Palm TX Handheld PDA


A closer look

The user interface is relatively straight forward, especially if you have used previous Palm operating systems. You can solely use the touch screen if you choose to, or you can use the various buttons for quick-launching applications. There is a four-way “d-pad” for cursor/menu movement, a selection button in the middle, and four buttons for “home,” “calendar,” “contacts,” and “web.” These are also programmable if you need them for other uses.

The display itself is crisp and bright. You can change the brightness level via a slider on the display. Sound on the single speaker is OK. For the little system beeps and alarms the single rear speaker is adequate. Plugging in a set of headphones is a must for MP3 listening or extended video viewing. The sound then changes from adequate to very nice. One minor complaint is that setting up different volume levels can be difficult: for the system sounds you can only choose off, low, medium, and high. But this does not affect the volume for MP3, nor for video, which both have separate slider controls for volume. For example, when you choose “mute” from the primary sound screen, if you play a video, and did not set the volume to mute there too, you will get sound. This was very shocking the first time I noticed it. There should really be an easily accessible Master Volume Control.

The TX is a very good size, and fits in your hand very comfortably. It is also thin enough so that it can easily fit in your pocket, but not so narrow that it is difficult to manipulate. To show size comparison is a Garmin iQue 3600, and a Tapwave Zodiac2 (my previous favorite PDA).

Navigation through the system is a snap. The icons are easily distinguishable, look exactly like what they represent, and are also named. You can use the Home feature to select various categories such as documents, games, and media, etc., or you can go directly to all applications. Best of all you can extensively customize your menus, colors, and even change your background to a different picture using your own photos. Very personal. The stylus fits in a little slot on the side, is metal with a shiny silver finish, has a good weight, and feels quite nice.