Is this thing a bargain, or what?
...well, I guess if you're me, it is. I got it for free. I worked for a tax accountant this spring, and since I won a contest, and the Palm IIIxe was the grand prize, I now have a Palm. You see, my boss makes a few bucks on the side by offering a tax class. And, the preparer who recruited the greatest number of tax-school students gets the prize...
...well, you get the picture.
Even if you had to fork over the cash for this baby, it's still a bargain. I checked with buy.com and a few other sites and found $179 to be the average price. There are few other PDA's available for less than $200.
Now that I have my Palm IIIxe, I wonder what I did without it. It totally replaces any need you might have for a day timer.
Calender - a good one
The calendar is simple and straightforward. You can schedule meetings and events as well as set audible alarms for important events. The calendar program lets you create events for anywhere from 5 minutes (in 5-minute intervals) to a whole day. I even downloaded some free alarm sounds so that my alarms sound like AC/DC songs! Kewl, huh?
One popular download is from infuzer.com. It allows you to get the latest weather forecast entered into your calendar. You can get up to 5 days of forecasts!
Most importantly, you can make detailed notes about each event. I've been to meetings where I had to makes 2-3 pages worth of notes. Needless to say, the Palm was most accommodating.
Some of the pre-loaded software that it also includes is an expense tracker, pop-up reminders, and e-mail management software.
E-mail is a downer
I was a bit disappointed with the e-mail program. It's very basic. And, since I have multiple e-mail accounts, I wanted to at-least have the capability to manage and sort e-mail from multiple accounts.
The Palm e-mail program only lets you handle e-mail for one account. There are after-market e-mail management programs. But, as far as I've seen, they all cost money, and they offer features that I don't need... ie: Outlook.
Syncing is soooo HOT!!
Hot-sync is the built in program that allows you to synchronize your Palm computer with your desktop. This is, perhaps, the best feature. You place your palm computer in the included cradle, and press the Hot-Sync button, and viola... The computer does the rest.
Depending on the number of items to be synchronized, this will take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Once you've synchronized, you can work with your calendar on your PC. Working with a keyboard tends to be easier than writing on the Palm screen.
Entering text on a handheld device
Don't get me wrong, the Palm graffiti feature is easy to use. Graffiti is where you write with a stylus (kind of like a pen) on the screen, and the Palm translates your writing into type.
It will take some getting used to. But, fortunately, Palm has included a game called Giraffe. Giraffe shows characters on the screen, and your goal is to write the character on the graffiti pad before the letter disappears. The better you get the faster it goes. This is a great, fun, exercise. The more you practice the better you are when you have to be... when in meetings, taking notes.
Expense tracker - listen up mobile professionals
The expense program is another helpful feature. I need to track my expenses, so that I can write them off on my taxes. You simply enter the expense and classify it as it happens. Then, when you need to retrieve the data, you can import it into an MS Excel spreadsheet designed to your needs. Unfortunately, it doesn't work with other spreadsheets... Lotus 123, etc.
Add-ons to consider
Like I said in my pros-and-cons section, there is a plethora of after-market software available. One of the best is AvanteGo. You can get this at www.avantego.com. It is an internet browser designed to work on the palm.
You can determine what content you want and have it downloaded once a day. Sorry, the Palm IIIxe is not a wireless device. Perhaps you can buy an after-market modem, but I've looked and can't find one.
Anyway, AvanteGo is connected to thousands of mobile-friendly sites and allows you to download web-pages with news and information. I have mine setup to receive headlines from BBC as well as various content from, the men's magazine, Maxim. When I'm sitting in an airport or a restaurant, it's nice to have some entertainment and information right in the palm of my hand.
There are thousands of other downloads available, including games. I like Euchre and Pacman!!
The Palm hardware is durable. I've dropped this thing onto the sidewalk, many times, and can't even find so much as a scratch. Supposedly, if the standard 8mb memory isn't enough, you can purchase "flash-memory" upgrades. Well, I've been to the Palm site, and I can't find the upgrades. Fortunately, I am only using 2mb of the memory at this time.
Like most handhelds, the IIIxe has an infrared device. With this device you can send messages and programs to other Palm users. One related feature is the business-card. You can create your own business card, in the address book, and then beam your business card to other Palms.
How 'bout GPS?
Since I do a lot of traveling, I bit the bullet and purchased Rand-McNally Streetfinder GPS for the Palm. This was a great deal at $59.99 and may still be available at RandMcnally.com. I've seen the same thing on sale at retailers for $180.
This package includes a GPS receiver, a car-mount and software. With all the traveling that I do, I've found this to be the most valuable reason for having a Palm. Prior to working in an area, I plot out my destinations on my PC, then upload them to my Palm. Once I'm on the road, I simply mount the receiver to my car windshield and start GPS.
It is reasonably accurate. Although, occasionally, it won't be able to find an address. Recently, I had to travel to Kentucky and West Virginia on some back roads. This program is very detailed and shows almost every side street in every back-woods place I've traveled. In the past, I could have easily gotten lost. But, now I just take a peek at the Palm, and it tells me where I am, and I can find the quickest route to my next destination.
Wooh. It is impressive. You can supposedly get 30 days out of two AAA batteries. Well, since I have my Palm on almost continuously, getting 10 days out of a set of batteries tends to be the limit. But, with the battery indicator on the menu screens, you'll always be forewarned.
The Palm does not include a case, but it does have a removable flip-cover that protects the screen when not in use. I got a leather case for $29.95. Beware, though, avoid the cases that have a metal snap. The snap has a tendency to rest on the screen. If you lay a book, or something heavy, on top of the palm IIIxe, it will shatter the screen.
The stylus (writing device) is a cheap plastic piece. For about 7 bucks you can purchase a set of 3 metal styluses. They are more comfortable to use than the original. Plus, since they aren't attached, you're sure to lose them occasionally.
In comparison to other Handhelds, the Palm IIIxe has plenty of memory (8 mb), is inexpensive, and is based around the most popular operating system (Palm OS). If you're looking for a color screen, no such luck here... sorry, those downloaded porn pics are not gonna look so great on this thing.
What the Palm IIIxe is, is one powerful handy little companion that you're sure to get attached to.
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Amount Paid (US$): 179 est