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HandyMenu review

Posted on 17-Jul-2004 11:45 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

I know some power users treat their Pocket PC devices very well, and like to have quick access to some of the functionalities provided by the Settings control panel. I'm aware that the "tap Start - tap Settings - tap System - tap icon" sequence is not the ideal for us, looking for Memory information, battery configuration, changes in backlighting and network settings. What I've found though is that most of the utilities that provide a direct access to the Pocket PC Settings use precious Today screen space.

DinarSoft's 79935 HandyMenu is a nice software that can be used to directly access these functions, to Pocket PC. It puts an icon in the status bar of your Pocket PC making access to any of these functions just a tap away. Well, actually two taps: open the menu and select the function. It's better than four taps. But to make things even better you can assign a function to tap-and-hold on HandyMenu's icon. In this case you have achieved the one-tap heaven...

HandyMenu for Pocket PC
HandyMenu with icons, note its icon in status bar

The program is really small, using only 75KB of your memory, and can be installed to a memory card. It can be set to start with the Pocket PC after every soft reset, or it can be manually started from Start | Programs if wanted.

You can select what functions are directly available from the menu, by changing HandyMenu's configuration. The order of these menu items can be changed from the Options menu, including separator lines. This is the list of functionalities accessible through HandyMenu:

  • Brightness
  • Memory status and settings
  • Battery Level status
  • Today Themes
  • Today Plugins
  • Clock
  • Start Menu
  • Uninstall Programs
  • Sound Settings
  • Hardware Buttons
  • Running Programs
  • Input Methods
  • Network Connections
  • Phone Settings (for Pocket PC Phone Edition only)

    In addition to these, you can also have Power Off, Soft Reset and Hard Reset directly on the menu. Of course the Hard Reset is an option that shouldn't be easily accessible (I think), but it will give you a warning dialog and ask for authorisation to perform it.

    HandyMenu for Pocket PC
    Selecting menu items, and main options

    HandyMenu for Pocket PC
    Do you really want to hard reset?

    The menu presentation is fully customisable. You can change colours, including background, menu text, menu background and highlighted text. you can also show each menu item with or without icons. Even the icon in the status bar can be changed to anything you like better, although the green switch looks good there.

    HandyMenu for Pocket PC
    Selecting colours for presentation

    HandyMenu for Pocket PC
    Show/hide status bar icon, or select your own

    HandyMenu for Pocket PC
    HandyMenu without icons, default white background

    The interesting thing is that DinarSoft also offer a very small utility called 85760 HandySwitcher, that complements HandyMenu 100%. It not only provides task switching functionality (including manual close of programs and a customised start menu), but it also detects HandyMenu and gives the option of moving its icon to the top bar, instead of the menu bar. This will actually make HandyMenu always available, while in normal operation it's only available from the status bar on the Today screen. I know, it looks like an option that should be on HandyMenu already, not requiring another software to do it, but at such low prices (HandyMenu is US$4.99, while HandySwitcher is only US$2.99) it still sounds like a bargain.