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29 July 2007

The Good Old Palm Tungsten |E

Product Requirements:
PC running Windows 98/2000/ME/XP (Windows 2000 and XP require admin rights to install)
or Mac OS 9.1 or higher/Mac OS X, v10.1.2 to v10.2.6 (Mac OS X requires admin rights to install)

Just to give you a brief overview of the Palm Tungsten E. Palm has come out with the latest model of the same model: Tungsten E2. However I won’t discuss about the new Tungsten E2.

Basically the old Tungsten E is a great device. For those who has never own one before I recommend you try tungsten E2 since tungsten E is no longer in production. To me Tungsten E is more than a basic PDA. The price of an old Tungsten E is roughly about USD$99.99 to USD$108.88. The device is still on sale though at some online shopping site.

First let go through the specification of the Tungsten E.

Hardware Specs:

Processor: 126MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 311 ARM Processor
Operating System: Palm OS software version v.5.2.1
Memory: Total 32 MB (28.6 MB available)
Display: TFT color display with backlight, 320 x 320, 65,000 colors
Interface: USB (for HotSync® operation), Infrared
Dimensions and Weight: 4.5 x 3.1 x 0.5in, 4.6 oz. (including stylus)
Power: 240VAC, 50Hz
Battery: 840mHa Lithium-ion polymer rechargeable battery (internal - non user removable)
Expansion: SD card slot (Secure Digital), supports MMC and SDIO cards

The device is normally sold in a special package house in a plastic see thru packaging. The items include in package are as follows: handheld itself, USB HotSync cable, AC adapter, Brown leather casing, one extra stylus, installation CD-ROM, and instruction manuals.

The company has a good marketing strategy by introducing the plastic see thru packaging. It allows someone to immediately see the device and able to judging it physical appearance whether it suits a person taste or other wise. That to me is clever and I myself got hook straight away when I first hold the device and didn’t think twice to finally decide to buy it. I owned one myself and still using it until today. It’s a robust device. I happen to drop it once but not intentionally, it still works after I picked it up. Everything works as usual.
The device is especially design to suit a business person with it slim shape and light weight (not so light weight), but it is much slimmer compare to Zire 71. It’s very comfortable to hold and ease of use. It’s a solid device (it passed the Gadgeteer Creak Test with flying colors). The body looks like it all made of chrome steel but when I look closely is actually partly plastic. It’s not 100% chrome steel.

It still used the standard 5 way navigation pad layout and I really like the feel of the application buttons. The buttons are flat, robust and square and very practical. The response is quite smooth and fast when you use the 5 way navigation pad even though sometime it does kind of slows in respond especially the down direction. Never the less I still feel comfortable with it key pad (my honest opinion).

The PDA has a thin slit at the left side to accommodate a plastic or leather flip cover. However the one I bought has none of these flip cover (it has a brown leather casing instead).

As usual the reset switch is located on the back of the PDA, along with the speaker holes. The speaker on the TE is fine and rather small and not as loud as compare to other PDA. At the top of the PDA has the power Button. Now this is my utmost dissatisfaction of the PDA. The reset button is to me ridiculous and stupid. It is small and in responsive. You had a hard time to switch off and on the PDA because of this lousy button. Another one is the IR port. The IR port is very poor in response. You actually need to try a few times to be able to beam or receive data from other PDA and most of the time always fail. This is very frustrating.

Apart from that the rest is ok and acceptable. The PDA is equipped with few useful applications such as the document to go, Photos viewer, Realone player, games.

But before I forgot, the PDA does not have a universal connector accept a standard USB to communicate between PC and the PDA.

But the most outstanding features about this PDA are it display. The display is fantastic. It is bright and crisp and has vivid colors.

I won’t discuss further with the included software bundle for now.

Another feature that attracted me is the slot for SD memory card. You can use up to 1G SD Card with ease.

The Tungsten E comes with a very nice software bundle as follows:

Adobe Reader – PDF file viewer.

Palm Reader – My favorite e-book reader!

Phone Link, Dialer, and SMS – Mobile phone apps.

VersaMail – Latest version allows you to view Word and Excel attachments (up to 5mb in size).

Handmark's PDA Money, MobileDB and Magic Dogs card game.

Kinoma – Video player.

Photos – Slideshow application.

RealOne – Basic MP3 player.

Documents-to-Go – Word, Excel and PowerPoint viewer and editor that can read and write native files.

powerOne Calculator – Installs on first HotSync and takes the place of the built-in calculator.

Kinoma Producer – Desktop application that allows you to convert your favorite home movies and animated videos - MPEG-1, QuickTime, AVI.

Overall, my personal view on the Tungsten E is good value for money. It is a perfect PDA for those who want to upgrade their old PDA. Even though it does not have all the latest features such as blue tooth, camera, Voice recorder just to name a few, it is still worth having considering the price is affordable and it’s features is not as bad as you might think and on top of that it comes with a software bundle as well. That is more than generous and who know may be you decide to buy one for yourself.

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