Palm TX Handheld PDA



Wireless bliss. I have never had such an easy time getting up and running with Wi-Fi as I did with the TX. I pushed the quick-launch button for web browsing, the Wi-Fi initialization started immediately, scanned the available networks, I entered the pass key for my secured home network, and was browsing the web in under 30 seconds. No crazy programming, no screwing with a bajillion options that only electrical engineers with PhD’s can understand. It just works right out of the box. The built-in browser, Blazer, downloads quickly, renders images quickly, has wide-screen mode, and you can make the text small, allowing you to see whole pages without constantly scrolling right and left. Again, the best mobile browser I have ever used. The TX also has an infra-red port to beam data, which works as all IR ports should. It also has Bluetooth. Personally, I hate Bluetooth, but I do use it to HotSync wirelessly to my PC. With the TX you can connect via Bluetooth to any other Bluetooth device…maybe it will work…maybe it won’t…eh, Bluetooth does what it feels like. If you like self-punishment, you can even browse the web with Bluetooth.

Let’s talk about games for a minute. The TX comes with solitaire installed – it’s fun, it’s solitaire. Now there are just a ton of high quality games designed for Palm OS 5. Some are free, the really good ones you can try as a demo, and then buy them. The TX’s central control pad works very well for games. The five buttons (two buttons on either side of the pad, plus the center button) although somewhat close together are still conveniently placed. Let us also talk about emulators for Palm. There are a ton of them, and depending on who you ask, their legal status is shaky or solid. Well, the TX can play them, but there is a catch. Most emulators need a fair amount of accessible heap memory. Remember that the TX only allocates 4 MB of its total memory for this, but for some emulators that is just not enough. To solve this, you can purchase an ingenious little program called Unlimited Dynamic Memory Hack (UDMH), which frees up a ton of memory to be used as heap memory, and makes your emulator experience heavenly.

You might wonder what the difference is between the TX and the Tungsten|5. They look practically identical, but the TX is black plastic instead of metal (but it is very tough plastic, weighs less, and receives less wear), has less memory (but again, 128 MB is plenty for most people, and you can purchase an extra SD memory card very inexpensively), the TX has Wi-Fi, and according to reports the T|5 has some stability issues – I have not had any stability issues even after very extensive use. You may also wonder, “What about the PalmOne LifeDrive?” My answer, unfortunately is that the LifeDrive, while a cool idea, is utterly unacceptable. It is slow, slow, slow! It uses a very tiny hard disk for its memory and storage, and has severe time lag for starting applications – the hard disk just cannot compare speed wise with flash memory. Just go check out the LifeDrive at Best Buy, Staples, CompUSA, or Circuit City and you will see what I mean. If you really feel that you need 4GB of storage space for your PDA, go buy a 4GB SD memory card for the TX, and all will be well. And for those of you thinking, “But the Palm OS can only handle up to 2GB SD cards,” the TX can indeed handle the 4GB SD cards, and can utilize the entire card.