Any former Psion 5 owners out there?

Philip Belben philip at
Sat Jul 17 04:21:06 CDT 2010

Liam, quoting me:

>> But why "former Psion 5 owners", on this list of all places?  I have never
>> owned a Psion 5 - but I use my Psion 3c daily!
> Well, true - but there is nothing quite like the Series 3 any more and
> I don't think there ever will be again. Frankly, although there were
> things I really missed about my various S3s, the S5s were better in so
> many important or significant ways that I never considered moving
> back.

Sorry if I sounded as though I was starting a Psion 3 vs 5 war.  That 
was far from my intention!

I was merely saying that this is Classiccmp!  You don't look on 
Classiccmp for _former_ owners of nice machines, but for people who 
still use them!  And not just the Psion 5 - your post is equally 
relevant to people like me who use the 3.  Or the HP 95, 100 and 200 
palmtops.  Or plenty of other machines.

> I preferred the S3 interface, the keyboard shortcuts, the file/program
> manager and much more, but the S5 was so much more capable, I never
> regretted moving.
> I'd give a lot for a modern S5 type device, but I would never go back
> to an S3 today, I'm afraid...

Fair enough.  I'm not criticising you for it.

I got my first two Psion 3 machines when they were withdrawing the Psion 
5 at work.  We were asked to find any Psion 5 machines lying around and 
send them in for recycling :-(  On a shelf we found a box with two Psion 
3c machines in instead.  Since we hadn't been asked to return those, I 
kept them.  (With the former user's blessing, I may add)

I never had much exposure to the Psion 5.  I don't much like touch 
screens [*] - and the touch screens of that period wore out quickly, 
IIRC - and the hinge on the 5 was even more complicated and liable to 
fail than that on the 3.

So what was nice about the 5?  I'm not asking you to justify yourself; 
I'm genuinely curious!

On the subject of Psions, the two common failure modes on the 3: cracked 
hinge, and leaky backup circuit.  By the latter I mean something in the 
circuitry that remains active when the main battery fails - clock, 
memory, not much else - starts drawing excessive current, and the 
machine flattens the backup cell in about a day, whether the main 
battery is in or not.  Does anyone know what causes this?  I have two 
old main boards with this symptom, which I must reverse-engineer.  One 


[*] ... but prefer keyboards.  Which is why your original post was so 

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