Editorial: Back to School with Handheld Flair

by Reads (11,432)

Back to school time means one thing, gotta make a good first impression. Of course, looking good should not have to cost as much as the books that you will have to buy. Therefore, BargainPDA is proud to give you a list of fashionable (in looks and in the wallet) handhelds for the fall season. There are models for every budget out there, but the ones listed here are good buys no matter if you are going Ivy League, or just jumping over the ivy to catch the bus. Be sure to check the clearance list at the end of this Back to School guide for great looks at handhelds that are still good enough to be competent performers.

The Basic Look

The Basic Look should not be looked at as the bargain basement, clearance rack items. Rather, these are models that offer multimedia features, without the multimedia giant budget. If you are new to the PDA market, or looking to just replace that old paper planner for something with color and flair, these are a few good buys.

Each unit is listed at MSRP. Clicking the name of any product will take you to our price comparison engine where better deals await!

PalmOne Zire31


The PalmOne Zire31 is as equipped as the once top-of-the-line m515 model. Thankfully, the price does not echo the top of the line quality that you get. The Zire31 includes an impressive 200Mhz Intel processor, 16MB of internal memory (14MB available to user), a Secure Digital (SD) expansion slot (takes memory and other SD cards), and a bright 160×160 pixel color screen. The Zire31 is great for those who are looking for a simple PDA but want the versatility unheard in top-of-the-line models of a few years ago. The lack of hardware buttons does make it difficult to use the Zire31 as a gaming device, but it holds up well for day to day tasks and MP3 playing.

Dell Axim x30 (312Mhz)


Dell has always been known for being fashionable for the back to school crowd. This year they do not disappoint by offering the x30 series. The entry level x30 features Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, 32MB of RAM, a removable battery, and a thin form factor for ease of carrying. There are two other flavors of the x30 that offer dual wireless technologies (Bluetooth and 802.11b wireless ethernet), but for basic usage, this Dell is your dude.

PalmOne Tungsten E


The PalmOne Tungsten E gets many good reviews because it does what many people need in a basic device, except that this is not a basic device. The Tungsten E is the entry model in the Tungsten (palmOne s business class). Only, the Tungsten E does not act like an entry model. It has 32MB of RAM, a hi-resolution (320×320 pixels) screen, and included Documents to Go (version 5) software. The Tungsten E is basic, but only if you look at an A-class Mercedes as basic transportation.

The Difference Maker Look

The next class of devices I call Difference Makers because of the ability of these devices to take you from just basic information management to a laptop replacement in some cases. The included software, wireless options, and not so laptop price make these models good alternatives for college students or mobile workers who want to streamline their briefcase.

Tapwave Zodiac 1


Who says that all work and no games is modus operand for a PDA? The Tapwave Zodiac 1 defies convention with a 320×480 screen, 32MB RAM, 2 SD card slots, BT, and a game library good enough to make you forget that there is a PSP coming. And even if you thought this was not good enough, for $100 more you can upgrade to the Zodiac 2 with all of the above plus 128MB RAM. Get a Z and you will be at the beginning of all the talk in class. Just remember, this unit is all about gaming, so it s more appropriate in the dorm room than the board room.

PalmOne Zire72


The PalmOne Zire72 is like a good pair of boots, fashionable enough to wear to a party and sturdy enough to handle hunting in the rain. The Zire72 combines a stunning blue and silver exterior and hi-resolution screen (320×320 pixels) with a 312Mhz Intel processor, 32MB of RAM (24MB usable), a 1.2 megapixel camera (takes still and video), Bluetooth, and the ability to play MP3s with the included RealOne Player. The PalmOne Zire72 is distinctive enough to turn heads, but not so expensive that you d rather wear last year s model.

HP iPaq rx3115


HP has been pretty much on the ball when it comes of feature packing its PDAs. The rx3115 is no exception as it comes with Windows Mobile 2003, a 300MHz Samsung processor, 56MB of user accessible memory (64MB total), WiFi (802.11b), Bluetooth, HP Image Zone software, and iPaq Mobile Media WiFi playback and control for music, photos, and pictures. With the rx3115, you will not be accused of not having the right tool for the job, though you might not be the best dressed.

Dell Axim x30 (624MHz)


If it smells like a deal, and looks like a deal, then it is a deal. No matter how you take its ho-hum looks, the x30 offers the most PDA/dollar on the market. Starting with the 624MHz Intel processor and dual wireless abilities (WiFi and Bluetooth), the x30 gives you big mall performance without the big mall price. If you are looking to do everything with your PDA, this is a good bet to make you look like the difference maker.

The Who Cares but I Have Better Gear Look

We all know those people; they come to the first days of school with the best clothes and best gear. For the owners of these PDAs, the only thing they fear is not having the latest and greatest. These devices are top of the line, and have the technology to prove it.

palmOne Tungsten T|3


PalmOne is not known for being flashy, but with the introduction of the Tungsten T|3 last summer, palmOne sure did give flash a new attitude. Combining a slider design with a 320×480 pixel (half VGA) screen enables the T|3 to go from handheld to pocketable in a blink. The T|3 also has a 400MHz Intel processor, 64MB of RAM, a full suite of productivity applications, and the reliable Palm OS (v.5.2.1). Pulling this out is sure to garner some ooohs and aaahs while keeping you productive.


ASUS MyPal A716


So you have the new entertainment center, laptop, and dorm room accessories, what more could you want? How about a PDA that has multiple means of expansion and connectivity options? The ASUS MyPal A716 gives you Bluetooth and WiFi wireless technologies, Compact Flash and Secure Digital expansion, Windows Mobile 2003, 64MB of RAM, and up to 19hrs of battery life to keep you playing until the wee hours of the morning, or at least past that 8am class. A little harder to locate, but ASUS is known for great quality and performance.

Toshiba e800


Think of the e800 as a flat screen TV that you can take with you. A sharp and clear 4 display is only the beginning of the goodies this Toshiba has to offer.  With Windows Mobile 2003 and a VGA (800×600 pixels) screen 128MB of Storage space, built in WiFi, and SD and CF expansion, the e800 can excel with just about anything you throw at it.

Of course, not everyone has the funds to buy the latest and greatest. That is why back to school time is also great for what is in the clearance isles. See our picks for best of those models that are discontinued or soon to be discontinued.

PalmOne Tungsten C

400 MHz, 64 MB RAM, WiFi, and a built in thumb board make this a great buy

Sony Clie TH55

WiFi, 320×480 hi-res+ screen, processor that throttles between 8 and 123MHz, built in VGA camera, and Clie Organizer software

Sony Clie UX50

Landscape orientation, 320×480 screen, dual wireless (BT and WiFi), thumb board, and VGA camera. Excellent device for those that may type on their PDA

HP iPaq 1940/1945

Raise your hand if a thin and light PDA with BT can meet your needs.

HP iPaq 2210/2215

Raise two hands if having dual expansion (CF and SD) and BT make you even more excited.

The PDAs covered here will be able to help you get started into the fall season with the technology that you will need to make a run at good grades, a promotion, or just a run at matching an accessory with your new wardrobe. But don t forget, the fall season also means the PDA rumor mill is in full swing. We re expecting new units from palmOne, Dell, Toshiba, ASUS and others. So stay tuned to BargainPDA.com for announcements on New Handhelds and visit our forums to get help on how to get the most out of your handheld.

Latest PDA Rumors:

Dell Axim X50 Release Date – September 24th   (8/31/2004) While Dell has asked for details of the new X50 to be hidden until it’s released, the FCC released very primitive information, including a picture, about the X50 late Friday afternoon. Part of the documentation is a request for confidentiality including the external photos, internal photos and user manual until September 24th. In the past the confidentiality request has coincided very closely with the actual release date.

PDA News – Axim X50 rumors, Tungsten T5 pics & specs, Tungsten OS upgrade? (8/28/2004)

  • Rumor: Dell Axim X50
  • Reported Tungsten T5 pics and specs
  • Tungsten T3 to get Cobalt upgrade?

palmOne Treo 650 Revealed (pics, specs)   ( 8/26/2004) We initially called it the Treo 610, well add 40 to that number and what do you get?  The Treo 650 and that’s the name we’re sticking with for the next generation Treo that will have Bluetooth, a faster processor and better screen.  TreoCentral.com has posted pictures revealing this upcoming device and we can confirm its existence based on other sources that have held and seen this product.  Release date of the palmOne Treo 650?  Well, we can only conjecture that it should be sometime in the Fall of 2004, likely around October.

HP Confirms iPAQ hx2100, hx2400 and hx2700 Pocket PCs   ( 8/25/2004) On their drivers and download site, HP has now listed three more PDAs in the hx2000 series, presumably to take over for the h2210 and h5550 models. These three will feature a 3.5″ display, dual SD and CF slots, a biometric scanner and various wireless flavors for each model.

Toshiba e830 Gains Bluetooth Qualification   ( 8/23/2004) Just days after FCC approval to sell the e830 in the US, the Bluetooth Qualification Program has certified the e830. On the Bluetooth site, the PDA is referred to as the GENIO e830. Toshiba hasn’t used the GENIO to refer to its PDAs in the US since the 500 series, years ago. Perhaps Genio is coming back to help better brand their Pocket PC line.

Samsung i550 Palm OS Smartphone Coming Soon?   ( 8/19/2004) According to a report from infoSync World, the Samsung i550 is still on track for a release on a CDMA network, most likely Sprint. Samsung says the i550 is still in development, but this is the first time they’ve talked publicly about its release in quite some time.



All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.