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The colour of convenience

PDAs are becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. Their functionality is improving and their prices are decreasing. One day everybody will have one. One of the market leaders in this industry is Palm and we reviewed their brand new Palm m515.

No, you first have to fill in your personal details and, more importantly, if it’s the first time you have ever used a Palm, you may have to spend some time teaching the device the ins and outs of your handwriting (here’s a tip: use the on-screen keyboard). Once you have filled in your name, surname, phone number and such, you need to calibrate the display. To do this you just have to tap the screen where and when it asks you. The whole process shouldn’t take you more than about ten minutes. Once complete, you are ready to rock and roll and you can input names and numbers into the phonebook, set up your meetings on the calendar and start filling up your to-do list. However, if you want to get really fancy and synchronise your Microsoft Outlook or other contacts, appointments, tasks and e-mail, then you have to plug the docking station into a USB port in your PC and install the included software. Then set the m515 in the docking station and hit the synchronise button. If all goes well, you should have your data copied across in no time at all.

The menus are very easy to navigate and are quite logically organised. Getting the Palm to synchronise with your PC is as easy as plugging in the docking station, loading the software and indicating what you want synchronised. Once this initial setup up is done just sit back and wait while all the updates are made. Every time you add a new contact, appointment, task or even receive a new mail on your PC, it will automatically be copied to the Palm.

The box claims brilliant colour and an ultra-slim profile. With the first claim I cannot agree more. The display is crisp and bright and for nighttime use there’s a good backlight. You can adjust the contrast and brightness to your preference, but the way it came out of the box was the way we used it. As for the ultra-slim claim, that’s stretching it a bit. It definitely is not one of the smallest and lightest PDAs available. What I really like about this Palm is its stunning hard case. This ensures that you never need to worry about accidentally pushing buttons while it is in your pocket. As for it easily synchronising with your e-mail client, once again we had absolutely no hassles at all. We did however spend quite a lot of time deleting all the contacts off the PDA when it was time for it to go back to its owner, but I doubt you will ever find yourself in that position.

Costing R7 000-00 I thought it was really value for money. It is cheaper than other PDAs on the market. Granted, other PDAs have additional capabilities like being able to play MP3s and streaming audio. But which serious business person would use these features on a PDA?

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