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Recommended PDAs - The software has continued to evolve and in doing so has grown in complexity and uses memory that in the past.  Whereas once the HP iPAQ 111 with its 64MB of RAM memory was sufficient, now it is not.  The software in places slows to a crawl and sometimes stops completely.  Consequently we no longer recommend any HP iPAQ PDA for that reason.  Our test PDA was the HP iPAQ 111 until about 2007 but now it will not allow Bluetooth connection to the Kestrel or our test rangefinder satisfactorily.  Therefore we do not recommend that you upgrade or update if the version you currently use on that device works to your satisfaction.  We do not have any Dell PDAs to test and so cannot speculate whether they will work well with the newer versions of the Delta V.  Depending upon how well the PDA was engineered and how much memory comes with it, the Dell PDAs may be a decent platform.  One low cost unit that does work very well is the Pharos 565E.  We received a unit from Charley Robertson at Score High Gunsmithing and have tested the Delta V software, particularly the Bluetooth connections where the HP units fail.  In the Pharos this connectivity works very well, but then it comes with 256 MB of RAM memory.  Clearly, then, the current software needs more that 64MB, but perhaps can run on something less than 256 MB.    

The hand computer of choice remains the Trimble Nomad 900L or the Juno T41.  These units use  very fast CPUs and have zero issues.  We have used the  Nomad 800L and 900L extensively (internal GPS, 1 GB of memory) and can say that the many superlative reports we received from FFS users were right.  It is an excellent piece of equipment and all of the software's features and tools work perfectly on this unit.  The GPS uses the excellent SiRF Star III chip set and the software can get a position fix nearly immediately upon start.  Connecting a Vector or PLRF range finder to the integrated DB9 connector immediately produces the correct serial data stream as targets are ranged, one after another.  It has a very fast CPU speed (806 MHz) which has no problem in performing even in the most complex areas in the program; the user will not detect any delay during operations except for the loading of bullet database which has nearly 3500 entries.  Yes, it is expensive.  In our judgment, however, it is worth it.  (In evaluating this unit, keep in mind the difference between "cost" and "price."  While the unit has a substantial price, it's cost of ownership over the long haul is likely quite low.  It is a very substantial, high quality, rugged unit which will give many, many years of service.)

Rather than present a list of all PDAs that could run the software, we provide a list of features that should be included in any PDA intended for the Delta software:

           1.  While the software will run on WM 5.0, we recommend at least the WM 6.0 operating system.

           2.  A rectangular screen.  The software was designed to run on a 240x320 pixel screen.  While it will run on a square screen, horizontal and vertical scroll bars will appear and the user will constantly have to scroll the screen to see all of the data.  It is not a pleasant user experience and we discourage square screen devices.  (The Juno T41 has a longer screen, 240x400 pixels.  This leaves a gap between the bottom of the work area and the bottom menu.  However, the software keyboard fits perfectly into that gap and does not cover any part of the software screen.  This is convenient since the Juno does not have a keypad; the software keyboard is the only way to input data and likely will be a permanent fixture on the screen.)

           3.  Avoid the QualComm GPS chipset.  Some smartphones, such as those manufactured by HTC, use the QualComm GPS chipset which uses a proprietary interface.  The interface may not work well with the software.  In addition, some smartphone GPS units are intentionally limited to interface only with a particular provider's software which makes the signals unavailable to third party software vendors.  Some Verizon phones fall into this category, for example.  If you are determined to run the software on a phone and want to use all of its capabilities, check the chipset and determine whether third party software has access to the GPS signals.  If it carries the SiRF Star III chip set, it should work without any problems.

          4.   An alternative to the internal or integral GPS is a GPS unit that connects to the PDA via Bluetooth.  There are many Bluetooth GPS receivers to choose from and most come with either the SiRF Star III or MTK2 chip sets, either of which will work very well.  Because the Delta series of software needs to know its current location in order to compute magnetic variation, Coriolis, and Eotvos effects as well as permitting the user to input compass bearings for target direction and use compass bearings from other devices such as the Kestrel weather meters and Vector range finders, it is essential that the shooting location is current.  While it is possible to accomplish this by inputting current coordinates by hand, using the GPS automates the process.

           5.  Since the software is available only on micro or standard SD cards, obviously the device must have an SDIO slot or port.  This means that devices like the Trimble Recon cannot run the software because it has only a CF port.  It is not possible to run the software in a non-SD  port by using an adapter; the software must be inserted in an SD drive to run.  That is why we recommend the Trimble Nomad: it, unlike its Recon cousin, comes standard with an SD drive.  The Pharos 565E comes with a micro-SD drive. 

           6.  As the software continues to evolve, additional features are introduced some of which demand substantial computing power.  While version 3.3 of the software could run on the most rudimentary PDA, as of version 4.5 that is no longer the case.  We recommend a CPU clock speed of at least 624 MHz.  That is another reason why we would not recommend the Trimble Recon even if it had an SD card drive.  Its CPU clock speed is only 400 MHz and not considered adequate.  The Nomad, on the other hand, has a clock speed of 804 MHz and there is virtually no hesitation at any point in the program, even those areas which place computational demands on CPU. 

          7.  An issue related to CPU clock speed is available memory as discussed.  The iPAQ 111 has 64 MB of RAM with about 31 MB available to run the program with no other programs running.  Clearly this is insufficient.  The next smallest unit we have in terms of memory is the Pharos 565E with 256 MB of RAM.  This unit runs well.  Somewhere between the two memory amounts will be the minimum.  The Nomad with the internal GPS comes with 1GB of flash memory which obviously more than enough.  And, in this regard, do not be fooled by companies offering devices with what appears to be an amazing amount of memory; look carefully to determine whether this apparently huge amount of memory is in the form of a fixed, internal SD card.  Increasing available memory by adding a permanent SD card is, in our opinion, an inferior solution.

         8.  Other available PDA units can be found at www.cardinalmobile.com.   Of the units shown, the following units look acceptable: Motorola MC75, MC75A if these units have a serial connector for connection to a range finder; Honeywell Dolphin 99EX, Dolphin 9700; Nautiz X7; Psion EP10.  The Honeywell, Nautiz, and Psion units appear acceptable to run the Delta V software.  Keep in mind, however, that we have not used these units and cannot represent that they will prove acceptable in practice.

Update:

We have tested the Nautiz X8 and have found it unacceptable.