Palm TX Review

I’ve been meaning to write a review of the Palm TX on Amazon for a while. After writing a brief review of a replacement Palm stylus, I decided to write up the TX too. Here it is:

4 stars

Very Good

I have had my Palm TX now for about 3 months. I have had a Palm Vx, m515, and now this one, and its capabilities blow the others away. The screen is fantastic. I love the extra space and resolution, plus the landscape mode. Having wifi is a huge plus even though I don’t have a wireless network at home or work. With the better processor, this is also super fast. It sorts through 300 records in Smartlist in about a second.

Still I had some disappointments:

The screen isn’t glass like the Vx. This probably makes it less likely to crack, but it makes the grafitti area more likely to be damaged and an overlay, at least in the grafitti area is a must. Even using a protector, I still had problems with grafitti skipping (like an “o” might become a “c” plus a blob even though I wrote an “o”) and wound up returning the first one I got after about a month. If you don’t bear down, it will skip. If you do bear down you are more likely to damage the screen. I have to take a star off for that.

I use a lot of third-party programs and many of them simply don’t work or will crash the TX. Generally I can find substitutes, but I still miss some of that and it was an ordeal at the beginning. I don’t think “hacks” are allowed anymore at all. But anything still being developed works fine. Also I really miss the old grafitti. I couldn’t get used to the new version which seemed incredibly slow and clumsy. Fortunately there is a way to get the old version back.

I don’t see why they couldn’t make the silkscreen “buttons” customizable like the actual buttons are. In fact you should be able to change the icons. I don’t use the Palm for e-mail and the media button is also kind of useless for me. I’d rather have the calculator and search buttons back.

The browser has problems. Wikipedia just shows up as a vertical line of letters. Also, if you don’t crash while browsing, it isn’t uncommon to crash shortly *after* browsing in a different program. Some secure websites simply won’t work at all. I have to cut Palm some slack on that since handheld devices can’t have browsers as good as a desktop, but being able to turn the screen to landscape should solve most things and it simply doesn’t here. There is no excuse for the crashes.

Despite the negatives, there were some nice surprises too:

I love using the Palm as an MP3 player. Among MP3 players it is bulky, but since I’m carrying it anyway, it really takes no additional space. I use the included pTunes player and bought a 2 GB card with several hundred songs on it and I love it. I use the Palm more than my 20 GB iPod now.

It also makes a great video player. Once I figured out the right mix of tools, I was able to put DVD’s on another 2 GB card. I can put 8 episodes of my favorite TV shows on one of those cards and it looks great using the free full-screen TCPMP player. People are amazed with that feature. The screen is bigger and has more resolution than a 5G iPod.

Battery life is surprisingly good. It’s nothing like the Vx which lasted a week or more, but it is as good as the m515 even playing an occasional movie and using the mp3 player.

The integration of everything could be better, but that’s part of the deal with an open platform. This thing is like an iPhone, only without the phone. And you can buy it today for much less money.

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