Palm TX Balances Features with Fun

At last, I’ve gone completely digital. No longer am I letting pen and crumbled bits of paper rule my pockets, nor a Rolodex rule my desk. I recently decided to buy a PDA to help me get organized and enjoy more efficient (and perhaps, more entertaining) life. I was somewhat familiar with the Palm company when I started my search, and eventually settled on the Palm TX, due in large part to its Wi-Fi capabilities. Despite spending a little more than I had previously expected, I’m finding the Palm TX to be a fun and entertaining alternative to Post-It notes stuffed in my pocket.

The Good. There’s a whole lot to love when you’re holding the Palm TX in your hand. For starters, the 100 MB of accessible memory (which is expandable to 2 GB via SD cards) and the 312 Mhz Intel processor are a great combo for this little gem. The memory also helps protect your information if the TX’s battery goes dead, a handy (though seemingly obvious) little feature.

Where the TX really comes to the Grownups Table for me is its included Wi-Fi capabilities. The TX is great at finding access points, and I can access the internet in a few seconds. The load times are even pretty good, though there are always the exceptions for those sites who love to wow the user with graphics. Still, being able to check my email and generally goof-around while I’m on the go is an endlessly wonderful feature, and the performance of the TX in Wi-Fi continues to impress me.

The TX also features a number of other media options, when you’ve finally decided you’ve explored all the ‘Net has to offer. The TX allows you to store and view photos, music, and video onboard, though to get any bulk of it, you need a larger SD card in the expansion slot. Still, it’s handy to be able to listen to a few tunes when my regular MP3 player isn’t close by. Another media option that I haven’t yet explored is the subscription television service, MobiTV. The service offers a handful of channels that play live TV right on the TX’s screen through a wireless internet connection. There’s a fee for the service, but I am considering trying it out for a short time, if only to see what this thing can really do.

Despite the wonders of it’s Wi-Fi and media capabilities, the TX is also quite impressive in the software department. It links up quite well with my PC, and can display and edit Microsoft Office files. While I haven’t done much heavy lifting in terms of editing, it is a handy feature to have when you want to view or transport documents. Beyond the Microsoft goodies, there are the standard organizer-type functions, a clock, a calculator, and the like onboard.

The Not-So-Good. Against the backdrop of this quality PDA, these points seem to be nitpicks. Unfortunately, though, the Palm TX suffers from the iPod problem in that the battery is not user replaceable. It needs to be professionally done. Thus far, however, I have not had any problems with the battery, and haven’t heard of too many others having problems with it, either.

The other problem for me, and I found that it was well-worth it, was the price. At least initially, I couldn’t really see paying $300 for what I thought was an organizer. The price well-exceeded my budget. But after hearing about the features (especially the Wi-Fi), and trying out my coworker’s TX, I decided to give it a shot. If you have the cash, or if you can get over what seems to be a big initial price, the TX is worthwhile.

The Bottom Line. The Palm TX is slick, and while it might be missing the kitchen sink in terms of features, that’s about all it’s missing. This is a first rate PDA and is well-worth the $300 price tag.

Despite my late-comer status to the PDA party, I’m more than pleased with the features I’ve found on the Palm TX. I love the Wi-Fi, the wide variety of productivity tools, and the prospect of adding music to the system has me ready to buy an expansion card. While the TX may not have given me hours more to do what I really want in life, it’s made me just a little more streamlined, a little more happy, and – dare I say it – maybe just a little more cool.

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