Wednesday, August 1, 2001

So many Palm handhelds, so many choices


By Denise Watkins

So you've decided to buy a Palm handheld. Let me congratulate you on your decision. Deciding to buy a Palm handheld was the easy part. Deciding which model, on the other hand, isn't so easy. It seems Palm and its various licensees are producing models at the speed of light.

Now, chances are if you're reading this article, you have a fairly good knowledge of all things Palm. You're either reading it online, or on a Palm OS handheld you already own. You know the ins and outs of purchasing a PDA. However, though PDAs are becoming more and more commonplace, they haven't yet reached the popularity of the mobile phone. So when you use yours, you may still find yourself besieged by the curious onlookers, and more often than not, you hear questions like, "Hey, is that one of those Palm handheld things? I've been thinking about getting one. Which one do you think I should get?"

Now let's face it, most people want you to answer very succinctly and tell them, "You should buy A or B or C." They're horrified when they find out that their question is not so easily answered. There are approximately 25 models, according to the most recent spec chart from Pen Computing at, and you can't come up with a cut and dried answer. This article is designed to help you answer this question for yourself, and to help you advise the uninitiated. Or, you can suggest they read it. You may not agree with everything and may have other points you think should be considered in purchasing a Palm handheld. Please share them. I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to write to me at

If you're buying a Palm handheld as a gift for someone, let me give you this critical piece of advice. Don't, unless the following criteria apply. One, the potential recipient has asked specifically for a Palm OS handheld or strongly hinted, "I sure would be a happy camper if someone bought me a Palm/Visor/Sony CLIE." Or two, you asked, "What do you think of those Palm handhelds?" and received a positive response.