Obligatory PDA Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by stevietheb, Feb 4, 2006.

  1. stevietheb macrumors 6502a

    stevietheb

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #1
    I poked around a bit on the fora here, but a lot of the info I was looking at was a bit dated—so I thought I'd throw a few PDA related questions out there.

    SO, I'm officially entering the market for a PDA. Barring any unforeseen catastrophes, I will be entering a PhD program in the Fall, and I figure it's time to be a little more organized while out-and-about. Therefore, I'm in no rush to buy this thing—I could conceivably wait until August/September. This post will be organized into three categories: (a) price range, (b) needs, (c) wants, and (d) questions/speculation.

    Price Range: Flexible, but I really can't see going over $300 (DEFINITELY the upper limit...price is important...)


    Needs:
    (1) General organizing stuff—calendar, address book. This must be able to sync back and forth with iCal and Address Book.

    (2) Ability to view PDFs and Word Docs (RTF and .doc).

    (3) Bluetooth.

    (4) Some sort of OmniOutliner type program(s) that I could use to create lists and rudimentary outlines.

    (5) Not a phone.

    --Calendar, Address Book, viewing PDFs and Word Docs, and the OmniOutliner-type functions are what this device is going to be primarily used for. I'd really like for it to function beautifully for these items. I don't think I would use audio or video playback features...perhaps picture viewing, but not at all important.

    Wants:
    (1) Wi-Fi. Not necessary, but would be nice.

    (2) Color screen that's nice and bright.

    (3) Decent email client and web browser (if Wi-Fi option is met).

    Questions/Speculation:
    (1) I'm a huge fan of Apple. What is the latest on the rumor mill regarding an Apple PDA? I'm assuming that such a device would adequately solve any sync-related issues with iCal and Address Book. If one of these could come down the pike sometime in 2006, I'd probably be willing to wait for it.

    (2) Are there any bible apps for PDAs out there? I'm in Biblical Studies, and it would be really nice to be able to do some rudimentary Bible tasks while on the go.

    (3) With email clients for PDAs, do you typically do IMAP or do you do POP and then sync somehow? I'm totally ignorant in this respect.

    I suppose what I'm looking for is advice on what devices seem to fit the above specs best. My research has led me to the Palm T/X, so any personal reviews of that would be great. However, I am by no means set on that particular device. I'm just not sure where to turn...

    Thanks for the answers and advice (and I apologize in advance if this thread in anyway duplicates the contents of other thread(s))!!! I've always received great advice from the participants on this forum—I'm happy there's a place to bring these questions...

    Take care!
     
  2. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #2
    get a tx. It will fit your needs nicely; wifi, bluetooth, big color screen. iCal and address bk compatibility.

    I would get an extended warranty from whatever store you purchase it from; they usually cover one screen replacement and protect you from any odd quality control issues you might run into.

    As for outliner programs, check out freewarepalm.com or handango.com. Both these sites have 3rd party programs that will probably help you find the programs you need. Double check compatibility here http://palmfacts.com/devices/tx/software.php or here http://www.palmfocus.com/txsoftware.php. The TX uses nvfs, which is non-volatile memory, so you won't lose any data if you don't charge it..but it does cause some older applications to go all freaky.

    Docs to go comes with the tx, so that covers your doc needs. Adobe makes a palm reader, but it sucks. There is at least one third party app, i can't remember the name though...also, docs to go premium (the upgrade of what comes on your palm) can read pdfs i believe.

    There are a ton of bible programs for the palm. Check out the aforementioned sites.

    As for apple releasing a standalone PDA...there is a better chance of me sprouting wings and flying away...unfortunately, and believe me I would buy one too, the standalone pda market is shrinking in favor of covergence...its unlikely Apple would jump into the market.

    Having said that, Apple will probably do something out of left field like buy Palm on monday.

    Seriously, if you need a good solid pda, buy a TX. :)

    And if you get it and need any help, feel free to PM me. I've been a Palm OS user for 5 years and running.
     
  3. T-Stex macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #3
    Hey. I've got the Palm T/X handheld, and I think it's great. I got mine from staples for $299 I think, and it came with a great hard case so I can just throw it in a bag and not worry about it.

    As far as the stuff you want, it's got all of them I think. I'm not completely sure about the outliner program, but only because I don't have any need for it, so I've never checked it out. Other than that, it meets all your needs. As far as the "wants", it's got all of those.

    I don't know about the Apple PDA, I don't think there's any intention of coming out with one.

    As far as the Bible application, I know there was something about one in the packaging that came with the T/X, so I'm almost positive that you'll be able to find one.

    I'm not completely sure about the email client thing, I know I've got mine connected to an AOL email account, and my school's email service, and it wasn't that hard to do, so I'm sure you'll be fine.

    Overall, I don't think you'll find a better PDA with as many functions as the T/X has for that price. I'd highly recommend it. Also, MacAddict recently featured a review of the T/X and the Palm Z22 handhelds (in the Feb. 2006 issue), so you might be able to read that online for a review. They gave the T/X a 4/5 rating, and an "Editor's Choice" award. The only drawbacks to it were "Odd speaker location" and "So-so battery life".
     
  4. discoforce macrumors 6502a

    discoforce

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Location:
    Vermont, USA
    #4
    or try Tungsten E2

    I really like my Tungsten E2 and it's $100 cheaper than the T/X. It doesn't have WIFI built in, but you can buy a card if you really want that. Otherwise it'll do everything else you want.

    Granted, I'd prefer a T/X, but you did say price was important.
     
  5. stevietheb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    stevietheb

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #5
    Good info so far, many thanks.

    It seems like the T/X would definitely fit my needs. I'm just unsure of that $299 figure. Perhaps I could find something on eBay...

    How important is it to have a hard case? I would be carrying the PDA in a bag where it's mostly secure, but it would definitely get some rubbing action from other items and the bag itself.
     
  6. T-Stex macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #6
    I definitely like having the hard case with my T/X. I think it's just more convenient not to worry about scratching it up. However, if you don't mind getting a few scratches or anything on the back side, I think the T/X normally comes with a plain screen cover that will protect the front side.
     
  7. discoforce macrumors 6502a

    discoforce

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Location:
    Vermont, USA
    #7
    If your palm will only experience rubbing (vs. dropping or squishing in bag), you probably don't need a hard case. But I would get some kind of case to giver it a bit of protection. If you drop it and the screen breaks it's about $100 repair.

    I'm guessing T-Stex got his hard case through a promotion at Staples? They have those often enough you could probably just wait for one. If it comes with the same flip cover the E2 does, I'd recommend something stronger.
     
  8. lom8104 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    #8
    Isn't Palm OS considered very dated compared to the latest and greatest from M$? With Palm being sold recently isn't the future of the OS in doubt?

    Does anyone know if the whole Palm OS with a linux kernel will happen?
     
  9. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #9

    Palm OS is old, yes. But it does still work, so I guess it's all about your perspective on the situation.

    Also, Staples has the TX hard case deal for ~260...and I've heard of office max having it cheaper still...
     
  10. muffinman macrumors 6502

    muffinman

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    #10
    I love my sony clie TG-50. I know sony doesnt sell clies in the states anymore, but im sure u can look on ebay or something.

    it has bluetooth, one of the fastest processors, accepts sony memory sticks, lots of cool apps (like remote control, web browser). There is an external wifi card made for it. And Its really sleek, and it has a built in lit keyboard.

    Its lovely.
     
  11. YS2003 macrumors 68020

    YS2003

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Location:
    Finally I have arrived.....
    #11
    I am using Palm LifeDirve for almost close to 1 year now after upgrading from my trusty Palm M515. So far, it is holding up well for my daily use and I use it every single day at work to keep track of my appointments and contact lists. It is with me at all times as it is clipped to my belt. Battery life is good. Storage is excellent (close to 4 GB). WiFi and BT are standard. It syncs with Palm Desktop o my Mac and Outlook on my Tablet PC. Easy to grip while on the go. I can manage using this Palm fiddling stylus, while on the cell phone via ear piece, AND while driving. One gripe is I prefer Graffiti 1 (the previous Graffiti) because new Palms are all come with Graffiti 2. Also, when it is not warm with usage, Graffiti input is a little bit disoriented as my stylus input does not register correctly (but it does after the machine gets warm).
     
  12. stevietheb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    stevietheb

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #12
    What exactly is the difference between Graffiti 1 and Graffiti 2? I have seen on other threads that people are unhappy with Graffiti 2, but I can't quite ascertain why...

    Thanks...this is all good stuff. I'm hoping my local Staples has the T/X. If so, I'm going to give it a good hard look today...
     
  13. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #13
    in a nutshell-graffiti 1 was a proprietary handwriting recognition system written by Jeff Hawkins, creator of the palm pilot. Xerox sued Palm, saying it was copyright infringement. Palm freaked, and decided to license a recognition form called "Jot" and call it graffiti 2 (with a few changes.) After all that, the courts ruled in favor of Palm but theyd already changed all the OSes to the new format.
    If you've never used a palm before, or it's been years, don't worry, you won't know the difference. People who dislike G2 generally feel G1 took less strokes, was more reliable, and faster. I used to take handwritten notes in college that looked like G1, because I was so used to it...But G2 is not difficult to use or learn...so you'll be fine.
     
  14. stevietheb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    stevietheb

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #14
    Ended up buying a Palm T/X off ebay. Owner hadn't used it much, and it comes with a silver Rhinoskin hard case. I got it for about $200—felt like a good deal...

    I'll let ya know how I like it when it comes in!

    Thanks for all the advice...
     
  15. discoforce macrumors 6502a

    discoforce

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Location:
    Vermont, USA
    #15
    Congrats! Not much more than I paid for my E2, so sounds like a great deal!

    Let us know how it works out.
     
  16. stevietheb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    stevietheb

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #16
    Palm T/X arrived today. I've finally got pretty much everything set up. It's not as intuitive as I would've liked—syncing took a while to figure out (instructions? who needs 'em!!!), but I did get it done.

    For $200, I think I did all right!

    Thanks to everyone for the help...
     
  17. jeffcorbets macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #17
    Few quick notes...

    The TX is very nice... enjoy it!

    If you have a few extra bucks (okay, $40) and Tiger, I highly recommend purchasing The Missing Sync for Palm OS (http://www.markspace.com). It gives you the ability to sync with iCal and Address Book and respects the categories on the Palm and different calendars in iCal and groups in Address Book.

    The software also allows for customized syncing profiles that you can switch back and forth to, and even allows for a different profile to be used during a Bluetooth sync than a USB sync.

    And, as a final note, the latest version of Documents to Go (8), has native PDF support. A few people have reported instabilities with it, but I think you can get a free trial of it. The previous poster was absolutely correct in saying the Palm OS Acrobat Reader (which requires a translation during the sync) is horrible.

    Good luck with your new toy!
    ~Jeff Corbets
     

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