With its slim shape and classy black-and-silver finish, the Acer n311 certainly qualifies as a desirable gadget. Despite its petite size, the n311 carries a pleasing heft and a bright, backlit 4in TFT that's easy on the eye and even easier to use. It's not cheap, but the outlay may be justified because the Acer is one of the first models we've seen that uses Windows Mobile 5.0.
Microsoft's operating system adds advanced multimedia and productivity features to more basic PDA functions. As well as using ActivSync to commune with your PC and store contacts and diary appointments, you can listen to music and watch films. There's 128MB of embedded flash memory and the n311 supports SD (secure digital) and MMC (multimedia card).
There's a single-click landscape mode that makes watching widescreen movies feasible. We found this made it simpler to view spreadsheets – so the preloaded version of Excel Mobile is truly useable. You get similar copies of PowerPoint and Word.
Setup is simple. After charging up the removeable battery you hook up the handheld to your PC, insert the bundled software disc and follow the onscreen instructions. Then it's a case of allowing the device to synchronise with your PC. With your contacts, diary and documents copied across, you'll genuinely feel as though you're taking your PC with you wherever you go.
This impression is aided by the impressive connectivity options. Bluetooth is ubiquitous these days, but the 802.11b wireless LAN (local area network) options are simple to use if you have the details to hand. Be nice to the guys in tech support and you can get on to the LAN without booting your PC.