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PalmOne T5, Wi-Fi SD card and Wireless Universal Keyboard review

Posted on 19-Dec-2004 16:35 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

There are lots of talk about the palmOne T5 lately, regarding memory, lack of innovations, etc. Most power users were expecting a palmOne device with a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios. But this didnít come this time. However, combining a couple of T5 accessories can probably give you the best of both worlds.

We already have a review of this device, but I was sent a package containing the palmOne T5 (check price), the Universal Wireless Keyboard by palmOne and the Wi-Fi SD card to test. Unfortunately I was given this for only two days, so I had not enough time to complete some of the tests I wanted.

The palmOne T5, Wi-Fi SD card and Universal Wireless Keyboard

The Wi-Fi SD card (check price) is now compatible with the palmOne T5. I had only to head to palmOne supportís website and download the driver. Installation is pretty simple, and it will restart your device to install the new drivers.

This card is compatible with 802.11b access points, channels 1~11. The data rate is 11Mbps maximum with Dynamic Bandwidth Management to 1, 2 and 5.5 Mbps. It operates up to 120ft (37m) indoor, 400ft (122m) outdoor at 11Mbps.

The Wi-Fi SD card is very similar to the Bluetooth SD card, with a little bit sticking out. I understand this must be because of antenna and some of the electronics inside, but itís not the safest. And sure enough, this card did not arrived here in a very good condition (it was a demo unit). It was a little bent, but not broken. The card whoever was no longer intact, as you can see on the picture below.

The Wi-Fi SD card was bent

Configuration is not a problem, with a wizard that will try to guide you through it. I have noticed that itíll scan and try to connect to a network. This is where I found the first glitch. Although my network is configured to broadcast its SSID, the palmOne Wi-Fi couldnít find it. So I had to manually enter the network name.

Even after entering the SSID and WEP keys (which palmOne strangely called 40 and 104bits instead of 64 and 128bits) I still couldnít connect to my network.

At first it couldn't find my network, even with SSID Broadcast ON

Manually entering the configuration: WEP keys

No luck...

The network list (manually entered)

I have quite a heterogeneous network here, with a laptop, a tablet pc, one Pocket PC, and Apple iMac connected to this Access Point. But no matter what I tried, the T5 could not connect to the network. Well, I canít spend much more time on this, since I have to return the unit. Itís a shame, I really wanted to try this more.

The next part of the package actually worked really well. The palmOne Universal Wireless keyboard (check price) is a foldable infrared based keyboard that is not bigger than a small paperback book when closed (0.6 height x 5.4 width x 3.9 depth), but opens to a full QWERTY keyboard with support for the T5 or Pocket PC.

Portrait mode, notice the infrared arm on the top left, just next to the Wi-Fi SD card

In this position we can't use the Wi-Fi SD card without blocking the infrared arm

Again, I pointed my browser to palmOne supportís website and downloaded the newly released keyboard driver. It worked flawlessly, and it interacts really well with the T5.

It has a full QWERTY keyboard, including number row on top. It also provides a function key that provides quick access to some system resources and programs. For example Home, Menu, Find, Contacts, Tasks, Calculator are all there. There are also function keys for e-mail and web browser programs, and even to toggle between landscape and portrait modes.

The keyboard is also usable with Windows Mobile Pocket PC devices, and it includes keys to start Pocket Excel, Pocket Word, Pocket Internet Explorer, and to go back to the deviceís Today screen.

The keys are of a good size, and provide good tactile feedback, with a travel length that seems similar to most laptops. The software drivers allows for an audible feedback in the form of a click emitted from the T5. The keyboard weighs 185 g, and measures 138 x 99.5 x 17.9mm when closed.

Keyboard configuration

Configuring application keys

The keyboard is powered by two AAA batteries and connects to the PDA via infrared. The infrared arm is movable so we can easily use the T5 (or other PDA) in either portrait or landscape position. You can not use it in landscape mode while the Wi-Fi SD card is inserted because of the card position while the PDA is leaning on its side.

The keyboard simply works
Good key space, travel and feedback
Easy Wi-Fi configuration

Wi-Fi SD card couldnít connect to my wireless LAN
Couldnít test the Wi-Fi SD card for longer due to time