Palm’s latest model, the TX, is its most ambitious new handheld in a long time.
This isn’t because it’s full of cutting-edge features. It certainly is not. However, very few mid-range models have ever offered much innovation.
Instead, for the first time in much too long, Palm has come out with a handheld that’s easily capable of competing on price.
But not any more. Too many have started to wake up to the value offered by Dell’s Axim series, leading to drops in sales of Palm’s handhelds.
That’s why the TX follows a new path. At $300, it has features that are quite competitive with the comparably priced Axim.
And web sites like Shopper.com can show you where to find it for even less.
Don’t get me wrong, the TX isn’t an obviously better value than other handhelds. Instead, when comparing it with the mid-range Axim, many people will find the choice to be a difficult one.
The most significant thing about the Palm TX is the fact that it is only the second handheld from this company to offer both WiFi and Bluetooth wireless networking. And the first one, the LifeDrive, cost almost twice as much.
WiFi lets you connect to HotSpots, whether they are ones you have set up yourself, ones that your company has set up, or ones at coffee shops or bookstores.
If you get a Bluetooth-enabled phone, you can connect to the Internet from virtually anywhere.
While more widely available, Bluetooth’s speed is much slower that WiFi’s. Still, it’s fast enough to send and receive email.
Of course, the Palm TX comes with the applications you need to take advantage of your Internet connection, once you have it.
I’m fairly well pleased with its Blazer web browser. Palm has been working on this application for years, and it keeps getting better. It lets you view pages as they would look on a regular desktop computer, or in a different version that’s better suited to a handheld’s small screen.
I’m quite impressed with VersaMail, as it offers virtually every feature I could want on any email client, whether it be on a handheld or a desktop.
Like all of Palm’s recent models, the TX has what’s called NVFS memory. This is one of the best things to happen to handhelds in years.
Unlike older handhelds, the data it’s storing isn’t erased if the battery runs completely down. All you have to do is plug it back in and you’re good to go.
The TX has about 100 MB of internal storage. You’ll probably want to get an SD card for holding additional files, though. Fortunately, the prices for these have dropped considerably. Heck, I saw a 256 MB card for free the other day, after a mail-in rebate.
You should be aware that this mid-range model lacks the “drive mode” capabilities of Palm’s more expensive handhelds.
Part II of this review discusses:
- Battery Life