Recommendation needed: best, easiest Palm?

postumJuly 9, 2007

Hi - Reading over the list of "Things You've Bought That Really Made An Impact On Organizing" I was impressed by the number of people who said that a Palm Pilot (or similar) was the one thing that helped the most.

I think this would be really helpful for me as my work schedule changes daily and dd and dh are in various activities. BUT, I really don't want to make an investment in a gadget that I won't use.

If an older model will serve (I'm not planning on linking to a computer) that's fine - I imagine I could Ebay it.

Does anyone have a recommendation for an electronic organizer for someone who doesn't want to spend days using to learn one? One thing I really need (and they probably all have it) is an alarm function that will alert me to scheduled events. Other than that, standard calendar, to-do and shopping lists, address book - that's pretty much all I need.

Thanks so much for your help!


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I use a Garmin iQue which does have my schedule and an alarm, and it synchs to my PC outlook but what I like it for is the GPS. Plug it in to your car, key in the address you are going to and voila!!it tells you turn left, etc. When we are in another State or City its wonderful to negotiate the Massachusetts turnpike even if you have never been near it before. Tap it to look for a nearby gas station or restaurant.There is no monthly charge for it. Since it can be hand held--I was walking in Washington DC and was able to find a restaurant I was looking for by looking at the map. I have no idea how this works. I am sure the latest models have a phone too. I just saw a laser keyboard which projects a keyboard in red light on the counter and you use it to type. Our 6 year old grandson liked that and immediately typed his name by pressing our kitchen counter where the letters were projected.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 7:21PM
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The newest entry level Palm is the Z 22. It sells for about $100 and will do eveything you need to do. It is simple to lean and keep up.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 1:55PM
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Hi Amy.

I've been a Palm PDA user forever and think it is a great product.

First thing to know is that these little mini computers have either Palm or WindowsME as their "Operating System" or OS. The Palm OS is intuitive and super easy. The windows ME is a variant of Windows and lots of folks complain about it and seem to prefer the elegant simplicity of the Palm OS. OTOH, there are complaints that Palm is "resting on its laurels" and really hasn't done much progressive since creating that great OS years ago. And now of course Apple has just muscled in with the stunning iPhone. (though iPhone is more about music/video/entertainment, and Palm is still better for calendar, words and numbers IMHO)

Enough consumer politics.

Scanning Ebay for you, cheapest used PDA looks like an old Handspring Visor or Palm Zire 21 or Sony SJ20 for under $10 bucks. It'll do what you need. (BTW, Sony and Handspring are out of the PDA business, so you won't see newer models from them down the road). But you'll soon be lusting for something much brighter, stronger, faster, AND sporting a high resolution color screen. Believe me on that. And there a lots of the more common midrange, very popular Palm Zire Z22 or a Sony SJ30. You should be able to get your hands on a used one for under $50. Both very nice products. Went for $250+ three or four years ago. And if going with a used one, know that an internal (vs disposable) battery might be an issue in an older PDA. I'm seeing a couple full featured (yet another step up) Sony Clie PEG-TG50 out there for cheap and wonder if dying batteries might be the problem. Some internal batteries cannot be replaced by the consumer - you gotta send it someplace. Yech.

I would not go crazy and get a Palm Tungston level state of the art PDA. Way too much power and too many features. Ditto other upper end models. MP3 player, Bluetooth, swivel screen, voice recorder,camera, etc is probably overkill. Stick to basic. But fast enough and bright enough and with enough memory to work well for you. And the color screen, it's like a TV. Would you ever go back to a fuzzy B & W screen? No way.

And while you say you don't want to synch to a computer, you may want to reconsider that for four reasons:
1) You will have to synch to get cool programs off the internet and onto the thing. Or photos!
2) You can move a bunch of info (like your address book or recipes) en mass from the computer onto the PDA by synching.
3) When adding a bunch of new data, it is much easier to type using your computer keyboard and transfer/synch later.
4) MOST IMPORTANT: Your computer will save *everything* for you at each synch. So if/when you smash or crash the PDA, (or upgrade) you just slap it all back on there with a click. Beats starting over from scratch!

Last point is that you will likely have some snafus getting it up and running smooth. These electronics always have a learning curve, don't they? Palm is pretty easy and stable though, and there is lots of help on the net. Whatever your problem, you can likely find the answer with a Google or a support board.

HTH, and good luck!

-Celtic, who just upgraded to an Ebay Treo when my phone and PDA both conveniently tanked on me the same week. Loving it!

Here is a link that might be useful: One to watch

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 2:04PM
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I don' thave any Palm recommendations (though SteveO might; find an old post of his, and see if you can e-mail him).

But I do have this general "technology" advice: Round up.

Don't underestimate what some of the added features can do for you. If you can afford the splurge, round up.

For example, I wish I had paid more and gotten a P-touch with the capability of doing two lines. I *could* afford it if I wanted to, and now that I have the P-touch, I have found that there have been several times when doing two or even three lines would have been worth that extra money.

Of course, you could *keep* rounding up; it's tricky to know where to stop.

But I have often gotten the bottom level, and then wished I'd spent just a little more to get one more feature. Or to get an easier function.

(also, you will probably want one that CAN sync w/ your PC, because that's the best backup there is. Buy one w/ an easy sync-up system, even if that's more money)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 3:37PM
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I used a paper DayTimer for years, although I'm computer literate. The early Palms had very tiny screens & I couldn't see how I'd do advance planning on it.

I decided to try using the calendar function on my laptop first, using Entourage (Mac version of Microsoft Outlook). I thought I could print out monthly pages periodically. It worked so well that I quickly added a Palm based PDA, a Sony Clie, & stopped using my paper DayTimer.

I primarily use the Calendar & the Contacts function. Long term tasks go in the To Do function, but short term or parts of long term go in my Calendar, and I simply erase them when finished. I leave items like doctor appointments permanently in the calendar to be able to search for them.

Being able to have important info with me at all times is great. Even a laptop is too big, while a Palm can go anywhere. I now have a Treo with phone & love it. It is so important to synch on a regular basis to a computer, so that you are backed up.

I keep really sensitive information in an encrypted file. A great way to do this is with a program called SplashID. It is available by itself or with a collection of other useful programs called SplashWallet.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 6:16PM
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I still float in and out. I feel more qualified to talk about Palms than some of the other topics here. :-)

Right now, the choice in new Palms is slim-to-none. Only Palm sells Palm-OS handhelds now, and they sell only three models (unless you count the Treos). Windows handhelds are not doing much better, either, and the folks who make most of those have other, bigger product lines to sell, so they won't feel badly about dumping their handhelds. For Palm, Treos and handhelds are their life, so I'm still confident about recommending Palms, though I don't recommend spending a big wad of money on one unless you know you'll use it.

Anyway, one choice you could make is whether you want to get into a Palm as cheap as possible or if you're willing to spend a little more thinking that, if you don't like it, you could sell it and make something back. The cheapest new Palm is the Z22. It's about $100. The next step up is the E2, which goes for about $200. For your 100 extra dollars, you get a bigger screen with four times the resolution, the ability to add memory if you need to, and Bluetooth, which you may have on your phone or even your PC. IMHO, if you can afford it, it is money well-spent.

If not, however, and if you're comfortable buying from eBay, you can get a very good Palm for the price of the Z22. I recently lost my Palm (didn't get the rubber-suction-cup option :-p) and ended up buying a T2 (which has pretty much everything the E2 has except for a Palm warranty and a pretty box) for around $100 shipped. And there were even better Palms out there for that money if I was willing to wait and maybe lose some auctions along the way.

By the way, you will want to synchronize your Palm to your PC. While I was not happy to lose my handheld, it was fairly low-drama because I had password software on it which could be bypassed only by resetting the Palm to out-of-the-box blank; and I had synced my data just that afternoon, so I lost virtually no information. Synced the new one and I was pretty much ready to go. Try that with a DayTimer. :-)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 5:42PM
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For your 100 extra dollars, you get a bigger screen with four times the resolution, the ability to add memory if you need to, and Bluetooth, which you may have on your phone or even your PC. IMHO, if you can afford it, it is money well-spent.

I agree, and this is exactly what I meant about rounding up. Having a clearer, easier-to-see screen can make a big difference in how usable it is.

Having Bluetooth may open up lots of possibilities.

SteveO, can you get the rubber-suction-cup option from a third-party provider? I know it's not an option for the company. The astral tether isn't market ready yet, either.....(those were jokes)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 5:59PM
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Could anyone comment on the pros and cons of using the Microsoft Outlook on the Palm vs. the Palm functionalities.I know I can set my Palm to use Outlook,but don't know what all that will mean later in terms of options and functionalities.

When I was "between" PDA's, I've used Outlook for my calendar and do find it very convenient, since much of my scheduling comes from e-mail and I just toggle back and forth. What I can't tell, is whether I can use the Outlook calendar but not Outlook other stuff--i.e., use some Outlook functions and some Palm software and integrate them--or whether, if I use Outlook calendar then I have to use Outlook Contacts, to-do lists. I had thought Palm had more organizing capabilities that I might want to get into (list management, sorting, etc) but again, it's mostly my ignorance of what each system can do and which system is better for me, or does it matter. Plus, I didn't know whether I can transer one to another (I did have a lot of contacts in Palm and didn't know if I had to re-enter them all if change to Outlook contacts or if the 2 "systems" can talk to each other and transfer.

I think I need several "for Dummies" books!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 10:04AM
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I can't speak much to Outlook (which I and many of my friends call "Microsoft Lookout" because it isn't exactly secure software). But I can tell you that if you use Outlook and like it, it makes sense to synchronize your Palm data in that format.

Most software which allows you to move information between the Palm and programs like Outlook actually keeps track of the Palm data formats. So you could synchronize your info between the Palm and Outlook and then choose to use something that looks like Outlook on the Palm -- or just use the Palm's built-in programs to check appointments, find a phone number, etc. Changes you make in either direction should be synchronized.

Most programs like Outlook also have the ability to export and import information in some common data formats (like tab-delimited or comma-separated files). So you should be able to export your data from one program and import it into another. It's not always a piece of cake, but for a one-time transfer to get you started, it sure beats re-entering all that information!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 6:26PM
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Hi - thanks for all your help! I'm thinking that the Palm Z22 might best fit my needs.

The reason I mentioned that I wouldn't be synching to a computer is because at the moment I don't have a computer! I use a computer at work, but it is shared with one other person and I need the IT folks to approve putting on software - a pain but probably my best option. I hadn't even thought of needing to back-up my info, but it certainly makes a lot of sense!

(At home, I use one of DH's Macs to check my email and so on but I really don't want to mess with his computer set up.)

I'm still reading through all the reviews - more opinions always welcome! Thanks again - Amy

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 1:48PM
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DH could set you up with your own User section of the computer, where you can't touch his setup & he can't touch yours, unless you give each other passwords & permission. It's truly like having your own computer. To be fair, Windows can do this too, but Unix which Mac uses is more secure.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 8:45PM
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I use the Palm Desktop software on both Mac and Windows. My experience is that it's darn near bulletproof on both platforms. If DH is willing to give you your own account on one of the Macs, you can feel comfortable about installing the software and backing up your Palm. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 11:53PM
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