Saturday, June 25, 2005

What I finally got

So what did I finally get?
I’ve been so busy playing with it, and a picture is worth a thousand words (or so they say):

Friday, June 17, 2005

Temptation, aaargh!

I'm still tempted by the Tapwave Zodiac 2 for $299.
I've just got to remind myself that can get the Palm Tungsten T5 for not much more ($349 after mail-in rebate ending July 16 & price includes free Wi-Fi card, plus another $50 Palm Exchange rebate) - deeper discounts are available elsewhere - $302 on PriceGrabber), which has double the RAM (256MB RAM) & processor speed (416MHz) although it also doesn't have a voice recorder (like the Tapwave Zodiac but unlike the Tungsten T3 which does). The T5 also comes with a more appropriate software bundle for me, including Docs To Go 7 Pro.
As I think about it logically, I'd even prefer the Tungsten T3 to the T5.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Sidetracked by a special at CompUSA for a Tapwave Zodiac 2 for $299. This is a PalmOS based gaming device with 128MB RAM, Bluetooth & 2 SD slots (yes, two - could use one for Wi-Fi card & the other for extra memory) , 320x480 screen with portrait and landscape mode.
But it doesn't have a keyboard
It also doesn't have a voice recorder.
But after actually looking at it I realized I had forgotten one of the main reasons for new handheld - smaller size. The Tapwave Zodiac is at least as big as the Sony Clie NX60, although it is not a clamshell, and weighs less.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Treo 600 instead of Tungsten T3?

Thinking of a Treo 600 instead of Tungsten T3:

- The Tungsten T3 is nice but pricey, sort of a major upgrade from the NX60, but doesn't have a keyboard - and that is a major concern. After 2 years of using the NX60, with a short break for a couple of months while I used the works Tungsten E primarily (which ended when I had battery problems with Tungsten E along with losing some Blog and Journal entries between the 2 PDAs), my Graffiti writing skills have diminished and I got used to "ThumbBoard" type data entry on the NX60. To spend around $300 on the excellent T3 but then find inputting my blog entries using Graffiti slow and tedious would be a real downer
- The chance to try a smartphone (PDA/phone combo), something I've really wanted to do. The Treo 650 with its 16-bit (65K colors) 320x320screen & faster processor, as well as (presumably) updated PIM Apps is tempting, but at $449 its a bit steep (and well over $300), and I'd be tied to Cingular for 2 years - whereas if I don't like the Treo 600 I can just sell it Although the Treo 600 has a smaller and lower resolution (160x160) screen than I'm used to, the extra $150 plus a 2-year contract for a (320x320) hi-res screen (and faster processor) doesn't seem worth it. The idea is to see if the smartphone (PDA/phone combo) is as useful as reported, for a reasonable price.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A budget!

A special day is coming up and after negotiation with my family, I have a budget for $300 . Now I need to decide between Tungsten T3 or Treo 600. My earlier research had found an unlocked GSM Treo 600 for less than $300, so I had added it to my short list.

Some additional research about the Treo 600 raises these questions:
1. Is screen 65K/16-bit color - No it is 12-bit CSTN (less than 4000 colors) - hopefully this will only be noticeable with graphics.
2. Can Treo 600 be turned on without turning on Cellphone part (for use on planes) - yes, according to user manual
3. PowerRun-compatible? Must check
4. JackFlash-compatible? (not essential)
5. TextPlus-compatible?
6. Onscreen Graffiti? (not that important)
7. Keyboard backlight? - yes
8. MP3 playback capability? - possibly

Monday, June 13, 2005


Frustrated, partially due to the hot weather, but mostly due to my PDA hunt - not seeming to find the bargain I was looking for. This is mostly due to changing expectations (looking at Tungsten T3 or Treo 600 instead of Tungsten T2). My ideal Palm handheld is not out there - or at least it is not out there for a "lower 100s" price - the Tungsten T3 is close & only lacks a keyboard, which I just may be able to do without (or not?) The Treo 600 has a keyboard and more memory than the NX60, but its screen resolution is much lower - could I really go from 480x320 screen down to 160x160? (even with gaining a combo PDA/cellphone). The Treo 650, although with a 320x320 screen, has less memory available than the 600, and for $100 to $150 extra adds Bluetooth & some input/interface enhancements - I already have a cellphone with Bluetooth - and have never used the Bluetooth, nor the email features. As for the Tungsten C which has a keyboard & lots of memory, it is on the bulky side. Admittedly the Tungsten C's keyboard is a lot more intelligent than the Sony NX60's - it was designed so that everything could be done from the keyboard. On the NX60 whenever there is a dialog box you have to reach for the stylus. There are some freeware apps (like OKey) which try to help but they only go so far. But would I really use the Wi-Fi? - it is quite aggravating trying to browse the Internet on the Tungsten C's browser.- It is more expensive than the Tungsten T3 , which has the plus of enhanced built-in apps.

So what happened to my initial idea to buy a used Tungsten T2? - I can still do so for around $120, or less than $100 for those rare ones - the problem is that apart from an increase in memory it is more of a step down than anything else - the CPU is slower, and it came out just a month after the NX60. The only real advantage is that it is a (real) Palm, and uses the faster SecureDigital Cards.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Low Budget, No Budget

While I've been thinking about what I want, I've been doing some "research" on eBay for prices.
It seems like Tungsten T2's sell for around $110+ used or $160 refurbished, and Tungsten T3's for about $230 to $300 used.
Then there are some Tungsten T3's which only come with a charger and no software CDs, and sell for $160 plus - I view those suspiciously.

For an extra $120 to $200 (used), the Tungsten T3 has double the memory of the T2, more than double the CPU speed (400MHz vs 144 MHz), 320x480 Screen with portrait or landscape mode and Virtual Graffiti (vs 320x320 Screen), updated PIM Apps, (and a newer version of Documents To Go than the Tungsten T2's. Since I've got used to the convenience of Virtual Graffiti on the Sony NX60, the Tungsten T3 is appealing.
Tungsten T3's seem to be in high demand though, as there don't seem to be many refurbished models around - on places like Even the PalmOne Outlet store doesn't have any "Open Box" specials for the Tungsten T3. When I first started my search, the Tungsten T3 was available at the PalmOne online store for $349, now it's nowhere to be seen.

Zire 72's are going for between $179 to over $200 on eBay. Even though they have acceptable available memory, I just seem to prefer the styling of the Tungsten T2/T3's to the Zire 72.

As I'm working a "non-budget" of less than $100, my options are severely limited. I've seen the occasional Tungsten T2 for less than $100, but usually it was "blemished" in some way. But the hunt continues...

Friday, June 10, 2005

Keyboard or Stereo, No?

In my hunt for a new PDA, I had a built-in keyboard (or thumbboard) as a "nice to have". This was because very few Palms have one. At the moment the only one on my 'possible replacements' list with a keyboard was the Tungsten C.

When PalmOne released the Tungsten C, they decided that since it was a business handheld computer, the audio jack on the Tungsten C would be mono, not stereo (see the review here and the Mobile Tech Review here).
I don't listen to music on my Sony NX60 that often, but when I do I want to listen in stereo.

This is making my choice difficult - a PDA with keyboard (Tungsten C) or one with stereo audio output (others)...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Possible Replacements

I found some possible replacements my Sony Clie NX60:
Either the PalmOne Tungsten T2,T3 or C or the Zire 72.
All of these are smaller and lighter than the Sony Clie NX60.
The Zire 72 has only 24MB of RAM, which puts it at the bottom of the list, whereas the Tungsten T2 has 29.5MB, the Tungsten C 51Mb and the Tungsten T3 52MB. Here I'm referring to actual free RAM, which is sometimes significantly smaller than the RAM advertised for the handheld. My Sony NX60 was a prime example of this. On the box it says 16MB RAM, but actually only 11MB of RAM is available for programs. In reviews like the review of the Tungsten T2, the reviewer says "The Tungsten T2 comes with ...32MB of SDRAM, 29.7MB of which are available".
The actual available memory versus specified memory is mucho important!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The hunt begins...

Replacing my Sony Clie NX60 handheld computer is long overdue. It avoided being replaced last year when I got a Tungsten E from work. I used the Tungsten E for a few months, enjoying the freedom of having 28MB of RAM instead of just 11MB. Then I went back to the NX60 after a mishap with data I was sharing between the 2 PDAs.

The Tungsten E's main advantage over the Clie NX60 is its portability - I know that sounds strange for a handheld computer, but the NX60 is more than an inch longer than the Tungsten E and weighs 8 ounces. In its protective case it doesn't fit in anything smaller than a coat pocket. I also was running into memory constraints, even using JackFlash and PowerRun to save RAM.

Quick photo from my Cellphone camera of the two PDAs together (Tungsten E on the left and Sony Clie NX60 on the right):

and with the NX60 open:

I know the pictures are a bit blurred, but they are just to give an indication of the actual difference is size. The NX60 can also be used with the screen twisted around to cover the keyboard, but then the Hard Buttons (Datebook, Memo etc) are not available.

I drew up requirements for the new PDA:
1. Must be lighter and smaller
2. More memory - at least as much as Tungsten E
3. Preferably not another Sony (SD cards seem to be a lot faster than Memory Sticks)

Nice to have:
1. Keyboard
2. MP3 playback capability

Monday, June 06, 2005

Why there wasn't a Tungsten T4

According to a review on, the reason why there wasn't a Palm Tungsten T4, it's for the same reason you seldom see product numbers -- or hotel room floors in Las Vegas -- with the number 13. In much of Asia, the number four is considered bad luck of the worst kind. Turns out the word for four sounds a lot like the word for "dying" or "death." It's pervasive enough that an urban myth persists despite contrary medical evidence that there are more heart attacks at work on the fourth, fourteenth, and twenty-fourth of the month, so some stay home on those days. Thus it's more common to see major product numbers skip from three to five. Canon, the camera company, took their PowerShot G3 straight on to G5 for the same reason, and Palm, Inc. itself skipped the Palm IV in favor of the Palm V.