Last year, we reviewed
PocketMac Pro 2.0
; June 2003), the first application that allowed PDAs running Microsoft’s Windows-only PocketPC OS to interact with Macs. It didn’t make a great impression. Installing and configuring the software was a long, fiddly process that was certain to leave you with a clear understanding of what phrases like “kernel panic” and “stress-related embolism” mean. The program also had a clumsy, amateurish interface, and it let you exploit only a fraction of your PocketPC’s features.
What a difference a year makes. PocketMac Pro is now a mature, simple, and feature-rich product. Click to install, restart, plug your PocketPC’s cradle into the USB port (or activate a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection), and you’re ready to sync. Version 3.3 provides two-way sync support for Apple’s iCal and Address Book, Microsoft Entourage, and Now Software’s Now Up to Date & Contact. The installer creates a new iTunes playlist, iPhoto album, and browser bookmarks folder. Music and photos you drop into these areas will automatically go to the right places on your PocketPC when you sync. PocketMac can download the contents of each Web bookmark and move them to your PDA for offline reading. Your unread e-mails (from Apple Mail or Entourage) are slurped into your PocketPC’s in-box, and you can designate folders for either one- or two-way file synchronization.
You engage syncing via PocketMac’s pull-down menu, through iSync, or by simply dropping your PDA into its cradle. But there’s more to using a PDA than just syncing data. You can also browse the contents of your PDA and any of its memory cards and drag files in and out. A utility is included for installing third-party PocketPC software, too. For all that, PocketMac Pro still has stability problems. The software unexpectedly quit three times (with no loss of data) over the course of a week, and it’s not hard to overload the Web-content conduit into hanging the app. PocketMac Pro could also stand to have smoother integration with iSync, the Finder, and other Apple apps. PocketMac works well with them, but it’s hardly an intimate relationship. For example, it’s nice that PocketMac includes a utility that lets you move files between your Mac and your PocketPC, but it would win more style points if it mounted your device in the Finder, like a standard volume.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
PocketMac Pro 3.3 is not the only way to get a PocketPC working with OS X (The Missing Sync, from Mark/Space, is one competitor), but its e-mail and Web features (as well as its support for PIMs other than Address Book and iCal) give it the edge. Overall, PocketMac is a clear winner.