I now use Windows Mobile PDA's and Smartphones exclusively. I am maintaining my old Palm OS postings because they may be of interest to current Palm OS users.
I purchased my 3Com Palm III for Christmas 1998 and immediately replaced my manual system with the Palm III. Since the original Palm III, which still works, I have purchased about 15 additional Palm OS devices.
Palm Tungsten C and Palm Tungsten T3 - two of my favorite PDA's
I purchased the Palm Tungsten C PDA as a birthday gift to myself in April 2003. First impression - fast, fast, fast!!!!. Set-up was easy, Wi-Fi connection to the Apple AirPort home network was a snap, and the transflective screen is awesome, although I wish it matched the Sony's 480 X 320 resolution. Pages rendered in the web browser quickly and the overall response to any input is almost instantaneous with the Tungsten C. Other than the initial set-up hotsync, all other sync's have been via Wi-Fi (same with my Clié NX70V). I only used the built-in keyboard briefly; however, the touch was fine and the keyboard should ultimately be a nice input device. VersaMail 2.5 performed very well. I configured 4 email accounts without any problems and the downloads are quick with some of the best text formatting available on a PDA email client.
When the Tungsten T3 was released, I could not control myself and purchased one of the first units. The Tungsten T3's performance is the same as the Tungsten C (both have 400 MHZ processors and are very fast). The main reason for purchasing the T3 was the fantastic 320 X 480 portrait/landscape screen. If the T3 had built-in WiFi (in addition to the built-in bluetooth), it would be very close to being the perfect PDA. The T3 bluetooth works fine and I regularly use the T3 with my SE610 bluetooth phone. Pairing the T3 and SE610 was very easy and obtaining a GPRS connection was no problem. GPRS is nice, but it is relatively slow. When I purchased the T3, one of the major manufacturers was promising a SD based Wi-Fi card. It now appears that the SD card will either never be released or released in the distant future. Because of the delay in the SD card, I added a Belkin bluetooth access point to my Apple Airport based home network so I can use the T3 to check email or a website at reasonable speed. My preferred method of hotsync is Wi-Fi if that is available with the PDA. Wi-Fi sync's are as fast as cradle hotsync's. I have successfully hotsync'd via bluetooth with the T3; however, I still perform most T3 hotsync's via the cradle because cradle hotsync's are much faster than bluetooth hotsync's. Although the sliding body between 320 x 320/320 x 480 resolution looks cool when you use it and the PDA is physically smaller in 320 X 320 resolution, I am not a fan of the slider concept. I would prefer a full time, non-slider 320 X 480 tablet mode screen.
I use JFile 5.61 as my prime database because its filter execution time is faster than other PDA under US$100 databases. Following are the filter execution times for a 3700+ record JFile database:
Sony Clié NR70V
Palm Tungsten T
Sony Clié NX70V
Palm Tungsten C/T3
shorter times are better
I stopped using ThinkDB as my prime database when I was using the Palm IIIc, Visor Prism, and Sony Clié NR70V. I liked ThinkDB very much; however, a filter on a 4300+ record database took 24 to 26 seconds to execute on the Palm IIIc and Visor Prism. The same filter took app. 13 seconds to execute on the Sony Clié NR70V. Since I use filters extensively, I switched to JFile because it had faster execution times. I installed SmartList to Go 2.603 (ThinkDB is now SmartList To Go since DataViz purchased it) on the Tungsten C and loaded the old 4300+ record database with associated filters. The same filters that took 24 to 26 seconds to execute on the Palm IIIc/Visor Prism
(13 seconds on Clié NR70V) took less than 2 seconds to execute on the Tungsten C. I am very impressed with the difference, 26 seconds vs. < 2 seconds. I will try using SmartList To Go again now that filter execution times are acceptable. I always liked the report and forms features of SmartList To Go.
Following are the filter execution times for a 4300+ record SmartList To Go database:
My other favorite PDA is the Sony Clié NX70V. The NX70V uses Palm OS 5 and the new generation ARM based processor.
The NX70V has all of the features I liked on the NR70V plus Wi-Fi (802.11b) ability, movie making, and much faster application execution. The 320 X 480 screen is great to work with and pictures/movies are impressive in this resolution. The camera now captures 640 X 480 pictures vs. the NR70V's 320 X 240 resolution. The 640 X 480 picture resolution is an improvement over the NR 70V, but do not discard your digital still camera yet. The NX70V also takes "mini-movies". Although the "mini-movies" are surprisingly good quality, do no discard your MiniDV digicam yet. The built-in keyboard is similar to the NR70V and I still do not use this keyboard much. Due to the small key size on the Clié, I still prefer Graffiti for short notes and will use the Clié folding external keyboard for longer documents when (and if) a driver is released by Sony.
One of my few complaints with the NR70V was the lack of Wi-Fi capability. This complaint was resolved with the NX70V. I do use the optional Sony WI-Fi card with the NX70V and am impressed with the Wi-Fi connection. Set-up was easy and I have experienced no problems using the NX70V with my Apple Airport network. With the NX70V, all my hotsync's are via Wi-Fi and a Wi-Fi/DSL combination makes for a nice PDA web surfing experience. The web surfing experience is nice; however, you are still limited to a 320 X 480 screen and most web sites are developed to a minimum 640 X 480 resolution. Horizontal scrolling is required on most web pages and the horizontal scrolling "gets old" very quickly. I use the NX70V (and my Pocket PC's also) to check movie times, a couple of favorite web sites, and to check email. Long surfing sessions are still done on the Macintosh or PC.
I am very impressed with the speed increase of the NX70V over the NR70V. The NX70V executes a filter on a 3600+ record database in app. 1/4 of the time it took to execute the same filter on the NR70V. Applying a filter to a 3600+ record JFile (version 5.50) database takes 1 second with the NR70V and 4 seconds with the NR70V. Spreadsheet calculation times are noticeably faster on the NX70V as well.
AcidImage (version 2.2i) decompresses a 650+ KB JPEG picture (2048 X 1536 resolution) in about 4 seconds on the NX70V. The fast decompression is due to both the 200 MHZ processor and the hardware JPEG compression/decompression built into the NX70V. The Tungsten T has a 145 MHZ processor and no hardware compression/decompression. The Tungsten T takes over a minute to decompress the same JPEG image that the NX70V completes in 4 seconds.
The Sony Clié NX70V was the fastest most feature laden Palm OS device on the market at the beginning of 2003 (now the Tungsten C is the fastest). The device is expensive (US$599) but is worth the money if you can use the fast application execution speed and/or multimedia abilities of this device. Sony calls this device a personal entertainment organizer, not a PDA. This device is aptly named, it does much more than your typical Palm OS PDA.
Sony released a NX70V driver for the new faster, higher capacity Memory Stick Pro. The driver installed without any problems, the NX70V recognized the Memory Stick Pro immediately, and MS Import/Export work fine with the Memory Stick Pro. There is a noticeable increase in read/write speed to the card. Files that took 4 seconds to load from a Memory Stick to the NX70V now take 3 seconds. The only problem I have experienced is with the external flash readers I use to transfer files to/from my Mac or PC. None of the readers I use can recognize the Memory Stick Pro card. I understand compatible readers will be offered soon. Until compatible readers are available, MS Import/Export is a viable alternative and it is nice having 512 MB of storage available on one card.