Pros:Great price, bright screen, lots of memory, camera, good battery life
Cons:Unstable (requires frequent resets), slow contact searches, battery alert problems
The Bottom Line: A nicely priced product spoiled by sporadic operational problems / buggy OS.
Purchased my first *real* PDA less than two weeks ago; being almost 43 years of age, I decided that I needed some "digital mental assist" to compensate for tiring biological gray matter :-) and decided on the Viewsonic V36 for its bang (fast 300Mhz Xscale processor, decent color display, 96M total rom ram, SD slot, nice compact size, long battery life, digital camera built-in) for the buck ($199 after rebate at Staples). After about a week of use, I felt I needed to exchange it for a new unit due to
[-] Frequent freeze-ups requiring resets (PocketPC 2003 issue?)
[-] Problems hot-plugging / unplugging at the PDA connector from my laptop (PDA would often freeze up, occassionally the screen would go "fuzzy" like a mistuned TV channel); the best workaround for this was to disconnect from ActiveSync on the PDA before unplugging the unit
NOTE: For some odd reason unplugging the V36 from its cable TURNS ON the unit, even if it was previously powered down
[-] Slow search results from contact list (searching for a company name near the end of an approx. 4600 list might take as long as 15 seconds before the name pops up; there is no indicator showing that the search had not completed. Letting the V36 sit for a bit would eventually show additional results (might be an PPC Outlook issue?)
[-] Ratty pictures, web-cam quality.
[-] Low-battery alert would occassionally kick in when running on batteries, even on a relatively full charge; upon checking the battery level after receiving the alert, the screen would indicate that the backup battery had little or no charge for a second and then kick back up to 100%.
Got a replacement V36 unit from the nice folks at Staples in case my problems were a fluke. On this second unit, I noted the following:
[+] The only improvement was that the "fuzzy screen" problem is gone. I can now hot plug / unplug the V36 without any problems.
[-] This replacement unit seemed to require more stylus pressure to detect the stylus (subjectively, I'd say I had to press about 25% harder). I liked the way that the first unit felt MUCH BETTER than the second
[-] All other symptoms pretty much remained the same
Too bad about Viewsonic's V36. It had a great price point and feature list, but the problems I encountered were major issues for me. Not sure these are production problems or quality control issues.
I'll be returning this unit in the next day or so to Staples. I am seriously considering going to Palm or some PocketPC device which is close to having a Linux port completed (I like the multi-tasking feature of the PocketPC but not the freeze-ups).
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Amount Paid (US$): 199
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