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Need advice: looking for good PocketPC computer

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Need advice: looking for good PocketPC computer

Old 10-16-01, 02:57 PM
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Need advice: looking for good PocketPC computer

Hello, all. I need some advice about next-gen palmtop devices.

I've had a Palm device for almost three years. Problem is, my Best Buy extended warranty is running out, and as a result, I'll be buying a new machine (after selling this one.) But I'm sick of some of the Palm's shortcomings, especially:

* Ugly, ugly screen. Dim as hell. Backlight sucks. Update rate of the display is complete **** - blurry as hell. I want something bright, crisp, and colorful.
* Can't easily email back and forth from the device. Doesn't sync with Outlook well at all. I want something that plugs right into a phone jack to access the Internet, if possible.
* Sick of Graffiti. I've used it for almost three years and I still get error rates of about 5% (1 in 20 chars comes out wrong, I'd estimate.) I want some kind of adaptive handwriting recognition software that adjusts to my handwriting for more accuracy.
* Websurfing on a Palm sucks. Screen is way too small to surf websites with AvantGo or some other program. I want something that has better resolution so I can actually see a simple webpage (not flash or anything stupid, just text and graphics) pretty quickly.
* Sharing documents is a HUGE pain in the ass. I'm sick of futzing with HotSync Manager. I want a palmtop computer that basically uses some analogue of the FAT file system, so I can basically share files back and forth via a common folder or something.

That's about all. What devices do you recommend? Please also describe how any device you discuss meets the needs I've set forth above.

- David Stein
Old 10-16-01, 03:17 PM
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I'm all for PocketPC. But before you jump ship, two things:

1) Try the Sony CLIE N760C:




2) If that doesn't satisfy, play with a PocketPC before buying. Some of my "Palm friends" bought the PocketPC's, and after three months, they still can't write nearly as fast or as accurate as Graffiti. So try it and see if it works for you before buying (or I guess you can "try" it for 30 days before returning it if it doesn't work for you).

I currently own a Handspring Visor Platinum. I'm feeling much of the same problems that you've listed above, and I'm seriously considering the PocketPC, but I'm waiting to hear more reviews on the CLIE first.
Old 10-16-01, 03:43 PM
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Originally posted by namja
Try the Sony CLIE N760C
Ah, this is exactly the sort of advice I'm looking for.

However, I have to balk at the headphones and control pad part of the Clie. Simply put, I can't use any PDA as my MP3 player until they start coming out with PDAs that contain 10GB HDs - I've got way too much crap. And I shun the idea of having to sync my PDA every time I want to listen to a new album because it only holds like 64MB.

That's the main reason I didn't include "I need a palmtop computer that plays MP3s," because that feature is functionally useless to me unless it can hold a lot of MP3s.

More advice please! Especially about the built-in modem/easy access to email/web-surfing abilities of various palmtops.

- David Stein
Old 10-16-01, 04:41 PM
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I'm also in the market, with pretty much the same requirements, so I'd also like to hear some suggestions.
Old 10-17-01, 08:32 PM
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I did some shopping around for my first PDA today. Here are my thoughts:

1. Avoid Palm brand PDA's

Very pricey.
Screen quality is average at best.

2. Sony CLIE series

S320 $169 retail

Best monochrome screen I've ever seen. The jog dial is very nice. Palm OS 4.0. Dragonball 33MHz processor. Even a rechargeable battery. Hands down best PDA value out there.

S610C $399 retail

Incredible color screen. Really nice and bright. 320x320 res, 16 bit color.

S760C $499 retail (I'm not 100% sure about the price)

Looks a lot like the S610C, but adds MP3 and comes with a memory stick. There might be more advantages but couldn't see any.

3. Handspring Visor series

Several great models. The Springboard slot gives you lots expansion options. Add GPS, phone ability, a graphing calculator, or even a personal massager. A refurb Visor Deluxe can be found for under $100. Not bad for a nice 8MB PDA. The Visor Prism just dropped to $299 retail which is a great price for a nice color (65,536 colors!) unit.

4. Check out pdabuzz.com for people like us except replace DVD with PDA.
Old 10-18-01, 09:06 AM
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If you're looking at a color screen, let me throw this in: try it in different kinds of light, if at all possible.

My Handspring Visor Prizm is great under flourescent lighting. Halogen makes it look a little washed out. Taking it outside is simply not an option.
Old 10-18-01, 11:47 AM
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Among the PocketPC PDA's, my favorite is the Hewlett Packard Jornada. There's the 520, 540, and the 560 series. Here's a pic of the 525, but they all look somewhat similar:



General Info:
Price: from $200 to $600.
Processor: from 133 to 206 MHz
Memory: 16 to 64 MB
Display: all are color with 240x320 resolution, from 256 to 65,536 colors
Battery Life: 8 to 14 hours

And they all have earphone jack, speakers, microphone (built in voice recorder), stylus (handwriting recognition software), ... well the works.

For review and discussion, check out BrightHand.
Old 10-18-01, 12:05 PM
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More specifically, check out the HP Jornada Forum at BrightHand.
Old 10-18-01, 08:17 PM
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I just ordered a Sony CLIE S610C refurb for $269. I'll review the unit for you guys when I receive it.
Old 10-18-01, 10:12 PM
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Originally posted by namja
Among the PocketPC PDA's, my favorite is the Hewlett Packard Jornada. There's the 520, 540, and the 560 series. Here's a pic of the 525, but they all look somewhat similar:

General Info:
Price: from $200 to $600.
Processor: from 133 to 206 MHz
Memory: 16 to 64 MB
Display: all are color with 240x320 resolution, from 256 to 65,536 colors
Battery Life: 8 to 14 hours

And they all have earphone jack, speakers, microphone (built in voice recorder), stylus (handwriting recognition software), ... well the works.

For review and discussion, check out BrightHand.
Absolutely. I've got a 548, which is a great machine. But if you want to break the bank and get some fantastic capabilities, the 565 or 568 is it. It runs on the new PocketPC2002 software, and it flies. Beautiful screen, fast processor, CompactFlash slot, screen cover, Transcriber (you write on it like a notepad, and it converts to text...no more writing in a little box.) It uses ActiveSync, so it works with Outlook and shares a common folder with your PC for sharing files. As far as the internet, you can get a CompactFlash modem for about $129+ and plug the Jornada right into the wall. Surf with Internet Explorer (new OS even contains Java), send and receive e-mail (and attachments) with Pocket Outlook. And, of course, it has PocketWord and Excel, whose new versions have spell check.

Great machine. But I think it's $650-$50 rebate=$600. If you can swallow that, go for the gold! I'm trying to justify the step up, but my 548 does everything I need.
Old 10-19-01, 12:14 PM
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Here's a great deal on the iPAQ 3635:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...058E2B/dvdtalk

It sells for $499.
There's a $150 MIR from Compaq.
Net cost of $349.

Plus Compaq will give you a free upgrade to PPC 2002.

SPECS of iPAQ 3635:
· 206 MHz Intel® Strong ARM 32-bit Processor
· Color reflective TFT liquid crystal display (4086 colors)
· 32 MB RAM and 16 MB ROM
· Docking Cradle with battery charger and USB port connection
· Lithium Polymer rechargeable battery
· Unit weighs 6.0 oz.
· Includes Conduit Peacemaker Software
· Includes Pocket Outlook 2000, Pocket Internet Explorer, Microsoft® Money for PocketPC and Microsoft® ActiveSync 3.1
· Includes iPAQ Compact Flash Expansion Sleeve

Old 10-19-01, 09:47 PM
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sfsdvd, if there is a CompUSA that is convenient to you, you might check out the sale that they have on some models of pocketpc. My local CompUSA has one for $1499 that includes a nice little webcam built-into the thing. If you can get a fast bandwidth connection to it, you can stream. If nothing else, a built-in camera can serve as a documentation device for use in your legal work or to seek a quick opinion on something. This unit is nice and thin like the current generation pocketpc devices are. It also has a bright bold display that is nice and wide, so it is like a 2/5 tall 12" LCD display. Quite usable and the thing fits in my jacket vest pocket. Hmmm. I am tempted, but the darn Dell laptop refuses to break down, so I have no need to buy a replacement.

If I get more info I can pass it on since my memory is fuzzy unless I hold the thing in my hands. Ahh, I wish Ricochet wireless was back. Then, I could wire you the info right from the store.
Old 10-20-01, 03:53 AM
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Originally posted by Startide
My local CompUSA has one for $1499 that includes a nice little webcam built-into the thing.
$1499

What model is that?

I bought a top of the line PDA for $269. I could never spend more than $500 for something that small and fragile that will be outdated in under a year.
Old 10-20-01, 05:28 AM
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If you want to spend even less money, you can PriceMatch the HP Jornada 525 (pictured again below) at Staples:

Staples Price = $299.99
Price Match with Amazon or OfficeDepot = -$100.00
Add a cheap item
$40 off $200 Coupon (find it somewhere) = -$40.00
----------------------------------------------------
Final Price = a little over $160

Old 10-20-01, 04:19 PM
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I'd consider the Jornada. I have had one for a few months now and it's great. Definitely not a viable MP3 player (even with my 128 mg FlashCard) but the PocketPC's offer much more in terms of native multimedia capability. Overall not a bad piece of equipment. The handwriting recognition program isn't too bad either, easy to adapt to.

Here are a few PocketPC and PDA links to checkout for some more info:

http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/
http://www.pdabuzz.com/
http://discuss.cewindows.net/cgi-bin/ubb/Ultimate.cgi
http://PocketGear.com/
http://www.pocketpcpassion.com/

Happy Hunting

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