Wednesday, January 18, 2006

PDA preferences

Ok, my venerable Palm Tungsten T3 is dying (it's hard resetting, corrupting files, and the battery may last 8 hours, it may loast 40 minutes), succumbing to mobile bit rot I suppose.

Anyway, I NEED my pda for work; it's such a part of what I do that I don't want to go without one. I hate WinCE/Windows Mobile, and I've been on the Palm platform since the Palm IIIc.

I'd also like something that can play MP3's so as not to have to haul around an MP3 player; which means I need decent storage capacity with it. I figure a gig is enough, and changeable cards are OK , so either a good sized internal hard drive, or SD cards are necessary.

Finally, I need a good color screen, good battery life, bluetooth, and WiFi.

Palm currently offers two models that meet these specs, the Life drive, for $449 ($399 street):

and the Palm TX for $299 (about $270 street):

The life drive has all of what I listed as requirements, plus a 4 gig hard drive, a faster processor, and comes with more free software than the TX. It's a bit thicker than the TX, a bit heavier, and a bit more fragile.

The TX is lighter, thinner, a bit tougher, and has more user accessible RAM, plus it's around $150 cheaper.

Of course once you add in the cost of 4 gigs worth of memory cards, (2 gig cards are running $125 these days) the TX is MORE expensive than the lifedrive.

As near as I can tell, those are the only technical differences, so the question here is, which is the better value, which is the better PDA, and what are the caveats from actual users and owners?

I hear the first production run of life drives had HUGE problems, but the recenct production ones are much better. That said, I've never even seen one in the real world; whereas I have seen a few folks with the Palm TX's.

Also isn't the lifedrive due for a model update/replacement? The TX is a pretty new model.

Anyone out there have anything to share?