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What PDA should I buy?


Lil Devil
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Oh boy, this should be an interesting thread.

 

  • Pocket Queries
  • Pathetique.com
  • My continual habit of visiting caches that are in my GPSr, but not bringing a printout with me (this method fails miserably for multi-caches).

I think it's time to get myself a PDA. But which one? Here are some of the requirements I have thought of so far.

  • Lightweight
  • Rechargeable battery (or use AA/AAA batteries as I have a NiCd/NiMH charger)
  • Expandable memory (SmartMedia prefered as my laptop has a SM slot - Does this matter?)
  • Voice-recording - This seems cool as I could record my 'notes' about the caches and transcribe them to the website later.
  • Web-enabled? I don't think I really want the added cost of a built-in cell phone, but if I could jack the PDA to my cell phone like I do with my laptop, that would be cool.
  • Able to run Mobipocket or other programs
  • What else?

What PDA have you had success with for Geocaching? What PDAs should I avoid like the plague?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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I use a Handspring Visor deluxe. It's done well on 109 caches so far.

 

Don't get a PDA that charges in its cradle. You can always buy extra batteries at the corner store (or find them in a cache if you're lucky), but there's nowhere out there to plug in your PDA (unless you hang out at Best Buy for a couple hours) icon_rolleyes.gif

 

'''I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I've got to?' (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)'' -- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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I use a Handspring Visor deluxe. It's done well on 109 caches so far.

 

Don't get a PDA that charges in its cradle. You can always buy extra batteries at the corner store (or find them in a cache if you're lucky), but there's nowhere out there to plug in your PDA (unless you hang out at Best Buy for a couple hours) icon_rolleyes.gif

 

'''I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I've got to?' (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)'' -- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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Love my Palm M500, which is my third Palm, but wouldn't mind the color option. The 5xx are all upgradable (memory-wise), dependable, light weight and can sync via IR or cable. Also, the Lithium Ion battery, which recharges from the cradle, will last weeks on a charge (I was able to go 45 days this summer away from the cradle). Handy as pockets on a shirt!

 

icon_eek.gif Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son!

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Love my Palm M500, which is my third Palm, but wouldn't mind the color option. The 5xx are all upgradable (memory-wise), dependable, light weight and can sync via IR or cable. Also, the Lithium Ion battery, which recharges from the cradle, will last weeks on a charge (I was able to go 45 days this summer away from the cradle). Handy as pockets on a shirt!

 

icon_eek.gif Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son!

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I love my Visor. The expansion module lets you put all sorts of goodies in your hand. You could in theory:

 

  • Get a GPS module to find the cache.
  • Get a camera module to snap some pics of your find.
  • Get a modem module to log your find from the cache site.
  • And when you finally get your tired body home, you can plug in the massage module and...... icon_eek.gif

 

You get the picture. TravisL is correct about the rechargable units. I was looking at upgrading to a Prism so I could have the color graphics but the power supply scared me away. I like knowing I have a fresh set of batteries that I can plug in if I need to.

 

One thing you definatly need is something to protect it. PDA's are definaly not designed for outdoor activities.

 

smile02.gif If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people??

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I love my Visor. The expansion module lets you put all sorts of goodies in your hand. You could in theory:

 

  • Get a GPS module to find the cache.
  • Get a camera module to snap some pics of your find.
  • Get a modem module to log your find from the cache site.
  • And when you finally get your tired body home, you can plug in the massage module and...... icon_eek.gif

 

You get the picture. TravisL is correct about the rechargable units. I was looking at upgrading to a Prism so I could have the color graphics but the power supply scared me away. I like knowing I have a fresh set of batteries that I can plug in if I need to.

 

One thing you definatly need is something to protect it. PDA's are definaly not designed for outdoor activities.

 

smile02.gif If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people??

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PC Magazine user reviews rates the Sony Clie as the number one palm device. Honestly no other Palm device even comes close to it.

The Visor is the second for its dependability and price. Ironicly the Palm devices are last in all reviews.

 

As for the Pocket PC it's the Compaq Ipaq. Hands down. Although I don't like the fact that you have to buy expasion sleeves just to add memory. Actually I think you can use SD/MM Memory without sleeves. Not to mention it's the most expensive handheld on the market.

 

Myself I bought the lowest PPC in the reviews. The Cassiopea E125. Although I couldn't beet the price. $175 down from $399.

 

Preperation, the first law to survival.

39197_400.jpg

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I love my Visor Prism!

 

I admit that the integrated battery is a pain sometimes, but I am getting and adapter for it that will plug into the cigarette lighter in the car. However, it will run for several hours on a full charge and only takes 2 hours to fully charge from empty.

 

It has several modules that allow you to expand the memory using removable memory cards such as SmartMedia and CompactFlash.

 

I also use the Magellan GPS Companion module as my GPS for cache hunting. I store the cache information in the GeocachingDB that was made by DougsBrat and use the GeoNiche program to home in on the cache. I have seriously considered getting the digital camera module for cache pics.

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There are other charging options besides the cradle if you have a handheld with internal batteries. Personally, I have a car charger for my Palm V, but you can also get chargers that run from the USB port of your laptop or chargers that work from a common 9V battery.

 

warm.gif

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Holds a charge for a long time & when on the road, I bring along a travel charger. Plugs in to any 110v. I'm running with a memplug adapter with 64 mb Compact Flash card. Color screen is great.And I believe the Prism is going to be discontinued, so you can probably find a really good deal.

 

"Gimpy"

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I have a Visore Deluxe, which I love. When I purchased it, a comparable Palm brand device was about twice as much.

 

One small caveat, however. The Visors (at least the older ones, I'm pretty sure the current ones are the same) have the OS on a ROM instead of in flash memory like the Palms do. This means that the OS cannot really be upgraded. My device has PalmOS 3.1 on it, and some more recent software requires 3.5 or better.

 

Still the price difference makes it worth it to me.

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I'll try to remain unbiased in this, but I may be showing my allegiance. I've had a Pilot 5000, Palm Pilot Pro, Palm III, Palm IIIx, Palm V, m105, and now a m500. I get newer models and hand down the older ones to my wife or friends. I have also had several NEC MobilePro models and a Casiopea (Windows CE aka Pocket PC). I definitely prefer the Palm, although the keyboard on the MobilePro was nice. The Casiopea didn't last long. Throw in an Envoy and a MagicLink, too.

 

Personally, I'd suggest a Palm OS handheld. That doesn't necessarily mean purchasing a Palm-branded unit, just something that runs the Palm OS.

 

Palm:

The m5xx series is rechargable and despite a previous post, I would suggest a rechargable unit over one that uses AAA batteries. Why? Unless you just aren't paying attention, you probably won't end up in the field without a charge. Even so, there is a $20 gadget that you can carry that will let you operate your m5xx on a 9v battery. Also, you _Cannot_ upgrade a m5xx with more memory although you can flash in a newer OS. The m515 is a sweet unit, but color may or may not be a priority for you. I use a m500 for my day-to-day work and I don't really miss not having color. The m125 and m130 are affordable units with expansion card slots that use AAA batteries. They are about twice as thick as a m5xx.

 

Handspring:

The Visor definitely has a fan base and with good reason. It's a solid unit and the springboard slot lets you add in a GPS module, memory, or a phone. The Treo PDA phone is sweet but expensive if all you need is a PDA.

 

Kyocera:

I have several friends with the Kyocera smartphone. I'm not sold on it personally. I think the Treo is a nicer phone, but if you have SprintPCS, it's probably better than having a separate phone and PDA.

 

Sony:

Hands down the sweetest Palm PDA currently available. Nice resolution on the screen (320x320 vs. 160x160) and it feels good in your hands. It's expensive, but if you want a slick PDA, it's the way to go. Also has a memory-stick digital camera with integrated software. I played with one in February and I was impressed. Not enough to buy it, but impressed nonetheless.

 

Garmin:

Garmin announced in December 2000 that they were licensing the Palm OS. Since that time, they haven't stated anything publicly about their plans, but here are several things to think about. Garmin GPS units run on an Intel ARM processor. Current Palm OS models run on a Motorola 68K processor. Palm released Palm OS 5 to licensees about 2 months ago. Palm OS 5 runs on Intel ARM processors. All of this is public info, BTW. How cool would it be to have a Garmin Rino that is GPS/PDA/FRS?

 

There are a number of other Palm licensees, like HandEra, Acer, Symbol, etc., but they are not considered US consumer models, so I won't bother reviewing them here.

 

-E

 

--

N35°32.981 W98°34.631

 

[This message was edited by TresOkies on July 23, 2002 at 09:30 AM.]

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quote:
Originally posted by TresOkies:

Sony:

I played with one in February and I was impressed. Not enough to buy it, but impressed nonetheless.


 

I played with a Clie when I was at the Sony "gallery" on Michigan Ave. in Chicago over the long July 4th weekend, and I was disappointed. I don't know if it's normal behavior, but the unit they had there would not accept applications beamed from my Vx; it kept complaining that they were in the incorrect format. Sorry, anything that can't run any PalmOS application I might want to throw at it is not a PalmOS machine.

 

warm.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Warm Fuzzies - Fuzzy:

I played with a Clie when I was at the Sony "gallery" on Michigan Ave. in Chicago over the long July 4th weekend, and I was disappointed. I don't know if it's normal behavior, but the unit they had there would not accept applications beamed from my Vx; it kept complaining that they were in the incorrect format. Sorry, anything that can't run any PalmOS application I might want to throw at it is not a PalmOS machine.


 

Very odd. What application wouldn't beam? In the course of my job, I've found that a significant number of apps that I've tested had errors in their resource formats. Depending on what the application was, it truly have have been incorrectly formed. The Palm OS runtime accepts certain resources even though they are malformed but the beaming engine may be different. If it was happening on more than one application, the device probably needed a reset.

 

-E

 

--

N35°32.981 W98°34.631

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quote:
Originally posted by TresOkies:

I've had a Pilot 5000, Palm Pilot Pro, Palm III, Palm IIIx, Palm V, m105, and now a m500. I get newer models and hand down the older ones to my wife or friends.


I thought I was bad! I started with a Pilot 1000 (Yes it say's USRobotics on it!!!) I still have it and it still works. It got dropped numerous times and finally it just wouldn't glue back together so...I duct taped it !!!

 

I took duct tape and ran it with the edge of the tape along the edge of the screen so that it took 4 pieces, two horizontal and two verticle. I then took a razor and trimmed out the buttons. The thing is MILITARY GRADE!!! I've have actually accidently DROP KICKED it almost 30 feet and it is still running!

 

My next palm was a IIIe. I was sitting in a chair and it slipped out of the pocket of my sweater and landed on it's corner on the floor. Total distance, 1.5 feet MAX. It cracked the screen out from the corner.

 

My next palm after this was a VISOR Handspring. It was my sons birth-day and I was calling everyone with the good news. My visor was in it's case. (Official PALM case, looks like a book cover with a snap on the front middle). I put it in my front pocket and walked out and got in the car. When I got home I took it out and the screen was cracked from where the snap is in the case, out in all directions.

 

My current PALM is a Kyocera Smartphone. I bought a bodyglove belt case that looks like a sunglass case. It is big and thick and protects the phone/palm as best as possible while still allowing me access to it.

 

quote:

Kyocera:

I have several friends with the Kyocera smartphone. I'm not sold on it personally. I think the Treo is a nicer phone, but if you have SprintPCS, it's probably better than having a separate phone and PDA.


 

I disagree!!! There is an ongoing debate about PALM with Phone features or PHONE with palm features. I challenge anyone with a Treo to try dialing without looking at the phone!

 

I use a headset in the car and while I definatly don't like to take calls or make calls, sometimes I have to make or take a quick one. A Treo style "dialer application" would probably be impossible if not DANGEROUS to use. Sure you can program voicedial but I've never found voicedial to be useful or accurate. With the kyocera I just reach down and FEEL the REAL keypad and find 5 by the two little bumps. I then press and hold 1 or 2 or 3 or whatever based on who I want to call in my speed dial. On the off chance I need to call someone who isn't in my speed dial I can still feel the pad and make the call without taking my eyes off the road. Try that with a Treo!!!

 

quote:

Sony:

Hands down the sweetest Palm PDA currently available. Nice resolution on the screen (320x320 vs. 160x160) and it feels good in your hands. It's expensive, but if you want a slick PDA, it's the way to go. Also has a memory-stick digital camera with integrated software. I played with one in February and I was impressed. Not enough to buy it, but impressed nonetheless.


 

Did you here about Sony and Ford? They are joining up on a prototype project to replace the dash and radio with a palm device instead. It's going to be called the Clie-Taurus. Ford announced that the cars will be sold initially to an undisclosed commercial buyer and that all the initial shipment will be pink. Apperently this commercial buyer will be working with Ford and Sony to provide feedback on their built in GPS navigation system and using it for their sales force to help them navigate to their sales meetings.

 

A Ford representative is quoted as saying, "Unfortunatly, because of this commercial contract it will be pretty hard to find a pink clie-taurus."

 

Rob

Mobile Cache Command

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quote:
Originally posted by TresOkies:

quote:
Originally posted by Warm Fuzzies - Fuzzy:

I played with a Clie when I was at the Sony "gallery" on Michigan Ave. in Chicago over the long July 4th weekend, and I was disappointed. I don't know if it's normal behavior, but the unit they had there would not accept applications beamed from my Vx; it kept complaining that they were in the incorrect format. Sorry, anything that can't run any PalmOS application I might want to throw at it is not a PalmOS machine.


If it was happening on more than one application, the device probably needed a reset.


 

It was, but it's possible that both applications I tried to beam had the same problems, since I think they're from the same company. I tried to send it Bejeweled and Collapse, two very addictive games that I wanted to try in color while I waited for my wife to finish shopping icon_smile.gif

 

warm.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by TresOkies:

quote:
Originally posted by Warm Fuzzies - Fuzzy:

I played with a Clie when I was at the Sony "gallery" on Michigan Ave. in Chicago over the long July 4th weekend, and I was disappointed. I don't know if it's normal behavior, but the unit they had there would not accept applications beamed from my Vx; it kept complaining that they were in the incorrect format. Sorry, anything that can't run any PalmOS application I might want to throw at it is not a PalmOS machine.


If it was happening on more than one application, the device probably needed a reset.


 

It was, but it's possible that both applications I tried to beam had the same problems, since I think they're from the same company. I tried to send it Bejeweled and Collapse, two very addictive games that I wanted to try in color while I waited for my wife to finish shopping icon_smile.gif

 

warm.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by mrcpu:

 

quote:

Kyocera:

I have several friends with the Kyocera smartphone. I'm not sold on it personally. I think the Treo is a nicer phone, but if you have SprintPCS, it's probably better than having a separate phone and PDA.


 

I disagree!!! There is an ongoing debate about PALM with Phone features or PHONE with palm features. I challenge anyone with a Treo to try dialing without looking at the phone!


 

I have used the Kyocera a few times to place calls. I'm just not comfortable with it. Mind you, I work for Palm and I've spent the last six years working on the platform. I can work one with my eyes closed. The Kyocera just didn't feel right. I'm glad that you enjoy it, so it's obviously a problem with my perception. I haven't tried to make a call with a Treo, I just manipulated it at the developers conference in February.

 

quote:
Did you here about Sony and Ford?

 

You owe me a new PowerBook as I just spit coffee all over mine.

 

-E

 

--

N35°32.981 W98°34.631

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I carry a Handspring Visor with me. If you're not really sold on PDAs (yet), then it makes sense to get an inexpensive one, just in case you only use it for geocaching and playing Bejeweled. The Handspring Visor and Palm M105 are both under $100 if you buy an easy-to-find refurb, or about $125 if you buy them new.

 

That's the short answer. The long answer is (in order of priority):

 

Buy something that runs PalmOS, not Windows CE. There is a lot more software out there for Palm.

 

Buy something with 8MB of memory, not 2MB. The 2MB units are just about gone now, so that one is easy to adhere to.

 

Visit a bricks-and-mortar store, so you can fondle the different models. My Visor is one of the bigger units out there -- it doesn't bug me that it's so bulky, but some people are willing to pay the premium for the slim units.

 

Don't buy something with a color screen. Most apps don't use it yet, it adds a lot to the cost and subtracts a lot from the battery life.

 

Get one that syncs by USB, not serial. USB is faster.

 

I really like having my Visor with me while I'm caching. In addition to carrying cache info with me, I make notes on what I what trades I make and I can look up sunset/twilight times with the celestial software I have. And for multicaches that require note-taking and calculations, I'm all set.

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It's dead, it's dying.

 

No software for Pocket PC? Take another look!

 

I have an iPaq with 256meg CF card. I have all the Arizona caches on it. Twice. I have two different mapping applications with AZ maps loaded. Hook it up to the Magellan and you get in car driving directions. With audio.

 

I have hours of music loaded.

 

I have a half dozen ebooks loaded.

 

Not only can you record audio, you can do so in MP3 format.

 

What else can you do? Watch TV, Movies, games, full internet access, email with attachments, oh yea typical PDA functions as well.

 

All this and I still have 100 meg free!

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Concerning your choice for a PDA in the catagories of:

lightweight

rechargable batteries

SmartMedia card adaptable

voice capabilities

 

I have had a Palm III and a Palm 105m. I liked the Palm III better because I am a bit hard when I write on the screen, and the 105m dented in around the grafitti area. Also, the III couldn't handle the abuse I accidentally inflict on the PDAs, its memory chip kept falling out. The 105m handled quite a few falls. The III finally bit the dust and I got a Visor Edge (rechargable battery). There are accesories to charge it in a car, and the USB cradle can be used as just a charger. The Palms ate throught AAA batteries because I use the backlight often. The invert backlight hack helped preserve the usage, but I still went through them. I like that the Edge has a more durable metal body, but it is also somewhat slick in my butterfingers. That necessitated a case. I appreciated that I found a case for this model that didn't rely on velro adhesive-it has a plastic mount to fit the Edge into. As for weight, this is an incredibly light PDA compared to what I have played with in the past. I bought the Edge on clearance at WalMart for $150.

 

As for the voice capabilities, there is a springboard module from Targus called Total Recall Voice Recorder. It is a 2 part module-the springboard module and the battery pack to power it on its own. It doesn't transfer over to a Mac, so I am unfamiliar with the software for the computer. I do like being able to record short sound bits, catagorize them on my Edge, and listen to them either while it is active in the Edge or seperate in its own battery pack. The voice recorder has its own speaker. I am unsure if Targus still supports this because I couldn't find it on their site, but found other sites that discuss it. I bought it at WalMart on clearance for $30.

 

As for the SmartMedia, there is a memory module for that. http://www.handspring.com/products/Product.jhtml?id=250031&cat=170016 is the website to learn more about it.

 

This is my first post and it is taking a lot out of me not to put in all those crazy Instant Graemlins!

 

icon_eek.gif

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Concerning your choice for a PDA in the catagories of:

lightweight

rechargable batteries

SmartMedia card adaptable

voice capabilities

 

I have had a Palm III and a Palm 105m. I liked the Palm III better because I am a bit hard when I write on the screen, and the 105m dented in around the grafitti area. Also, the III couldn't handle the abuse I accidentally inflict on the PDAs, its memory chip kept falling out. The 105m handled quite a few falls. The III finally bit the dust and I got a Visor Edge (rechargable battery). There are accesories to charge it in a car, and the USB cradle can be used as just a charger. The Palms ate throught AAA batteries because I use the backlight often. The invert backlight hack helped preserve the usage, but I still went through them. I like that the Edge has a more durable metal body, but it is also somewhat slick in my butterfingers. That necessitated a case. I appreciated that I found a case for this model that didn't rely on velro adhesive-it has a plastic mount to fit the Edge into. As for weight, this is an incredibly light PDA compared to what I have played with in the past. I bought the Edge on clearance at WalMart for $150.

 

As for the voice capabilities, there is a springboard module from Targus called Total Recall Voice Recorder. It is a 2 part module-the springboard module and the battery pack to power it on its own. It doesn't transfer over to a Mac, so I am unfamiliar with the software for the computer. I do like being able to record short sound bits, catagorize them on my Edge, and listen to them either while it is active in the Edge or seperate in its own battery pack. The voice recorder has its own speaker. I am unsure if Targus still supports this because I couldn't find it on their site, but found other sites that discuss it. I bought it at WalMart on clearance for $30.

 

As for the SmartMedia, there is a memory module for that. http://www.handspring.com/products/Product.jhtml?id=250031&cat=170016 is the website to learn more about it.

 

This is my first post and it is taking a lot out of me not to put in all those crazy Instant Graemlins!

 

icon_eek.gif

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