While the C7 REDFLY Mobile Companion can allow road warriors to leave their full-sized laptops at home, its price, slowness, and limitation to Windows Mobile smartphones are all big drawbacks that professionals need to be aware of before opting for this device.
- Price: $229 (there's also a more powerful model, the C8N for $299)
- Display: 7-inch 800 x 480 display
- VGA port: 800x600 output (to connect to projectors)
- Size: 1 x 6 x 9 inches (2.54 x 7.36 cm)
- Weight: 1.46 lbs. (.7kg)
- Battery life: 5 hours of normal use
- Connections: two USB 2.0 ports
- Integrated Bluetooth 2.0 EDR
- No CPU, RAM, or internal user storage
- List of smartphones verified to work
- Additional specs
- For a closer look, check out our REDFLY photo gallery
Who's it for?
The C7 REDFLY Mobile Companion is designed for road warriors who can handle all of their work through their Windows Mobile smartphone when they're on the road.
What problem does it solve?
Business travelers don't have to carry a full-sized laptop with them on trips. They can use their smartphone as their primary computing device and then use the REDFLY to provide a larger screen and keyboard, when needed.
- Easy setup
- Form factor is small and light
- Extended battery life (+5 hours)
- Can run PowerPoint presentations
- With a 3G phone, you can have mobile broadband and don't have to mess with Wi-Fi hotspots
- Most tasks are much slower than the slowest laptop
- Keyboard and trackpad are too small for prolonged usage
- Limited to Windows Mobile OS
Bottom line for business
The concept for the REDFLY Mobile Companion is intriguing. I actually liked the idea when Palm was going to do it with the Foleo as a companion for Treo smartphones (but Palm eventually killed the project before it hit the market).
The REDFLY C7 is small and light and can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth so don't even have to take it out of your bag or off your belt. Add a Bluetooth or USB mouse and you've got a pretty elegant setup. Throw in the phone's 3G connectivity and you never have to worry about Wi-Fi hotspots and roaming.
The problem is the REDFLY is painfully slow with Windows Mobile phones. It's not REDFLY's fault. Most smartphones have software that is slow and clunky (Windows Mobile is just particularly bad), but since the REDFLY is powered completely by the smartphone, I experienced some really bad lag problems when testing the device.
The device is roughly about the same size and cost as a netbook - its primary competition. However, since it has no CPU or internal memory, it needs to compete on simplicity, ease of use, and convenience, and it's not quite there yet. It also needs to support BlackBerry, Nokia S60, and iPhone if it wants to be a serious solution.
Have you encountered or used a C7 REDFLY Mobile Companion? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review of the C7 REDFLY Mobile Companion in the TechRepublic Community Forums.
Jason Hiner has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about how technology is changing the way we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.