By July 13, 2008

Celio Redfly video demonstration & review

If you were to take a look at the images of the Celio Redfly below you’d probably be forgiven for thinking it was just another small laptop PC. However the Redfly is described as a ‘Mobile Companion’.

So what does that mean? In the simplest terms the Redfly connects to a Windows Mobile device and brings the WM experience to a larger display with the added benefit of a full QWERTY keyboard and trackpad. On it’s own the Redfly can do nothing more than display a mouse pointer on the screen but once connected to a Windows Mobile device it takes on the appearance of a Windows Mobile powered laptop.

Setting up the Redfly to work with your WM device is a breeze. Al you have to do is install a small piece of software on you mobile and then connect the two with a USB cable. Have a look at my unboxing and demo video below to see the Redfly in action.

Celio Redfly unboxed and demonstrated

Celio Redfly Specification:

  • Size: 25.4 x 152.4 x 228.6mm
  • Weight: 900 grams
  • Battery life: 8 hours with USB connection
  • Display size: 8" – 800 x 480 pixels
  • OS Compatibility: Windows Mobile 5.0, 6.0 & 6.1
  • Ports & Connectors: VGA port, 2 x USB 2.0
  • Smartphone via Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
  • Mouse Compatibility: Standard USB mice
  • Keyboard Compatibility: Standard USB keyboards
  • AC Charger: Output 9VDC, 2.5A
  • USB Flash Drives: Standard USB Flash drives appear on Smartphone System


    As I mentioned above, the Redfly looks like a small laptop similar in size to the Asus Eee PC. The outside is covered in a dark red metallic finish that reminds me of and old Nokia phone I had years ago.  The whole thing weighs just 900 grams.

    Celio Redfly

    The Celio Redfly

    Opening up the Redfly reveals a full QWERTY keyboard and a large, although strangely shaped, trackpad. The trackpad is really wide but not very tall.

    redfly open

    Redfly Open

    The keyboard itself has a number of keys that mirror specific functions on the Smartphone. There are keys for email, homescreen, phone functions, internet, comm manager, etc.


    Redfly Keyboard

    On the rear of the Redfly you’ll find a number of connectors. These include a VGA connector so that you can hook the unit up to an external monitor or projector. Two USB 2.0 sockets that can be used to connect to the Smartphone device itself, to plug in external keyboards and mice or to plug in external flash drives. Finally on the back is the socket for the AC adapter in order to charge the unit.


    Redfly Connectors


    I’ve only had access to the Redfly for a short period of time so have not had the chance to give it a full, real-world road test but I’ve had a couple of days to try it out.

    Initial set up takes only a few minutes and requires the download and installation of a small bit of software on the Windows Mobile device. On the Celio website you’ll find a list of supported devices with optimised drivers for each model. Many popular models are listed but the HTC Touch Diamond isn’t there (yet) however, you can use drivers from other models and they seem to work ok.

    You need to connect using a USB cable initially ad within a few seconds you’ll see the display from your WM device on the Redfly. The display isn’t stretched on the Redfly, instead you get extra screen space. Once connected you can then set up Bluetooth so that you don’t need to use the USB cable to connect in future.

    I tried the Redfly with my HTC TyTN II and HTC Touch Diamond both using the AT&T Tilt drivers. As you can see from the video, the homescreen isn’t displayed perfectly on the Redfly with either device. I suspect that this is very much down to the TouchFlo interface on both devices. The Diamond is worse in this respect, probably due to the VGA native display, TouchFlo 3D and the lack of native drivers.

    Once past the homescreen though both devices work fine. Using email, Word and Excel is great on the Redfly screen as is viewing a PDF document. Internet Explorer also works quite well but Pocket IE doesn’t render webpages faithfully. I did try to use Opera on the Diamond but when connected to the Redfly Opera refused to launch which might again be driver related. For most business tasks such as email, calendar and contacts the Redfly works perfectly.

    To me the Redfly seems like a great idea – A small and light laptop style device that connects to my WM device and gives me a laptop size screen and keyboard. All sounds great until you consider the cost of the Redfly. At a little under £310 it seems a little steep when you can buy a full laptop PC for a little more (or less in the case of the Eee PC) and still use your WM device as a 3G modem for connecting to the internet.

    I guess there are other benefits to consider with the Redfly though. First of all there are no drives or other parts that can fail causing a loss of data. The Redfly doesn’t need upgrading or replacing, when you get a new Smartphone the Redfly will adopt all of it’s abilities. The Redfly is also secure – it someone steals it they don’t steal your data. Also find me a laptop that will run for a few days without charging as in practice I’ve yet to charge the Redfly beyond the initial charge when I first received it a few days ago.



    The Celio Redfly is a novel idea and an excellent solution for those mobile professionals who use a compatible Windows Mobile smartphone and would like to travel light while needing a bit more capability than is offered just by that one device. However, the Redfly doesn’t really offer any new functionality to the WM device beyond being able to connect USB drives. I appreciate that you get a nice large display and a full QWERTY keyboard but for me if I had to carry just one device it would be a small laptop rather than the Redfly.

    That said, a stripped down laptop isn’t the right solution for everyone, there’s a big group of people who don’t want to go to the hassle of maintaining a full laptop unless they have to, and the Redfly is good option of many of them, especially if they like the idea of 8 hours of battery life.


    Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: Videos/Unboxings

    About the Author:

    More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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