iPhone vs Psion Series 5

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by macwannabee, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. macwannabee macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
    OK - an unusual title and an unusual request !

    Has anyone out there had any experience of the Psion Series 5 and is now using the iPhone in a similar way ? Yes, I know they are different devices but as a long term Psion user it would help me decide whether I can replace/upgrade my Series 5 with some confidence ?

    And yes, I am at the upper end of the iPhone demogaphic !:D
  2. memesmith macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2007
    I can answer your question.

    ahhhh Psion Series 5 ... my second favourite PDA of all time. I had two (they are fragile) a 5 and a 5 mx.

    In short, no you can't use an iPhone in the same way as a Psion Series 5. The big difference? Editing word files - no cut and past, (in comparison) an inadequate keyboard (ahhh the Psion Series 5, the best keyboard in the world), and no real file structure.


    Do you work in the same way as you did when you bought the Psion? I know I don't my job back then involved a lot of typing up research at the British Library and on the train, it didn't involve so much email (ahhh the Psion modem, my LEAST favouite modem in the world and (once an IRDA compatible phone was bought) the pleasures of iRDA on a moving train...).

    Now for me the iPhone is a far better PDA than the Psion or any other device I've tried, even though I have great love for the Psion 5. For you? How much text editing do you do?
  3. macwannabee thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
    Thanks for the prompt reply - I am not alone !!!

    I still have a fully functional 5MX - ahh that keyboard !!! I have dabbled with a Dell Axim and Nokia 770 - neither worked for me :rolleyes:

    Good point about what I want to use it for, you are right I won't use it in the same way as I originally did my 5MX (I wrote most of my PhD on it - ain't going there again !) So no real need for extensive text editing, just the odd note to self etc and running the family finances (or lack thereof..).

    I guess the main use for an iPhone will be as a PDA+ for home (ie non-business use - I have a Crackberry for work..) - what features/apps do you find most useful on the iPhone ?

    With thanks
  4. torbengb macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2008
    Vienna, Austrria
    Okay THIS is a topic that's worth registering for in order to reply on:

    I'm still using my Psion Series 5mx; have been on Series 5/5mx for ELEVEN years so far... you could say I am a devout Psion user. As others have commented, the awesome keyboard wins for me. The applications are made for mobile, like the Agenda's "busy" view that gives you an overview of when you have a free time slot for this new schedule item. Not even the iPhone has that. No modern smartphone/iPhone can survive a week without a power adaptor - my Psion runs for three weeks on 2 AA cells. None can match the typing ease of the Psion. I frequently write pages of text, but forget about that on any modern smartphone/iPhone.

    I've tried various Windows Mobile smartphones and they basically suck. The hardware is pitiable and the software is deisgned to run on XP with a big screen, not in your pocket. So I probably won't ever own a Windows smartphone again. (Actually, the software "Pocket Informant" raises any smartphone from horrible to acceptable, but the hardware still sucks.)

    I've seriously considered getting an iPhone, especially after having used a colleague's iPhone. It really is an elegant piece of work, and it works intuitively. However, there are still serious drawbacks over my Psion: Slower keyboard, no copy/paste, no file system - and no "Word" application!?! I consider the iPhone a super-brilliant MP3 player, but it's not a mobile office like the Psion always was. In fact, I'd just like to improve my Psion with GSM phone, Bluetooth and WLAN, then I'd be happy.

    I am considering what alternatives I have. An Asus Eee 900-series is a good Psion replacement but too large to lug around always, and still has no phone - just like the Psion! The iPhone is pocketable and oh-so-attractive but it would require me to downgrade my writing requirements. I haven't decided what to do yet. But I am realizing that I cannot go on repairing my Psions. Their era has come to an end.
  5. memesmith macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2007
    Hmmmm, macwannabe "family finances" - iPhone has no spreadsheet, and can't edit GoogleDocs, so you might be stymied there. Though thee are some apps like PocketMoney that seem quite good if you are into that sort of thing. And first directs webaccess woks brilliantly on iphone.

    torbengb - sounds like you still write too much to move to iPhone yet.
  6. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    The Psion Series 5 was the pinnacle of PDA design and nothing has come close before or since in terms of usability. The iPhone is (obviously) much more powerful in raw terms but still lacks some functionality from the Series 5. Most glaring are the lack of keyboard, no editing of documents and (ironically!) cut and paste...
  7. page3 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2003
    Vicar of Dibley-land, UK
    Spot on.

    All I ever wanted was a colour Psion 5 with phone capabilities but alas it was never to be.

    Still, the iPhone is pretty good :p I wonder if it will run RiscOS???
  8. cal6n macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2004
    Gloucester, UK
    Well, it's got an ARM... :cool:
  9. TwoBytes macrumors 68030


    Jun 2, 2008
    I come from a 5mx... what all you psion cling-oners want is a NOKIA E90!

    it's the 5mx in it's latest guise. As a e90 and iphone owner and long time symbian fan let me know if you have any questions- happy to help
  10. torbengb macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2008
    Vienna, Austrria
    An interesting suggestion, and certainly a nice device with a fairly decent keyboard. But it does not have a touch screen! How can anyone make a PDA in 2008 without a touch screen?
  11. yegon macrumors 68020

    Oct 20, 2007
    Yeah, the Psion 5 was a fantastic piece of kit, used one for years. Had various PDA's over the years and in hindsight it was never bettered in terms of inputting data. Don't really have the need for a keyboard these days so the iPhone does the job admirably.

    There's a fella at work who still uses his 5MX and claims he's bought TWO fully working MX's to act as spare should his die!
  12. slackpacker macrumors 6502a


    Jun 27, 2004
    An Island off the East coast of the USA
    Wow what a comparison.

    The Psion is overall quicker to get into the app and start writing notes. Anything to do with Typing is better on the Psion. Because of its awesome keyboard.

    But the Web,Games,Apps,Music,Phone,GPS did I say Apps. Are all light years ahead of the Psion.
  13. illitrate23 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2004
    ahh nostalgia! i remember fondly my old psion series 3 and later the series 5
    awesome gadgets

    that said, i think the iphone is a better unit
    for one, music and video playback are important to me - i commute to work each day, so i need something to alleviate the boredom of the train journeys

    the Notes app is great for making quick reminders, shopping lists, etc etc
    i wouldn't want to write a novel in it though (which i did do on my series3)
    but all i really need to fix that is a decent Pages-compatible editor app - i quite like the on-screen keyboard personally
    i just wish i could sync the Notes on the iPhone with those on my iMac

    i need to find a good finances app for the iPhone - there seems to be a whole slew of them on the AppStore but i've no idea which ones are good. am hoping to find a website that'll compare them all in a couple of weeks once all the excitement has calmed down

    reading website and pdf files is very nice - the screen renders brilliantly

    contacts and calendar apps are great too

    so i'd think the iPhone might well be suitable for you - have you spent some time in the shop testing them out?
  14. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    Psion??? Are you guys for real???

    THIS blows every Psion, Palm, Newton, Treo, and iPhone out of the water.

  15. macwannabee thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2008
    Thanks for all the responses/discussions folks. If there are any hardware developers out there please take note of all the comments about the Psion keyboard !

    torbengb - couldn't agree more ! User replaceable batteries - novel (Apple please take note !). I probably spend more time worrying that my 5MX is about to fall over than using it now - time to move on but not to an EEE.

    page3 - unfortunately we will never see the dream device ! Loved running linux and dos on my 5MX...

    musio - E90, yes looks like the MX for the C21st, will take a look but looks pricey in terms of costs of ownership...

    mcdj - love it ! Does it come in white ?

    I am holding off on the iPhone for now (especially with the completely unsubstantiated rumours of a new :apple:device in September:rolleyes:) but am watching the app store and reviews closely - not sure I can hold out much longer though...
  16. johnnypoll macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2008
    I have a Psion 5MX and an iphone and love both.

    I still use the Psion Contacts to store login ids, passwords etc. etc.

    The Search to pull out relevant data is perfect, matching on whichever database fields I choose. My problem is I need to replace that searchable database before the Psion finally dies.

    What is the alternative? I now want something online, perhaps in a cloud, but secure and easily searchable. Also something I can import my existing data into, perhaps via an XLS data file. Apple Address book looks possible on mobileme, but I'm not sure how secure it would be and the web search within mobileme seems poor; it doesn't search all fields and doesn't seem configurable.

    Can anyone recommend a good online searchable / secure database app. that replaces the Psion 5 Contacts database?


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