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PDA purchasing


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26 replies to this topic

#1 of 27 OFFLINE   Chad Ferguson

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Posted August 26 2005 - 03:45 PM

I'm looking at buying a palm pilot or something like that and I just wanted to state what I wanted to do with it and see if you guys can suggest which one to get. Basically the main reason I'm getting it is to organize my days/life. Kind like a notepad for a things to do lists. Also a scheduler and wi fi access to have access to my email when possible. Any suggestions on what to get or any other comments? Thanks

#2 of 27 OFFLINE   Michael_K_Sr

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Posted August 26 2005 - 06:17 PM

What's your budget? I'd suggest one of the Palm Tungsten handhelds. Does everything you list above, plus a lot more. The top of the line Tungsten T5 is pricey ($349 US) but it offers built-in Bluetooth connectivity and can accomodate an optional 802.11b wireless card for Internet access at hot spots. I think there's a promotion that includes the card for free when ordering the T5 online. I use the Treo 650, which is overkill for you since you don't need cellphone functionality. But the Palm software that's used on both the Treo and Tungsten units is easy to use and integrates nicely with your home PC (or Mac.)

#3 of 27 OFFLINE   Chad Ferguson

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Posted August 26 2005 - 06:26 PM

My budget is not that huge but one thing I'm noticing is that they vary big time on CPU speeds. Just what exactly do PDA's do these days that you need all this speed? MP3 I understand, perhaps a small video but beyound that you might as well have a laptop. Thanks

#4 of 27 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted August 26 2005 - 07:33 PM

If you're only using your PDA as an electronic filofax, then CPUs are unlikely to matter much. Also bear in mind that you can only do one task at a time on a PDA, so provided the memory is big enough for an individual programme, it should be okay. Try to get as big a screen as possible and (obviously) in color (aside from anything else, it will be easier to read). Also, once you've got your PDA, upgrade your diary to DateBook if it doesn't come as standard. You'll find you can download the programme and then load via a computer. It's not too expensive and I don't know anyone who has bought it who hasn't thought it a really worthwhile upgrade (and no, I don't have shares in the company). Also, you will generally only get one charging cradle for your PDA. If you are regularly going to be using your PDA in two places (e.g. office and home) it may be worthwhile buying a second cradle. I found the cheapest way was to get one off ebay (I think the cost of sending it was more than the cost of the item). I've only ever had Sony Clies, and I can recommend them very strongly, but they may be outside your budget (though possibly not if you're willing to use ebay).

#5 of 27 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted August 27 2005 - 05:22 AM

I'm on my second Palm-brand PDA. My first PDA three years ago was a Sony Clie (T665, I think) and it was a great design. A year ago I upgraded to my current Palm Zire 72. (Unlike Andrew, I recommend against Sony Clie. When shopping a year ago, I found that the Sony Clie had lost their former design quality. But perhaps it's back now.) I've no experience with Windows-based PDAs (like the Dell Axim), so I'll ignore them. Budget and goals are important. If you expect to keep addresses, to-do lists, and such, then something like the $130 Zire 32 might work well. But if you want to capture voice memos, snap quick pictures, play music, play games during dull meetings, etc. then a more expensive Zire 72s or Tungsten is what you need. And if you're still wondering how it might help you, here's how I use mine: - Password / ID keeper tracks all my web logins, work passwords, credit card numbers, frequent flyer numbers, etc. - Calendar for work meetings, vacation plans, and regular personal reminders - Address book for business and personal contacts. Also useful for birthday reminders - Camera, for taking pictures at products at stores, when I'm window shopping or building a new 'future purchase' list (e.g. furniture or lawncare) - Shopping list program for my grocery list - MP3 player for listeing to music when traveling - Occaisional games Happy shopping!

#6 of 27 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted August 27 2005 - 07:51 AM

I recommend a pocket-size notebook (under $1) and pen for organizing your life. It won't break when dropped, it's very cheap so when you inevitably lose it you won't be upset about the cost of replacing it, there are no accessories to buy, it's faster to enter data, and it won't suddenly erase itself for no reason. I'm not kidding, either.

#7 of 27 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted August 27 2005 - 07:56 AM

Yes, Chris, I find a cheap paper notebook invaluable for downloading large documents so I can read them on train journeys, and of course the calculator function is second to none. Then, when I want to listen to some MP3s, all I have to do is plug the headphone socket into the notebook and away I go. And I really love the feature of cheap notebooks that they will sound an alarm to remind me I have a meeting coming up. Plus of course their capacity to have password-protected sections is unparalleled. And of course when you lose the notebook you can easily reload everything into it from the backup files on your computer. Yep, you've sure shown us the error of our ways - a cheap notebook really does win out over a PDA.

#8 of 27 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted August 27 2005 - 08:01 AM

Try to get the NX70V (asn older model, but copies are still available on ebay quite cheaply). Bags of features and a solid metal case.

#9 of 27 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted August 27 2005 - 01:36 PM

The NX series was really cool. However, does it run PalmOS v5? I've found v5 far superior to v4, which I had on my Clie. While I do miss several aspects* of my former Clie T615, overall it's worth the new version for OS5. Current screens are much better than a couple years ago, brighter with richer colors and better whites. The single-screen calendar/to-do overview is great. The integration of the calendar and to-do lists is a necessary step forward, and makes the to-do list useful to me now. The monthly view and color coding of appointments brings a useful splash of color to my calendar. The contacts list, now with proper management of multiple addresses and birthdays, really helps me. And the desktop component is finally an acceptable replacement for Outlook as a contact manager. * The Sony had several excellent design elements, still missing models three years later: The case was far better designed than current PDAs, with perfectly placed buttons and a simple flip cover. It also had proper sound playback and allowed custom alarms using digital audio clips; the Zire still is relegated to Apple II-era beeps. And the new Grafiti 2 is also a serious step backwards in usability, requiring two-strokes to enter the most-used characters. That is so obviously wrong, I don't know how it came to be.

#10 of 27 OFFLINE   Scott_lb

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Posted August 27 2005 - 03:22 PM

I own a Tungsten E and am not satisfied with it (I was satisfied with my M100 which my girlfriend lost). The alarm does not sound itself when setting it for a "wake up call" or when I need to be reminded of an appointment. Also, the battery drains relatively quickly which can be somewhat of a hassle. Finally, it seems to "lock up" very often, although it unlocks pretty quickly as well. I find myself using it less and less, however, I utilize the organizer software on my laptop daily.
"My name is El Nino which in spanish means.... The Nino!" - Chris Farley

#11 of 27 OFFLINE   Chad Ferguson

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Posted August 27 2005 - 04:45 PM

I was looking at the Zire 72, could you tell me more about it? How is the camera? I heard that the screen is almost too small to work on? Thanks

#12 of 27 OFFLINE   Brian Perry

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Posted August 27 2005 - 05:54 PM

If you're also looking for a new cell phone, I would recommend a Blackberry. My Blackberry handles my cellular calls, e-mails, address book, task list, and calendar, all on one device. It doesn't have a camera or GPS (though some models do have GPS) but if you're looking to carry only one device, this is a good choice.

#13 of 27 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted August 28 2005 - 03:35 AM

Yes it does.

#14 of 27 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted August 28 2005 - 05:08 AM

> I find a cheap paper notebook invaluable for downloading large documents so I can read them on train journeys, and of course the calculator function is second to none. Then, when I want to listen to some MP3s, all I have to do is plug the headphone socket into the notebook and away I go. He said he wanted something to organize his life. He didn't say anything about downloading documents or playing music (which a lot of PDAs don't do anyway).

#15 of 27 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted August 28 2005 - 05:56 AM

Interesting, Chris - you defend your first post by pretending that you are a disinterested party writing in support - or do you always refer to yourself in the third person? Read your first post carefully - you are attacking PDAs for several different reasons, giving others the impression that you were arguing in favour of paper over technology. And PDAs can organise parts of your life. I assume you've never managed to use one proficiently, or you wouldn't argue in favour of paper.

#16 of 27 OFFLINE   ThomasC

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Posted August 28 2005 - 07:42 AM

But he did say he wanted Wi-Fi so he could check his e-mail.

#17 of 27 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted August 28 2005 - 11:56 AM

First, get the newer 72s. The original 72 had a defective blue paint, which the 72s fixes by having no paint Posted Image

Next, swing over to Handango.com and read their review.

The screen is the same size as any other PDA screen with a 320x320 resolution, so far as I can tell. It's no smaller than my previous Clie. It is hard to see the screen in bright sunlight, but I think that plagues all PDAs.

The camera is adequate, better than the one in the 71, and (I assume) the equal or superior to any cellphone camera. With a selectable resolution up to 1280x960, it's handy for quick snapshots when you otherwise don't have a camera. Its weakness are lowlight photos, requring a long exposure making it easy to produce mildly blurred images. In strong daylight (summer afternoon) it can suffer from saturation and lose color fidelity.

Regardless, it's very handy and works well in normally lit situations, like stores, offices, and normal daylight. I used mine, lacking a proper digital camera, to document the construction of my house. I've snapped mugshots with it for my contacts list. And now I use as a shopping aid: I take pictures of furniture I like when window shopping. I also snap photos of items to be purchased later at the hardware store by getting both the product and the pricetag. Later, I can easily assembly a visual shopping list and quickly find the items I wanted.

Finally, if you have a memory card, you can capture movies with the camera. I don't use this feature, but others may find it handy.

The MP3 player is no iPod, but it works, so long as you have a SD memory card. It is my sole MP3 player, used when flying, at the gym, and even when doing lawnwork. It integrates nicely with RealPlayer, if you are wiling to install that on your PC. Otherwise, you transfer songs using the generic file mover app. The included RealOne player is marginally adequate, but I've not bothered to try other players yet. My primary complaint is that volume is too loud; I have to keep it at the second-lowest level. Used only for music, with the screen off, the batteries last about 4 hours.

The new Palm OS 5 is the bee's knees, and makes it easier for me to manage my address lists, appointments, and to-do lists.

If you do buy a Palm of any sort, I highly recommend the SplashID to manage passwords, etc. And I urge you to get McPhling.

#18 of 27 OFFLINE   Ari

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Posted August 28 2005 - 09:12 PM

I think that PDAs will soon fall into two categories: the basic PDAs with little or no built-in connectivity (bluetooth & IR at most) and the PDA/phone or smartphone with full connectivity. If you're looking for something that can download your email, then I'd suggest going for a PDA/phone or smartphone....you could go for a smartphone like one of the Sony Ericsson phones or a PDA/phone like the palmOne Treo. Also, hasn't Sony exited the PDA market?? I loved their PDAs and shifted from the Palm PDAs to them only to have them stop making new PDAs. What a shame....I thought they had the perfect blend of geek features and OS....

#19 of 27 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted August 28 2005 - 09:22 PM

They keep denying it, but I've seen no real improvements after the ZX series. However, this should mean that models become cheap and still worth buying as there should still be good after-service. I'd endorse the remarks about the Zire series - they're excellent. Make sure they have a secure case, though.

#20 of 27 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted August 29 2005 - 07:08 AM

I bought the Zire-specific hard case on clearance from Circuit City and recommend it. It blocks the voice memo button, but does have a sliding door for the camera and hidden storage for memory cards. A friend has the leatherette case, also a good product. My Clie survived a 5 foot drop onto asphalt, with only a cracked corner. I hope my Zire would fare as well, but I'm not testing it.