Archived Q&A and Reviews

Feb 2003

Would you please recommned a good PDA ? I do not like Palm, because it is not always easy downloading information from my PC. So I would like to buy one using Window. I searched a web and there are so many from different brands such as HP, Sony, Toshiba, etc.. I am expecting to spend $ 400-600, but can be a bit flexible. My main usage of PDA is to keep phone numbers, email address book from my PC (using Window), and check daily schedules. So it does not have to be very fancy. Yet I would like to have one that I can easily download information from my PC, preferably from Mac, too. THANKS A LOT! Iris

I bought an HP Journada 540 about a year and a half ago and LOVE it. I think it was about $300, but I know there are much fancier models available now. It has all kinds of bells and whistles (pocket versions of Word, excel, MP3 capability, etc.) but like you, all I wanted was calendar & contact functionality. It synched seamlessly with the MS Outlook on my desktop. So easy, no data problems, immediate functionality. Only downside is it's a little heavier than other PDAs I've seen. I can't speak to your Mac needs. Good luck. Susan
You can check out the Dell Axim X5, http://www.dell.com/us/en/bsd/products/series_pda_snp.htm A budget PDA, get good quality for less. John
If I recollect the original posting, you wanted to spend $400 and really just wanted an electronic address book. You don't need to spend $400. I spent $179 on a Sony Clie black & white, which is perfectly fine. You really dont' need color. I liked it better than Palm (which is also b) because the text is much clearer, and it has more memory. I don't use half the features, but you will probably find (as I did) that you do end up using it a little more than you thought. A couple of catches: you should be careful about the glass. If it breaks, you no longer have a handheld. and it breaks easier than it should. This is true of other brands as well-a friend of mine had a broken Palm from dropping it one time. I put my Clie in my back pocket and it must have bent or something as I sat down. If you really want to spend more money, I'd find one with a really solid cover, or plan on putting it into a solid case. the problem is that it only works well if you carry it around everywhere, and the more solid the case, the bigger the case, and you won't want to carry it around. Also, with the Sony, it only comes with a basic manual. If you want to use more features, the manual is only in Adobe format on the CD, and you can't even buy it from them. (they have a phone support line to walk you through things, which you can actually get through to, but they can be a little snotty when you tell them it's absurd not to be able to get a paper manual, or when you tell them you've broken the glass-they were almost gleeful when I called about that, and I was sick to my stomach. I think they wanted to charge $125 or $175 to fix it, plus you're out of luck for 10-15 days.) You can print the manual, but it's a waste of paper, of course, and you can't alter the pdf format that I'm aware of to print two pages on one (if you printed it out, half of the page would be blank). The one thing I'd recommend against is having a battery-operated handheld. Rechargeable is essential. BTW the black & white version of the sony uses less power than the color version, so you don't have to recharge it as frequently. also a plus, if you're carrying it around for several days and not remembering to recharge it. Janet
Jan 2003

What store is a good one for trying out various PDAs? Which PDA would you recommend for me in particular? (I hit the trifecta: I'm half blind, wholly senile, and my hands shake. Senility dictates a PDA, but it won't help unless my trembling hands can get the info in, and my failing eyes can get it out.) I'd like to try out different models to see which ones are actually workable for me. Any advice about a store with good selection that will let me do that in peace? Do you know of a particular PDAs that would suit my limitations? Sign me: Roadkill on the information superhighway

Some place like CompUSA is probably fine to try out some PDAs. I would suggest trying one of the newer Palm models, for two reasons: 1. They have much brighter screens than they used to, some models even in color (like the m515 or m130), that are much easier to read. Also, they often have a feature such that whatever entry you are looking at, it will put it in larger text for you. 2. You can get a full-size, fold-up keyboard that you can use with most of the newer models. For me anyway, this is much easier to use than a stylus. If you can type reasonably well, this might be for you -- and it is full-size, so you're not trying to press tiny little keys.Other brands may have similar features; I'm not familiar with all of them, but I think these would be worth a try.


Jan 2000

Fran yuppie request of the week - does anyone know a good place to buy a palm pilot? I need info on different kinds and features, as well as a good price. thank you...

I recently help my parents purchase two Palm Vs. Go to www.shopper.com and look up places who are selling them on-line - it will sort them by price. Both times I purchased them within the last month - www.outpost.com was the best place and it arrived with a few days. Some on-line places may be less expensive but either charge a ton for shipping or do not have the item in stock.
I bought my Palm IIIx through a place I found through cnet.com. Just enter the model you want and it will come up with pages of places sorted by price. Don't go to local places; the prices locally were up to $70 higher (even with postage)!!
I purchased mine at Circuit city. They are well priced and VERY knowledgeable and helpful. (The one in Emeryville.) We have purchased a lot of office equipment and a refrigerator there. They are great with Customer Service. They brought us 3 different refrigerators (at no charge) b/c I measured our space incorrectly.
We bought one from the 3com website and, even with shipping, it was cheaper than most stores around here, even the ones that had big sales.
I purchase most of the hardware for the company I work for from buy.com and outpost.com. Buy.com currently has IIIx's for $229 (I think CompUSA is around $299). They're located in So. Cal., so use standard shipping (ground) and you usually get in-stock products in 1-2 days. Outpost.com doesn't seem to have stock on IIIx's right now. Outpost.com prices tend to be higher, but because they don't charge sales tax or shipping (overnight is standard) the final price often ends up being not any higher than Buy.com (or pretty close). Just check both sites and determine who's got the better current deal. I've been buying hardware, software, accessories from both companies for almost a year now and have been very satisfied with their service. As for getting more information about Palms in general, you might want to check 3com's Palm site at www.palm.com. Another source for Palm information is www.palmgear.com
You may have had all your questions answered, but here is my 2cents. Mostly about features, cause you got plenty of advice about Web shopping for one. I just bought a PalmVx (from a .com) and I have a Mac, so I bought the Mac Pak to go with it. Before I purchased one, I went to the Mac World Expo, and saw demos by both 3com (Palm) and their main competetor Handspring (their version is called Viser). Handspring was started by the people who invented the Palm Pilot. They left 3com, and licensced the Palm Operating System from 3com. So both the Palm and the Visor run on the Palm Operating System, so both can use the same 3rd party software. The 8Mb Visor is about $150 cheaper than the 8Mb PalmVx, but I bought the Palm because it is slightly smaller and I like the design much better. The Visor has a really nice docking port in the back for other 3rd party modules like a pager, GPS system, MP3 player, GPS system, cell phone and many other things. I would definately look into it if you like cool gadgets and expect to use your handheld in fancy ways. I really like my Palm Vx, but it does not integrate seemlessly with the Mac Palm desktop. For example, you can change the lables of the phone numbers on the Palm desktop on the Mac (I created new phone catagories like office, lab). These new catagory labels did not transfer to my Palm when I hot synced. All the phone numbers and addresses are there, it's just all those new lables that I made are not- and I have not figured out how to change the lables on the Palm (maybe I can't). Also, in the date book, I do not like how the Palm converts my banners to tiny dots I can hardly see on the weekly view and can't see at all on the month view. There are other ways to make appointments that can be seen fine on the Palm, but what I can easily see on the desktop calender is different than what I can easily see on the Palm. I don't know if these are Mac things, or general issues. I do love the ability to link notes, dates, and to-do items. It's all very cool. You can e-mail me with specific questions, I learned alot about the systems in general at teh Mac show (non-Mac specific stuff to).