need help picking out a PDA

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by QCassidy352, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #1
    Ok, this would be a present for someone else. The problem is that I really don't know the first thing about PDAs. Really, don't assume that I know even the basics.

    This person would mostly use it to replace an appointment book and address book, that is, for relatively basic things. However, I know that she would appreciate any cool tricks and features even if she doesn't "need" them. The recipient is currently running windows 98, though I'm trying to switch her to a mac, so ideally, the PDA would be compatible with both macs and PCs.

    Price range is a couple of hundred. I want it to be nice, and don't mind spending above the bare minimum, but I also know that she isn't the type who will need the most advanced, fastest, most amazing PDA.

    Please, any help you can offer would be much appreciated. What brands are good, what models have you liked, what features do these models have that make them better than others, etc. Anything you can tell me, really. Many thanks.
     
  2. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2002
    #2
    Well, for about $200 I would recommend the Palm Tungsten E. Check out this page:

    http://www.palmone.com/us/products/handhelds/

    The Tungsten E is in color, lots of memory, and will sync to PC and Mac.

    For $50 more you can get the Zire 71, which includes a digital camera.

    If she needs a cellphone also, the Handspring Treo line is awesome. I have a Treo 300, and love it. They are a bit mopre expensive. Of course, you can also try for used PDAs at eBay, like the Treo 90, which includes a mini-keyboard, and is very slim and in color.

    Hope this helps. ;)
     
  3. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #3
    it does help, thank you very much!

    I've thought of a specific question - how does wireless (check e mail etc.) work on these things? Is that only a feature on high end models? Or perhaps only a feature on models that have a cell phone built in?

    Any input greatly appreciated!
     
  4. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #4
    I still need help. Come on, I know some of you have PDAs that you like!
     
  5. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #5
    Get her an iPod mini. It'll handle all the contacts, etc, plus play AACs and MP3s.
     
  6. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #6
    Hmmm...if you give it a bit of time sony has some nice wireless networking pdas coming out...otherwise, you're sol now in terms of an elegant on-board solution for wifi...but the tungstens all have bluetooth...
    if you're looking for whiz-bang and still easy to use, the zire 71 at 249 is excellent. good multimedia options, built in digital camera...gorgeous screen....
     
  7. topicolo macrumors 68000

    topicolo

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #7
    Well, if the PDA has wifi (802.11b), she can use it to connect to a home or office wifi network and she would be able to use the pda's web browser to surf the net (the screen is kinda small but good enough for checking mail and stock prices, etc) or she could set up the pda's mail client to send and receive mail. If the pda has bluetooth and she has a bluetooth phone, she could use the pda for SMS messaging (bigger screen than phone) or use the phone as a sort of modem to surf the web and do everything she can do with a wifi connection, although at a slower rate.
     
  8. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2002
    #8
    For wireless email you're probably going to have to spend over $200. The best Email options are probably the Handspring Treo 270 or 300, The Palmm Tungsten C, or Blackberry devices.

    Of the three, the Treo is probably the least expensive.

    http://www.handspring.com/products/communicators/treo_overview.jhtml

    I have a Treo 300, and it sends and recieves email, surfs the web, and has full Palm functionality, plus it's a good cellphone. Bluetooth + separate cellphone is, IMHO, not the best solution for PDA email. One device that does both is better. I've never used the Blackberry devices or the Tungsten C, but I understand they do email very well. They are, however, expensive.

    http://www.palmone.com/us/products/handhelds/tungsten-c/

    I think your friend might do well to start out with a regular PDA, and if she likes it and uses it a lot, she can then trade up to a wireless email version later.
     
  9. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #9
    are you guys saying different things?

    question fear seems to be saying that true wireless PDAs are not yet available... yet jrv seems to be saying that they are around now, but are expensive.
    To simplify: are there PDAs that have wireless connectivity by themselves, that is, without any wifi network and without a cell phone? The links jrv gave seem to suggest that the answer is yes... but they are expensive and require service plans.

    anyway, there are other concerns besides wireless, and a lot of your suggested PDAs look very good! thanks for the help; I'd still welcome more input!

    I had thought of an ipod, but a) their PDA functionality is minimal, and b) her computer is an old PC that has neither firewire nor itunes. As I said, I'm trying to switch her! :)
     
  10. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2002
    #10
    Well, if there are, I don't know about them. For wireless internet access there has to be some sort of ISP (in the case of smartphones like the Treo, it's the cellphone carrier) or WiFi 802.11b/g (like walking into an Apple store, or Starbucks). I think AOL has an "email beeper" that runs by itself, but I've never used it, or seen one in person. And it isn't a PDA, just a wireless email machine. I wouldn't recommend it.

    A PDA like a Tungsten C can be fitted with a WiFi card (I think) and be turned to a wireless email unit later on. This or a Treo are your friend's best bets. She can also get good deals on used Treos and Palms on eBay and Half.com.

    The iPod is a music player. It'll never work well as a PDA because you can't enter information directly into the iPod; it has to be done on the computer.
     
  11. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #11
    sorry to be unclear
    wifi and bluetooth pdas are available but they are far more expensive...although the cheapest is sony i believe debuting soon at 400.00

    also, wifi on palms is less developed...far less developed than on poctket pcs, because unfortunately palm has just really gotten into the idea of a web browser...and with palms still moving slowly towards multitasking its still not perfect...if you friend is a pda newbie or doesnt need wireless, i would say get a bluetooth based model (sony tg50, palm tungsten t models)...but if she doesnt have a bluetooth dongle for her comptuer or a bluetooth phone then its not worth it.

    finally, smartphones can use the internet usually using a gprs or similar system, and are still fairly expensive...it all dpeends on what you are looking to get ofr her, if she already has a cell phone then a pda/phone might not be necessary.


    edit: you also asked about pdas that are wireless like a cell phone...the tungsten W does that, but again, its expensive and the service plans can get pricey...
     
  12. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #12
    ok, got it. When I said "wireless connectivity by itself," i actually meant like a cell phone. So the answer to what I meant is yes... but not without a service plan. So maybe wireless is not the way to go right now. Thanks for clearing that up.

    any more insights always welcome.
     
  13. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Gone but not forgotten.
    #13
    I have a Handspring Visor Deluxe, which is about 4 years old now. It requires AA batteries and is more or less dead most of the time because of them.

    I liked it because of its expansion but I've only got a backup module and a keyboard. I would suggest a keyboard for anyone who enters quite a lot of data. The Targus brand keyboard is quite good.

    If I were to buy one today, it would have to be the Palm Tungsten E but most any of the colour PalmOS PDAs would do. The Treo 270/300/600 look great, if you'd like to ditch the extra baggage called a phone.
     
  14. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #14
    tungsten e is a very good entry level handheld...
    one word of caution: if you friend would be the type to accessorize the tungsten e uses a different bottom connector than other palms...it remains to be seen whether they will be using the universal connector in the future...but if she wont need a keyboard that connects (theres an IR keyboard available for non-universal connector palms) or a cradle then its a good one.
    if she does, i stand by my advice of the zire 71...multimedia, fast, purty, digicam, universal connector...

    just my thoughts.
    do let us know what you settle on.
     
  15. kristo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    #15
    or you could go nuts and get a sony p900, its a cell phone/pda and is pretty freakin good if you ask me (I have one)

    syncs with isync out of the box and yeah, works a treat as both a phone (which alot of convergant pda/phone things suck at) and as a pda (I mean, calender, tasks, notes....also you can install other things if you wish)

    but the price is scary
     
  16. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #16
    yea, the p900 is 700(!)
    i still stand by recommending palm to a pda newbie or to someone whos looking for simplicity...tehre are just soooo many palm related programs and sites its much more entrenched in the us than symbian...in europe its a different story...i believe symbian has a stronger foot in the door there.
     
  17. noel4r macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #17
    Here's my suggestion: either get an iPod mini or a 15 GB ipod or a cell phone you can sync with your computer, and an address book (one you can write on). like i wrote in another thread, PDAs are a waste of time and money. that's the reason why Apple doesn't have one.
     
  18. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #18
    hey, thats a vast oversimplification of what a pda can do, and its just ignorant to say pdas are useless.

    i dont use my pda for PIM very often, but i do use to read ebooks, play games, and organize myself, something that your combination would require a lot more work to do...so while that might wokr great for you there is an audience for PDAs as a separate device.
     
  19. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #19
    I had a Sony Clie 3xx and for the longest time I had not use for it... wait, I still have no use for it ...wait, its sleeping somewhere buried under two metric tons of college research papers.... Ok, to tell you the truth, PDAs are for people who lik e PDAs and unless you get one you wont be able to know if you are a pda person or not. I am not... I used to have a ibook (im inbetween a 14" ibook and my soon to arrive 12"pbk) and using that has defeated the need for a PDA <u>FOR ME</u>. but everyone is different, so I guess she could like a pda... Anyways, as far as pda goes Palm blows in terms of pro-level functionality...Windows 2004 on a toshiba pda or a hp or a compaq is far betterfor a bit more money...even though they do lack mac compatibility. :( but what do I know? I don't even like using PDAs... hell the other guy's right, just get her a iPod with a "youre a great friend" inscription on the back.
     
  20. kristo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    #20
    I agree, pdas can be very useful (I use mine most days for various reasons) but for most people, they are completely useless, you would get more value from a mobile that has a calender and a todo list (like a SE T610)...

    My wife wanted a pda, I asked her what for, she said to organise herself...my bet was that she would use it for a while then "forget" to use it, in the end she just didnt use it....good thing i got a second hand clie for her to begin with....

    but yeah, most people don't have so much going in there lives to need a organiser....

    now if you have reasons, entertainment for example, then yeah, it can be cool, but still, i would rather have (and do have) a gameboy for that reason.

    For myself, I use my p900 to store passwords, serial numbers, ip addresses (I am a network engineer) as i use terminals (vt100 terminals, consoled to a router/switch, whatever) or kvms all the time (most the time i can't be bothered to take my laptop out of my bag) and yeah, then its great to break out my phone and just glance at the password to some obscure customer router...(its all packed away encrypted, relax) and yeah, sometimes i am talking to the phone, getting an address so i put the phone on speaker, break out the notepad and write it down as the person tells me.....i used to do the same thing with pen and paper but that was way to chaotic....

    now i dont see alot of people doing what i do (who knows, maybe they do) but yeah, my wife is happy now with her t610, ipod....its all sync'd, she has her contacts, todos, she is happy....

    having a pda will not make you more organised....but anyways....
     
  21. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #21
    Maybe in the future when pdas and laptops merge in to portable holographic projectors like in star trek... other wise I'd go with a used 12" ibook.
     
  22. topicolo macrumors 68000

    topicolo

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #22
    This website will answer ALL of your questions.
     
  23. ingenious macrumors 65832

    ingenious

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia, United States (Kansan in exile)
    #23
    Tungsten C


    Hey- the T|C has wi-fi built-in. You need a wireless router that is connected to the internet to use it, tho. as for web browser, I like the one palm has, also they're coming out w/ a new browser. As for the T|E, dont get it. It is a piece of junk. They fall apart constantly, older ones (i think its the t|e) can eat SD cards, screens go bad... the list goes on and on.... The Tungsten T|T2 might be a good idea- the T|T3 came out, so the T|T2's price has dropped. Havent heard anything bad about them... Also, if she just needs the internet, get a good m515 off of ebay for 75.00 and a PalmModem as long as she can be tethered to a cord. Also, there's the Enfora wifi case that supports all palms with a universal connector (that includes everything except the zires (not including 71) and the tungsten e- also the really old ones do not have the same connector.) Then theres the Palm Bluetooth card for OS 4.

    Caleb, hope this info helps
     
  24. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #24
    the tt3 was the sd card eater, the only big problem i know of with the tungsten e is the buzzing noise, and i believe they corrected that.
    the tt3 had the nickname tungsten toaster for a while, since it toasted any sd cards it was exposed to.
     

Share This Page