View Full Version : PDA recomendations
02-20-2005, 07:42 AM
I would like a PDA, but I'm not sure which kind to get. I want the following features:
(I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but that's basically it.)
Now the problem is, I don't know what kind to get. I think I heard something about the company that makes the Blackberries creating a PDA; anyone know anything about that? And do they actually allow you internet access anywhere?
Any other ones to recommend?
02-20-2005, 11:53 AM
I'm really new to PDAs and I'm in Europe, but anyway...
I think all PDAs come with some sort of calendar/organizer and address book. So no problems there.
As for Internet access, it's not so easy. You either need a Wi-Fi capable PDA and have some Wi-Fi hotspots in your area (which usually require a monthly fee), or you need a phone PDA that can access Internet through a regular GSM network (which require the standard call fee). The GSM network (capable of some 5 kb/s) is much slower than Wi-Fi (1000 kb/s), but of course is available everywhere.
My university provides Wi-Fi access so I bought a Wi-Fi PDA. I considered buying a GSM/Wi-Fi hybrid to also replace my cell phone but I think they're just too bulky for that. Also, currently these hybrids are lacking in other areas (namely screen resolution).
Oh and you can also buy a regular PDA and a posteriori purchase a Wi-Fi CF card for it. I don't like this solution as it requires a thingy to stick out nastily,
02-20-2005, 11:56 AM
What about blue tooth technology?
02-20-2005, 12:04 PM
Oh for me bluetooh was a must-have. Cordless headphones and GPS bluetooth devices made it mandatory. But there are no bluetooth hotspots for internet acess around, unless you're willing to set up your own bluetooth router at your place, but that seems to have very limited usefulness.
I suppose that If you do have a bluetooth cell phone you can hook it up to your PDA and route internet access through the GSM network, now that you mention it. But I have no ideia if it's that easy so don't take my word for it.
02-20-2005, 12:39 PM
What's the difference between bluetoothand wi-fi?
02-20-2005, 02:02 PM
I just googled for just that question and this link (http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,103848,00.asp) explains it in detail. They're both wireless communication protocols; bluetooth is slower, has shorter range but is supported by lots of devices that don't require very fast/ long range operation. Probably because it's cheaper to build, or maybe it requires less power I don't know.
My Darn Snake Legs
02-20-2005, 04:08 PM
I just got a Dell Axiom X50v. It's high-dollar, but I think it is the best out there. I wanted something that I could use for presentations,surf the web, write/send email (with WiFi and Bluetooth), enter grades, write papers (with a keyboard), watch movies, play games, and do all of the normal PDA things on.
It is fantastic. The battery life seems to be more than adequate and it is small/light/fast enough that I just carry it in a back pocket in its case. I also have a warrenty and accidental damage protection on it because I know that something is going to happen to it.
With a 1gig memory card, hard case, and the warrenty it was about $600. There are lots of similar models for less cash so I suggest looking at Dell even if you don't want to drop that much money on a PDA.
02-20-2005, 05:23 PM
In my experience, I've found that Palms are somewhat less powerful than Pocket PCs, but reliable. Pocket PCs are quite powerful, but more likely to act up.
PalmOne (the hardware company) has three product lines: Zire, Tungsten, and Treo. Zire is their consumer line, Tungsten is the more expensive line targeted toward professional users, and Treos are high-priced Palm-based cell phones.
Pocket PCs are made by a number of companies, with many product lines, but the thing they have in common is they run Windows Mobile.
All PDAs provide the basic organizer functions, so you'll want to base your final decision on what extras you want, like color screens, larger screens, expansion options, integrated wireless hardware, and multimedia capabilities.
Also, you should consider how you'll interact with the device. Palm OS doesn't have a desktop counterpart, as it was designed from the start as a PDA OS. Pocket PCs use a derivative of Windows. Palms, out of the box, exclusively use Graffiti for pen input, while Pocket PCs have the option of handwriting recognition. Some models of Palm and Pocket PC have little keyboards built-in, too. I recommend you go to a local computer store and try some Palms and some Pocket PCs, and take note of aspects you prefer.
Wireless Internet access is a huge topic and can be quite complex, so I won't go in depth to avoid hijacking the thread. You'll probably run into three main types of wireless communication, Bluetooth, Wifi, and cellular. Bluetooth is short range, mostly a cable replacement, and can be used to communicate with a cell phone. WiFi is usually the most familiar with users, and generally provides fast network access on a room or building size scale, and "hotspots" can be found in many cities and especially on college campuses. Cellular access is expensive, but provides coverage wherever you get a cell phone signal. If you want more info, drop me an e-mail. My address is in my profile. And yes, with the appropriate equipment one really can access the Internet from just about anywhere.
Hardware-wise, Palms are somewhat lacking in the mobile Internet department. Almost all Pocket PCs have either built-in WiFi hardware or the option to use an expansion card. Only the Tungsten C line of Palm handhelds has built-in WiFi, and it wasn't until recent that a Palm-compatible WiFi expansion option became available, and it only works on a few models.
A Blackberry is basically a handheld Internet device combined with a cell phone. They are rather expensive, and generally used in corporate environments where the buisness pays for them and provides some of the infrastructure needed to fully take advantage of them.
02-20-2005, 05:58 PM
I have an ipaq rx3715, and I've had no problems. I love it. My SO just bought me a 1 gig SD card, and my brother is buying me a hard case, so now I'm set! Mine is ultra-cool in my opinion. It is marketed as a "Mobile Media Companion," so it can do cool stuff like play videos and mp3s etc, plus it has a camera (which takes video too). It is a pocket pc and has wifi, bluetooth and infra-red and it runs pocket excel, word, etc. And it has a voice recorder!
It syncs with my computer so any photos I take are automatically sent across when I connect it to the puter, and all the files and contacts (etc). It also has this awesome feature where I can stream movies and music from my computer via wifi.
I can also use it to control my air con, Dvd player etc (anything with an infra-red remote).
One thing I really like about Pocket PCs is the handwriting recognition. I can pretty much write how I want, it even recognises running writing. I have to write a little slower though.
The battery life on it is awesome too - I've only had it run out once, on a camping trip. Reviewers have tested it at 8 or 9 hours.
But, of course there is a downside. It's been said my pda is expensive for what it is. I got it really cheap secondhand (that's how I could afford it), which is risky, but as I said, I've had really no problems. It is my dream pda.
One thing that is REALLY annoying, now that I think about it - it's really cumbersome to exit programs. Pressing the "X" only minimises a program!
Oh, and it has lots of RAM!
Good luck, and have fun playing with it when you get it! :)
02-20-2005, 08:19 PM
What's the difference between bluetoothand wi-fi?Apparently, if one has Bluetooth and one is in the UK, one can go toothing (http://www.wired.com/news/wireless/0,1382,62687,00.html) and have quite an interesting train ride.
02-21-2005, 10:40 AM
A great place to get reviews and information on the different models of pda's out there is 1src.com (http://www.1src.com/) and Palm247 (http://www.palm247.com).
02-21-2005, 05:23 PM
I'd also add The Gadgeteer (http://www.the-gadgeteer.com) and Pocket PC Thoughts (http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com) for general device reviews from an end user point of view. The latter website is geared more toward power users, though, so it might not be right for you, but you can get an idea of the vast array of applications and what-have-you out there for pocket PC if you're OK with the price difference.
(I own a Pocket PC phone, specifically the i-Mate, and love it to bits, FTR.)
02-21-2005, 05:27 PM
I'm happy with my Treo 600 -- cell phone, email, internet access, calendar, games, and low quality digicam. Good enough for me. The latest version is a Treo 650, but I haven't decided to upgrade yet.
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