I’ve just acquired a new phone - an LG C900k Windows Phone 7 device. It’s awesome and I’m having a lot of fun with it. It’s not the only mobile computing device I have, just the newest, so I thought a comparative review was in order between it and the oldest mobile computing device I have, my Cambridge Z88.

Boot Time - How long does it take for the device to be ready to use when starting from a fully powered off state? The Windows Phone takes just under 19 seconds. The Z88 is ready to go in less than 1 second.

Advantage: Z88

Screen Resolution - What are you looking at when using the device? The Windows Phone has a 480 x 800 full colour 3.5” display that’s gorgeous to look at. The Z88 has a 640 x 64 grayscale display.

Advantage: Windows Phone

Battery Life - what kind of battery does it use and how long does it last? The Windows Phone uses a proprietary Lithium-Ion battery pack that gives around a day of standby and use. The Z88 takes four standard AA batteries and includes an internal “super-capacitor” that allows the batteries to be changed without losing anything from memory. The Z88 was rated for 20 hours use and 1 year of standby using the battery technology of 1987, on modern rechargables I’ve have over 30 hours of use with no sign of a low battery indicator.

Advantage: Z88

Keyboard - what’s the experience using the device to write. The Windows Phone has both an on-screen keyboard, using the touch screen, and a physical keyboard that slides out when held sideways. Both keyboards gain from the predictive word completion shown on screen, but are substantially smaller than a regular keyboard. Whether you use both thumbs or a couple of fingers, neither is much good for more than a few dozen words. The Z88 has a full size membrane keyboard that supports proper touch typing. The keyboard feel is better than many modern cheap keyboards and is almost silent in use.

Advantage: Z88

Storage - How much stuff can you put onto the device? The Windows Phone has 16GB of internal storage, with no external slot for further expansion. Through the Zune software on my PC, I can copy music, podcasts, videos and other files onto the phone for playback. The Z88 has 128KB of internal memory, plus three expansion bays that can be used to expand the memory further - I have 192KB of additional memory plugged into mine, giving a total of 320KB of available storage - I’d need to find over 52,000 Z88s to equal the storage capacity of the Windows Phone.

Advantage: Windows Phone

Communication - how well can you communicate with the device? The Windows Phone has both WiFI and WLAN capabilities, meaning that I’m online wherever I go (as long as I work within my monthly data plan, anyway). Bluetooth support allows it to wirelessly connect with my laptop if I don’t want to use USB. It can even make phone calls. The Z88 has only a proprietary serial port for communication with the outside world. I’ve got mine configured to print through the serial port, allowing me to capture the output on my PC with a terminal application.

Advantage: Windows Phone

Two devices - one is 24 years old, the other a matter of weeks. Different strengths, different weaknesses - and each has advantages over the other.

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