Thursday, September 30, 2004

So now what?

l spent about a half-hour last night at Office Depot looking at the Palm T3. Now l am as desperately confused as ever! I have 3 major observations about the device:

First, that screen is an absolute work of art! It is bright, clear, and nicely sized. It can make even the smallest font render beautifully! I really think I would like the whole slider concept...I don't think you need the full resolution all of the time. Score one for Palm!

Second, data entry on Palm devices is sub-standard (except for devices with built in keyboards of course). I used Graffiti for years, but now l don't Know how I survived it. The one letter at a time madness is enough to kill a person! Transcriber on the Pocket PC is way better. Having to hammer out one letter at a time (as compared to writing in my native cursive script) may be a show stopper. Score one for Pocket PC.

Third, the version of Documents To Go that comes on the T3 doesn't do it for me. The functionality of Excel is even more limited than Pocket Excel on the Pocket PC and Word has less functionality than WordPad on your PC. Sure, you can upgrade to the next version and get the functionality that I want for a mere $30, but I could also buy Textmaker for a PPC device during their next sale. Score no points for either platform for lousy Office interoperability (how many millions of people want to have the same functionality I am looking for?).

So, the score is 1 to 1. I am going to continue to think publicly though. To be continued…

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


You know, I totally expected the cons to outweigh the pros by a long shot (not nearly as balanced as they turned out to be). I think that my issues are just things I am pretty passionate about. Honestly, there is also the issue of just wanting a change. My conclusion: after much deliberation, my PDA is on Ebay in preparation for the next phase of it's life. I have turned my attention to it's successor. The question has become, "What do I replace it with?"

All l know at this point is that I REALLY doubt it is going to be an HP. I'm thinking either Dell or Palm. What's your opinion?

2215 Con's

Things that have been a problem with my particular (?) 2215:

  • My experience has lead me to believe that HP support is a joke. They were not willing to help me with problems that came up in the weeks that followed my warranty expiration (unlike Honda who covered our van 1,300 miles out from under the warranty even when it cost them a LOT more than it would have cost HP to replace my side grips). I have had to send in my unit multiple times for the same problems (and so has a friend). Their instant chat support online is terrible and support agents have been unfriendly more than once.
  • One of my premier complaints with this handheld is that the directional pad is WAY too sensitive. I read a lot of ebooks on my device and if I had a dollar for every time I jumped two or three pages instead of the one I intended, I would be able to feed all of my geeky needs with the proceeds.
  • The side grips are defective on this device HP knows it. They have published documentation about installing the replacement grips and a video on their web page for how to remove the defective ones. So many people have had this problem that third party vendors offer replacements. When you call in under warranty, they have a whole kit they send you (with grips, battery door, and CF slot plug), but if you're not under warranty they charge you $25. Grrrr...
  • Stability with my particular unit has been a problem. This is very likely a combination of the software that I have installed, but I am not completely sure about that. Even after a hard reset and nothing but Calligrapher installed, my device still locks up periodically.
  • Again, if I had a dollar for every time I have soft reset my device, I would... I think it is really pathetic that you can't rely on this PDA for an alarm clock due to the fact that it doesn't always wake up for alarms. This is just one of many bugs in the hardware/OS combination that has frustrated me.
  • The paint has chipped off my unit in a couple of spots (like right next to the power button) and the unit is only 14 months old. I really don't think that should happen at this point in the handheld's life.
  • I really miss a side button for scrolling. I know it is a personal preference thing, but handhelds I have owned in the past have had it and I have learned that I value that as an option. It just makes reading on the device so much easier.

2215 Pro's

Let me start with a disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the next few posts are my opinion only. My experience with HP and this unit may be atypical, but it’s all I have to work from. Your mileage may vary.

Here are the things I have enjoyed most about the iPAQ 2215:

  • I have used the CF expandability quite a bit. I frequently use memory, wireless, and GPS all through the CF expansion port. With the dropping price of SD memory and trend for new devices to have 802.11 and Bluetooth, this physical expandability is becoming less important.
  • The stylus is better than a lot of PDA’s (like the goofy popsicle stick style from the HP 548).
  • The battery life is pretty good (not like the old Palm III days of weeks of usage on a pair of AAA batteries, but pretty good for a modern, high-powered PDA). Plus, the fact that the battery is removable is a bonus.
  • Bluetooth connectivity through my Nokia phone has been very nice. I have been able to surf the web and get myself out of a pinch in a couple of instances.
  • I like that I have been able to use some of my older accessories from my 3955 (like the travel charger and the travel sync cable).
  • There are lots of third party accessories available for the device.
  • The unit is fairly compact and even wearing it on my belt isn’t too bad…geeky, but not too uncomfortable.
  • The display on this handheld is better than many of its generation. It is bright, clear, and the variable brightness functionality (having more than just 3 brightness settings) has been nice.
  • Processing power has always been totally adequate.

So stay tuned for the list of my gripes about the handheld. I will take a while to make sure that I am fair and don’t let a negative attribute or two overrun my rationality.

Time to pull the ol' switcheroo

I will begin by saying that I am a self-proclaimed geek and that the tone of things is about to lean that way pretty hard. I am the type of person who would be an early adapter of every technology out there if my pocket book would support me in my obsession. It’s sad, but true.

I’m no stranger to the PDA world. I have owned more than my share of handheld computers including the original Palm Pilot Professional, a Palm III, an HP 620lx, an HP 548, an iPAQ 3650, an iPAQ 3955, and an iPAQ 2215. This has been no cheap undertaking and is something my good wife is surprisingly supportive of. I’m just afraid the replacement rate is quickening pace – but don’t tell my wife!

Well, I have been feeling the itch lately to get rid of my PDA and replace it with something new. Since making that decision, I have become obsessed with handheld computing solutions. My old unit is just not doing it for me any more. You know how when you’ve started to notice something bad about an item that you would love to replace that it opens a virtual flood of complaints? It has infected my mind and overrun my concentration. I have read review after review and have no conclusion except that my 2215 is going to have to go away.

I thought I would post an entry or two about the pros and cons of the iPAQ 2215. In all fairness, I will post the pros first and the cons second since this really has been a good unit that I have enjoyed a good deal.

So a next post should be on its way soon extolling the virtues of the 2215.