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January 12, 2007 • Reviews

The Spectec SDW-820 SDIO WiFi Card Review

I have to?say that the Spectec SDW-820 SDIO WiFi Card is not a product I would have ever needed, if Palm hadn’t decided to deny WiFi to to its legion of WM5 Treo users. I can hear some of you asking it now…”Why would anyone with an all-you-can-eat data plan need WiFi?”

Right?

Well, because sometimes you do.

I’ve been in plenty of airports that offered WiFi service, but because they were built like bunkers my mobile phone’s signal was poor. I’ve also been in other countries where using GPRS data ran my T-Mobile bill into ridiculous sums – but WiFi was readily available, and it was free!

So some of you will smugly sit there thinking that you would never need a product like this, and that’s cool. I was once like that, too.

For those of you that understand the WiFi-less quandary, read on…

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The Spectec 802.11b SDIO card measures 1.5″ long, roughly 0.25″ longer than the typical SD card. Included in the package are the WiFi SDIO card, a plastic storage case, and a driver disk.

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Specifications:

Network Standard Support IEEE 802.11b
Network Architectures < STA (AD-hoc and infrastructure) and AP mode
< DCF / PCF
Frequency 2.4 GHZ band Direct conversion transceiver
Security WEP, WPA and WPA-TKIP Ready!
Radio Type IEEE 802.11b support DSSS system
Operating Channels 1-14 channels
Date Rate 1 , 2 ,5.5 ,11 Mbps Date Rate
Power Consumption < Avg. Operation: 95 -105mA
< Receive mode: 60 mA
< Transmit mode: 116 mA for 15 dBm Pout
Operating Voltage 3.0 V – 3.5 V
OS Support Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition (Pocket PC 2003 SE)
Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone
Windows CE 4.x / 5.0
Linux v2.418 on Samsung 2410 / 2440

Yeah, I noticed the absence of Palm OS from the compatible list, too. But since my Treo happens to be WM5, I am in luck. 😉

Using the mini CD driver installation disk, a small WiFi program is added to the PDA via ActiveSync.

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Once installed, the SDIO card pokes above the SD slot about 0.25″, or just enough for the Spectec logo to nicely display. 😉

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And here’s the backside. A green LED will shine at the base of the card (closest to the antenna) when WiFi is connected; it will quickly blink as the connection is established.

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This is the WM5 Wireless Manager before adding the card…

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After the driver has been installed and each time the card is inserted, this WiFi Warning will pop up…

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I didn’t notice any interference during phone calls while using the WiFi card, but I suppose the advice given for emergency calls is wise; clicking Dismiss will reveal the newly amended Wireless Manager.

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Once the Spectec SDIO WiFi card is running, the PDA has the same conveniences of a PDA with built-in WiFi, except for one – access to the memory slot is lost. Depending upon what programs the user has installed, this may be a big deal. Considering the minor miracles that Spectec has performed with inserting a microSD in their SDIO GPS card, I really do wish they could have tucked a similar slot into this one.

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Other than a lack of built-in memory or memory expansion capability, this WiFi card is the perfect accessory for anyone with a WM5 Treo or other Pocket PC without WiFi, and yes they still exist! Those of you with WM5 Treo 750s might want to watch for Mitchell’s upcoming review of the Spectec SDW-822 miniSDIO WiFi Card. 🙂

The Spectec SDW-820 SDIO WiFi Card is available directly from the manufacturer as well as from other retailers. Write to them for information on the retailer in your country. In the US, the authorized reseller is Setec.
MSRP: $46.85
What I Like: Adds the ability to wirelessly connect via WiFi to any Pocket PC with an SDIO slot
What Needs Improvement: I wish there were either added memory on the card, or a microSD slot

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10 Responses to " The Spectec SDW-820 SDIO WiFi Card Review "

  1. Mitchell Oke says:

    Yes I am looking forward to reviewing the miniSDIO version of this card. Unfortunately I am not on unlimited data, so I will definitely use it quite often.

  2. ChrisSpera says:

    I’ve got an unlimited data plan on my Cingular, I mean, AT&T cellular account, so I rarely use WiFi. If I didn’t have unlimited data, I don’t know how often I would use WiFi because you’re limited to either public (or subscribed, or other allowed) access points. Personally, I find it too limiting; and too battery intensive. But that’s just me…

    I’ll be interested to hear what you have to say about the microSD version, Mitch. I’m looking forward to your review!

  3. meinrosebud says:

    That would be very useful in my camera or PDA… yeah!

  4. dw says:

    This would be ideal while traveling between job and school, especially when researching.

  5. […] of WM5 Treo users. I can hear some of you asking it now…”Why would anyone with an… Läs hela testet » […]

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    […] of WM5 Treo users. I can hear some of you asking it now…”Why would anyone with an… Read full review » […]

  7. Axim x51 416mHZ and Spectec WiFi SDW820 card - Aximsite says:

    […] looks kind of exposed and fragile up there. It IS supposed to be a little longer; see a review at The Spectec SDW-820 SDIO WiFi Card Review at Gear Diary. My only complaint is that after I have it all working, and turn off the X51, then when I turn it […]

  8. Anonymous says:

    […] ??????? ? ????????????? ?? ?????? ???????? ??? ??????? wifi. ?? ? ???????????? ?? ???? SDIO ????. ??????? ??? ? ????? ?????? ? ????????, ?????????? ? ??????, ?? ???? ? ?? ? ????????.SDIO Wireless LAN Card SDW-820 Spectec 802.11b????????? ??????? ?????, ???????? ? ????????.????????:http://vali.bg/?group=&article=4958&am…cle_content.phphttp://www.geardiary.com/2007/01/12/the-sp…fi-card-review/http://palmtops.about.com/od/pocketpcacces…s/gr/SDW820.htm????????:http://download.spectec.com.tw/download.as…DEL=SDW-820/822????: 70 ??.???????? ? ??? ????????????? ???? ?? ???????:Spectec SDIO WiFi Card 802.11b (SDW-820) is a very small SDIO wireless LAN (WLAN) card (L 38.3mm×W 24mm×2.1mm thickness). Spectec SDIO WiFi Card 802.11b (SDW-820) is less than half the size of today standard SD wireless cards, while outperforming its competitors in stability, speed, range, reception strength and more. Are you sick of how far your SD WiFi card sticks out of your PDA? Not only does it look tacky, it makes it pretty easy to accidentally break. Spectec SDIO WiFi Card 802.11b (SDW-820) securely connects you to the Internet! Spectec SDIO WiFi Card 802.11b (SDW-820) can be plugged into many types of mobile devices, such as PDAs running WM2003/WM2003SE/WM5.0 that have SDIO slots. Equipped with an ultra-low power saving feature, it boasts unparalleled energy efficiency in stand-by mode. Spectec SDIO WiFi Card 802.11b (SDW-820) is currently compatible with Pocket PC2003/ WM2003 / WM2003SE / WM5 PPC and Smartphone. (Not compatible with handheld running all versions of Palm OS and Pocket PC 2002 upgraded to WM2003 due to the lack of SDIO support) Specifications:OS Support: PPC 2003, Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for Pocket PC & Smartphone, Mobile 5.0 for PPC & Smartphone, WinCE 4.X Transfer data rates:: 11Mbps, 5.5Mbps, 2Mbps, 1Mbps Interface : Support SDIO 1.0 Security : High performance engine for WEP, WPA, TKIP and AES support Frequency : Fully integrated, 2.4 GHz band direct conversion transceiver Radio Type : IEEE 802.11b support DSSS system Operating Channels : 1~14 channels Low Voltage : Power consumption: Operating Voltage: 3.0 V – 3.5 VReceive mode: 60 mATransmit mode: 116 mA for 15 dBm PoutAvg. Operation: 188 mA Support: STA (Ad-hoc and infrastructure) and AP modeDCF/PCF Weight : Approx. 3.5g Important note: This product is not compatible with the following devices:Sagem MYS-7DA04MToshiba e350I Do S600Motorola MPX220HP 2190Acer n10Yakumo Alpha-xQtek8080 smartphoneToshiba e400e800e310Dopod 818 pro wm5.0, O2 mini wm5.0 (MDA compact II)Medion 96710 […]

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  10. […] you even ask – yes…I tested?the Spectec?low profile SDIO Wifi card, and it was still just a tad too tall to properly fit in the case. So no SDIO cards – even […]

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