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Pda Vs Pocket Pc


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Now that I have my eXplorist 210 on order (thanks to everyone for all the info and suggestions) and I have some green stuff burning a hole in my wallet from christmas, what do you kind folks use for paperless caching? Do you use a PDA or a Pocket PC? What Brand and Model do you use? What functions do you think are essential?


Right now I am looking at the Palm Tungsten E2 fairly intently, however, I don't want to spend a bunch of money for a PDA strictly for Geocaching, so I would like to have one that will function well for work and personal purposes as well.


Have considered Palm Z22, Palm Zire 31, Palm Tungsten E2 and HP iPaq rx1950. I would like to get one that has a stylus, has memory expansion options, built in or addible wifi and a good battery life.


So, what do you use? What would you want to use? What have you used? Let's hear it ;)

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I use a Palm Zire 71. It has sufficent memory to manage 1500 cache database through cachemate. I have a SD 256 memory card but to be honest it holds music for traveling. I got the palm off ebay for $75 with all the bits and pieces. picked up an otter box to carry it in which works great and voila, paperless caching. The integral camera with the 71 is nice as you can use it caching....as I did today when the cache required me to take a picture and I left the camera in the car. Worth the money not to have to hike out and hike back! You don't need t spend a great deal of money on a PDA to use it for caching....if you want the PDA to have applications else where outside of caching then you might want to spend more. Wireless capablity although nifty is not needed to go paperless....


Hope this helps. Cheers



Edited by Team Canuck
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I have a Sony Clie but they don't make 'em anymore. I really want a Palm T|X that has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc. and I've been bidding on a few on Ebay. They run around $399.99 in the stores.


I really like the CacheMate software ($8US) that is for the Palm machines. I know that those that have PPC's love their software and swear by it. BQ is trying to convince me to jump ship (and after playing with my sister's "Jawbreaker" game on her Axium over Xmas I'm tempted!) The Cachemate is nice as it runs on older, slower machines where as the PPC software GPX Spinner / Sonar takes a bit more memory to run I believe.


I guess it depends on which operating system you are interested in. You can see some resources here on GC.com:



Maybe you'll see something that fits with what you want and that will decide the operating system!

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Considering the abuse mine gets in the field I use a cheap old Zire 31 with Cachemate that I really don't mind too much if I drop in the snow. It's getting pretty beat up but amazingly still works. Anything I'd worry about losing, dropping or submerging stays in the car.


If you just want to have the cache details, hints and previous logs handy if you get desperate then that's all you need.

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I use a Palm m105. It's an older unit but the 8MB memory still will hold thousands of caches using Plucker. It also has a serial connection which allows data transfer between the PDA and my 76C which also has a serial port.


I'm of the same opion as HardOiler - I don't want to be packing around anything that I'm afraid of damaging when caching.

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I've got an old beater Sony Clie that I take with me on the hunt. It has taken a lot of abuse but works great and holds thousands of caches. I use a 256 mb memory stick that I back up everything onto in case the battery goes dead. My preferred program for loading caches is Plucker, available through the GC downloads area. If this one ever quits, I can just pick up another one on Ebay for 50 bucks.


I've also got a wifi-enabled pocket pc/cellphone combo but it's so delicate (and expensive) that I wouldn't risk taking it out on a cache hunt -- I leave that one in the car.

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I've used both the Palm Pilot - Tungsten T2 with CacheMate and the Pocket PC with GPX Sonar.


Both excellent, in either PDA or software for Geocaching.


It really is another debate like Garmin or Magellan... both are great, and both have a strong following.


I prefer the Windows structure of a Pocket PC, and the ability to use MicroSoft Pocket Streets and Trip (free with the PC version of M$ S&T).


The T2 is very durable and compact. Which ever you decide upon, be sure it has a screen protector. Between rain, and other 'oops' that happen, you'll be happier.


:rolleyes: The Blue Quasar

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I just picked me up a Palm Z22. It doesn't have Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth, or MP3 playback, or spreadsheet abilities, but it sure does a heck of a job pulling up caches using CacheMate!


Honestly, if you are looking for a Handheld device simply for Geocaching, its a fantastic option.


It is color so its easy to see either at night, or just outdoors in the bush. Its got a 200mhz Processor so CacheMate absolutely FLIES with speed when searching for caches.


The battery has been going on mine for 4 days straight now and has not flinched from the "Full" position. I am happy about that!


There is no upgradeable memory, but with 32MB it stores every cache in Ontario to date and I wouldn't be surprised to see it hold every cache in Canada.


Oh yeah, and its an organizer too! :rolleyes:


All that and 2 rubber cases for $89 bucks on boxing day at Staples.



Central Ontario Geocachers

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I was looking at that one at Staples the other day (o:

After playing with it a bit and finding out no WiFi, no expansion and no stylus included (which really threw me, since it does have a touch screen) I decided not to drop the $89 on it and to instead drop $222 on an eXplorist 210 :rolleyes: Even though I got $500 for christmas from my grandparents my fiancee would only let me get one or the other, lol. dadgum intelligent women and their sense for using money for things that are needed instead of nice toys and tech... dadgum them all! :)


Thanks a lot for the info so far, surprised to see that almost everyone seems to be using something different, lol.


I don't recall who mentioned being able to plug their GPS into one of the older Palm models, but could you let me know what the advantage of this is? This is what I was thinking about when I was looking at PDAs and I wasn't sure if being able to plug it into the GPS itself offered that many extra goodies.

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Ok fine, I'm gonna have to chime in then.


I use a Dell Axim X30 (Windows Mobile 2003SE with GPX Sonar, and I've got TomTom on there as well. So....


- I can read the cache descriptions, and the logs on the trail.

- I can get the hint if I want on the trail

- I can calculate a projection (not as important now that my eXplorist has that feature)

- I can sort by distance from a cache, or from saved locations, like 'home'

- I can make field notes that are saved for GSAK.

- I can track bugs I left/found in the application

- I can have the cache images on the cache page when I combine it with SpoilerSync

- Because it runs off the memory card, I can have thousands upon thousands of listings on there

- I can make voice notes using the voice recorder function

- I didn't have to learn "graffiti" - the PocketPC has excellent handwriting recognition

- I have logged caches from Timothy's coffee shops and other hotspots using 802.11 wifi

- Not 100% geocaching, but related nonetheless: I have also used my PDA to track ham radio operators nearby with APRS/CE, and beacon my location to other operators and my wife (handy if one falls off the escarpment) (also requires the radio and GPS naturally)


- I can use my PDA as a flashlight if needed. I have found caches using it as a light.

- GPSBabel is being ported to PocketPC, which means I'll actually be able to export waypoints to a serial GPS or SD card GPS in the field.


When I plug the eTrex into the serial port, TomTom will also:


- Route me to the cache with a 3D map view

- Alert me when I'm close (I've set it to 1km) to a cache I have not found

- Alert me when I'm close to a Bruce Trail trailhead (makes sorting the parking out easier)


GPX Sonar is freeware

TomTom costs a few $$$ but is a full blown navigation system


The newest Palm Treo units are coming with Windows Mobile on them so how long will PalmOS really be around anyway? There are also Palms coming out with the RIM operating system.

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I agree with penguin. The versatility of Pocket PC puts it over palm. It is basically a palm plus more.

Well I've used both from early to current versions and went to the Palm because it just feels more user friendly to me. Never liked Windows CE and the web browsers for PPCs have driven me crazy ever since the first edition.


Oh yeah, an I can do all those things with TomTom, Fugawi, and Cachemate/cachenav on my Palm and GSAK running on the PC. ;)


Graffiti is dead easy and I have yet to see a user take more than 5 to 10 minutes at work to get used to it.



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Tungsten E2 for me, but I'm as new to it as you, having just got it for Christmas and not yet getting out for a cache so far. I really like the unit itself but obviously I can't critique on the geocaching aspects yet. The spreadsheet and word processor capabilites are what I am hoping will be very useful as I tend to use Excel alot. They certainly are pretty impressive little units.

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I agree with Northern Penguin too.


The additional hoops that you have to jump through for PALM compared to Pocket PC and the ease of use for GPX Sonar compared to Cachemate makes it an obvious choice to me.


I was happy with PALM + CacheMate, until I saw Pocket PC + GPX Sonar. Like I said in a private email on this very topic... I could never go back to the P+CM solution now that I've seen the PPC+GS one-two punch.


Just my opinion, and I was quite happy with Palm when I used it too.


:) The Blue Quasar

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I agree with Northern Penguin too.


The additional hoops that you have to jump through for PALM compared to Pocket PC and the ease of use for GPX Sonar compared to Cachemate makes it an obvious choice to me.


I was happy with PALM + CacheMate, until I saw Pocket PC + GPX Sonar. Like I said in a private email on this very topic... I could never go back to the P+CM solution now that I've seen the PPC+GS one-two punch.


Just my opinion, and I was quite happy with Palm when I used it too.


:) The Blue Quasar

How does GPX Sonar work with GSAK? Do you have a macro to automatically import the FOUND caches and your log notes like there is for cachemate?


I too am looking for a super easy way to cache.

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I use a Toshiba e740. Bought it off a friend who does not use it. It's ok but wish it had Windows Mobile 2003 but what can you do.


I use GPXSonar after trying out a few other programs. To export to GSAK from Sonar there is a feature to export GSAK notes (forget exactly which menu choice it is)


it creates a small xml file that can be imported into gsak, unfortunately it just does user notes but you can easily see then which ones you did.


My caching partner used to have an old Palm but he dropped it one day. I think if all you are going to do with a PDA is cache you be best in just getting an old one for like 40 bucks on Ebay you dont need all that power.

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I use a PPC (HP IPAQ), and with it I use GSAK and GPXSonar, and Pocket Maps & Streets. I originally chose the PPC over the Palm because I had a windows-based system on my personal home computer, and figured I'd stick with the same system for the PDA.

I really like the way these programs work together; they work great for me. Though I have no experience at all with Palms.

- hamgran

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Well, not really what you want, but I have a Garmin iQue 3600. Palm based PDA with built in GPSr. If you want to have (real) auto-routing capabilities, it is the best bang for the buck, IMO.



- Can be bought cheap, I got mine for $400 CAD off eBay with auto kit and gity select.

- Can be used for Geocaching and does EVERYTHING. Navigates, holds all cache page data, can log waypoints, calculate things, project waypoints. All in one unit.

- Auto mount is wonderful as it supplys power and external speaker in one simple package. Hard to match with other PDAs.

- Large enough screen to auto route. Screen is higher resolution than PPC alternatives.



- Short battery life (3 hours) and non removable battery.

- No wireless or standard cable data transfer.

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Mr King said:


How does GPX Sonar work with GSAK? Do you have a macro to automatically import the FOUND caches and your log notes like there is for cachemate?


I too am looking for a super easy way to cache.


I think so. I don't think a MACRO is involved but I know that GPX Sonar has TIMESTAMP and TRAVEL BUG sections. You can create NOTES. I know you can upload back to GSAK from your GPX file on your Pocket PC.


I don't do any of those things, but my Caching buddy does. I like logging the old fashioned way (yeah right.... if that was true I would enter coordinates manually and print the pages :rolleyes: )


Hmmm... I'll try it and let you know what happens.


:) The Blue Quasar

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I have a Palm T2 that I take geocaching. I use GSAK and Plucker to dump cache pages into it for reference in the field. this gives me clues, photos, logs, and things that I might want to refer to in the field. It also gets used as a calculator for those pesky offset calculations :)


The Bluetooth doesn't get a whole lot of use since I don't have a bluetooth capable phone. If I did, I could probably use it to log my finds right from the cache site! WiFi would be more useful, but the T2 doesn't have that.

The one problem I have with the T2 is that the screen is almost unreadable in daylight. On a sunny day, I have to move it into the shade to see anything at all. At night, it's just fine, and can even do double duty as an emergency flashlight :rolleyes:


After having dropped it a couple of times, and having it fall off my belt a few more times, I picked up a zippered case for it. The case is intended for an MP3 player, but it fits the PDA just fine. It zippers securly shut, and more importantly, there's a belt loop on it, so it can't fall off my belt in the middle of the forest.

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Well all this talk of Paperless caching has pushed us to upgrade to a working Palm. My old M100 had given up the ghost last spring, and now we've updated (a bit) to a Palm IIIxe. Seems pretty straightforward to get set up for Paperless caching, but since you all gave us the push to get going, you know where we're coming to get help if we need it ...



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I usually go caching with a buddy who has a Toshiba PPC with Streets and Trips, GPX Sonar, etc. I have a Palm m500 with Plucker to check the notes.


We were talking about this today on the way to the first cache. He commented that as good as the PPC is, and I think it is a better handheld that the Palm I have, if we both dropped our handhelds, mine is a heck of a lot cheaper to replace.


So, with that line of thinking, maybe an older Palm that does the job is better cecause you won't be out as much money.



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The additional hoops that you have to jump through for PALM compared to Pocket PC and the ease of use for GPX Sonar compared to Cachemate makes it an obvious choice to me.

I haven't used the PPC for geocaching, nor am I likely going to be able to since its not my personal PDA but work's, so I'll accept your statement about the geocaching side. I'm happy with Cachemate (especially when teamed with a Bluetooth GPS and Cachenav), GSAK, and Fugawi for the caching I do.


My feelings with Palm come from the broader persepective of managing IT in a workplace and the frustrations my staff have had keeping the PPC's reliable and the synchronizations working well. Always seems to be some bug and our experience in a professional setting is that the PPCs lock up a great deal more than Palms. At least that's what our stats show.



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