By: Ryan Kairer and Dan Royea
February 17, 2003
Sony has updated its SJ30 mid-range color handheld with the introduction of the SJ33. It sports a sleek new exterior design with an integrated translucent flip cover, MP3 audio and a larger capacity rechargeable battery.
The overall look of the handheld is clean and refined, with smooth lines and rounded corners. The front case is a painted a metallic silver, while the back is gloss black (which has the unfortunate side effect of picking up fingerprints and smudges with ease).
The top edge incorporates the Memory Stick slot, the Ir window and the headphone jack. The reset hole on the back can be pressed with the stylus tip, the first Clie to have this feature. The stylus is the same "thin" model used in recent Clies, but with a chrome shaft and black tips.
The SJ33 has roughly the same dimensions as the SJ30 but is thicker and 1.2 ounces heavier, due to the larger capacity battery. It is approx. 2.9"w x 4.2"h x 0.86"d (73(W) x 108(H) x 22(D) mm) and weighs in at 6.1 ounces (172g) including the stylus.
The non-removable flip cover is made from semi-transparent smoked plastic. It flips open and locks into an open resting position of roughly 135 degrees. The hinge is stiff enough so that it's much easier (and safer!) to use two hands for this instead of attempting the "James T. Kirk wrist flip".
With the backlight on, the screen can be easily viewed through the cover. Using the JogDial, this is useful for quickly checking the time or looking up an address.
Some Clie models have a bad rap when it comes to the applications buttons; however the buttons of the SJ33 do not disappoint. Each button lies in a recessed circular area with a separate semi-circular up/down buttons in the center. The overall feel and spacing are excellent and should lend themselves quite well to gaming.
The power LED is located in the center of the up/down buttons. It lights up green when the unit is on, orange while charging, and shuts off when the battery is fully charged.
The JogDial and Back buttons are on the left side of the device and are positioned well for comfortable one-handed use. Below these lies a dual-purpose switch: slid down it turns the handheld on an off, slid up it activates the "Hold" function for playing music with the screen off.
Processor and Memory
The SJ33 upgrades the SJ30's 33MHz processor to the 66MHz Dragonball Super VZ running Palm OS v4.1. It has 16 MB of internal RAM (of which 15MB are available) and 4 MB of flash ROM.
The SJ33 uses standard memory sticks although the device doesn't come with one. With the focus on music playback, Sony might want to consider bundling offers because users are definitely going to need one. It is not compatible with the forthcoming Memory Sick Pro format.
The SJ33 has a hi-res (320x320 pixel) backlit TFT screen capable of displaying over 65,000 colors. The screen is excellent - very bright and excellent color balance indoors and in sunlight. The screen area is consistently backlit without any shadows or bright spots.
The Sony audio player can play MP3 files and ATRAC files from a Memory Stick. The included ear buds have an in-line remote that allows you to control the volume (you can do the same with the JogDial).
The audio quality through the headphones is very good, especially with the "Bass Boost" function on. There is a background play option that allows you to listen to music while doing other tasks on the handheld. The Audio Player software is version 2.2.1.
The SJ33 also has an enhanced internal speaker on the back (the same monaural ADPCM speaker found on the T-series Clies). Sony includes software that lets you converts wav files into alarms on a PC. MP3s can also be played through the internal speaker, though this leaves much to be desired in both volume and quality.
The SJ33 has the same connector on the bottom of the device as all recent Clies. It does not come with a cradle, but has power adapter and USB connection cables included. It also has standard infrared port (IrDA 1.2) for beaming.
The SJ33 uses an 800mA Lithium-ion polymer internal rechargeable battery. Sony rates the battery life at 17 days (based on an average of 30 minutes use of PIMs per day with the backlight off). It will get roughly 10 hours of music playback with the display off, or 4 hours with it on. It seems to be a significant improvement over the battery life of the T615, and is a welcome feature for a handheld that focuses on its music-playback capability.
The SJ33 is an attractive mid-range handheld with with audio entertainment capabilities and a great screen. At $299 it provides plenty of value in an eye-catching package. Check out our high res pictures below and stay tuned for more on the SJ33 in our detailed review.
Sony is now taking preorders for the SJ33 at SonyStyle.com.
Sony CLIÉ SJ33 Pictures
Click on any image for Larger, High-Res picture
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