Pocket PC Techs 128MB Upgrade for the PPC Phone Edition Review


Product Requirements:
02/T-Mobile/AT&T SX56 Pocket PC Phone Edition

As anyone who owns a Pocket PC Phone Edition can tell you, this device is one
awesome example of what happens when convenience and practicality converge. The
only area in which I personally feel that this PDA falls short, is in its
inclusion of only 32MB RAM. For those of you that don’t understand the
ramifications of this, let me put it in layman’s terms: The Pocket PC’s
operating system is included in the Read Only Memory (ROM). The data and
additional programs that you choose to add are what fill the Random Access
Memory (RAM), which as I stated before, is 32MB in this unit. There is a gotcha,
though: of the 32MB, roughly half is allocated for storing the data and
programs, and the other half is allocated for actually  running programs
and loading
associated data
. To sum it up, a 32MB machine is actually more like a
16MB machine in many ways.

Most Pocket PC users will find this number too constrictive after adding a
few programs, and as a power-user I found it stifling. Even though I bit the
bullet and purchased a 256MB SD card, I still found that there were some
programs that really needed to be installed and run from my main memory…and
the 16MB that was available just wasn’t cutting it.

If there was ever a time when I needed a RAM upgrade, this was definitely it.
As in the past, I turned to someone that I was familiar with: Mack and Leonard
at Pocket PC Techs. Over the years,
Mack has done several upgrades for Julie and I, and I knew that the company he
has formed with Leonard would be the only place I would trust to do work on my

One of the biggest concerns I had regarding the upgrade was that the fabulous
battery life I enjoyed with the phone edition would be a thing of the past, once
my memory had been quadrupled. Here are two battery life tests that I ran before
sending my phone edition in for the upgrade.

First, I  played MP3s in a continuous loop, with the
volume on mute, and my backlight off. I was very impressed to see that I got
slightly over eight hours before the MP3 player quit – trying to conserve
what little battery power was left. Since we all know that MP3 playback is
especially taxing on a PDA’s battery, I felt this was the most rigorous test
I could perform.

Worth noting is the pathetically small amount of memory I
still had available – even with my 256MB card being loaded past the halfway
mark. Obviously, something needed to be done, and I was ready for Mack &
Leonard to take care of my problem.

While I was telling Julie about my surprisingly good results, we both
suddenly got paranoid that since I had kept my PDA on mute, for some reason it
might not have had to lay out as much juice as it would have had it been playing
out loud or pushing a set of speakers. Sooooo, to verify my results, I drained
my battery again with another test. This time, I obtained these results while
playing MP3s in a continuous loop through speakers, with the backlight off.

Date Time of Day Time PDA On Battery Level
10/30/2002 9:50:00 AM 0:00:07 100%
10/30/2002 10:03:00 AM 0:13:10 90%
10/30/2002 11:01:00 AM 0:29:15 100%
10/30/2002 11:01:00 AM 0:29:31 90%
10/30/2002 11:58:00 AM 1:26:21 80%
10/30/2002 12:48:00 PM 2:16:56 70%
10/30/2002 1:45:00 PM 3:13:14 60%
10/30/2002 2:32:00 PM 4:00:15 50%
10/30/2002 3:22:00 PM 4:50:50 40%
10/30/2002 4:31:00 PM 5:58:06 30%
10/30/2002 5:35:00 PM 7:02:21 20%
10/30/2002 5:58:00 PM 7:25:11 10%
10/30/2002 6:46:00 PM 8:12:59 5%

Not too shabby! Once again, I got slightly over eight hours. I figured I
could be happy with the upgrade, even if it meant giving up an hour of battery
life. Of course, I was hoping that I wouldn’t really have to.

With much excitement, I boxed up my phone edition and sent it in. About a
week later, my baby was back…with 128MB of glorious memory!

According to the PPC Tech website, "PPC2002 does not support the 128MB
natively, so our proprietary driver is still required.  We have also found that
by using our driver, the data transfer rate is substantially faster when saving
o our disk instead of the normal internal RAM

What this means is that on my phone edition, it appears as if I now have an
almost 64MB PDA…

As to the other 64 MB? It is located in the T2T disk, which
now shows up as a new and separate drive in my File Explorer. When I load
applications onto my Pocket PC, I can now do it either directly to my main
memory, or into the T2T Disk.

Also included with the upgrade is the T2T Disk Utility, which allows you to
see the available RAM in the T2T Disk as well as perform different functions.


All of these new improvements were well and good…but the nagging question
of how my battery life had been affected still begged to be answered.

Well, I am pleased to tell you that the memory upgrade didn’t do much damage!
In this table, you can see what happened when I repeated my test that involved
playing MP3s in a continuous loop through speakers, with the backlight off.

Date Time of Day Time PDA On Battery Level
11/09/2002 11:11:00 AM 0:00:18 100%
11/09/2002 12:03:00 PM 0:52:59 90%
11/09/2002 1:01:00 PM 1:51:08 80%
11/09/2002 2:00:00 PM 2:50:08 70%
11/09/2002 2:48:00 PM 3:38:06 60%
11/09/2002 3:24:00 PM 4:13:37 50%
11/09/2002 4:32:00 PM 5:21:38 40%
11/09/2002 5:23:00 PM 6:12:22 30%
11/09/2002 6:10:00 PM 6:59:55 20%
11/09/2002 6:40:00 PM 7:29:54 10%
11/09/2002 7:16:00 PM 7:32:51 20%
11/09/2002 7:17:00 PM 7:34:12 10%
11/09/2002 7:23:00 PM 7:39:04 20%

I got over seven and a half hours of use! Obviously, I could have gotten at
least 20 minutes more, but I have to admit that by now all of this battery
draining is making me nervous. Of course, the good news is that I know if I do
wind up killing my battery in the future, the PPC Tech guys would be the ones
that could fix it!

One downside to the entire upgrade is that doing this will void your
warranty, so you have to consider that before you take the plunge. Balancing
that is the fact that I am confident that Mack and Leonard could fix just about
anything that might go wrong in any PDA. They have definitely earned that
respect from me!

As you can imagine, the 
Pocket PC Phone Edition
to 128MB is expensive. If you are the type that won’t carry a PDA
longer than 4 months, then this upgrade might not be something you would even
consider. But if you are the type that finds a particular PDA after careful
research, purchases it, and then uses it for at least a year – then I would
highly recommend that you bite the bullet and do this.

Price: $299.00
64MB upgrade is also available for $129.00


Quadruple the RAM without a memory card
Professional and timely service
Upgrade doesn’t affect battery life that badly


Expensive – but I believe it is worth it for a PDA you plan on using for at
least a year


Product Information

Manufacturer:Pocket PC Techs
  • Quadruple the RAM without a memory card
  • Professional and timely service
  • Upgrade doesn't affect battery life that badly
  • Expensive - but I believe it is worth it for a PDA you plan on using for at
  • least a year
Posted in: Windows Phone
{ 4 comments… add one }
  • hodgesmt November 9, 2003, 2:16 am

    Wow… where to start? I moved to my HP 2215 from a handspring visor pro and do everything with it. As for movies, I copy my dvds to my hard drive and then use dvd2avi to create a file that I can change to an mpeg file with TMPGenc. Phew all that to make a 210 meg file to put on my SD card and watch Office space, or Tron with PocketTV PocketTV Link
    And PocketTV is FREE!

    I also have an Ambicom wireless CF card and a wireless network in my house. My favorite thing to do is to stram tv from my ATI All-in wonder card over my network using Windows Media encoder. I watch tv on it around the house. Wireless on a handheld is the greatest thing in the world. Here are a few links that I learned some good Info from.
    Pocket Movies creating video files for Handhelds
    Streaming media to your PPC

    I do not wish to get into the legalities of copying my dvds so that I can watch them on my handheld. I believe its ok for me to do so if I own the original. (Tron and Office space are my favorites!) If you are interested in doing so remember my mantra “Google is my friend”:)

    I also use Windows media player to listen to all my music streamed from my server so I don’t have to download it to my handheld.

  • hodgesmt November 9, 2003, 3:07 am

    Ooops could a mod move this to “movies on Pda” thread for me? I put it in the wrong place:(

  • Julie November 9, 2003, 3:31 am

    Sorry, I can’t move a sub topic to another sub… 😮

  • hodgesmt November 9, 2003, 3:58 am

    ok thanks. One more thing. I purchased a stylus from PDA Panache and it is pretty good for my 2215. chrome with black tip and screw off cap for a pen. I used to use a chamelion for my visor pro and the plastic cap got loose from use. I love this stylus so give it a try!

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