Product Type: Palm Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
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Excellent screen, function over spec sheet.
Member Name: Sibod
Date: 28/01/01, updated on 28/01/01 (598 review reads)
Advantages: Clear screen, long battery life, easy to use,
Disadvantages: Hard to use outdoors in direct sunlight, battery integrated into unit, limited expansion.
I’ve owned just 3 handheld computers in my time, starting with a Newton Messagepad, and then a Newton 120. Unfortunately a combination of Apple discontinuing it, plus a huge repair bill following a cracked screen in an accident I was involved in, I decided to move on to a Philips Velo .Windows CE palmtop computer. It was OK, but the screen and battery life was very weak. I then moved on to the Palm III – which was bought cheaply at a Dixons sale. I enjoyed using it a lot, and found the entire product to be worthy of being called my favourite so far. However, the screen was poor in dark conditions, and a little difficult to read.
Palm then launched the IIIc – a fully lit colour display, and I knew I wanted one!. A little under a year ago, I popped into my local electronics store, took one look at it, and immediately walked out with one. Since then it’s been put through several paces, keeping my diary, surfing the internet on long train journeys (thanks to the Global Pulse kit from TDK), and playing the odd game.
The unit is sleek, although just not quite as sexy and slim as the Palm V series, and fits neatly into the hand during use. The buttons are conveniently placed, but the power button could do with being a little higher up the unit.
Mine came with just one metal stylus, so I soon ordered some replacements (I’m prone to loosing these very quickly!), along with a Serial port cradle. Since I often use my Mac for synching up the Palm, I decided to buy the rather expensive Mac Pack with USB cable. At £350 (when I first bought it) I would have expected a few more extras in the box!
The screen is incredibly clear, bright and easy to read. Although few Palm compatible applications support Colour these days, it’s nice to have the backlighting, as opposed to the reflective LCD screens of the previous models.
The drawbacks to the unit are more inherent to the direction Palm has taken as op
posed to Windows CD products.
Firstly, you cant upgrade it beyond popping in new software or plugging a GSM mobile cable in the bottom.
Secondly, it only has 8mb Ram, but this is fine – as Palm applications rarely need a lot of memory, and the Operating system is very efficient.
Thirdly, you don’t get very sophisticated sound effects. Mainly beeps, and clicks. SO unlike most PocketPC handheld that use Windows CE, you cant play videos or MP3s.
Finally, the handwriting recognition takes some getting used to – entering character by Character. It’s far more accurate than the natural handwriting recognition of most other organisers, and far more precise than the Newton ever was! (I remember an episode of the Simpsons when Nelson Munce sat in the audience of a play, with his Newton, and repeatedly got poor results!).
But most of these don’t actually detract from the usefulness of the product in general. Palm organisers are about simple, fast, efficient functionality rather than having absolutely every function imaginable crammed in all at once, even if they’re not really needed. Pocket PCs cater for the gadget freak, Palm organisers cater for the people that need function over spec sheets.
All in all, the Palm IIIc is the best of the bunch that I have used, I have enjoyed using it greatly and look forward to using it even more now that I have bought the Palm Keyboard and Mobile Internet kit!
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