Brighthand Reviews the palmOne Tungsten E2

by Reads (161,684)

palmOne has just released the Tungsten E2, the successor to its most popular model ever.

This latest model offers a brighter screen, non-volatile memory, Bluetooth, and a faster processor than its very popular predecessor.

The Screen

palmOne’s customer research learned that a surprising number of people use their Tungsten E to view pictures. That’s why the best screen possible was one of the priorities when it came time to put together its replacement.

Tungsten E2 I know, a lot of people would prefer a 320-by-480-pixel display, like the one on the high-end palmOne models, but that’s just not feasible on a device that costs just $249. So that’s why this handheld has a 320-by-320-pixel screen., like its predecessor (That’s still a higher resolution than you’re going to get on a comparably priced Pocket PC.)

Instead of increasing the resolution, palmOne included a screen that is much brighter and includes noticeably better color saturation.

I have to say, this is definitely one of the best looking screens I have ever seen. Colors are excellent, and it even looks good outdoors, where most displays are quickly washed out by the bright surroundings.

Memory

The Tungsten E2 has 32 MB of memory, but only 26 MB is directly available to the user. The remainder isn’t being wasted; its being used as heap memory, which Palm OS applications need to run.

This isn’t a large amount, but it’s what’s to be expected for a model in this price range. In addition, you can store additional files and applications on an SD card.

By the way, don’t make the mistake of directly comparing the amount of memory in a Palm OS Handheld to what is in a Pocket PC. The two platforms handle memory very differently, and Palm OS models require much less than Pocket PCs do for storing and running applications.

palmOne used NVFS memory in this model. This is a different type of memory chip than is typically found in handhelds. Unlike most of its competition, the E2 doesn’t have to continuously send power to its memory chips in order for them to keep storing data.

This means that if you accidentally let your handheld run completely out of power, it won’t lose anything you are storing in it. You could put a E2 in a drawer for a year, and when you pulled it out and charged it up, it will be exactly the same as when you last put it down.

Another advantage is the memory chips are less of a drain on the battery.

The Tungsten E2 isn’t the first palmOne model to use NVFS memory. The previous ones generated a lot of complaints because they used memory very inefficiently. Thankfully, palmOne engineers learned their lesson and this handheld doesn’t suffer from the same problem.

Wireless Networking

One of the big improvements in this model over the original is the inclusion of Bluetooth. A lot of handhelds offer this these days, but palmOne has tried very hard to make it as easy to use as possible.

Tungsten E2 One of the most popular uses for Bluetooth is to communicate with a mobile phone, which then functions as a wireless modem for the handheld. This means you can check your email or browse the web from wherever you are.

The only drawback to this is getting the handheld to talk to the phone to talk to your service provider can be a huge hassle. Fortunately, palmOne has done all it can to make this process as easy as possible. You you have to do is go through a wizard, fill in the information on your phone and carrier, and you’re all set.

Of course, you have to have a Bluetooth-enabled phone and Wireless Data service. Talk to your wireless service provider if this is something you want to do.

Bluetooth is good for much more than talking to a mobile phone. There are a range of peripherals that connect to a handheld through Bluetooth. This includes keyboards, GPS receivers, and more.

The Tungsten E2 doesn’t have Wi-Fi wireless networking, but it will support palmOne Wi-Fi SD card. However, the necessary software drivers won’t be available until sometime in May.

Obviously, a connection to the Internet is useless without software to take advantage of it. That’s why this handheld comes with both Blazer and VersaMail, which are a very capable web browser and an email client.

Part II of this review discusses:

  • Software
  • Performance
  • Accessories
  • Battery Life
  • Value


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