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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Compaq Aero 1520 Review
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 1999
 Version 1.01  Revised 11/30/99

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The Compaq Aero 1500 series is the smallest of the latest generation of Palm-size PCs. This review will focus on the new Aero 1520.

Compaq Aero 1530
What's the Difference?

Travel Pack:

  • Cigarette power adapter
  • Three extra styluses
  • Serial cable for mobile use


The Aero 1520 is the thinnest and lightest of the P/PCs available to date. To give you an idea how thin it is, it is about 2/3rds the thickness of the color P/PCs. It uses a 70 MHz MIPS CPU with 16 MB of ram making it one of the slowest of the latest generation of P/PCs. On the left side you'll find the voice recorder button, up/down and action lever, and the exit button. Along the top you will find a 3.5mm headphone jack, microphone, type I CF+ CompactFlash slot, alarm led, infrared (IrDA) port and stylus. On the right side you will find the AC adapter plug, and the backup battery. On the bottom is the serial port (identical pinout to the Everex Freestyle, Trogon and Aero 2100). Below the display is the application buttons for calendar, contacts, tasks and notetaker as well as the power/backlight display. Also in the box you will find a docking cradle and AC adapter as well as a leatherette case. Compaq does include a quick start guide which will help users with identifying the features of their 1500 and how to synchronize. The documentation for the Aero 1520 is on the included cdrom in Acrobat format.


The software in ROM includes:

  • QLauncher - a menu w/ task management
  • Audible - a audio book player, File explorer - by Compaq which allows network connections like network neighborhood, map network and find computer
  • Picture viewer - allows users to view GIF, JPEG and BMP pictures
  • QUitilities - CompactFlash backup/restore, diagnostics (a first in Windows CE - user run diagnostics to resolve problems w/hardware), contrast (contrast Vs picture quality), game keys (arrow support), auto run.

On the CD you will find the following additional applications:

  • VCA Finance CE and Finance Connector - Finance program for capturing financial data, expense reports
  • AudibleManager - your link to the audio content provided by Audible, Inc.
  • Applian CoolCalc -the fastest, easiest way to crunch numbers, including Scientific, RPN, Computer Math, Loans, Future Value of Money, Date Math, Margins, and Currency conversion, all in one package
  • Sierra Imaging Image Expert CE (30 day trial) - Allows viewing of any JPEG or BMP images from a digital camera on a Palm-size PC. Annotate images with voice, ink, or text, share them via email and IrDA.
  • Inso Corporation QuickView Plus CE - Allows users to view files in more than 70 formats. Users can access files created in popular text, spreadsheet, presentations and graphics formats without the need for the authoring application.


I really liked the readability of the gray scale display even though it had a tinge of green. The screen was readable outdoors and in although the backlight is not very bright. I also liked the weighted stylus - it made using the stylus more comfortable. This unit excels at portability - by being the lightest and thinnest. Overall, a good compromise of speed, battery life and size especially for users that are willing to swap speed and color for battery life.

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