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Which Handheld?

By joeyo in News
Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 05:28:11 PM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

I'm thinking of buying myself a handheld computer for my birthday. But I'm not quite sure which one to get. So I have some questions for those of you already with a handheld:

  • Is color really worth it?
  • What about those expansion ports? (handspring)
  • Do you find yourself wishing you had the model with more RAM or can most people get by with less?
  • And of course: Palm or WinCE? :)

    I'd ask about the wireless Internet but it is unavailable in my area...

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    Which Handheld? | 31 comments (31 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
    I've been wondering the same thing ... (2.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Pike on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 02:29:50 PM EST

    Pike voted 1 on this story.

    I've been wondering the same thing myself. I've been thinking of getting a Handpsring Visor and a cool Stowaway keyboard once they become available for the visor. They are already available retail for 3com palms, I tried one out at Office Depot yesterday and it's very nice.

    Personally, I'm very happy with my ... (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by fluffy grue on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 02:32:17 PM EST

    fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

    Personally, I'm very happy with my PalmIII (the original one, not the x, e, c, Xe, or any of the newer models), though I'd like to have a IIIx instead (for the better screen), or a Visor (for the expandability). PalmOS is nice and simple, with a wide variety of high-quality shareware and freeware applications for it. It was obviously designed with a handheld interface in mind, and is also pervasively database-driven, rather than the crap that is WinCE which pretends to have a hard drive and memory and does all sorts of crap to pretend to be a fully-blown PC in the palm of your hand. I have a few gripes with it (for example, it'd be nice if you could still use graffiti while the virtual keyboard were on-screen), but all in all I'm quite satisfied with my PalmIII. After the initial "new system high" wore off, I started just using it as an appointment scheduler, to-do list, and source of bathroom amusement (hey, when I'm otherwise unable to do anything useful, I'd like to play a good game of chess).

    I think color can be useful, but from what I've seen on PalmOS it's only used as eyecandy at this point. The only application I use where it'd really be useful is Same Game, since hashed patterns don't work very well for color-based puzzle games, though it'd also be very nice on the todo list and scheduler in order to classify the type of activities or whatnot. I'd say that yes, go for color if you feel like spending the extra money, since theoretically it can buy you a LOT (and it's a lot more than a higher resolution can bring you), but it's not really a basic necessity.

    As far as RAM goes: PalmOS is very memory-tidy. Again, it doesn't pretend to have a hard drive, and instead everything's stored in a database. The 2MB of RAM on my PalmIII has proven to be far more than I need, though it's not enough for my dad (who tends to load his up with as many useless programs as he can, even though he never uses any of them). I think the IIIc has 8MB, which should be more than enough. Avoid WinCE, which makes 8MB a barebones requirement... AFAIK it basically partitions it into working RAM and a "hard drive" which is, of course, really a ramdisk, and I believe that in order to run a program it has to "load" the program from "disk" into "memory" (so it's in memory twice, once in "RAM" and once on the "drive"), whereas in PalmOS, applications just have a handler for when the program is entered. You don't start or stop programs in PalmOS, they're always "running" (well, loaded anyway) and just have an entry point and a few other things (my knowledge on this is hazy, since I've never actually programmed for PalmOS). PalmOS just makes sense for a handheld.
    "Is not a quine" is not a quine.
    I have a master's degree in science!

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]

    I used to get irritated by this sor... (1.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kraant on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 02:35:58 PM EST

    kraant voted -1 on this story.

    I used to get irritated by this sort of thread on slashdot... and anyway I always thought palmtops were a bit of a joke... sorry but I have to vote against posting this :/
    "kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
    Never In Our Names...

    I just got my Graphite Deluxe Hands... (4.00 / 1) (#3)
    by perplexed on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 02:53:33 PM EST

    perplexed voted 1 on this story.

    I just got my Graphite Deluxe Handspring yesterday and I am very pleased with it. It's the right size and feel (not too heavy or bulky) and it has a wealth of applications already written and ready for me to install. Everyone says 8 megs is too much RAM, but I would say it won't be enough later on when people start using these as wireless devices. Remember how fast your PC HD filled up when you got a modem? About the only thing I'm not too thrilled with is the backlight; it's not as good as the 3com Palm series backlights.

    Get a Palm. ... (4.00 / 2) (#2)
    by bmetzler on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 02:54:11 PM EST

    bmetzler voted 1 on this story.

    Get a Palm.

    I have a CE Device, and believe me, it's the pits. It crashes often, and thing you have to reset the thing and probably lose all your data. You need to remember to syncronise often if you have a CE based device.

    Okay, if you wanted Pocket Word or something, then you'd need a CE based device. But if you just want to use it for addresses and notes (All the PDA's are powerful enough for, really), then it's Palm all the way.

    BTW, I have the IBM Workpad Z50. And when I get the time, I'll put NetBSD on it. Now *there's* the real setup.

    www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
    Sure... I've got a WinCE. The back... (4.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ramses0 on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 03:47:43 PM EST

    ramses0 voted 1 on this story.

    Sure... I've got a WinCE. The backup battery died when I went away for a week, and I lost all my appointments and phone numbers, so that part sucks... but I was able to get the wince to connect to my linux box using standard PPP tools. That was really neat to be able to ping my wince. :^)=

    IMHO, color palm-like-devices aren't advanced enough to make it worthwhile. I'd much rather have 8 hours of battery life on a b/w, than 4 hours of battery life on a color unit.

    Best advice I can offer? Palm seems to have more software available for free (like palm-nethack, mmmm...), but the tools you will use most often are:

    1. Scheduler
    2. Phone-number-keeper
    3. todo list

    My wince has great features for all of the above tasks, plus it has a handy voice-recorder that you don't even need to use the stylus for.


    [ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

    Re: Sure... I've got a WinCE. The back... (4.00 / 1) (#9)
    by mattdm on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 07:00:12 PM EST

    8 hours of battery life? 20-30 is typical for palm pilots....

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Sure... I've got a WinCE. The back... (none / 0) (#13)
    by fluffy grue on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 09:28:45 PM EST

    PalmOS has had (standard) PPP longer than WinCE has. Nyah. :)
    "Is not a quine" is not a quine.
    I have a master's degree in science!

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    This would make an excellent discus... (2.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Greener on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 04:54:39 PM EST

    Greener voted 1 on this story.

    This would make an excellent discussion. I'm thinking of getting one as well as are many other people I'm sure. I'm looking into getting a PalmVx but two things are holding me back.
    A: I'm cheap (and a poor college student)
    B: The low Canadian dollar makes everything too expensive up here.

    Re: This would make an excellent discus... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Anonymous Hero on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 07:41:17 PM EST

    i used to be a poor college student -
    i found that it helped to:
    join a study group...
    ask lots of questions and take advantage of instructors' and TA's office
    not party on (too many) school nights...

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Which Handheld? (4.00 / 1) (#8)
    by RJ11 on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 05:39:57 PM EST

    I really like my Palm V (I bought it in August, a while before the Vx hit the
    market).  My only regret is the lack of memory (which really hasn't been a
    problem yet, it just annoys me that I could have waited a few months and paid
    about $100 more and got 4x the memory, oh well).  If I were you I'd get either
    a Palm Vx, V, or wait until the Vc is out (color).  Networking might also be a
    concern.  I just got a Palm V modem in the mail today which I got on Ebay for
    $87.  It's very cool.  I think maybe this summer I might sign up for OmniSky,
    once it becomes available in my area (wireless unlimitied internet access via
    CDPD modem).

    What do you want? (4.00 / 1) (#10)
    by mattdm on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 07:09:48 PM EST

    Consider what you're looking for. If you want something to record quick memos, hold your todo list and phone book, etc., nothing beats a PalmOS device (either Handspring or Palm). Unlike WinCE, it was designed from the beginning as a focused product. Oh, sure, you can do more with it, but that's all just fluff.

    If, on the other hand, you want an extremely small computer -- you want web browsing, word processing, graphics design -- you want a Toshiba Libretto (unfortunately no longer sold in the US) or a Sony PictureBook, which can run a real, grown-up operating system and do anything a bigger system could do -- from the pocket of your coat.

    Re: Which Handheld? (2.00 / 1) (#12)
    by krogoth on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 08:30:52 PM EST

    I can't give any usefull information, but it seems that smaller, lighter computers are alwyas apearing. In the start, we had our home PCs, but then people wanted a PC they could carry around, even if it did less, so they made laptops. People kept demanding more form laptops, so now they are a few months behind desktops. Now laptops are too big, so palm computers are appearing, but the new improved features are already coming in, and soon they might lag a few months behind laptops. What's next? I'm guessing wearable computers.
    "If you've never removed your pants and climbed into a tree to swear drunkenly at stuck-up rich kids, I highly recommend it."
    Palm all the way (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by piloteer on Wed Apr 05, 2000 at 11:38:34 PM EST

    I guarantee your best bet is to get a Palm. My boss had a WindowsCE device and he never used the thing. The main problem with most of them is there size. They come in to flavors:
    1) Big. So big in fact that they are difficult to carry around with you. This is the kind he had, and he never used it.
    2)Small. About the same size as a Palm. But WinCE makes poor use of screen real estate (compared to the palm) so it is not as easy to use in an every day situation.

    Palms on the other hand have a lot going for them. They make effective use of the available screen space. They are very memory efficient. The average size of a PalmOS application is only around 15-25k. You can fit a LOT of applications into 2MB. I find it difficult to fill up 3MB on my Handspring. Also, they are light and they make efficient use of battery power.

    I wouldn't by a Handspring. At first I was very impressed with the handspring, and I even bought one. I loved it, and the springboard capability seemed awesome. But then I found that it didn't use flash ROM, so you couldnt upgrade the OS. This is not good. 3com, whoops they are Palm now, really does add new features to the OS, so getting stuck without an upgrade path is not worth the money you save.

    IMHO the color palms are a neat toy, but practically worthless. There is no killer app for the color screens. Plus they are expensive, and they eat batteries much faster than the B&W variety. Overall I have been happiest with my Palm III. You can pick on up these days for $100 or so (if you can find one).

    On a side note: I dont really think its worth spending too much on a handheld. After you get it you will go and download 100,000 applications for the thing, and realize that you won't use 99% of them. Most likely you will find 1 or 2 killer apps that really make the day (In my case Strip, but I am partial cause I wrote it. Sorry for the shameless plug, but it is GPLd). I own 2 palms, one for every day use and one for development. I dont have more than 500k of programs on either one and I have tried everything. I now curse the $250 I spent on the handspring. Get a real palm, but dont spend too much.

    Re: Palm all the way (none / 0) (#17)
    by Matthew Guenther on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 08:19:59 AM EST

    Get a real palm, but dont spend too much.

    Just wanted to pipe up and second the minimalist opinion. I have one of the original _Pilot_ 5000's, and it's great. I picked it up for $99 CDN (about $50 US) when the new PalmPilots came in, nothing beats it. It does everything I need and then some (I can even play cribbage on it). It's lasted three years now without a hitch, and I've hardly been gentle to it. Although it doesn't have any of the new fancy features like IR and web-browsing, or gobs of RAM, it always works no matter what.

    Cheap and durable gets my vote!


    [ Parent ]
    Re: Palm all the way (none / 0) (#19)
    by lachoy on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 10:21:13 AM EST

    Just a note that Strip is probably the most useful app on my Palm III. I no longer have little stickies on my monitor with passwords. Thanks for the work to make this killer program!

    I also concur that for most of the stuff most people need (addresses, expense tracking, memos, downloaded documents, silly little games to play when you're waiting for your plane to board), 2 MB is plenty. I sometimes wish the screen had a better resolution to use things like the Peanut Reader or Aportis Doc. But the thing runs forever on a couple of AAA batteries, you can't beat that.
    M-x auto-bs-mode
    [ Parent ]

    Yet another vote for Palm (none / 0) (#24)
    by Anonymous 242 on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 09:50:43 PM EST

    I bought an Palm Pilot Pro 1000 with the 2MB upgrade chip w/ pager card about a
    year ago on ebay for about !40.  I loved it.  The only thing it lacked was that
    once my friends saw it and I showed them how to use it, they went out and
    bought new Palms and I couldn't beam stuff to them.  (PalmPro's lack the IR
    I highly reccomend buying used unless you are the type that can stomach
    watching prices drop $10 or so every half week.  It seems all my friends that
    bought new units kept missing the price cuts by a week or so.  On the other
    hand, a year later, the Palm IIIe which is the functional equivalent to what I
    have still costs $150.
    The realy cool thing about Palms is that even non-geeks can use them.  They are
    so freaking easy to use.  You don't have to save files.  You just pick them up
    and start scribbling.  Even the grafiti isn't that hard to use.  I got a
    luddite friend hooked on one and he runs his life with it.
    The Handspring units look pretty good too.  One of my friends has one.	He was
    drawn to having a black device back when Palm was only offering gray.  To most
    users there will be no difference between a Handspring and a Palm

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Which Handheld? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Paul Dunne on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 04:35:38 AM EST

    I recommend pencil and notebook. Low power consumption, intuitive user-interface, handwriting recognition: you can't beat it. (Yeah, I know someone makes this lame joke every time there's a piece about handhelds some place: this time it was my turn, OK?)
    Seriously though... (none / 0) (#22)
    by rusty on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 04:47:59 PM EST

    Eventually, the handheld computer and the notebook are going to converge. I actually agree with you, that the notebook is still the best handheld that's out there. When I can buy a handheld that looks and acts just like a notebook, except that it will also digitize my data and allow me to transfer it elsewhere, then we'll be getting somewhere.

    Things I'd like my idea handheld to do:

    • Provide an "interface" the looks pretty much like paper. The projects currently underway on simulating paper with little polarized balls that turn over in a field will be where this comes from, I think
    • When I write something, and tap "print" it should spool out a sheet of paper with my notes on it, as though I had just written it in a notebook and torn out the page (except I can "tear out the page" as often as I want)
    • Datebook, phone numbers, etc should have interfaces that look just like a page from a dead-tree organizer. It's worked for years, there's no reason to change it now.
    • There should be a built in audio recorder, for obvious reasons
    • One other things that'd be really cool, is if it had a built-in scanner. Like someone else hands me a page of notes, I could just run them through and grab all the data-- same with pictures or whatever.
    So who wants to build this thing? :-)

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Seriously though... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Paul Dunne on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 05:02:22 AM EST

    What I would like best would be a device that actually had pages, made out of some sort of "smart paper" I guess. You can't beat turning back and forth through the leaves. When it got full up, there could be a command to wipe all or some of the pages, and another command to retrieve old stuff back onto the pages. The back cover could be a "viewer", through which all the archived wiped data could be reviewed, you'd have a toc for all the old stuff there too. The inside of the front cover could be the address book -- no need for pages with that, just another viewer like the back cover. You could have modules too, so that the front page could switch from being an address book to a web browser (wireless link, of course) or the Encyclopaedia Galactica.

    Oh, yeah, and the whole thing has to fit in my front shirt pocket!
    [ Parent ]

    Palm rocks (none / 0) (#16)
    by Anonymous Hero on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 04:59:35 AM EST

    My Palm IIIx is lots of fun - I've had it for three weeks now, and it is great
    to have.  It's easy to use, and great to program for - the design has
    simplicity and an integrity that I haven't found in Windows or even Linux
    (flame away!).
    The CE machines I saw all tried to pretend to be PC's and didn't quite measure
    up - the mouse/keyboard metaphor doesn't really apply when they're too small to
    actually operate, using that phony MS Word was painful.  All I really need is
    to jot down plain-old-text, draw little pictures, and maybe write a few Scheme
    proggies for some math stuff - I don't need to carry Word around with me
    everywhere!  That's just my opinion - probably lots of people here love Word,
    VBScript, and all that good stuff.
    I sometimes get tired of the PC.  It's really not a microcomputer anymore, it's
    a minicomputer in every sense but perhaps physical size.  It's great that it
    runs everything from the latest Linux kernel with Quake 3 all the way back to
    DOS Lemmings, fast as hell, beautiful 3D graphics, CD-quality or better sound -
    but it sure isn't a microcomputer.  You just don't mess around with it quite
    the same way.  And a bad PC imitation that can't do any of these wonderful
    things just seems to be all the bad of the PC and none of the good.
    The Palm admits that it isn't, and never will be, a PC.  It's a micro.	You
    turn it on - it's ON, no Linuxy step-by-step boot or Windows
    chug-chug-chug-chug thrash music, not even device drivers loading, nothing!  -
    you push a button and stuff happens right away!  A clean, well-defined,
    single-tasking machine like the old 8-bits. Reliable and simple - you'll never
    find smoke pouring out of the vents because some jackass thought that he could
    design a flimsy power supply and save $2 off the price of a $1500 machine.  My
    Palm IIIx even says "Made in USA".  You don't see that much anymore, on
    Don't get me wrong - I love my PC, I like Linux, I like Windows, but it's good
    to have a plain old simple computer you can carry in your pocket just like
    they've been promising us for all these years.

    Why not wait a little bit more and get a Linux-bas (none / 0) (#18)
    by hgayosso on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 09:42:45 AM EST

    I think it is worth the while, unless you are needing it in a hurry.
    The 'yopy' is going to get out on the market soon.

    support the Free Software!!! http://www.gnu.org
    Visor (none / 0) (#20)
    by Splat on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 03:02:47 PM EST

    I got a Handspring Visor about 2 weeks ago. I've never owned a Handheld before and though it'd be useful (which it is). I have the basic Visor, not the deluxe. I managed to pick it up on ebay at a nice discount, so I went with the basic. Pretty much - it's a PalmPilot. Everyone I know goes "hmm, looks like a palm, works like a palm". So don't let it scare you away because it's not Palm Computing. I would however go with the Visor Deluxe. 2MB is paltry, I have about 400k free, and about all I do that's real memory consuming is download some things every so often via AvantGo software - that eats up a lot of memory. The springboard module looks like it's got possibilites, but I don't see any really useful modules out on the market. To buy the 8MB expansion module is stupid when you could have had the Visor Deluxe for $100 more. The PalmOS is in ROM too which concerns me. I'm going to be annoyed when PalmOS 4 or somethings out and everyones writing apps for it and stuff and I'm stuck with 3.0.1. I don't know if the Deluxe has the OS in RAM or not, by I recommend if it doesn't, go find a Palm that does. The color issue really isn't a problem to me, I mean hell - it's a HANDHELD COMPUTER. Sure, color would be spiffy, but I already go through battery power bad enough in black and white. I've been using the Visor like a laptop almost (which you cant do.. i mean, its NOT a laptop, it's a PDA ..). PDA's are meant to be that - personal digital assistants - not portable computers! You have to realize the limitations of a PDA as a whole. If you're going to toss $500 or so at the higher end models of Palms, its really stupid - just go get a used laptop.

    Re: Which Handheld? (none / 0) (#21)
    by kimo_sabe on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 04:01:05 PM EST

      This is a vote for the Visors.  I've had mine since January and love it. 
    It's small enough that I can keep it in my pocket all the time.  And as a Palm
    device, that's what it's designed to do.   Don't waste any battery power on
    large texts, etc, so I've got 1.5M out of my 2M free.
      Some have expressed concern over having the OS in rom, and not flash.  But
    get real people, what do you expect to change?	As has been said, this is a
    /very/ focused device. It has it's purpose and limits and fulfills them
    beatifully.  Also, conder this end, how many idiots do you think would try to
    put a 3Com rom image on their Visor, and total skrew up the device?  You can't
    upgrade the ROM image over IRDA, and Palm computing's version of the OS doesn't
    know or care about USB.  That's just begging for a lot of returned devices.
      Someone mentioned not being able to use both the keyboard and grafiti at the
    same time.  There is a hack to enable you to do just that.
      About the SpringBoard modules.  No, the 8M flash upgrade probbly isn't worth
    it, though it may eventually be a way to upgrade the core software, if you
    insist.  But the SpringBoard interface is NOT a flash interface.  It's a
    general purpose communications port.  I'm personally waiting for the MP3 player
    module, or maybe the pager module.
      Oh yeah, and the HotSync over USB works great, and have for some time on
    UHCI(Intel, VIA, some others) controlers.  I believe there is still some
    trouble with using OHCI(Opti, NEC, ...) controlers, but I havn't tested it in a
    while.	And yes, USB hotsync is faster, to the tune of 10-12kps.
      Basically, it's just a tweaked up Palm 3e.  And for $150 new it's hard to
      - kimo_sabe

    "Software is like sex: It's better when it's free." -- Linus Torvalds
    Re: Which Handheld? (none / 0) (#23)
    by piloteer on Thu Apr 06, 2000 at 05:00:51 PM EST

    Some have expressed concern over having the OS in rom, and not flash. But get real people, what do you expect to change?

    Just an example...In OS 3.3 Palm added the ability to hot-sync over the IR port. Now I can hotsync my two year old Palm III with my laptop...but not my handspring.

    PalmOS is just like any other operating system, except smaller. They release new versions frequently, and the new versions offer new features. Some of these are hidden. When PalmOS 3 was released they added system level support for DES. People with OS 2.0.x cannot use any palm programs that take advantage of those cryptography libraries. Sure, the operating system might not change that much from month to month. But two years from now, when they release a new System with a better API developers will be writing programs that won't work on a current Handspring.

    [ Parent ]
    Don't compromise. Get a Sony C1XS. (none / 0) (#26)
    by zsazsa on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 10:14:44 AM EST

    Raaar! Why get a silly little handheld when you can get a PII-400, 64mb of ram (upgradable to 128), 12GB HD, and a wide-screen TFT monitor? This thing is downright tiny and packs a punch 100 times stronger than any Palm or WinCE device.

    More info at Sony.

    zsa zsa, dahrlink!

    Re: Which Handheld? (none / 0) (#27)
    by alexz on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 10:29:08 AM EST

    I have a Palm Vx. It is perhaps the most useful device I own other than my desktop. I would recommend it to anyone, no color but has a meaty 8MB memory which I dont see getting filled up soon. All in all I dont think color would really be worth it at this point. The thing I like best is the ease of programming for palm.

    Newton! (none / 0) (#28)
    by fatjim on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 04:15:04 PM EST

    I'm sure I'm going to be ridiculed for this, but my advice (if you're looking
    for functionality) is to go for a late-model Newton (ie, MessagePad 2100). Two
    full PC card slots, the best hand-held interface around, and incredibly
    functional - I've used mine to take notes in college courses, write my papers,
    check websites, and games,games,games.
    A Palm is a toy; a Newton is the real deal.

    Re: Which Handheld? (3.00 / 1) (#29)
    by stripes on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 11:04:01 AM EST

    Is color really worth it?

    Worth what? I don't think it is worth adding a lot of bulk, shortening battery life, or waiting for. So I doubt it is worth buying a WinCE device rather then a PalmOS one. But I don't know much about the new color Palms. They might be worth something. If the battery lasts long enough. If they aren't too heavy.

    In my opinion this thing is worthless if it is too heavy or bulky to carry everywhere. That means shirt pocket, or pants pocket. It is worthless if it out of battery when you need to use it. So regular batteries (like the AAA's most Palm devices use) are nice because you can get an extra set of AAAs at a drugstore, or out of your glove box if you need them. (I use NiMH re-chargeable AAAs, but it is a nice safety net to be able to stop at a store if I forgot to change them this month).

    What about those expansion ports? (Handspring)

    I have a Handspring. I got it in part for the more memory, and in part because of "all the cool stuff" coming out for it. So far none of the "cool stuff" has shown up. Well, almost none. I have a backup module ($30) which is pretty cool. I keep it at the office, and sync at home. But if my Unix box at work had USB I wouldn't need the backup module at all.

    Currently the Palm has more expansion stuff (via the serial port) then the Handspring. I could connect my cell phone to the Palm (still waiting on Innogear's 6-in-1). I could connect lots of different GPSes to the Palm (still waiting on Marcosoft, or whomever's GPS).

    On paper Handspring's Springboard rocks (802.11 anyone? Xircom and Symbol both made announcements). In the real world, well it's a bust so far. It could change. But I wouldn't bet much money on it.

    Do you find yourself wishing you had the model with more RAM or can most people get by with less?

    I use to have a PalmIII. I bought it used before I was sure I would get my monies worth from a Palm. The 1M it had was quite cramped. I could fit everything I needed in it. I couldn't keep everything I wanted in it. I'm very happy with the 8M in Handspring's Visor Deluxe. Despite being unthrilled with the availability of the Springboard modules, I'm happy i got the Visor, biased pretty much on the memory issue alone (the CPU is faster, well actually the memory, but I don't really feel a difference; I like the clip on cover better then the flip up-into-your-way cover on the III, but others disagree; I like the clear color on the Visor, but not enough to warrant getting one for that reason alone!).

    Of course there are now Palm branded units with "enough" memory (4M would have been enough). In fact if you are not prone to breaking or losing things the Palm Vx looks quite nice. Not so much because it looks nice, but because it weighs almost nothing, and fits in small pockets. Very nice. Also quite costly.

    And of course: Palm or WinCE? :)

    I haven't used WinCE. I can say PalmOS has tons of apps, and is quite responsive on the fairly slow hardware (think 16Mhz 68000 -- think mid to late '80s). The form factor of most of the WinCE units is a no-no, but a few look like they might be pocketable. I went with PalmOS, and was happy.

    I'd ask about the wireless Internet but it is unavailable in my area...

    Your not missing much. I had a Nokia 9000i, it was too bulky and slow. Being able to use a real browser once in a while was nice, but it was no substitute for a real laptop. It had a telnet, but I didn't really use it (no crypto). The 900i was way too bulky. I have a Samsung SCH-3500 now. It only does WAP, so less then 1% of the web was available. If I could hook the SCH-3500 to the Palm I could use SSH (Topgun SSH on the palm), which would be really really cool, but I would use it extremely rarely.

    I had great luck getting a cheap (used) Palm and deciding what I really wanted. I recommend the same to you. Maybe by the time you know if you will use the Palm enough to justify having a nice one, the expansion issue will be settled. Or maybe the color issue. Or both.

    P.S. many people don't like the Visor because the OS is in ROM (not FLASH). That's not a big deal. The OS can be patched in RAM (which will eat away at your RAM, but if you have a 8M visor it's a non-issue, and the smaller Visor is too small to use long term). They all ready have a patch to do IR hotsync (the only PalmOS3.3 feature that the Visor's 3.0H didn't have all ready). Remember the ROM is only 1M! You'll have 7M left over even if you have to patch 100% of it!

    Thanks to All! (none / 0) (#30)
    by joeyo on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 12:49:46 PM EST

    Thanks to all for the great comments and insight. I'm pretty much settled on the Palm IIIxe but price may ultimately be the deciding factor. (I believe the IIIxe is priced the same as the Visor Deluxe. Shucks...) Thanks again.


    "Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi

    Older CE (none / 0) (#31)
    by Anonymous Hero on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 02:00:09 PM EST

    I bought a HP 320lx Windows CE (made around 1997) off e-bay from a reputable
    source for $200. Sure, it is not color, but it depends on what you want to do
    with it. I am a high school student, and kids are incredibly envious that I can
    type my notes in Pocket Word, or start typing a paper during the middle of
    class. Plus, I also have pocket excel, which helps in some classes. The newer
    models (Like the 620lx) are color and give you audio and pocket access. Most of
    these run between $500 - $800. IMPO, CE is much better than Palm. You get more
    memory, better screen (MUCH higher resolution), more expandability, and better
    internet functionality.
    Also, I would discourage you from getting a vertical PPC (Pocket-PC... The ones
    that look like oversized Palms), unless you dont do a lot of typing.

    Which Handheld? | 31 comments (31 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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