oh brother

Today I have an exclusive review of the Brother Super Powernote PN-8700MDS word processor. This technological marvel was released in the late 1990s and features an intuitive GUI along with word processing, spreadsheet, address book, and other basic personal information management functions. Heres a quick run-down of the specs:

  • Unknown processor
  • 33 K memory
  • Internal 1.44 MB floppy drive
  • Compatible with Bookman cards
  • Parallel port (for printer)
  • Serial port (for optional external modem)
  • 9 monochrome screen
  • 11.3 wide x 9.5 deep x 1.9 thick
  • ~3 lbs
  • Includes Tetris game on floppy disk

I would break down the different aspects of the device bit-by-bit, but instead Ill make this review succinct by just telling everyone what they want to know: how the Super Powernote stacks up to the iPhone.

  • Display: At around 9 inches, the monochrome, non-backlit display (with adjustable contrast) is much larger than the iPhones 3.5 display, making everyday use much easier. It also reduces eye strain-related medical bills.
  • Battery: The Super Powernote actually has an optional removable battery - NiCad at 1400 mAh. The iPhones battery, of course, cannot be removed by the user and must be sent in to Apple for replacement.
  • Expandable Memory: With an internal 1.44 MB floppy drive, the Super Powernote lets you add and remove memory as needed, allowing for portability and convenient transfer of files to your computer. Also featured is a Bookman slot, for addition of such games as poker and such useful books as Bartletts Familiar Quotations. The iPhone has no removable memory card, apparently because users of the iPhone would be overwhelmed by the necessary insertion and removal of the card.
  • Fax: The iPhone cannot send faxes while the Super Powernote is fax-ready.
  • Physical Keyboard: The Super Powernotes full-size keyboard makes typing a breeze; conversely, the iPhones on-screen keyboard has a learning curve and pales in comparison.
  • Cost of Ownership: While Brothers device can be had for as low as $20 on eBay, the iPhone will cost ~$2000 over a two-year period - thats 100 times more expensive.
  • Finally, not every 12 year old (and his mom) has a Brother Super Powernote PN-8700MDS, unlike the iPhones ubiquity.

Those are the facts; you decide which is superior. Ill leave you with a few photos of the beloved machine, before it returns to its rightful place deep in the dust-covered recesses of my closet.

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