I mostly use my new Palm Tungsten, which does not require the cradle to be synchronised with my PC. I do however have an old M315 palm, which has several of the applications and games I have on my newer version. One such application is Scrabble. It is of course possible to play the game as a two-player game on one unit, but it is preferable to use two units and the infrared to stop the hassle of passing one unit back and forward for each players turn.
So I use both units when my wife and I have our regular game of Scrabble, this means that she gets the old M315 unit, which does require the cradle for both synchronisation and indeed charging. The cradle kit costs around £20, which I suppose, isn't bad. In the unlikely event that you are about to purchase the old M315 Palm, then you will probably be fortunate enough to get a cradle with it. Mine was second hand and a purchase was required. No great problem since I got the unit for nothing so the overall costs were still just £20 for my palm and the cradle.
Firstly I have to say that if you are looking for a snazzy flash unit to connect your M315 or compatible palm to the cradle then disappointment number one. It certainly looks OK but its looks like it came straight out of the eighties, dull black, no LED indicator, in fact pretty plain looking. The cradle has two connections on its rear surface, one to connect the power supply and one to connect a serial connection to your PC. Disappointment number two, my PC doesn't have a serial connection only bluetooth and USB. I plugged the transformer end of the power supply into the wall socket and proceeded to connect the small connector into the back of the cradle. No indication as to whether it was working or not. I then place my Palm M315 into the docking part of the cradle. This part of the unit is kind of moulded to fit the M315 with a weird looking connection at the base. This connection is the one used to join the M315 with the cradle. It is a little fiddly doing so but on achieving the connection a light to signify charging has commenced. The light is the power light on the M315, which is flashing green. When it stops flashing charging is complete.
There are various add ons which are required should you be using your M315 abroad. These are basically just connection plugs to facilitate connection for the transformer in the many varied power supplies we have in Europe. I can't say I'm over impressed with this unit, but to be fair it does do the job it was designed for. It just doesn't look right in my current quite modern set up. It's a bit like having an odd looking spoon in the teaspoon drawer, just doesn't look right.
It does however charge my old M315 quite quickly and on reflection I have no reason to believe the Serial connection won't work, but being that such connections are rare these days I guess I'll never know for sure. It might sound like I'm way disappointed with the unit, and that is perhaps a bit unfair, it does do its job and it does it well, it just doesn't quite fit in with my scheme, perhaps it is time to upgrade the old M315 to something more modern, although I do really only use it for Scrabble these days. All in all it was probably worth the twenty quid, after all had I not invested the M315 would never be charged and I wouldn't be able to beat my wife at Scrabble so often...................SSSSSShhhhhhh here she comes. She currently leads 21 to 18 in case your are interested.