Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best PDA I've owned thus far., February 6, 2006
This review is from: Dell Axim X50v - Handheld - Windows Mobile 2003 SE - 3.7" color TFT ( 480 x 640 ) - Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (Personal Computers)
I started with a Tangerine Handspring Visor Deluxe, with a whopping 8Mb of RAM. I followed up with a Sony Clie SJ-33, then a TJ-35, and started to become a little annoyed with the low RAM and lack of WiFi or Bluetooth offerings, so I "cashed out" and just used my Nokia 3650 for a year. When I saw a deal on a Dell Axim 50v, I jumped on it and never looked back. Here's why it made sense for me.

1) I was looking for a replacement for a PDA, but I wanted Bluetooth (for my cellphone and desktop) and WiFi (for remote PC management). High-end Palms met this, and so did some PocketPC devices;
2) I was looking for a bigger MP3 player. The LifeDrive fit this but the 4Gb storage wasn't removable. The Dells have a CF card slot and a 6Gb microDrive stores 50% more than the LifeDrive, and is removable. The SD slot is a nice bonus with the Dells as well.
3) I was looking for some Office application compatibility, and Dell Axims with Windows Mobile 2003SE ship with Pocket Word and Pocket Excel. Outlook syncs with the device natively. I'd lose my existing library of Palm apps but the core utilities were easily replaced by ouf-of-box functionality.
4) Price: I wasn't going to pony up $800 on a PDA because at that level, I might as well get a cheap laptop. I managed to do quite well with a Dell Axim 50v and a Hitachi 6Gb Microdrive.

Of course, hitting features on a map and actually using them are two different things. The Axim 50v surprised me a lot and let me down a little...

1) Battery life is good, and I can swap out the battery with a larger one and get some serious runtime. I can play MP3s for three hours and not need to charge it, and still work with apps on it while music plays.
2) WiFi is pretty good, and being able to control my server PCs through a Desktop Connection is nice, real nice.
3) Pocket Word and Pocket Excel are pretty good; QuickOffice for Palm is actually superior, but I'm happy with the switch nevertheless.
4) The backlight is bright, almost too bright. Colors are beautiful. And storage is plentiful.

Downsides include:
1) Block Recognizer does not remember your input, so unlike true T9 input, it doesn't ever get smarter, and that disappoints me greatly.
2) Microsoft has shut off WiFi syncing for ActiveSync, so if you're stuck with a USB 1.1 connection for your cradle/ cable, that's the top speed you can expect. WiFi syncing is much faster.
3) Windows Mobile 5 is an utter disaster for Axim 50vs; this is largely mitigated by how good WM2003SE is. I don't feel the need to use the buggy ActiveSync 4.1 (which can easily drain your battery), or to hack the registry to have the Axim find my CF card when starting.

This is the PDA I recommend to people now. Its storage flexibility, two radios, bright screen, and swappable battery solution makes it a winner. WM2003SE is a stable operating system and the bundled apps make this an excellent tool from day one. The Windows Media Player is good enough for MP3 playback, although a 3rd party app like Conduits PocketPlayer is a good buy. There is some excellent freeware as well, to my surprise, and I'm not missing Palm any longer.

Fred
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Location: Nutley, NJ USA

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