standard AA and CR2032 batteries
Special features: Key-Combination to invert display, SIR infrared (HP JetEye Infrared printer port compatible). RAM can be configured as additional RAMDISK space for saving user files. Top lid features a cradle for a Nokia Cell phone. Built-in non-replacable PCMCIA nokia data card.
Released: March 1996
Originally retailed for:: "Over 1000 USD" (Original retail price in singapore unknown)
Clone of: Not a clone. Successor model of HP 200LX
Similar models: HP 95LX, 100LX, 200LX, 1000CX

Pros:
- Excellent for easy printing on JetEye compatible HP printers
- Contains Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet, database, CC:Mail, Pocket Quicken and word processor
- Outstanding battery life, battery life of the Nokia phone may vary though
- PCMCIA 2.0 Type 2 slot: Can use flash cards or compact flash (With PCMCIA Adapter)
- Fully CGA compliant, so most CGA based DOS appz and games work

Cons:
- Keyboard extremely small, not comfortable for really typing a lot
- Infrared not fully IrDA compatible
- Among the most expensive HP models depending on RAM
- Rather rare so usually ridiculous expensive
- Although the cell phone connectivity sounds great it can't compete with even simple cell phones of today.
- Rather bulky

Collector Value:
8 of 10

Usage Value:
6 of 10

Verdict:
Give it a usability value of 10/10 if you love the tiny Keyboard, vintage Nokia 2110 phones and have no problem with a lid that loves gravity. The cell phone sounds like a great idea on the first glimpse, but the construction of the whole palmtop would have benefitted if they had included it rather on the lower part. The lid with the cell phone is so heavy that it is impossible to use it normally with the phone attached, practically you can put some cigarette boxes under the top lid to prevent it from falling over, but even then the practical value is limited. Even if you can find webpages that are halfway readable with a DOS based browser the speed and comfort is a bit low compared to any modern cell phone with UMTS or other fast data transfer standards. Only for collectors and die-hard GSM users. Still 6 for usability as it's bulky but can get your mails. You are better of with a seperate cell phone in most cases though.


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