Here is a tabular comparison of these devices, all using the XScale processor and offering a VGA display resolution: Products not covered (yet): Issues not covered:

For other comparisons, that exclude the Zaurus, see:

Feedback is welcome ( ). There are several questions embedded in the comments below.

FeatureZaurus C3000Zaurus SL-6000LAxim x50viPAQ hx4700Asus A730Comments
Size124x87x25mm79x158x23mm4.65x2.85x.6in = 118x72x15mm5.17x3.03x.59in = 131x77x15mm4.62x2.78x.53in = 117.5 x 72.8 x 16.9mm Only the C3000 has a clamshell design. The C860 is smaller, at 120x83x23.2mm
ProcessorXScale PXA270 416MHzXScale PXA255 400MHzXScale PXA270 624MHzXScale PXA270 624MHzPXA270 520MHz
Builtin Memory16MB NAND flash, 64MB SDRAM64MB NAND flash, 64MB SDRAM, 8MB ROM64MB SDRAM, 128MB ROM64MB SDRAM, 128MB ROM64MB NAND Flash, 64MG SDRAM (128MB RAM in 730W) The C860 has 128MB NAND flash, which can be configured to have more in RAM than in ROM (default is 64MB each), in addition to 64MB SDRAM. Hard to believe they'd decrease RAM in C3000 from the C860.... The SL-6000D reputedly has 128MB
Display3.7", 640x480, same as C860, no VGA out.4", 640x480, better than C860, no VGA out. 3.7", 640x480, Intel 2700G accelerator w/16M memory, has VGA out (via dongle) 4". no VGA out. 3.7", 640x480 Is the 4" iPAQ screen the same as the 6000L? There is a CF VGA out card from I/O Data, Colorgraphic (Voyager), MARGI, HP, and Flyjacket (iPAQ). The HP and the Colorgraphic supposedly work on linux on the iPAQ, at least. How does the 2700G improve video playback as compared to the Zaurus? Note that the PDAs running Microsoft SE won't be quite full VGA without a download to make it so.
Hard Drive Yes, 4GBNoNoNoNo There are 2GB SD cards on the market now. And you can also get CF Microdrives with 4GB capacity for around $200 (Hitachi, probably what the C3000 has internally). An external hard drives can be connected via USB, CF, or SD.
USB Host NoYesNoNoYes Without a USB host (aka "master") capability, it can't use USB keyboards, USB hard disks, or USB memory sticks. All it can do is act like a USB device itself. Then again, the software side to supporting USB devices is still limited on zaurus (how is it with the alternative ROMs?). The PXA27x should support USB host, so perhaps the alternative ROMs will make it work on the iPAQ and Axim? But isn't a special cable needed?
WifiCF cardbuiltinbuiltinbuiltinCF card (A716 and A730W have builtin) The CF card will stick out a bit, which is annoying. Plus there is only one CF slot (right?), so this excludes using CF card memory. There are also SD wifi cards on the market. Drivers may be available for Zaurus from (site in jp, can't understand?).
BluetoothNoNo (the 6000W does)YesYesYes With usb, irda, and wifi, bluetooth is not that critical a need. There are bluetooth CF cards available.
Expansion1 CF II, 1 SD/MMC1 CF II, 1 SD/MMC. Also an extension adapter with another CF slot, battery, and serial port1 CF II, 1 SD/SDIO/MMC1 CF II, 1 SD/SDIO/MMC1 CF II, 1 SD/SDIO/MMC All have USB (client) and irda. No Zaurus is ever likely to support SDIO apparently because of licensing fees. There is an expansion adapter for the 6000L (what does it do?).
Builtin Keyboardbest, but jp labelsbetter than non-Zaurus but not as nice as C3000. has en labelsnonenonenone The Zaurus keyboards have a firm clicking feel.
Javanot bundledbundled??? The bundled Zaurus java apps are useless. If you want to run/develop java apps, can still install java.
Otherclamshellrugged build (designed for 1m drop)takes standard batteriesincludes a 1.3 megapixel camera
Microphone/Headphone3.5mm jack to external microphone (mono input, stereo output)builtin mic; 2.5mm headphoneYes, 3.5mm headphonebuiltin mic; 3.5mm headphoneYes
Bundled OS/Apps OpenPDA/Qtopia (Embedix 2.4.20 kernel) jp (basically same as C860). large jp-en dictionary on hard disk. Hancom apps and NetFront for browser. OpenPDA/Qtopia (Embedix 2.4.18 kernel). Hancom apps. Opera instead of NetFront. WebSphere Anyware, whatever that is. Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 SE w/ Microsoft Media Player 10 Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 SE Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 SE w/Media Player 9 Metrowerks acquired Lineo in 2003 and renamed Lineo Embedix to Metrowerks OpenPDA. Motorola owns Metrowerks. (Is it possible to install the english 6000L Sharp ROM on the C3000L?). The Mobile SE (Second Edition) all include Outlook, Word Excel, IE for Pocket PC.
Vendor Support All vendors seem to treat PDAs like consumer electronics, not like computers, which means in effect that there is no support available from vendors. Sharp USA support is weak for any Zaurus PDA, regardless of whether they distribute it (6000L) or not (C3000). Sharp has announced that they are withdrawing from the US PDA market (like Toshiba and LOOX):
Priceimported, 80k yen=$730. in jp, around 65k yen6000L: imported, 86k yen=$790. or Amazon at $399 [now $499]$499 (Dell)$649 (HP)$499 for A730, $600 for A730W with wifi

Aftermarket Open Source OS/App Alternatives

All these devices are too recent to have (explicit) support yet from open source ROMs, although presumably they will be supported soon. Note that support for alternative OS ROMs for these PDAs will likely appear first for the iPAQ and the Zaurus, because is in part sponsored by HP/Compaq, and the Zaurus already ships with linux on it.

Briefly the choices are:


A summary of the noticeable pros/cons for each model:
Zaurus C3000hard disk, clamshell designmost expensive, low ram, no wifi, no usb host, jp labels and docs, slower processor
Zaurus 6000Lamazon deal, USB host, nice 4" screen, >64MB RAM, rugged buildlargest size, slower processor
Dell Axim x50vprice leader (except for current Amazon deal on 6000L), fast processor, VGA outno USB host
HP/Compaq iPAQ hx4700/47054" screen, fast processorno USB host
Asus A730/A730Wsize leader (just under Axim), USB hostno wifi (none in A730, but has it in A730W)

Suggestions organized by priority:

Clamshell and keyboard
If you want a clamshell design, and value the builtin keyboard, the only choice is the C3000/C860. Otherwise, it fails price/features comparison badly. You could get an Axim and a 2GB memory card or 4GB Microdrive card, for total outlay less than for the C3000.
If you want functioning Linux out of the box, then the Zaurus is the only choice. If you don't want to fool with relocalizing to English (and Japanese labels on the device), you'll have to get the 6000L, not the C3000. Alternative Linux-based ROMs work fairly well on some older PDAs, but not yet on the generation here.
This excludes the Zaurus.
Small Size
Asus 730, followed by Dell Axim x50v.
4" Display
Zaurus 6000L, iPAQ, or Toshiba e830. The Zaurus is cheaper than the others (via Amazon) but is noticeably larger. Between the iPAQ and the Toshiba, get the Toshiba e830. It has the same 4" display and close size. The Toshiba has more RAM (128MB) and has USB host and is roughly $100 cheaper, but has a slightly slower processor (520MHz).
The Amazon deal on the 6000L, followed by the Dell Axim.
Only the Dell Axim and the Toshiba offer this.
The Toshiba e830 and (allegedly) the Asus 730W offer 128MB builtin RAM.
USB Host
Zaurus 6000L (cheapest), Asus 730W (smallest), or Toshiba e830 (4" screen with good price/performance).
Axim x50v or iPAQ hx4700.
U.S. direct sales
Excludes Zaurus, Toshiba and LOOX. Includes Dell, HP, and Asus.