Yopy 3700 Product Review

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It looks great, but choosing not to use a Qtopia/OPIE based distribution limits Yopy's usefulness.

Everybody knows about the Sharp Zauruses. They were not the first Linux-based PDA available, but they have been the first great commercial success for Linux on a PDA. While Sharp was designing the Zaurus, however, Samsung also was working on a Linux-based PDA, the Yopy. When the Samsung project ended, GMATE purchased the rights to manufacture the Yopy and now is selling them. Although the hardware used in the Yopy is similar to that used in a Zaurus, the software differences make it another PDA altogether.

Purchasing a Yopy

Yopies are not widely available yet. The only way to purchase one worldwide is to go to yopy.com. Customers from France, Austria and the United Kingdom can purchase one through local resellers.

I personally placed an order though tuxmedia.com, the French reseller. The service was excellent, even though the Yopy 3700 was not immediately available. Apparently, GMATE does not have manufacturing capabilities comparable to Sharp's. But when the Yopy 3700 finally did arrive, it came complete with printed manuals, a CD-ROM for connecting the Yopy to Windows, a cradle and a power charger.

The design of the PDA certainly is the best point of the Yopy; it is far superior to the Zaurus 5x00s and meets the challenge of the Zaurus C7x0. The grey Yopy case features blue parts and a metallic-like keyboard. Although the keys are smaller than a Zaurus C7x0, they feel better and provide a nice shiny surface. The letters are engraved and both a tactile and an audible feedback occur when the buttons are pressed. It may not be as good as an old M-Series IBM keyboard, but it certainly is the best PDA keyboard currently available.

The Sony Clié NX-like clamshell design is another excellent point for the Yopy. Unfortunately, the added Compact Flash slot on the 3700 model makes it too big to take advantage of this design feature. The 3500 looks better and certainly fits better in a shirt pocket. Unless you seriously need a Compact Flash slot for Wi-Fi or memory cards, I strongly suggest purchasing a 3500 instead. MMC memory cards can be plugged into both models.

When you open the clamshell, it immediately powers up. The first thing you notice is the keyboard--there are far too many keys for application control. Among the 49 keys present is a four-direction control pad, four application buttons (Action/OK/End/Power), plus Shift, Control, Function, Caps Lock, Space, F1, F2, Penguin and Right Shift buttons in the bottom row.

If you consider the Tab, Del and Enter buttons found in the rows above, you begin to understand why it is a bit difficult to control applications. Because many shortcuts are mapped to each application, you can do things you didn't intend if you press the wrong key. And the buttons themselves are so small that pushing the wrong one by mistakes happens quite often. On the other hand, I did regret the traditional four-direction control pad plus Space button on the Zaurus 5x00 series and the jogdial plus OK button and Cancel from the C7x0 series.

A nice add-on to the Yopy is the rainbow row of LED lights in the front of the case. The Yopy powers off when you close it, unless music is playing, in which case it continues the playback but turns off the screen to save power. When it powers off, the LEDs flash, Knight Rider-style only with color and sans David Hasselhoff. This LED light show is completely useless is very appealing and geeky. It also is used to provide a visual alarm when the Yopy is closed.

Hardware

The Yopy is nearly identical to a Zaurus 5x00. It features a 206MHz Strong ARM CPU, a 3.5” backlit TFT color LCD screen (displaying 65,000 colors in 240x320), 128MB of SDRAM, 32MB of Flash ROM, an RS-232C serial connection, a USB slave connection, an IrDA port and an audio-out jack. Of note is the 128MB of RAM, which even the Zaurus C700 does not have. Only the latest Zaurus C760 can stand the comparison.

In addition to both MMC and Compact Flash slots, the Yopy 3700 has a few other high points. The Li-ion polymer battery is quite large, 2 300 mAh. While the Zaurus needs to be charged very often, the Yopy 3700 can last a long time with a single charge. The other big advantage of the Yopy 3700 is the internal microphone and speaker, which makes it handy to use the Yopy like a dictaphone.

The screen on the 3700 is smaller than the Zaurus C7x0's but is comparable to a Zaurus 5x00, maybe even a bit brighter. But the screen is very responsive, especially during draws--it really is a pleasure to use the paint application. There is no lag or delay between the movements on the screen and the appearance of the drawn lines. The only real drawback is the absence of a good and heavy stylus; like the C760, the 3700 comes only with a cheap plastic stylus that does not feel as good as a metal stylus.

Overall, the hardware is great. Besides the screen resolution and the CPU, the Yopy 3700 is at least as good as a Zaurus C760. Maybe new versions of the Yopy will provide a faster CPU, but the current model is fast enough with the included applications.

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Having re-read this review, i

Francis's picture

Having re-read this review, it's facts are obsolete.

I've just noticed too that yopypda.co.uk deliver worldwide FREE!!

Unfortunately, the Yopy is no

Anonymous's picture

Unfortunately, the Yopy is no longer manufactured and new units aren't available for purchase.

Yes it would seem this review

Francis's picture

Yes it would seem this review is way off, the Yopy is a fantastic Linux handheld, if you want a PDA - buy a Palm or PocketPC.

The Zaurus is a severely crippled platform using a restrictive GUI which is not very interesting or inspiring, hence the number of projects trying to replace/reflash the ROM.

The Yopy has a full X environment, mine has GNU compilers, mplayer and lots more. I've also got Qtopia as well and I can use all the Zaurus apps including commercial ones.

This is a badly informed, badly researched, limited review which fails to grasp the sheer scope of the Yopy over anything else in the same price range.

199 UK pounds is great value, it's available worldwide NOW at yopypda.co.uk where I got mine from, there is also a new yopy.lug.co.uk support group.

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

This review is DRIVEL.

It's lacking FACTS. Just an ignorant review all round, the Yopy is a great device - I have SWITCHED from a Zaurus C860! to a Yopy 3700, it's faster despite having half the clock speed of the Zaurus, it DOES run Qtopia, just install it, it runs MOST ZAURUS APPS! It runs X FASTER than pdaXrom on the Zaurus, I TESTED IT - it loads and runs gPaint an order of magnitude faster than the 860. It has a fantastic sound system, with good headphones and correct treble/bass settings, the sound can blow you away, it looks fantastic, there is a cylon-esque light which is a great alarm feature.

The PIM features are great, the web interface is inspired and is one hell of a machine.

All round, it's sturdier, faster, longer lasting (in terms of power) than my previous TWO Zaurii, plus is compatible with most ARM debian, iPaq Familiar and Zaurus apps.

This reviewer is speaking from the posterior and not the mouth. Ignore his comments, try it - BUY IT.

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

The YOPY is also available in the US from SDG Systems (http://sdgsystems.com), as well as other accessories to make the Yopy even more useful (like a GPRS modem). You can also find a more comprehensive review here: http://www.bargainpda.com/default.asp?newsID=1688&showComments=true

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

I think this is a very nice review but there is one little thing I would like to comment on:

You are saying that becouse Gmate does not use Opie they are missing out on a lot of programmes.

I do not agree with you on this one becouse you should pick your operating system based on performance not applications.
The only way to get more applications is to get more users.
If we all would choose the OS with the most applications then we would all be running windows ;)

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

I have to say you did not really talk about the battery life or how this device can be customized . . .

Licensing?

Anonymous's picture

What are the licenses for Yopy's platform and developer software?

I know that the Zaurus uses Qtopia, with its GPL-plus-proprietary licensing. I also know that the Zaurus's primary applications, Hancom Office and the Opera Browser, are proprietary (non-GPL'd), so for most people, the Zaurus Qtopia platform is proprietary.

How does Yopy's licensing compare?

Re: Licensing?

Anonymous's picture

GPL

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

It's not exactly difficult to connect to a Linux machine; plug in the USB, make sure the yopy is turned on (ie. open the screen) and run:

/sbin/ifconfig usb0 192.168.1.1 up

Now you can access it with a browser (to its webserver), log in via telnet, and transfer stuff to and from it with ftp. Oh, and if you're database-literate, you can make a small change to the MySQL config on it and access the database (including all PIM data) remotely as well.

As for the software, I got the Yopy precisely because the QTopia environment is pretty bad for a PDA, and in addition makes moving software over difficult due to the lack of X. That said, it is possible to parallel-install QTopia (or rather Opie) on it if you would want to. I also believe that a lot of the software written and ported to Familiar (the Ipaq distro) will work out of the box as well, though I have never tried it.

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

That's not easy for a pda ! I'm sorry but QTopia is much more mature. Yes it lacks it but that's a PDA we are talking about.

Guylhem

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

Hmmm. If Linux Journal doesn't support more than we could read on this article for a beautiful little piece of hardware that represent these yopys... Who will ???
X-Window on these yopys, you could connect easyly with usb network to any linux or BSD.
There's a **ing good PIMS there, mysql/boa based, so you could connect
with any OS that have an HTML brower.

You don't have java out of the box with many linux distos too. There is JAVA ports for the yopy as there is QTOPIA available and a small community of developper that need your help !

Go, buy one, really!

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

That's a bit of a problem as I see it; there seems to be several small groups of developers working on the Yopy in one form or another. The problem is, they seem to be somewhat disorganized and fractured - I have not found any one place that is authoritative for the Yopy and collects the efforts of different people. When you start to dig, there is a good deal of fine software for the machine, but it's not all that easy to find. There is also a dearth of beginner-level info of the type "what is the canonical collection of software you will want to install right from the start?" and "how, exactly, do I upgrade the system in practice, and add changes to the filesystem from the start?"

It is all out there, but not really collected.

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

Long on opinion, short facts, this review is. When will SSC start publishing real reviews? With real insights, instead of subjective horse manure like this.

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

I think it's my negative opinion you didn't like. Sorry but I'm much more happy with a Zaurus or with a Simpad than with a Yopy. It really feels uncomplete.

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

Well, seeing as the Yopy can now run Qtopia and many Zaurus apps under it, this review is obsoleted.

Re: Yopy 3700 Product Review

Anonymous's picture

"Long on opinion, short facts, this comment is. When will readers start making real comments? With real insights, instead of subjective horse manure like this."

Personally, I found it informative. Other companies are going for the Qtopia stuff quite substantially, so it is interesting to see if running X11 is really likely to pay off, especially since one of the things that Zaurus power-users seem to miss is X11 and the ability to run applications which require it (or which haven't been ported to Qt/Embedded). I think this review sheds light on that debate.

Or did you get upset because the reviewer didn't try to overclock the machine?

Yes but the point is irreleva

Francis's picture

Yes but the point is irrelevant because the Yopy can run BOTH Qtopia and X11 simultaneosly, I can even run individual Qtopia apps from X11 without the Qtopia GUI.

The Yopy has moved on, so all this about Qtopia or X is pointless, you can have both without penalty.

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