This isn't a bad device, it just isn't what is expected from a company with a good reputation for design and innovation. Should you require the best in colour quality on your PDA, or you deem an audio player an essential element of such a device, then the N770C will fit your needs to a T. Otherwise, you would do better to plump for one of the cheaper alternatives.
Sony has a reputation for producing well-designed electronic devices, best demonstrated by its range of audio products; yet it still seems unable to live up to this reputation with its range of Palm-powered Clie handhelds.
Technologically, the latest colour device, the N770C, has several benefits over Palm handhelds, yet has a lot of catching up to do in the looks department. The cheap-looking, cardboard-feeling flip-lid that protects the screen is held on with two tiny clips, and has fallen off several times during our tests.
Opting for a slimmer look, Sony has opted for a smaller screen than Palm devices, yet has doubled the resolution. This makes using the device, especially for multimedia, a more enjoyable experience.
Although slimmer than other Palm handhelds, the N770C is deeper, giving the impression of a bigger device when in the hand.
The rather anaemic colouring of the device does it no favours either, making a powerful, expensive device look like a toy rather than the practical information tool it is.
All the usual software is bundled, including the latest Palm OS (v 4.1), but a few extras, focusing on Sony's audio/video expertise, are thrown in too. Image and video software exploits the high-resolution screen, while audio software allows MP3s and the proprietary ATRAC3 format to be played.
Funky headphones are included, which offer good sound quality in a small size. There's also a remote control.
Like Sony mobiles, a jog dial is a key feature of the device, allowing one-handed navigation - albeit with a little practice.
External memory remains in this device, and still in the form of Sony's proprietary Memory Stick format. This can limit your options somewhat, as it isn't as versatile or widespread as the other open standards (SD and MMC), and looks to be hamstrung by compability problems.