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"handwritting" PDAs vs. keyboard PDAs

I am looking at getting a PDA. I don't understand why Palms and palm-style devices (without keyboard) are so popular. The data entry speed sucks on a Palm.

But when I read magazine reviews, 70-80% of the PDAs reviewed are palm-style - they don't have a keyboard, you have to write on their screen with the stylus!

So I have tried both a Palm and a second-hand Psion Series 5, and decided my data entry speed is a lot higher with a keyboard.

The problem is that I have bad eyes, and the Psion Series 5 display isn't very readable.

Is there a small PDA with a good touch-typing keyboard and an excellent, readable screen (and possibly a zoom feature)?

I have bought the Psion, but I want to upgrade to a PDA with keyboard and a better screen.

MX
Friday, April 23, 2004

Check out some iPAQ's.  There is one that comes with a built in keyboard.

sedwo
Friday, April 23, 2004

A lot of PDAs have snap on thumb keyboards.  These obviously increase the size of the PDA.  There are also larger fold out keyboards if you happen to be sitting at a desk or something (I don't really understand the point of these).

Some are integrated:
http://www.pocketpcreviews.net/reviews/012004/iPAQ4350.htm

Personally I prefer a design where the screen is in landscape mode, and the keyboard folds over the screen.  Results in a bigger keyboard, and a better protected screen.  Aren't that many models that do this.  Motorola's MPX is one that is coming.  I think there is a Clie that does.

Keith Wright
Friday, April 23, 2004

You can get both Palm and PocketPC type devices in keyboard versions.

In the PalmOS arena, palmOne has a couple of devices in the Tungsten series (as well as their Treo 600 cellphone), Sony has several Clié models, and you can get clip-on keyboards for many more.

Good luck!

Michael Kohne
Friday, April 23, 2004

"Personally I prefer a design where the screen is in landscape mode, and the keyboard folds over the screen.  Results in a bigger keyboard, and a better protected screen.  Aren't that many models that do this."

When Microsoft first debuted Windows CE, there were three form factors: pocket PC (PPC), handheld PC (HPC), and handheld PC professional (HPC/Pro).

The PPC is what exists today. Hardly anybody makes either of the other two form factors any more. The form factor you described is the HPC form-factor, sometimes called "clamshell". The HPC/Pro looks like a mini-laptop.

I had an HPC/Pro model from IBM... it weighed about 1lb, and had about 10 hours of in-use battery life. It had a 640x480 resolution screen, about 8" as I recall, and a relatively decent sized keyboard. I used to use it all the time for meetings and presentations, since it came with Pocket Office installed. It even had an external VGA adapter to drive presentations from.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, April 23, 2004

the idea behind the Palm is that you enter the data on your computer and then synch it. You only make short notes using the stylus.

On a related point I nearly bought and EVerex which combined a mobile phone with a Pocket PC for $550. Pressed a button for phone mode and a touch screen numeric keypad came up. But try to send an SMS and they gave you the stylus keyboard.

It's pretty clear that the designers had never seen anybody use a mobile phone to send a text message. You hold the phone in your hand and use the thumb so you can type "I'm on the tran", while standing up and holding your briefcase in the other hand. I didn't buy it for that reason alone, and I'm sure that there are hundreds of thousands who will never buy a mobile phone/PDA they can't text with using one hand.

With predictive text input the mobile phone interface is not too bad for short data entry. But the combined device wil need somebody who knows how both are used.

Stephen Jones
Friday, April 23, 2004

>>"I don't understand why Palms and palm-style devices (without keyboard) are so popular."

Corporate executives view typing on a keyboard as a menial clerical task that is beneath them.

My Cousin Vinniwashtharam
Friday, April 23, 2004

Out of curiosity, if you don't understand why Palms are so popular, why are you getting one?

Kyralessa
Friday, April 23, 2004

"Personally I prefer a design where the screen is in landscape mode, and the keyboard folds over the screen. "

Sharp makes such a PDA in the Zaurus line, if the Linux-based OS is not an issue for you.

http://www.dynamism.com/zaurus/index.shtml

Not sure if that one is available in the US.  They also have some in a more traditonal PDA form factor, where the unit extends vertically to reveal a tiny keyboard.  Pictured here: http://www.myzaurus.com/

AMS
Friday, April 23, 2004

I've found that the PDAs with inbuilt keyboards are only usable ifyou are a REALLY slow, hunt-and-peck typist.

If you are used to any real typing speed, it is better to buy a separate keyboard for your PDA.

WARNING: Don't buy the Tungsten/E. While it is a good PDA, it uses a unique connector, and most Palm peripherals won't work.

WARNING: Don't buy the Palm wireless keyboard. It folds up small, but that is because it squashes all the keys into three rows. You'll go mad with combinations of FN and CTL keys.

Also, if you are used to Palm devices with Graffiti, you'll HATE the latest devices which use Graffiti2. Go to www.tealsoft.com and download their TealScript product, and you can get rid of Graffiti2.

HeWhoMustBeConfused
Friday, April 23, 2004

You might try to find a Psion Revo. I believe it had a higher contrast screen, although no backlight. And the keyboard is smaller than the 5, so you may find it too small.

Also, check out HP. I believe they still make a clamshell Windows CE device. I've never used one personally, but they have a color screen and a keyboard similar to the Psion 5. Kind of pricey, though (~$800).

mcurtis
Saturday, April 24, 2004

> Out of curiosity, if you don't understand
> why Palms are so popular, why are you
> getting one?

I said I tested a Palm and a PSION 5, and that I bought the PSION!

The PSION is a organizer which contains a real touch typing keyboard.

Here is more info about the PSION:
http://www.series5mx.com/

And also I said that I want something like the PSION, but with a screen that is a lot better - the PSION one SUCKS.

It may suck because I have a very old second-hand unit.

MX
Friday, April 30, 2004

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