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PDA purchasing

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Chad Ferguson, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. andrew markworthy

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    I think I need to do an about-face re: Sony. What I wrote above was based on the situation when I last checked about 3 months ago. However, when I did another check last night there appeared to be zilch Sony Clies for sale, other than used examples or the occasional (and admittedly relatively cheap) new one for sale on ebay. I suspect in the circumstances, it'd probably be best going with a Zire or similar.

    The danger with going with a Sony ain't the models per se - many would agree that the likes of the NX70 were excellent and build quality was superb. *However*, Sony insisted on using their own memory stick as the only add-on memory option (rather than the memory cards used by the other Palm PDAs). If yo go for Sony now, then any replacement PDA you get a couple of years on will either have to be another Sony (with little chance of finding something with a long life expectancy, since anything you buy will by then be several years old) or swap to another PDA, with all the memory transfer problems (you'd probably be okay with your diary and address book, but other transfers might be trickier). So you may as well start with a Palm-based system that is more likely to last.

    Sincere apologies for any misdirection, but I was working from info that I thought was still accurate. What a difference a couple of months can make ...
     
  2. Bob Movies

    Bob Movies Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Chad,

    I currently own an iPaq 4150, and I previously owned a dell Axim X50V. The Axim was great, and the VGA screen was amazing, but overall I found it was a little too large for me. The 4150 is very slim, and I just heard that HP is going to be re-introducing a new unit with the 4150 form factor.

    http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/foru...er=asc&start=0

    However, the only thing I use my 4150 for these days is playing music (which required the purchase of a 1GB SD card), and I’m going to sell it soon to buy an iPod. If I've got a dedicated device just for music, I'd rather have 20 gigs than 1.

    I’ll second Brian’s recommendation of a Blackberry. For me, it boils down to connectivity. I’ve got the Blackberry 7290, which has a color screen and Bluetooth. It’s a cell phone, which is great for staying in touch. I’ve also got it linked to my Gmail account, so I can send and receive messages whenever I like. The blackberry is always on – you never need to turn it off. I think the battery lasts for 10 days or something silly like that.

    Also I really like that it has the thumb keyboard. I found it was just too hard to enter data on the other units, no matter what kind of handwriting recognition software I tried. The onscreen keyboard was OK, but not as fast.

    The Blackberry doesn't have a camera, and it doesn't play music or movies. But if you're just looking for a to-do list, calendar, alarm functions, and note taking, the Blackberry is fantastic. It will definitely help you organize your life, and I can't stress how cool the ability to always get e-mail is. I've used my iPaq about 2 times to actually connect to a "hotspot" - I've tried many more, but for some reason or another it just doesn't work, I'm not able to connect, etc. I would say that (in my experience) hotspot access is extremely sporadic.

    Bob
     
  3. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    You know I was going to do this and in the end I bought a Sony T1 VAIO ultra-portable notebook direct from the factory outlet (£1000 including VAT so should be WAY cheaper stateside).

    There are a couple of these tiny widescreen laptops around now - Fujitsu do one.

    Clearly it's not always the most practical but I always carry a satchel bag with me. You're looking at a full PC with wireless, bluethooth, DVDR for under 1.5 kg in weight, 5 hours batter life if you don't do anything major, about 3/4 in thickness and smaller than a sheet of A4 paper.

    You see in the end I realised a couple of things:

    1 - even the smallest PDA wasn't much less bulky than my iRiver and if I tried to carry that around in a pocket I really noticed so I carried that in my bag mostly.

    2 - I wanted this PDA to do too much. I'd owned very ancient Handspring Psion and I'd agree with Chris that in the main I was finding writing stuff on paper as useful and less bulky. Conversely, I couldn't see anything for small money that could actually do vast amounts of website maintenance, let me try to write that novel I promised myself or indeed run Apache, etc.

    3 - I found my desktop PC was making it hard for me to concentrate on the important stuff like doing my websites or indeed try to do that novel: Somehow it was impossible not to go on line with it and waste hours surfing.

    Since I got the T1 I've taken it up to the heath (park, in North America, I guess), used it in bars and coffeshops and simply put it up on the kitchen table and found that I can work more effectively. By putting Apache, PHP and MySQL on it I was able to create this:
    http://www.ishotthedeputy.com/listings

    Moreover, I can read PDAs, backup work and do a tonne of things with it and it really doesn't weigh out my bag really at all.

    Just my tuppenceworth.
     
  4. andrew markworthy

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    Oh the irony - after praising the Sony I went and broke it. I can strongly recommend my new PalmOne LifeDrive (prodigious memory - 15 albums of music, the manuscripts of two full textbooks and all the background material for a third, various other documents, the usual programmes and two complete full length movies). And wifi and bluetooth. However, I suspect it's a little more than Chad is looking to pay.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    The little I've read has been positive. How's the responsiveness -- does hard-drive access slow it down compared to your former Sony?
     
  6. andrew markworthy

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    Strictly speaking, it's slower, but from some of the negative comments in the reviews you'd think you had to wait minutes for something to load. At most it's a couple of seconds, and after a day I'm used to it. The other negative comment is that it's too heavy or bulky. Compared to a lot of PDAs it certainly is heavier and marginally thicker (by a millimetre or so), but in the main it's because the Lifedrive has a metal rather than plastic case. And in absolute terms, I doubt whether the difference be noticeable to anyone with more strength than Mr Burns.

    The only serious drawbacks I can see at this stage are:

    (1) if you play music in the background, it breaks up for a couple of seconds if you then start another programme (presumably because the hard disc gets interfered with - there has I guess to be something to balance the prodigious memory).

    (2) the other whinge is that for the cost of the unit PalmOne could have included a decent robust metal case and a cradle. The leather wallet supplied is unusable IMHO and the sync cable and charger are far clumsier than the Clie.

    But overall I'm pleased with it.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Good to hear the LifeDrive works well. I plan to buy a PDA / phone unit, such as a Treo, next summer. By then, it could well be hard-drive based.

    The Sony Clie cradle/charger was well-designed, with the PDA slipping right into that cradle. I was disappointed to see the Zire go to a non-cradle design, with mini-USB for data and standard mini-power cord for charging. It's inconvenient and clumsy. Hopefully, the Clie-style cradle will make a comeback.
     

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