Product Type: Palm Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... one of the buttons as it wore out quite quickly. It synchronizes with the Palm Desktop software which is similar to microsoft outlook ... more
Power in your pocket!!
Member Name: solas
Date: 31/03/01, updated on 24/04/01 (809 review reads)
Advantages: Small, in colour, and will organise your life!!
Disadvantages: Not quite small enough, and a bit heavy (but not TOO heavy!)
You see, I'm the forgetful type. I'm always missing tutorials at college, forgetting to buy certain things, forgetting everything from TV programs to people I have to phone!
So I decided to get myself a personal organiser, and being a bit of a gadget-head, it just HAD to be electronic. After looking around for a while, I decided to go with the colour option.
To start with, these things are pretty expensive, for a student anyway! Here in Ireland, before last summer they were IR£400, so a friend of mine who was going back to Singapore for the summer offered to get me a cheaper one from there (IT stuff being INCREDIBLY cheap there!). So I got mine for the equivalent of IR£300 - quite a good saving. (Subtract around 25% to get the sterling price (Mar, 2001).
The basic funtions are: Datebook (for planning your day and reminding you to do stuff!), Addresses, Memo Pad, Calculator, Expense (for mananging your daily spending, although I never use that one), and a couple of other less important things like an image viewer. I get most use out of the date book. I has an alarm function (VERY important!) and basically prevents me from forgetting to put on my left shoe when I leave the house every morning!
Data can be entered either using the software provided and doing everything on your desktop before sending the info to your Palm IIIc via a cradle (which is also supplied), or you can use the Graffiti option - actually 'writing' the letters in!! This takes a little getting use to, but provided you write clearly and use capitals for most letters, it get easier and easier. In no time at all, I was a dab-hand.
The battery lasts a surpringly long time, considering this little beauty has colour capability! Of course, this depends on how much you use it. Provided you don't spend too much time playing games, you'll probably only need
to charge it (via the included charger!) once a week. Charge time is a bit weird. If the battery is completely wasted, then in only about 10 minutes you can charge it enough to last you through the whole day. However, to charge it fully from empty takes about four hours or so, I think. In any case, I have never had any trouble in relation to poor battery power!
Did I mention that the Palm IIIc can display 256 colours? No? Well, I just did.
The real beauty about any Palm product, is that you can download literally thousands of free programs to expand it's capabilities. Since the IIIc has 8 mb of memory, there's plenty of room for most programs. There are dozens of cool games available, but you'll be disappointed if you get TOO excited about them. My favourites are the really old arcade classics which look great on the Palm - versions of PacMan, Galaga, Space Invaders, Missile Command - those beauties from the 80's!! There are various puzzle games available too. All these games benefit from the colour of the IIIc.
If you're interested in making your own programs, you're in luck, even if you're a beginner like me. Apparently, it's quite easy to program the Palm and there are various resources on the Web to help you.
My favourite and most useful program (apart from Datebook!) has to be ePocrates, which is a free drugs database available from www.epocrates.com. This program allows me to look up any drug available in the US (no UK version unfortunately) for details of dosages, contra-indications, trade names, prices, side-effects, etc. Being a medical student, this program never fails to win favour with consultants on the wards! It's a huge program, but it's absolutey fantastic. You can even add your own notes to any entry. Other favourites (apart from the games) is a program featuring Yoda from Star Wars, who will answer any question that happens to be on your mind.
It's also possi
ble to download document readers from the Web, allowing to freely download classic literature from www.palm.com. I've read most of Shakespeare using this freedom. (Ok, not to everybody's taste, but I'm a bit weird alright?!)
My biggest gripe in the size and weight. It's not the worst, but the IIIc just doesn't look as sexy and sleek as the Palm V as I'm sure everybody would agree. It's a bit too heavy to be carried in a shirt pocket without pulling that side of your shirt downwards and making you look like a right nerd!! And it's a little awkward puting it in your back pocket. I normally keep it in my back pocket, but it really doesn't feel right there, if you can understand that. Palm have just started selling the Palm m505 in the States, which looks like the Palm V and is much lighter than the IIIc, has much the same features, but also has 65,000 colour display, along with an expansion slot which can serve as a sort of discdrive when needed.
All in all, I think this WAS the best PDA on the market until the Casio something something came out, and as I've mentioned the new Palm m505 is better, but both these options are more expensive. If I had a bit more money, I'd trade my IIIc in for a Palm m505, but I can't have everything can I? This lovely little thing will certainly do for the beginner in the world of PDAs, as it's exciting enough, but it doesn't break the bank enough.
Now, got to go and break my high-score in Galaga!
Update: 24/04/01 - corrected some spelling mistakes. Also, forgot to mention another gripe, which is that in order to charge the Palm IIIc, you need to first put it in it's cradle and then plug the recharger into the cradle. This means it's a bit bulky to have to drag around the cradle AND the recharger if you're on the go for a while.