10 December 2018

Filofax Eton Compact

The Filofax Eton model has always been a personal favourite of mine since I discovered it few years ago.

It was sold in Personal. Slimline and Pocket sizes. I own the Personal and Pocket models already.

I rarely look on eBay. a good thing I suspect, but at some point I must have set up a saved search/alert for 'Filofax Eton', rarely do I get any emails on this alert, so I've not bothered to cancel it

A couple of weeks ago I received an email alert for a Filofax Eton Compact... odd I thought I wonder if it is a case of mistaken identity. The photos did however show Eton Compact and the ring size certainly looked correct. I waited to the last few hours of the auction before bidding on it and to my surprise I won the auction.

I messaged the seller to see if she could tell me any more about the organiser. She had brought it off another sales site in about 2011 in France.

I have searched using the Wayback Machine: https://archive.org/web/ looking at the old versions of the various Filofax websites, but nothing came up on these searches. It isn't shown in any of the catalogues we have archived either.

So here is the Filofax Eton Compact. It looks conventional from the outside. However undo to clasp and it opens up very differently in a 'tri-fold' design.

On the right hand and middle sections it is fairly conventional for an organiser with card pockets and full height slip pockets.

It is the left hand section that is very different, there is a leather panel with elasticated sections on three sides forming a large pocket. This pocket is larger than my iPhone6, in-fact you can stack two iPhones and they would both fit in!

With iPhone

The tri-fold format

As far as I know this organiser came in to existence well before the iPhone and other similar smartphones. The one photograph I discovered on the internet showed a Palm Plot in the pocket, but even that looked small for the pocket.

The answer what the pocket had been designed for was right in front of me on my desk... my Psion 5mx, it fits the pocket perfectly and you can do up the clasp on the organiser with no difficultly.

The observant ones amongst you will notice that this Eton Compact is not identical to the Personal and Pocket Eton organisers shown in the first photograph above.

The first obvious clue is the clasp doesn't have the gun metal button on the popper.

The other difference is the Eton Compact although made of very good quality leather, it isn't designated as being 'Deluxe Lambskin Leather' instead is labelled as 'Deluxe Leather' it also doesn't have the soft touch feel to it of the Personal and Pocket versions. However it does seem up to every day use.

I have asked Filofax UK some questions about the Compact Eton, but as yet I've not received a reply from them. I am beginning to wonder if the Compact Eton ever went on full retail sale or not, may be it was only made as a prototype in limited numbers.

The computing bit...

I own two Psion 5mx organisers (Don't judge me!!) so it was time to reacquaint myself with this marvellous little computer. I set up my spare one to try out and see how practical it would have been to mix analogue and digital in the early 2000's.

I had a fun few hours finding my way around the system and seeing if it was possible to still use this machine minus a PC connection. To my surprise I was able to use a lot of it's functions as I had in the past, the main exception being email, but for agenda, to-do lists, short documents, spreadsheets etc it works just fine. I won't be giving up my iPhone or iPad just yet!!

I soon got used to typing on the small keyboard again, using most of my typing fingers. This post was drafted on the Psion and then exported as a text file to the memory card, which I was able to read into my usual Apple Mac!

Specification of the Psion 5mx
Dimensions: 172x89x24mm - Close in size to a stack of pages in most Filofax Personal Organisers!
Weight: 350g with batteries
Internal Memory:  10Mb of ROM - for the operating system, that's megabytes not gigabytes!
16Mb of RAM for applications and file storage. Compact Flash storage also available up to 2Gb!
Processor: 32 bit running at 36.864 MHz
Power: 2 x AA batteries or external power adaptor.


  1. The Eton's are very handsome, Steve....

    As for the Psion's.....

    Time for you to upgrade to either Planet Computer's Gemini PDA released earlier this year or their recently announced Cosmo Communicator to be released next spring (pre-orders taken now on Indiegogo....).

    If you haven't heard about Planet Computers and their Gemini PDA, you should check up on it...the device design is by the same guy that did the Psion designs. Similar size to the 5mx, but slimmer, hi-res color touchscreen, WiFi, BT, and option for using as mobile 4G phone, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, microSD slot..runs Android, plus can double or triple boot too...Debian Linux, Sailfish Jolla....


    Have had mine for a few months and really enjoy it...I'm triple booting... ;-)



    Check it out.....


    1. Hi Mark
      I’m aware of the Gemini PDA and the new Cosmo Communicator, but as they run Android I’m not quite so keen.
      I realise there are ways around the problems in getting them to talk to Apple apps/systems etc. But for my every day use my iPad Pro and iPhone do most things perfectly.

  2. That is a really nice model, what a good find! Did you have fun having a play with old tech? I had a HP Jornada which was very similar, such a good little machine.

  3. Steve, it so happens that there is an ebay UK auction listed for the Psion 5mx Manual. One photo has different sections of manual placed around a planner that seems to have a large pocket (though the strap is wider than on the compact Eton you have).

    The Psion does look like just the right tech-wise companion for a manual planner. The Eton itself looks very nice. You're just the right person to have found one.

    1. Hi Carol
      I have seen that advert it is a leather case, I have one for one of my Psion 5Mx’s !

  4. Thanks Steve, I belatedly realised when I saw another advert for a psion and it also had a leather case. D'oh! :)

  5. I loved my Psion 5 (and 3c, 3a) anyone recall the Psion Revo and/or Psion Siena? That said I also liked my Handspring and Palm Pilot PDAs.