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PalmOne IIIx Handheld
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- Enhanced LCD screen for improved viewing at angles and in both dim and bright light
- 4 MB storage capacity
- Infrared transceiver
- Open expansion slot for possible add-on hardware and memory upgrade cards
- What's in the box: Palm IIIx, Stylus, 2 AAA batteries, HotSync cradle with serial cable, DB-25 adapter, Protective cover, Organizer and Desktop applications, Handbook
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The Palm IIIx carries on the tradition of the attractive and popular Palm line of PDAs. With its 4MB memory, this connected organizer is rated to hold 12,000 addresses, 5 years of appointments, 3,000 to-do items, 3,000 memos, and 400 e-mail messages. The "x" in IIIx stands for expandable, and the Palm IIIx offers memory expansion with an internal slot for upgrade cards.
Setting up the Palm IIIx was easy--we just inserted two batteries, connected the cradle to a desktop PC serial port, dropped in the software CD-ROM, and followed the installation wizard.
You can navigate through the Palm IIIx's main applications--memo pad, to-do list, address book, and calendar--with six push buttons or by tapping the stylus on the backlit display. Palm OS 3.1 facilitates drag-and-drop linking to Microsoft Word or Excel and provides network synchronization and automatic configuration with Microsoft Outlook. The CD-ROM that comes with the Palm IIIx provides all the necessary software to manage tasks on your desktop, too.
The Palm IIIx is PC- and Mac-compatible (an inexpensive MacPac connection kit is required for Mac users), and, as with the PalmPilot Professional, the Palm IIIx uses the industry-acclaimed HotSync technology to exchange data with your desktop PC. The documentation is extensive and well written; it includes a Getting Started card, a handbook, a software-and-resource guide, and an accessory catalog.
In our test of the Graffiti Power Writing feature, which allows you to write on the Palm IIIx using Graffiti's shorthand alphabet, the Palm IIIx interpreted a full paragraph with no errors. We easily and successfully transmitted the text to another device through the infrared transceiver. We found Palm IIIx's expansion slot beneath its cover. While memory upgrade cards are not yet available from 3Com, other manufacturers do make compatible cards.
With its increased memory and OS 3.1, the Palm IIIx is a great evolutionary step in the Palm line. --Mike Brown
- Expandable for possible add-on hardware and memory upgrade cards
- Easy to set up, learn, and use
- Widely supported by third-party software, shareware, and freeware
Top customer reviews
Pros: -There is an abundance of software out there and several sites. More software is coming out daily and some of my favs are jot, Traffic, Four.zero, and flash, among others. -You will get a lot of attention, this is a great toy and people are interested in it. -an excellent way to get organized, much more fun than a pad a paper and plus, there are alarms to remind you of important dates. -The handwriting recognition is superb. I once owned a Davinci which has horrible recognition. I would also suggest Jot, which is a program with a more advanced handwriting recognition system. -Customer support is ok, I'm not blown away by it but I can understand because there are a lot of palm users out there. -The price. In my opinion, it is the best value out there.
Cons: -yes, you have heard it everywhere. The backlight is pretty weird. But it's not terrible, it does the job -I have had mine crash twice in a month, but luckily only one time did I lose data. There is a "soft" reset which comes in handy -Everyone else says the hotsych is great, but I have had problems with it. I cannot get it to work on my computer, but that may be the exception. -no color display, but hey, I can live without it because it costs hundreds of dollars more.
Overall, great product. It's fun and helps me to be more organized. Buy it!
The IIIx has the same screen technology and processor as the IIIe, but twice as much memory. Some users have reported "streaking" problems on the screen. I have not experienced that. In most cases, my screen is very clear and readable.
However, Palm recently introduced the "reverse backlighting" feature that inverts the color when you turn it on. It's great when you're sitting in very dark conditions, but in dimly lit rooms or during twilight outside, it can be quite difficult to read the screen because of the reverse backlighting. I learned, though, that there is a simple Graffiti shortcut to make the backlight "normal". Even with the normal backlighting, I had trouble reading the screen in twilight conditions.
Another feature of the IIIx that the IIIe lacks is an upgradeable operating system. This was the deciding factor for me when I chose the IIIx over the IIIe. The current PalmOS is 3.3, but the IIIe was shipping with 3.1 when I bought the unit for a friend for Christmas. The IIIx also had 3.1, but I immediately upgraded it to 3.3. There is no way to do that on the IIIe.
You may ask, Why would I need OS 3.3 instead of 3.1? Here's one reason: HotSyncing via infrared. OS 3.1 can't do it. If you're a laptop user and don't feel like carrying your HotSync cradle everywhere, or springing the extra money for a USB cable, then IR is a great feature. It's slower than the cradle, but way more convenient.
The IIIx also has an internal expansion slot that the IIIe lacks. Supposedly, you can open up your IIIx and plug devices like pager cards, etc., into it, but I don't think many of these devices exist right now. It wasn't a deciding factor for me.
Many people (including myself) have wondered: Why get a Palm IIIx instead of a Handspring Visor Deluxe? Here's is my reason, that I don't see many people mentioning: like the IIIe, the OS in the current Handsprings CANNOT be upgraded. That means if it ships with OS3.1, you are stuck with it.
If upgrading your OS is important to you, you should not get a current model of the Visor. (Perhaps in the future, their models will be upgradeable.)
The other reason I chose the IIIx over the Handspring was that Handspring was experiencing 6 week delays. I know that another reviewer has said he got his in 2.5 weeks, but if Handspring's own website is saying "It's going to be 6 weeks," then you pretty much have to take it at face value. I just checked their site as I write this, and it says their wait is down to four weeks. If you can wait that long and don't need an upgradeable version, then I would take a hard look at the Visor. It has a lot of attractive features. Remember that Visors ship with a USB cradle. If you don't have USB support on your computer, you'll have to purchase a serial cradle for (I think) $10.
As far as cost goes on the IIIx, shop around a little if you're cost-conscious.
To sum up, get the IIIx if:
(a) You can't afford/don't need the slimness of the V or Vx (b) Need the extra memory compared to the V or IIIe (c) Need the upgradeable OS or IR HotSync (d) Can't wait the possible 4 weeks for the Visor.
Hope this info is useful.
Peter, West Sussex, UK