I just got a Compaq IPAQ 3135 combo special at CompUSA after hearing about it on Usenet. There was no advertising for it at all--I had to ask the sales guy about it specifically. The regular 3135 (by itself) was on display for $399.95. The combo special, which is the 3135 with the CF sleeve, was $199.95 and there's a $50 rebate, so it's about $165 after tax if the rebate comes through. I've heard that some online stores are selling them as low as $127 after rebate and before shipping.
As a PDA, the 3135 sucks big time. If I'd bought it to use as a PDA, I'd take it back to the store and buy a Palm. Fortunately, I have other purposes in mind for it (see below).
The LCD display is not all that readable in normal room light (worse than a current Palm, for sure). The backlight makes it worse. I think this may explain why the 3135 is being blown out at such a low price. The TFT color display of the much more expensive 3600 series is wonderful, but the 3135's is barely useable. The 3135's backlight in particular makes the screen readable only if the room is really dark, not just dimly lit.
WinCE blows. You knew that already. It took ages to figure out how to do the simplest things, like set the system clock or delete a file, or even turn on the backlight without navigating through on-screen menus (which of course is impossible in the dark, when you need the backlight). Of course the last is partly from the lack of a dedicated backlight button on the 3135, the way Palms have.
It didn't help that the 3135 doesn't come with a printed manual. It's possible that there's some docs on the included cd-rom but I haven't loaded it. It manages to operate sluggishly despite its 200 MHz StrongARM cpu. A true tribute to Microsoft lameness.
The unit is held together with tiny torx screws or something equally obnoxious. It has an internal non-replaceable Li rechargeable battery like the Palm V. I hate those.
Accessories are expensive. The CF sleeve (included) is a mere $30 or so which is reasonable. But a comparable sleeve for a full sized PCMCIA card is $150. (The PCMCIA sleeve has its own battery, which helps with power hungry cards). There's an even more expensive dual PCMCIA sleeve that holds two type II or one type III card, so I guess you could put in two ethernet cards and use the Ipaq as a tiny firewall. Compaq sells a modem for $150 that fits in the CF slot. A couple other companies sell modems like that in the $100 range. I think there's a similar situation with CF ethernet cards. The CF modems are really quite spiffy but it may make more sense to spend the money on the PCMCIA sleeve and use a cheap PCMCIA modem. That means you can also use regular PCMCIA ethernet and 802.11 cards.
On the plus side, you get a quite compact gizmo for having such a fast cpu. Without the CF sleeve it's about the size of a Palm III, much smaller than the Casio and HP WinCE units. It has stereo audio out (no audio in except for the built-in mic, unfortunately) and an easy to operate voice recorder feature with a dedicated activation button. It came with a USB cable that plugs straight into the sync port, much more compact than a cradle. If you want a cradle you can buy one, but I'd rather just use the cable. It came with a typical heavy wall plug charger. I'd rather have a compact switching type, but that would have added cost. It has 16 meg of ram (the color version has 32m) but I've heard of people upgrading them to 64mb or even 128mb by soldering new chips in.
(Update:) George Mosquera makes the Silver Slider, a trimmed down and refinished version of the CF sleeve that makes the sleeved unit noticably smaller. It's kind of expensive but it looks really nice in the pictures. I haven't seen one in person.
I'm planning to run Linux on it. I'm told the Linux port for it works pretty well. Unfortunately, the 3135 needs a different kernel than the 3600 series, and it isn't currently nicely integrated into the Familiar package, complicating the installation somewhat. But it still doesn't sound too bad.
Linux programs I've thought of writing:
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