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I was given this as a gift and it is my first pda so I have nothing to compare this to. I am very pleased with this product though I have not yet bought a memory card to go with it so I can't rate the mp3 player side of it. It has got a decent sized built-in memory that is plenty to store a lot of photos and programs.
The battery is amazing and lasts for at least 10 hours. The camera is a lot better than I thought it would be, complementing this is the bright, colourful and good quality touch-screen. The supplied cradle allows you to 'sync' the data on your pda (photos, files, addresses etc) which is very useful as it allows you to add new programs and files to your pda with very little messing about. Speaking of programs you can get an incredible amount of free software and files (e-books, games etc) if you look in the right places on the internet (legally of course). The design is sturdy, the camera is used by sliding the back half down almost like the phones from the Matrix which makes it quite cool. The blue and metallic colours make it also look really good, not grey like a lot of others. The bundled pda software (wordpad/contact list/checklist etc) is simple and no-frills, you can get better ones but at a charge. The software for your PC is quite good and adds a menu to your right-click so you can add files to the pda. Unfortunately there is no bluetooth or wireless (and no space for an extension pack which could these features) but there is an infra-red which means you can transfer things between your phone and pda, useful for photos. There is however now a Palm Zire 72 which has Bluetooth so it may be worth spending more for the upgrade.
Overall a very good pda that looks better than most with good features, unfortunately without wi-fi or bluetooth its productivity can be limited.
Since initially writing this review I have also noticed a few other drawbacks. Firstly, when storing it in the leather case it comes with, often the buttons on the bottom are pressed against the case which turns the pda on. This drains the battery because you dont know it is switched on. Another thing is that due to the type of memory that is used, if the battery is drained completely then it loses all of the data you have stored on it and it reverts back to how it was when you first bought it. This is very annoying especially when you combine this with the fact it keeps on losing battery from when it is stored in its case.
I recently was told that a palm top computer would be good for my work. So I just got this Z71 a few months ago and I was considering an HewitP1910. I think though I made the right decision by going with the Palm z71. First, the batteries last you a full day 24hours! I purchased the 128MB SD card from staples for what I think was around £20 and played MP3s for 6 hours and the battery was only half full! With a PPC I would be able to get 3 hrs of music and that’s with easy listening songs. Also, the camera is a really good feature. The pictures look good and the quality is useful. The Z71 design is also quite excellant. It is really tidy and sexy and fits easily in your pocket. The only problems I have are that there is no hold button – this would make mp3 feedback far greater. Also there is no blue tooth technology, which in this day and age is a must as even mobile phones now do have it. There also can be interaction between your old palms, which I think is good as you can then transfer your old files. Though with all computer technology they have a shelf life of about a year which if you have to buy your own can be expensive
Keep phone numbers and addresses on hand. Write to-do lists. Take notes in meetings. The Zire 71 handheld helps you do it all - and keep it all organized. The joystick-like 5-way navigator gives you quick, one-handed access to your information. Want to capture a spontaneous moment? Simply slide your handheld open to expose the protected, hidden camera. Then point, shoot and share with friends and family. Take your favorite MP3s, video clips and audio books with you wherever you go. It is a snap to organize and move files from your handheld to your desktop and back again. A new, high-resolution color screen vibrantly displays images, graphics and type. Rechargeable batteries give you plenty of time to enjoy the action. An ultra-fast ARM processor handles the most demanding media tasks with blazing efficiency. Plus, 16 MB of memory gives you plenty of storage space for digital photos, games and applications.