Could someone offer some PDA purchase advice?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim_C, Oct 29, 2002.

  1. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    I'm a complete newbie to the PDA world and I'm hoping someone could tell me if I'm on the right path. I'm looking to get one for my wife. What I've been able to discern from our conversations is that she might want a Palm OS based PDA.
    So, with the Palm OS as the starting point I was thinking of one of the following:
    Palm m515
    Sony Clie 615c
    Sony Clie 665c
    She'd be using this for all the standard tasks (address book, calendar, notes, etc) at a minimum. I'm assuming she'd do things with Word and Excel if that's possible with these things (remember, I'm a COMPLETE newbie) [​IMG] I'm sure if there were other useful programs then she'd take advantage of them. If it helps to know what type of work she does WRT potential programs/uses, she is becoming a Professor at MIT in January.
    FYI, I'm expecting to spend somewhere between $300-400. Any Palm OS options in that range would be possible. I could go a LITTLE higher if someone really convinced me it was worth it.
    HELP!!!!
     
  2. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    I had a Palm device and noe have a Pocket PC device so I can kind of speak of both. They are both good OS's and most things you'd want to do can be done on either. I used my Palm device (IIIx) for 2 years before deciding I needed more memory and wanted color. I almost bought a new Palm or Clie, but decided on a Toshiba PPC. For me the PPC is the better solution. I love being able to drag over Word and Excel documents without the need for any extra software. I do pretty much anything with it. Listen to MP3's (both albums and audio books), watch movie trailers, read ebooks, sync with Outlook from my desktop, carry Word/Excel/PDF files around that I created on my desktop, it's also my checkbook register using Money 2002, and I play a few games too. This is all without buying any extra software (unless you count Money which I was using on my desktop). My Palm I used mainly as an address book, ebook reader and for a few games.

    Like I said both were great and I'm glad I had my Palm, but for me I like the Pocket PC better.

    When I was shopping I found that personally I liked the Clie's better than the Palms.

    Hope that helps
     
  3. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

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    Wow, 300-400 dollars for a budget...my first instinct would be to suggest going via the PPC route, since you could get a very very nice one for that much money. But if you insist on getting a Palm OS based device, I would also suggest going with the newer Clies, since they are more robust overall, with more features built into the device, and the overall physical design is much more handy. If you get one of the ones that flip and rotate, you'll see what I mean, as the screen is amazing (largest display available among handhelds, I believe, at 640*480, whereas normal "good" displays are 320*320).
    I personally own a Toshiba e310.
    Another thing to note, is that in the very near future, there will be a slew of new PPCs on the market, as recently announced by new manufacturers such as Dell and Viewsonic. They all come standard with very high-end equipment, and with the new added supply, prices will be very competitive. (A Dell PPC with 350-400mhz, 64meg ROM and built in wifi will be only 300!).
    Lastly, I don't know if the Palms have built in 802.11b, but many of the new PPCs (such as the iPaq 3950 and Toshiba e740) have it built in, and I'm sure that MIT already have wireless LAN on campus, so she could always check her email and whatnot when she's there.
    Damn......I hope some of that helped, since I just realized I wrote a whole lot [​IMG]
     
  4. Mike_G

    Mike_G Screenwriter

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    Picking a PDA is not easy. Some people like simplicity (Palm) or more features (PPC). I was a Palm user for years and when it came time to get a new Palm, I looked at their horrific prices for what features they offered in both hardware and software, and decided that the better VALUE was the PPC, so I got an iPaq. I love it. However, if you're just getting into PDAs, you might want to start small with a Palm m105 and work your way up from there.

    If you wind up liking PDAs a lot, I strongly suggest looking at both Palm and PPC variants, and what features they offer at certain price points. I can't believe that Palm's charging $400 for that Tungsten thing.

    Mike
     
  5. Andre F

    Andre F Screenwriter

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    I have both as well and much prefer the PPC option. I have an Audiobox Maestro ($299.00) and have had it for about five months. It's been great! I use it almost daily. I play far too many games on it though...[​IMG]
     
  6. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    Such a complicated question.
    I have had several Palm devices, now a 505, which is the same as the 515 with only 8 megs of memory. My wife just got her first handheld and after using an old Palm V for a month or 2 she decided to get a PPC, a Toshiba e740. While the e740 in particular has it's quirks she loves it and I am starting to like the thing as well and will probably go the PPC route when I get another one.
    There are many more features with a pocket PC and it is much more customizeable, at least as far as the interface is concerned, think of it as a miniturized windows machine. Because of that it will need to be soft reset every so often (3 or 4 time a week). Soft resetting is like a reboot in Windows only you stick the stylus in a hole to push a concealed button and it takes maybe 30 seconds to be back up and running. My Palm's have only needed to be reset maybe 10 times in the last 4 or 5 years.
    In a PPC, pocket Word, Excel, Outlook and Powerpoint are built in. For a Palm, you must get a third party program to view those files (many of the higher end Palm's come with Documents to Go, one of the more common ones).
    Most of the Palm's up until now have had 160x160 screens while the PPC have much better resolution and graphics. A few Palms have better resolution now and Palm itself has just released a device called the Tungsten T that has the new OS 5 (OS 4.1 was the latest until now) that has a much higher resolution. You should definitely check the new OS 5 devices before making a decision.
    If you look you will see that the PPC's have higher amounts of RAM than the Palms but because of the OS's they need about 4 to 5 times more to do equivalent things so keep that in mind and don't be wowed by the 64 MB PPC's in comparison to the 16 MB Palms, they are equvalent. The same thing goes for the processor speed. In OS 4.1, a 33 Mhz processor is equivalent to the faster PPC processors.
    The best thing I can suggest is to go to Best Buy, Compusa, etc and try them out. Play with them for a while and try to do some things with them. That is the best way to see the limitations and benifits to all the various models. Also check out www.pdabuzz.com www.brighthand.com and www.palminfocenter.com for tons of info about handhelds.
    Keep in mind that the choice of a PDA is for some as personal and as passionate a choice as Windows vs Apple so opinions should only be taken so far.
     
  7. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the replies!

    In your opinions, is the PPC the future of this device? I know that Palm is entrenched and has a lot of programs available but I don't want to get her something that will be outdated in a couple of years. Unlike me, if the thing doesn't break she won't upgrade. That means she'll be using this for a while. An analogy...I don't want to get her a top of the line Dolby Pro Logic system when everything is about to go to Dolby Digital/DTS.

    I don't have a preference for either but I think if this was for me I'd lean towards the PPC. A co-worker of mine has a Compaq (don't know which one). He can view Autocad drawings on his and that would be a huge feature for me (we're architects). I think I could talk her into liking a PPC. If that were to happen, what would be the best choice (same price range)? Simplicity, within the PPC realm, is pretty important.

    Does anyone know when the Dell is coming out? We both use Dell at work and home so I'd be seriously interested in anything they put out. This is for Christmas so I have a little time before I have to pick this up.

    BTW, if I end up with a Palm OS solution then I think I'm leaning towards the Clie. Seems like they have a lot of bundled software in comparison to the Palm. It goes without saying that the screen on the Clie is far superior to the Palm. When you look at what you get for the money the Sony wins.

    One last thing, what are must have accessories for these things? I assume an extra cradle would be one and I've read that screen protectors are a good idea.


    Thanks again for the replies. HTF is so damn useful!
     
  8. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    PPC is not the future of handheld devices. It's certainly gaining momentum but Palm is by far the dominant OS. The release of Palm's OS5 (and new CPUs) effectively levels the playing field in terms of multimedia capabilities (and speed) when comparing Palm devices to PPC devices.

    At the $400 price point I'd strongly recommend a Clie or Palm's new Tungsten (their first OS5 based unit). The Tungsten is very fast and has a great screen (finally!). The king of all PDA's has got to be Sony's NX70v but that's a $600 unit.
     
  9. Mike_G

    Mike_G Screenwriter

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    The Tungsten is a poor choice for $400 if you compare features vs. the PPC.
    The PPC has:
    Built-in Multimedia player (MP3, WMV)
    Pocket Word
    Pocket Excel
    Built-in handwriting recognition
    Integration with Windows
    Free Slide Show viewer
    True integration with 802.11 and other networks
    Pocket Internet Explorer
    Better screen
    Better screen size
    64 MB RAM
    206 MHz (at least my iPaq does. some may be faster)
    The Palm OS has:
    Popularity
    16 MB RAM
    Speed? They won't tell you in MHz, just MIPS.
    The Tungsten was blasted on TechTV Monday. They hated it for the price point.
    Here's a comment on it on the TechTV message boards:
    http://cgi.techtv.com/messageboards?...read_id=396983
    Mike
     
  10. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Actually, I'm a Pocket PC user myself and I love it to bits but that is quite a slanted opinion right there. The feature count could just as easily have been slanted the other way, had there not been a great deal of pro-PPC bias in the preceding post.

    The Tungsten has an OS that many feel is superior for PDA use (personally I'm neutral on the topic, both have their strengths and weaknesses imho). It has a built-in DSP chip to handle multimedia chores. The screen may be physically smaller but the important thing is the higher resolution, 320x320 vs 240x320 on Pocket PC's. It's reflective rather than transreflective (which only the latest iPaqs have) so the Palm is better outdoors and somewhat worse indoors (but still very good, I'm sure).

    The built-in bluetooth is perfect if you want to marry the device to a bluetooth-capable phone.

    Speed? Brighthand got to test a media player on it just after writing the test of the machine and the Tungsten played back video at over 30 fps. What else do you need cpu power for, really, except multimedia?

    The Tungsten also has the normal palm universal connector on it, in addition to a fully functional SD card slot for memory expansion. 16MB built in is just cheap, though, should have been 32.

    Battery life is better on the Tungsten than any Pocket PC (not leaps and bounds better since it is a color screen machine but if you can use it a day or two longer before a recharge, it is better).

    As for the rest of the stuff... Pocket IE stinks; Pocket Word and Excel can be matched or beaten by third party software for the Palm; Graffitti input for a person used to it can be faster than word recognition and more accurate even perhaps; integration with windows... well, a minor point there perhaps; free slideshow viewer, blech.

    Memory size is a point in Pocket PC's favour, pure Mhz mean nothing... the Palm OS is most likely much leaner and faster since it runs acceptably on ancient POS dragonball CPU's, and the DSP on the Palm will handle MP3 and video.

    Personally, I'm still leaning towards replacing my older Pocket PC with a newer variant, but the Tungsten is the first Palm device that has actually made me stop and think about it. It does a lot of things right and is definitely a strong contender for the "super pda" crown, IMHO.
     
  11. Michael Silla

    Michael Silla Second Unit

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    Kimmo,

    Good points indeed - good to return some balance into the discussion. Personally, I use a IPAQ 3835 and I love it. I am a former M105 Palm user. Nothing physically wrong with my M105 after one year of use.

    The problem being that I simply did not like or want to use it. I found the screen small and boring to look at. I did use Documents to go to sync with Outlook but it still really never made me WANT to use it.

    My Pocket PC experience has been a complete turnaround. I use the device for basically the same things as my Palm (save multimedia and music tasks) but the key is that I use it CONSISTENTLY and OFTEN. As someone else mentioned, the fact that you can customize the unit works in it's favor also (I change my today screen almost daily!).

    No knock against Palm but I sure hope the street prices of the new Tungsten units fall waaay below the $400 mark, especially considering the new Pocket PC competition. Heck, with rebates, I ended up paying $190 for my 3835.

    My two cents,

    Michael
     
  12. Mike_G

    Mike_G Screenwriter

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    Sorry, that was my wallet talking [​IMG]
    Mike
     
  13. Masood Ali

    Masood Ali Supporting Actor

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    Dell will be releasing their PPC PDA in early 2003, at a price point that's supposed to undercut the competition by hundreds (around $299).

    The new Palms are very slick (I like the Tungsten-T), but they're at the upper end of your price range. They are definitely not going the way of the dinosaur, with Palm having 40% of the PDA market, and PalmOS having 65% of the market.
     
  14. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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  15. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    I agree speed isn't that big a deal for most things RAM can be though, depends on what you want on your device. I noticed a lot of answers were that 3rd party software is available. Yes it is, there is even third party apps for the PPC that are better than what's included on it. I however don't want to have to spend $100-$200 on software to get what I consider basic functionality out of my device.

    I haven't seen the new Palm yet. I'm sure when I do I'll be impressed and even be tempted to go back to Palm.
     
  16. Andre F

    Andre F Screenwriter

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    The one thing I will add to the discussion is that the PPC is one heck of a gaming device. I have a Handspring and an Audiovox Maestro and I play a LOT more on the Maestro...of course I also use my PPC for daily appointments etc....but I just love to play games. [​IMG]
     
  17. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    Good point, Andre. PPC is far ahead in terms of gaming. Now that Palm devices are shipping with quality screens (& multimedia capabilities) it'll take some time to build a library of hi-res games that can compete.
     
  18. Mike_G

    Mike_G Screenwriter

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    That's the point I was trying to make. My friend who worked at AvantGo was such a Palm whore and all he said was "you can buy that for the Palm". NOOOOOO! The whole point of spending the SAME amount of money on the different units is that when you drop $400 on the Palm and $400 on the PPC, you HAVE to spend MORE money on the Palm to get it to work like the PPC. That's why I got the PPC. I didn't want to be nickeled-and-dimed to death installing these third-party apps that would eat up the already anorexic memory on the Palm.

    The Palm does NOT integrate with Windows like the PPC does. When you drop a PPC in the cradle, Windows sees it as a device you can read/write from. You can't do that with a Palm. I love dragging-and-dropping files to my PPC to take home. I'm sure there's a "third party" solution for the Palm to do this.

    As for Grafitti vs. Transcriber, you OBVIOUSLY haven't used Transcriber. It's awesome. Maybe it's because I don't write like a monkey, but I never have problems with it. Given the choice between natural handwriting or that silly Grafitti crap, I'll pick natural handwriting any day.

    And why is it OBVIOUS I haven't seen a Tungsten yet? Hmmm? Because I don't like its screen?

    Mike
     
  19. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    For file transfers to my Pocket PC I just use a compactflash adapter and move files directly to/from the expansion card. The USB connection is much too slow to transfer decent amounts of data (say, when copying 256mb of mp3's to my CF card for playback off the Pocket PC). Would work just as well for palm, with an SD card reader instead of course.

    The PPC is most likely still the better device if you're very into multimedia, games etc, and a power user who actually finds real multitasking beneficial (like I do).

    The Palm however bridges the gap a lot with this new model and it might be better for someone getting his or her first machine.

    Still, the OS itself still has some catching up to do, primarily "behind the scenes" - no true multitasking on the palm is a problem for me.
     
  20. Tim Abbott

    Tim Abbott Second Unit

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    I dug this thread up while looking for some Palm VS Pocket PC advice......
    and I'm no closer to having my answer than when I started [​IMG]
    I think I am leaning towards a Palm, as I don't need high-end multi-media and graphics calculator. I am bascially looking for a glorified appointment/notebook. The Sony Clie line looks interesting, as it would be appealing to buy some extra memory and use it as an MP3 player.
    Any thoughts on how things have changed over the last couple of months???
     

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