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Motorola Marco

The Motorola Marco is a wonderful Newton clone. It gives you a different look at what the Newton can be, but fails when it comes to implementation.

Features (In no particular order):

Device: If there was still a wireless network it could use, and if it could be upgraded to OS 2.0, it would be a nice device. I love the power button, the stylus and its feel. Other than the physical difference, it works just like a Newton 120 and has the same features of the 120 with the exception of the built in e-mail and wireless modem. This would make the Motorola Marco a better PDA than the Newton 120. It can run all software that a Newton 120 can run, so in this respect it is the same.

Failures (in no particular order):

Feel: After using an Apple Newton, I am accustomed to a solid feeling device. The plastic case on the Marco has a sort of a cheap feeling to it. I am not saying it has a toy type of plastic, but it just feels like the device put together well.

Device: Having a book type opening is unique, and could be great, but the Marco it fails in its implementation. The device consists of two parts (sides), the PCMCIA part and the screen part. The device is a little uncomfortable to hold because there is a lip that runs around the device. This lip gives the Marco a unique shape, but it is a bit uncomfortable to hold. The device would feel much better if the edges were flat.

Another failure is that the serial and power ports are on the bottom of the device, unlike the older Newtons, which had the serial ports on the right side. I felt it was not an optimal placement because you may have cords running out of the bottom of the device that seem to get in the way.

Proprietary battery: The rechargeable battery is uniquely shaped to fit the device and maintain the sharp curves. This makes it look good aesthetically, but bad for the consumer, which must rely on Motorola to supply new batteries for the life of the device.

Overall: The Motorola Marco is a nice device and wonderful Newton clone. It would be very useful if you could still get the wireless Internet access, and if you could install a Web browser on it. If you can find one with a good battery, it makes a good book reader and travel companion. I brought this one to Chicago, installed Fodor’s travel manager, and used the maps to walk around the city. It is a wonderful collectors item that any Newton aficionado will treasure.


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Last Modified: June 25, 2006 11:07 PM