Tungsten T5 - my big disappointment and now a dust collecting paperweight

I usually purchase the latest high-end PDA's when they are released, and the T5 was no exception. The T5 has been the most disappointing PDA purchase I have ever made, and I have purchased 16 Palm OS devices. I just looked at the T5 on my desk and it needs to be dusted due to the lack of use.

New - ROM Update Released by PalmOne in late June, 2005. About six months later than it should have been released, PalmOne finally released an update ROM for the Tungsten T5. The backup program now appears to work OK and the app for transferring files to / from the NAS drives now operates with acceptable performance (5 seconds with update vs. 40 seconds with original). The notes included with the update indicate stability improvements should be seen as well. Only time will tell whether the stability has improved. I am leaving the original comments below, at least until I have time to ensure all my problems with the T5 have been corrected with this ROM update. I now may be able to use the T5 as opposed to it being a dust collector on my desk. However, I am still very disappointed with PalmOne for taking so long to release this very necessary update (for me - 8 months) During that 8 month time span, I used my Windows Mobile devices more because the T5 was basically useless for my needs. I am now more of a fan of the Windows Mobile platform than the Palm platform. The damage was done during the 8 months when the T5 could not meet my needs.

Following are the original comments posted before ROM update was available:.

The lack of built-in WiFi and voice recorder in a PDA in this price range is inexcusable. However, my main complaints with this device are the instability, lack of compatibility with existing third party apps, and the long reset times.

Since the beginning, the device has frequently crashed. If that was not bad enough, the time to boot after a reset has increased significantly over previous Palm OS devices. Palm advertises the non-volatile memory as a great benefit. It may be for some, but not for me. I have never lost data due to a complete battery discharge, and I always have a recent full backup on my SD card. My experience is that a hard reset usually occurs when you are away from the desktop; therefore, a recent backup on a SD card is essential. In fact, I will not use a PDA unless I have a recent full backup on a SD or appropriate format card. The non-volatile memory feature would be nice if the price you pay wasn't slow speed and/or incompatibility with some third party apps.

I have so many Palm OS and Pocket PC devices that I use a networked attached storage (NAS) device as a central repository for my data files, rather than individually syncing them with a PC. The app I use to send/receive data files to/from the NAS takes at least 40 seconds with the T5 vs. 2 seconds with a T3 or TC to transfer and store a 300 to 400 KB file downloaded from the NAS. In addition, my favorite backup program does not work properly with the T5 and the vendor does not know when a fix will be available. I tried four additional backup programs and they all failed to backup the T5 properly. The websites for the backup vendors indicate that PalmOne has to correct some system problems before the third party backup applications can be fully compatible with the T5. Although I have never received a definitive answer from either the third party developer or Palm, I suspect the problem is the new memory structure. For these reasons, the T5 has basically become a paperweight on my desk. When I purchased the T5, I thought it would replace the T3 as my main Palm OS device within 2 months of purchase. If my critical apps worked OK with the T5, and the T5 was more stable, the T5 probably would be my main Palm OS device today. I really tried to like the T5, and I tried to get the compatibility problems corrected. I was unsuccessful on both counts.

I can understand how there could be problems with the new memory model in the T5. What I do not understand is PalmOne's failure to correct the problem. I have owned the T5 for over 8 months and still no fix. I will continue to check for fixes on the PalmOne site, and will amend this page if and when a fix is available. PalmOne recently introduced the new LifeDrive. That is nice for PalmOne, but what about the T5 customers? PalmOne should have spent a little of the R&D money for the LifeDrive on taking care of existing customers by fixing the problems with the T5. I have purchased 16 Palm OS devices and recommended the purchase of Palm OS devices many times. After my T5 experience, I probably will not purchase another PalmOne product, and I can no longer recommend the purchase of Palm OS devices to my friends or others who ask my advise because they know I have extensive experience with PDA's. I was an avid Palm OS champion and never thought I would see the day when I could not recommend the purchase of a PalmOne product.

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