Chapura have long been linking Palm users to Outlook. Up until the release of the T|T3 and T|E, Chapura provided the default conduits that Palm users unlucky enough to be using Outlook could use. However, PalmOne have not been idle and have started supplying their own conduits with newer handhelds. These, however, are somewhat basic, and Chapura have jumped with with a new version of PocketMirror just for users of the T|T3 and T|E.
In a startling omission, I cannot actually tell you what the differences are between the PalmOne and Chapura conduits. Chapura seem to have left this data out of their product information, a glaring omission given the US$49.95 price tag. Nevertheless, I can tell you some of the more interesting things it does. Contacts, tasks, appointments and memos are handled, as you'd expect. What you might not expect is Business Contact Manager support, public folder support and the ability to change your root folders. Outlook power users are likely to find a lot more of interest here than I am, as I use Outlook 2003 at work only, and not by choice. But even normal users are likely to be impressed at how well it does even the basics.
I should point out quickly that it does not sync email. Luckily, VersaMail supports Outlook, although the configuration isn't too clear if you're using an Exchange server (hint - don't expect to receive email except when syncing). And given the lack of a standard Palm email client, this isn't too surprising.
Installation was a breeze. Given the lengthy and somewhat overwhelming (for novices, at least) installation sequences for programs such at Docs to Go, it's nice to see one that my mother could use. And once installed, it just worked. No configuration was needed, and the configuration program was delightfully straightforward. I synced, and it all worked. For a while.
A couple of days later, while doing one of my many HotSyncs, I started receiving nasty error messages in my log. In short, the conduit was falling over on a contact's birthday. Upon examining my Palm I found 4 contacts had been duplicated, but deleting the duplicates made no difference. In fact the only solution was to delete the birthdays (which are propagated as recurring events) from Outlook. Somewhat messy, don't you think?
Before resorting to deleting events, I had tried Chapura support. Finding the knowledge base silent on my issue, I emailed Chapura. The next morning I had a response - full marks for speed. Unfortunately, the response asked that I delete the birthday, and then email them the record if possible. It also suggested the crash may be related to the DocsToGo conduits, although it didn't mention if this was a DtG or PocketMirror issue. Call me old fashioned, but I'm really rather adverse to deleting contact data. On the up side, it was a quick response and (as I had discovered through desperation the previous day) it did solve my issue, which is more than I can say for many support replies I've had. I should also mention this is the first release to support the new PalmOne contacts manager, so perhaps this shouldn't be too surprising, and I've no doubt it will only get better.
In conclusion, it certainly works well - for the most part - and is an excellent option for anyone who finds the PalmOne conduits just a little basic. Congratulations to Chapura for making such an easy to use and unobtrusive product.