Monday, November 14, 2011

Palm TX and m130

Just a few days ago, I happened to find a Palm TX at a thrift shop with a leather case and USB cable. For $10 it was mine. At the same store, a few weeks earlier, I picked up a somewhat rough looking Palm m130 for $2.

The TX is a pretty nice unit for the most part. Unfortunately, a large amount of pre-existing software will not run properly on this device; it seems pickier with software than any other Palm OS device I've owned. Also, sometimes, for some odd reason, plugging or unplugging the USB sync cable causes screen glitches that, funny enough, are fixed by replugging and unpluging the cable again. Also, the power button isn't very sensitive. However, this unit runs pretty quick, has ample memory for software, built in bluetooth and wifi and a great screen.

As a web browser, the device is usable. Scripts don't always execute right and there's no Flash support so a good amount of the internet won't render right or at all. However, the majority of ads won't show on pages so there's a silver lining to that cloud. The bundled music player, PocketTunes, is easy to use, has a great interface and will continue playing music when you switch over to a different program. Also bundled is Documents to Go for natively creating, editing and viewing Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and VersaMail which is a very lightweight and easy to use e-mail client. As with most Palm devices made after Xerox sued them, the default input method is a handwriting system called Graffiti 2. It might be nice for people new to Palm. However, anyone who used the original Graffiti long enough to get decent at using it will probably dislike it. Luckily, that's easily taken care of with a patch easily found on google. Even with wifi on and music playing, battery life on this handheld is very good. I haven't measured but can say several hours.

The other PDA I got, the Palm m130, is not a bad device either though with some paint coming off and a minor crack in the back, it has definitely seen better days. Mine came without a cable or cradle but I was able to take it apart, pull the battery, charge it and put it back in the device for a little bit of use. The 160x160 passive matrix screen isn't nearly as nice to look at as the 320x480 TFT on the TX but, never the less, is still respectable. It's very bright, colors are accurate, text is sharp and there's no noticable ghosting (being such a small screen and with low pixel count, the most visible problems with passive matrix screens are moot). The 16mb RAM was quite sufficient when the device was new and to expand on that, this device also has an SD slot. The case feels very solid and while this was a low end unit, build quality is very high and the device feels much more solid than my Palm TX.

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