Handhelds are becoming more and more popular these days, unfortunately the current market is much too expensive to be considered suitable for kids. However, Cybiko are the first to have created a wireless handheld computer with the younger generation in mind. The models on offer are very reasonably priced and offer a wide range of functions that children will not only benefit from but love too. The Classic is the original Cybiko handheld, and the Xtreme is the updated version of the Classic.
Whether they want to chat to their friends, send and receive email, or use the Cybiko as their own personal organiser (address book, alarm clock, time planner, calendar or journal), both models can be fully adapted to their own needs by downloading any of the 60+ applications or over 400+ single player games available completely free of charge. It can also be adapted to help with their education with a scientific calculator and multilingual dictionaries (French, German and Spanish) available to download.
One of the most popular features of the Cybiko handhelds is their ability to text chat to other Cybikos in a given area. The Classics range is within 100 metres and the Xtremes range is within 300 metres. This function is again, free of charge and the Cybikos will even alert you to other users within that area. Although the unit beeps to alert you, it also vibrates and a text box will appear on the screen asking if you want to chat (you can turn the chat function off if you wish). Believe me, it was great fun testing this function out. But lets take a look at them individually to see which one suits you best.
Some may find it difficult to use the closely spaced keys without hitting a few unwanted keys, however, Cybiko have provided a handy stylus to overcome this problem. And it works very well too, and there is even a storage compartment at the rear, so you won't have to worry about losing your stylus.
Turning the Classic on brings up the Main Menu where you can see 7 large icons to represent its various functions and because of this, browsing the menu is a very simple task. When you are given instructions, they are given in a clear font and you can change the desktop speed to help you read all of the information.
The smaller D pad, as well as all keys having a dual function accessed through the Fn key, have allowed Cybiko to space the key pads wider apart. While this improves your accuracy without having to use a stylus, it does mean an increased usage of the Fn key, which may irritate some. I did notice that if you wanted to type for continued periods of time e.g., chatting or emailing, I needed to hold the Xtreme in my two hands and use my thumbs to type comfortably. The text is significantly smaller than the text used for the Classic.
While the Classic had a separate charger to provide power, the Xtreme uses its USB connection cable to plug into a specially adapted USB socket on a mains plug as well as provide an interface between it and the PC. You will need to use a root USB port so that the Xtreme can take power to recharge its batteries. While USB technology is fantastic for those who have it, it does restrict those kids looking for a handheld who don't have USB connections on their PC.
Getting down to the nitty gritty of comparing specifications, the Xtreme comes with more storage space built in than the Classic plus the expansion pack chargeable at approximately £19.99. So this means that you can have more programmes on the Xtreme at once without deleting files from your handheld. It also has a faster processor - 18 mhz compared to 11mhz in the Classic. Put the increased memory together with the faster processor and you can see the difference in performance. I opened the Text Editor and found a slight lag in opening, saving or deleting files with the Classic compared to the Xtreme.
Putting everything together, it would appear that the Xtreme is the better unit to buy. However at £59.99 compared to only £29.99 for the Classic, it is expensive for a unit that does almost the same job as the Classic just a little faster. It would also prove expensive to parents who have two or more teenagers to buy for or if owning a handheld is just another teenage fad. The Classic however is great value for money, even if they are used as nothing more than funky walkie-talkies with additional features, the chat function will keep teenagers amused for hours at a time.