Posted on 14-Jun-2003 17:48
Filed under: Reviews
In the beginning was the Palm... I've used a Palm since the US Robotics Palm Pilot (128KB, Palm OS 1). Then I've moved on to the US Robotics Palm Pilot 1000, to the 3COM Palm Professional, Palm III, Palm V, Handspring Visor, Palm m130 and ended moving to a Pocket PC (H3970).
But I still like Palm! The fact that Hotsync is so much better than ActiveSync is a plus. And that all programs use so little memory while running... But I have other reasons, so will not discuss this!
However, when I had the change to test the latest mobile Palm, the Tungsten W, I jumped on that. Yes, it's a cool device, and it connects to GSM and GPRS networks like any other mobile phone (I use Vodafone).
First things first: this is a data centric device. It means that it's not made to (mainly) place phone calls, although you can do it (just add the headset and you're set!). But its strength is in the data side. Users can quickly start working in Word and Excel compatible documents, and using DocumentsToGo transfer to the desktop, preserving the format. This is something that even Pocket PC runing Microsoft's own Windows OS and Pocket Word or Pocket Excel can't do.
At first it's strange to use the little keyboard, but after a few minutes of practice it works quite well. I think it's even faster than Grafitti or Jot, which is available with this unit and allows you to write directly to the screen, if you don't want to use te keyboard. The screen is very nice and bright - not as much as the Tungsten C, but still very good.
The unit comes with a MMC card loaded with Vodafone goodies. There's a web Browser , an e-mail client allowing access to pop3 and imap servers, and a SIM Card manager. Yes, you just have to insert your GSM SIM Card to have a fully functional internet access and voice device!
The Tungsten W allows you to select the radio status independently from the PDA status, so you can still work in your documents while in a plane, or if you're into saving battery power.
As I put before, you can place phone calls with this device, and it's quite easy. Calls can be initiated from the Address Book application, or from a Phone application, which mimics the mobile phone keypad on the screen. You have a complete log of incoming and outgoing calls, and SMS Management as well. While a call is in progress, the user can move to another application, and work on that while talking. This is a very nice touch for business users.
The unit is tri-band, meaning full roaming capabilities around the world (900/1800/1900 GSM networks), although GPRS roaming is only available in Australia and UK (GPRS roaming agreements are coming from other countries soon). This Palm, like other PDA currently in the market accepts MMC and SD cards memory extension, making it great to carry large documents or photo albums while travelling.
The processor is the Motorola Dragonball VZ @ 33 MHz, running Palm OS version 4.1.1 and 16MB RAM. The display is clear and crisp. It is a 16-bit 320 x 320 reflective TFT color display with brightness control with support for over 65,000 colors.