The last luxury gasp of the Psion 5mx Pro, with Point5 and Mulberry

Although I owned a great number of Psion palmtops back in the day, they broke one by one and I was very happy with @sandvixito donated his for me to own and play with. In fact, it was the top of the line Psion 5mx Pro, with reflashable ROM and updates (well, back in the day, anyway), complete with metal Point5 stylus and a luxury Mulberry case.

All very stylish. However, ageing plastic and moving hinges caught up with this unit too and I heard an ominous crack from deep inside - the palmtop had one proper 'open' in it before never closing properly again, I calculated, so if I was ever going to document this classic palmtop in photo form then now was the time.

The deluxe Mulberry leather. Lovely!

Inside, the Psion nestles in a custom container, plus storage for batteries and a paper notebook (remember them?!)

The Psion can fold open while cased, which is a really neat design trick. A laptop within a filofax form factor, almost. This was cutting edge back in 1997!! 

Spare battery storage - the 5mx Pro runs for about a week on two AA alkaline cells.

Booted up and out of the case, I've turned the LED backlight on - yes, you could work in the dark, to a degree! The Psion 5mx Pro boots from an OS image on CF disk and, in theory, you could update this image with a new ROM from Psion. Back in the day!

The form factor is still lovely to this day. Mechanical keys, large touchscreen, etc.

Batteries go in the rollable hinge, plus see the opened comms/data port too. Into this one would typically plug a proprietary cable, which then went into a PC for syncing content and backing up via PsiWin software.

The Psion originally had a plastic stylus, but here there's the aftermarket aluminium Point5 stylus - very nice. Also opened here is the CF door.

Yet more moving parts? Oh yes. A sliding voice memo door, revealing record, stop and play buttons. In hindsight, the Psion designs ended up with so many ports, doors, hinges, springs, that mechanical failure was a day to day reality. 

So yes - this 5mx Pro no longer closes properly and a metal spring pops out at every opportunity, rendering it unusable for anything serious. A great shame. 

But at least this is now photographed - and enjoyed pictorially. A device of its time and for a decade later, perhaps, but 25 year old plastic is now too brittle for mechanical hinging, it seems.

PS. See the Planet Computers range for the spiritual successors - designed by the same person, Martin Riddiford!


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