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The Palm III xe isnt a bad machine. There. Okay a little more? Well the reason I bought a plam was that evryone else seemd to have one - and I didn't want to be left out. The deal I got from Pc World was pretty good. A Palm IIIxe, the mobile internet kit, and a datacable to connect to my mobile for £99 all in. This was the main reason I went for the IIIxe over its newer M100 model. The Palm is driven by the newer OS3.5 system, rather then the older 3.0 software. Whichever palm you seem to buy, they all run on the same platform, meaning that this little machine runs in the same way the higher V series runs. The unit itself is a little bulkier then the V series, thought the £150 cost saving makes this justifiably palatable. Running on 2 AAA batteries ive found it to last less then a month with minimal use, this is my main grip with the unit. Unlike the docking unit supplied with the Palm IIIc, the one supplied with the IIIxe does not enable you to recharge the internal battery when you put the unit down to HotSync it. This was easily rectified by obtaining some rechargable batteries form Argos. The Hotsync function, mentioned above, allows a user to transfer data between Pc and Palm. This enables you to have all your diary entries and phonebooks with you all the time without having to imput the data twice. Having the HotSync also means that should you ever lose the data on your palm (through corruption or battery dying) one simple HotSync allows you to replace all the lost data. With the IIIxe this has proved invaluable due to the short life span of batteries. As well as a Hotsync function, another useful little device is the infra-red link which allows you to transfer data between PDa and your mobile without having to use the datacable. This can be very useful when obtaining numbers form friends an colleagues. The Palm as a unit is simple to use, with a great display and having never
used a PDA before i found it very easy to comprehend and was up and running in no time. To customise the unit, many programs are downloadable from the net and the 8MB limit seems to be fine at the moment. Software supplied with the Palm incudes address books, to do lists, schedulers as well as a few games, calculator and several others. As described above, adding programmes to the Palm is a very easy excercise, and is carriedout in conjunction with the HotSync function Via the NetLink cable included in the package, the Palm can also be used to surf the net - though it should be remembered that dialling the net through your mobile will incur a premium from your line provider. All in all, the unit is extremely useful, has all the features of the higher priced units but at less cost. For those who need an ultra-slim unit, this may not be for you, but for everyone else its worth the money!
I received a Palm IIIxe as a Christmas Gift. Boy was I surprised The Palm IIIxe is the best in it class even though there is a Palm VII. Considering the Palm IIIxe only cost $250.00(Staples price. Storage: 400 E-mails, 8 years of appointments, 300 to do items, 1000 memos and much more. E-mail - your can E-mail if your are using outlook express of lotus, if not you will need a modem to e-mail and to receive e-mail. Memory: The Palm IIIxe has 8 megabytes of Ram which is more than enough since most programs are not more than 50 bytes. The only program that is more than that is Avantgo but I will tell you more about that later on. You can also buy separate flash memory cards that are each 2 megabytes. Operating System: The Palm IIIxe comes with the most recent Operation System (3.5). The Operating System in the Palm IIIxe is the only one right know that is upgradeable...Cool. The processor, yes is has a processor, is a Motorola 68ez328. Power Source: 2 AAA alkaline batteries which will last 2 months(no) or 6 hours in a row. It does have a battery indicator and a warning beep but I would advise downloading Silver Screen. Since I have had the Palm III I have gone through 3 pairs of batteries in a week. Add ons: You can add on a modem. The Palm IIIxe is not Wireless. You need a modem in order to hook up to the internet. Know if you buy the modem it will still not be wireless it comes with a ten foot cord and he modem will run you $99.99 on Palm.com. You can also add a printer($99.99) a GPS system($200-$300 not sure) and other stuff at Palm.com. Hot Sync: Hot sync is putting programs or information into your Palm. When you download of buy the programs you have to sync them into your palm in order to use them. You put the palm in the cradle and attached it to the back of the computer. The cradle and the cable come with the palm. You can also use the IR(infered) port to beam the programs or information i
nto your Palm, but your computer must have a IR port. When you sync which ever way all information is saved and the Palm over rules the computer. Avantgo: Avantgo is a web browsing program. When you hot Sync and you are connected to the internet(Aol, Msn, etc.) the pages will be updated. You go to Advantgo.com and pick from 1,000's of webpages from news, stocks, education and many others. Here are some examples - Expedia.com, Fool.com - Quotes and news, Yahoo.com, PdaBuzz.com. The is pretty good considering it is FREE of charge. Insurance: There is insurance for our palm at http://www.palmslostorstolen.com/. It will cost you $3.99 a month for a Palm under $300.00 and $4.99 a month for a Palm over $300.00. This insurance covers anything from dropped off the Empire State Building to going into th bottom of the ocean. There is a $35 deductible which is not bad. You just charge it to your credit card every month and that it for peace of mind. Know the Palm VII is the same as the Palm IIIxe except that it has a wireless modem BUT with this wireless modem you can only hook up to palm.net and nothing else. You can not add on a separate modem. Know Palm.net only has access to 22 web pages where you can only download "CLIPPINGS" and all this will cost you $29.99 a month minimum and $150.00 more for the Palm itself. Worth it I think not. So in closing i advise buying the PalmIIIxe with insurance and have fun
The Palm IIIxe is a great little machine with lots of support from its users. It has some great features that you can read about in other reviews in this section, and yet I would strongly advise avoiding making this purchase. I bought one from buy.com in February and it drained batteries far too quickly. In a fortnight I went through four sets with only moderate use - a single set is supposed to last around a month. I called Palm and they said I should return the unit to them and to receive a replacement. It took them three weeks to actually send the replacement, and that only happened after I badgered them constantly. After they had left me without a PDA for ten days I called to enquire about it only to be told it could take 24 days to be dispatched because of warehouse delays. Doing the mental arithemetic aloud I muttered "So that's 24 days minus the ten I've already waited..." "No, sorry," the support staff member interrupted, "That's 24 working days." I was astounded. They took my money for a machine that didn't work, then expected me to sit around for over a month with nothing to show for it? I wrote an email to this effect, stating that I was not happy with the situation and wanted it resolved somewhat faster. Days later I received notification that the email had been forwarded to the relevant people. Days after that they called me back. I was told my replacement machine would be sent the next day and I'd get a tracking number. I received nothing. Then I was told that it was coming from Paris who don't use DHL and don't issue tracking numbers. It finally turned up from Paris, as stated, but in DHL packaging. The unit was an older one with a different screen and a horrible stylus. It crashed with fatal errors when I tried to hotsynch it and the only way to reset was to remove the batteries and wait. I eventually managed to sync it and get it working by reins
talling less of the software. And it had the same battery problem. I've since heard of two other people who have had battery problems with new Palm III machines, and with the advent of the M105 the Palm IIIxe is no longer made. It seems to me that there is a whole batch of faulty machines still waiting to be sold and very little left to replace them with. This, coupled with the dire reaction time of Palm support suggests to me that the xe is a very risky purchase right now. I contacted buy.com and said I wanted to return it, they accepted it and gave me a credit. I bought an m105 and it works perfectly. There are a few differences between the IIIxe and the M105. The only things I dislike about the 105 are: 1) not flash upgradable. Palm has said that OS4 will be out later this year for upgradeable palms and I wonder how much of an issue this will be for getting software in the future 2) The screen is framed in casing that is higher than on the XE. This makes it a little more difficult to point a stylus at things on the edge of the screen - I need to use a more upright angle. On the plus side, though, I guess it means that the screen is less likely to take damage if dropped. The smaller screen doesn't bother me, although it might be an issue for those with poor eyesight. The contrast isn't on a dial this time, it's part of the software, which seems a bit odd as if you need to adjust it it will be more difficult. Again, though, it means it's less prone to accidental alteration. My IIIxe was a great machine when it worked, but the battery problem would have been costly to support. The time I spent chasing it and the money involved in sending it to Palm and then Buy.com wasn't trivial compared to the price of the machine. You could get lucky and get a perfect machine, and if you can somehow be assured of that then go for it by all means. I just wouldn't recommend taking the risk.
Yes, before you ask, I'm perfectly aware of the connotations attached to owning a PDA. I realise it's modern equivalent of the eighties yuppie favourite, the Filofax, but, as it turns out, my Palm IIIxe is one of the most useful things I've ever bought. The IIIxe is the most powerful handheld in the III series (and is no less powerful than the flagship Vx) with a processor that's more than capable of handling anything you care to throw at it, including video files. More importantly, it comes with a whopping 8Mb of memory to store all your data and add-on applications. This is remarkable when you consider that the biggest 'PalmOS' apps weigh in at around 500Kb (or a sixteenth of the IIIxe's total capacity) and most are only about 50Kb. Still, what use is all this hardware without any decent programs to back it up? The answer is none so you'll be glad to hear that the IIIxe's software is exceptional. It comes preloaded with 3Com's latest version of the excellent 'PalmOS' (3.5, but this is upgradeable with a free download) which is extremely intuitive and user-friendly for anyone who uses 'Windows' or 'MacOS'. Although no Palms have built in keyboards, as was the style for PDAs a few years ago, they do have more than adequate replacements for them. You can either enter the text via a rudimentary handwriting-recognition system using the included pen-like stylus (quite slow) or use a simple software keyboard with which, after a few hours practice, you can veritably race through e-mails, memos, etc. As with all Palms, the IIIxe also includes a few basic applications to get you started. 'Address' is a very useful little app that will store names, addresses (street and e-mail) and phone numbers (with the added bonus that you can specify the kind of phone number - home, work, mobile, fax or pager) which all integrate with the rest of the software on the device
. For example, if you are writing an e-mail, you have the option to transfer the e-mail address data straight from 'Address' to the recipient line of your e-mail without having to exit your e-mail client, open 'Address' and copy and paste the e-mail address. 'To Do List' is just as useful as 'Address' and probably my favourite Palm application as I am a forgetful chap to say the least. It does exactly what it says on the tin and provides you with the ability to assign a date to have the item done by and a priority number from 1 to 5. 'Mail' is, unsurprisingly, a basic e-mail client. It allows you to download e-mails from your PC, reply to them and write new ones. New e-mails from your PC's inbox are downloaded and everything in your outbox sent through your PC's mail client (all major clients are supported, although Netscape Messenger, the one I use, was quite hard to set up) when you synchronise the device. This is a simple matter of popping it in the supplied cradle (connected to the serial port) and pressing a button, although you'll have to be connected to the internet if you want to send e-mail. 'Memo Pad' is a basic text editor, with similar functionality to 'Notepad' for 'Windows'. 'Date Book' is a diary with alarms assignable to each item. 'Expense' keeps track of a busy executive's expense account which is fine, but pretty useless for me as I'm not a busy executive. 'Calculator' is pretty self explanatory. Also included on the CD-ROM that comes with your new IIIxe is 'Palm Desktop' (a PC and Mac application that backs up all the data stored on your handheld), 'AvantGo' (an excellent piece of software that downloads selected web content for you every time you synchronise) and a few simple games which may divert the attention for a few minutes. However, the real fun comes when you start to add
thirdparty software to your Palm. Thanks to its 8Mb memory, IIIxe users can store numerous programs on their device which is very useful as there are literally (and I don't mean that in the way most people incorrectly do) thousands of applications available to download from sites like www.download.com and www.zdnet.com. Although a lot of it is rubbish, you'll find yourself keeping a fair proportion of the stuff you download simply because it's so darn useful. Want to keep track of all those website usernames and passwords? Why don?t you try 'Yaps!'. Want to use your IIIxe's infrared port like a remote control for your TV, VCR, hi-fi, etc.? Get yourself a copy of 'OmniRemote'. Do you hate writing SMS messages on a poky little cellular phone keypad? Well, write them on your Palm and send them to your phone through its infrared port. And so on. The thing I like most about my IIIxe is that it can be anything I want it to be. I know that sounds like a slogan designed to make a huge, faceless corporation seem human to the public but bear with me. With 8Mb of memory at its disposal and an infrared port (used for wireless synchronisation and, more excitingly, internet access via an infrared mobile phone) there are no limits to what my PDA can do. As long as the software is written for it, the IIIxe can do it. And since I got my 'Palm Mobile Internet Kit' (available separately for about £25) I can access pretty much any internet content you care to mention (the web, e-mail, WAP, AvantGo live, etc.) totally wirelessly. Although if you don't have an infrared port on your mobile phone then you would need a wire. I do have a few minor complaints though. Unlike the V series, which recharges its batteries while it's in the HotSync cradle, the III series runs off AAA batteries. While I can see advantages and disadvantages to both methods and I've certainly had no problems with the battery life of my handheld, so
me may find the III's system a little archaic. Also the case of the IIIxe is hardly the most attractive thing I've ever clapped eyes on. The plastic feels cheap and looks even cheaper and the shape of the thing is scarcely appealing. In contrast, Sony's CLIÉ and Palm's V series are both very handsome machines, although this is reflected in their price. My final gripe is the quality of Palm's customer service. Their website is a mess of pages where you find yourself looking at the same information over and over again, said information always managing to be something you don't want to see. Also, their e-mail support is a joke. I get the impression that the staff don't fully understand English and it often takes three or four e-mails to get any problems sorted. And don't get me started on their call centre. I phoned the number for the UK in the manual and it wasn't even recognised. Still, as long as your IIIxe doesn't break on you and you don't care about its ugliness, I'm sure you will find it to be a faithful servant for years to come. I've only had mine a few months and I already couldn't live without it.
Why buy the IIIxe?--Palm's latest offering. How does it compare in features with the other Palm's available? Particulary the IIIc and Vx which are about 75-100 pounds more? - Memory is top of the range with 8Mb, same as the Vx or IIIc. Friends who've been loading applications and e-mails into their Palms for a couple of years says this is masses, even for power users. - It is monochrome, the only one with colour is the IIIc (though a Vc is coming next year). Does that matter? Colour is fun if you're into games; if your focus is e-mails, calendars, and serious stuff, it is probably not worth the extra money. - Physically it is the same as the rest of the III range. That means it is not as cool and slim as the fancy Vx, but nor is it as expensive. There are also more physical accessories (like keyboards, modems, etc.) available for the III range than the V, and all III series accesories should all fit the IIIex (software is common for all). The colour is an executive slate grey (i.e. dark gray), rtaher than the light grey of the IIIc or the horrible transparent case that some III models come in. - it runs off batteries (AAA cells). This is a bit of a downer. The IIIc and Vx both have a rechargeable cell (lithium-ion I think) which keeps them going for a month and recharges automatically whenever you HotSync with your PC. - it has the latest Palm Operating System v3.5 (Check you're getting latrest stock or your Vx may only come with v3.3). This can be important if you want to use the Infrared port for fancy things (connecting with your mobile phone?). Also v3.5 is supposed to HotSync twice as fast as previous versions. For the budget conscious, it is probably the best choice of Palm. Unless you need ultra-portability (Vx), can't live without colour (IIIc), or just hate buying batteries (but hey, you can buy a lot of batteries for 75 pounds!).