( photo things + living life)

Monday, June 07, 2004

palmOne Zire 31 review

Hi everyone,

last week I had a problem with my Sony TJ-35 PDA... I lost it. It was a good machine and I've been using PDAs for more than 5 years now so I cannot live without one. Last friday I went to FNAC shop to buy a new one. I didn't want a new Sony handheld because Sony is going to close their Clié Handhelds line in less than a year and I didn't want to spend again lots of money, so I thought what I basically do with my handheld:

1. Save my account, credit card and other confidential information using an encrypted wallet application.
2. Take some notes using the Memo Pad application.
3. Read some ebooks.
4. Some ocasional playing, only puzzle or slow paced games.
5. Some MP3 playing.
6. From time to time have my bills, accounts, etc... organized.
7. Read news using AvantGo.

With this in mind and my two big constraints (no more Sony handhelds and not pay lots of money for a new replacement) I finally decided to buy the new Palm Zire 31 in spite of some bad reviews I read in 1src.com and other web sites. Those reviews complained basically about the bad quality of the screen in the Zire 31. After playing with it the whole weekend I'm more than happy of my new acquisition. These are my reasons,

1. Quality/Price ratio... price is REALLY low, build quality of this unit is superb, it's really fast, small, only problem being the 160x160 pixels screen. Not comparable with a new Hi-Res 320x320 screen buuut, continue reading...
2. It uses standard mini-usb connector to synch data. Some people complain about this but I find it really good, because it's a standard connector. Universal Connector used by other Palm Units to connect to their accesories (like keyboards) is no longer needed because this unit supports SDIO cards (for Wi-Fi connections, for example) and keyboards can be used using the infrarred port. PalmOne sells a really wonderful infrared keyboard for only 70€. Now if I forget my cable at home, I can connect in the office using any standard miniusb cable. Great!.
3. Battery life is simply amazing... I charged it last friday... I've been playing with the unit all weekend and battery indicator is still almost full. (Even playing some MP3s and ATRAC3 files).
4. It comes with the latest PalmOS release... great!. Now I can use categories for my appointments (so I don't need to use DateMate application for my birthday reminders anymore), standard Photos application comes in ROM (no more spaced needed in SplashPhoto), as well as RealOne Player (sound quality with a pair of Sony headphones is just fantastic!), I can place alarms for my tasks, etc... lots of improvements over the PIM applications that came with the Sony unit.
5. I can still play Bejeweled with the same speed than before. The 160x160 screen doesn't affect my playing. Astraware games work wonderfully with this unit (at least puzzle games... action games suffer some ghosting because of the STN screen).
6. I can still read my ebooks, read avantgo or use Plucker with all my RSS feeds without any problem. Reading experience is basically the same I had with Sony unit.

So, my conclusion is:

for those of you that only make standard use of a PDA thinking on a change ... put on your list of possibilities this new unit by PalmOne... it's a really small, lightweight, well built, full of possibilites and it's price is very very affordable!!!.


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