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  1.    #1  
    I've been lurking around this board for quite some time, and I'd like to start out by complimenting the many posters here - the information is great for handheld newbies like myself.

    The decisions as to whether to buy has been decided - I now have to decide which one. I'm torn between the new Pocket PC (HP Jornada) vs. a Palm OS device, in this case the Visor Deluxe or the Palm Vx. Without starting another flame war on PPC vs. Palm, let me try to lay out my considerations:

    Pocket PC: Pluses include color and e-book capability. Not interested in the Palm IIIc, b/c the screen looks horrible. What concerns me about the PPC is the question of what happens when the "gadget" factor wears off. There are thousands of 3rd party apps for the Palm OS. Have others besides Microsoft announced plans to support? With the user base much lower than Palms, what are the incentives for 3rd parties. Also minuses include short battery life, and size (although I couldn't get the guy in Staples to open a box to let me hold it, so I'm not sure of its relative size, except for the dimensions - which for other people might be helpful, but I've got to hold the thing to get a real sense of it). Above all, it's got to be easy to carry - thin and lightweight.

    Visor - speaking of thin and lightweight, I was a little disappointed by the relative feel of the Visor vs. the Palm Vx. The visor was not just thicker, but a little "clunkier" around the edges. Aside from that, it seems to me that the biggest difference b/w the Visor & the Palm Vx is the springboard slot (color of the case is a non-issue for me). While in theory, it's a great feature, in practice, it doesn't seem well supported (unless you're Tiger Woods...). It seems like a chicken/egg problem - without a large user base, no SBs, and without more SBs, no large user base. Although, I must admit, if some of these things actually make it to market (like the GPS SB), I will probably buy them. Are any of the PPC squad (Foo, etc.) aware of GPS modules being developed for the PPC (the iPAQ seems to have expansion capabilities)?I'm also bothered by the Visor "incompatability" list - I know it's silly, but something in the back of my head keep saying - "it's not a real Palm device if it can't run all the software... ." Have any of you Visor legion ever run into problems because the software wouldn't run, and you couldn't find a visor-fiendly replacement?

    Palm Vx: Putting aside the question of pure esthetics, this one is the sleekest of the PPAs, and seems to be the easiest to carry around. Besides the loss of the SB capabilities, and USB connection, are there other disadvatages to the Palm Vx vs. the Visor? The small cost difference is not much of an issue.

    As for PDA use, while I know I will use the traditional PDA software (calendar, address, etc.), I am especially interested in running other applications - Avantgo, etc. I'd also like the capability to bring e-books (or palm related equivalents) along on travel. My brief research into e-books indicates that more and more first-run books (i.e., best sellers) are being exported to this format. Will Visor be able to keep up with PPC in this regard? Most of the .txt books for Visor/Palm are public domain works - or am I misinformed?

    Sorry to ramble, but the choice has been killing me - I've got the "buy" bug, and I've got it bad. Can folks objectively help me out, without rehashing the PPC debate in the off-topic forum?

    Thanks - demaximis
  2. #2  
    Get the Visor. Even if you regret to down the road, it's a much cheaper regret the PPC. Yes, the Palm Vx is sexy, but it's not expandable. On the other hand, the Visor's cheap, expandable, has a acceptable form factor, has lots of third party development (55,000 Palm OS developers compared to 200 on WinCE), and allows you send and receive information to and from the majority of PDAs (Palm OS) out there. I'd be less worried about whether springboards will come out than whether the company that makes the PPC I choose will be the fifth WinCE OEM to discountinue its product due to low sales (I'm sure any Nino owner would agree).

    I haven't found an incompatible application myself, the incompatability list notwitstanding. There were a couple of things that I can't run down to the fact that they haven't been maintained concurrently with OS upgrades, like EcoHack. But really, this is a non-issue. I beamed ever app but EcoHack from my Palm III to my Visor with no problems whatsoever.

    Don't think so hard. It's really a no-brainer.

    [This message has been edited by Gameboy70 (edited 04-20-2000).]
  3. #3  
    Originally posted by demaximis:
    ...I'm also bothered by the Visor "incompatability" list - I know it's silly, but something in the back of my head keep saying - "it's not a real Palm device if it can't run all the software...
    This has always bothered me as well... While the incompatabilities exist, I wonder if they also exist (at least to some extent) on Palm devices as well. Serial and IR apps are understandable to me since this is one area where HS really "tweaked" the OS. But some of the others... they seem to be normal everyday apps and I suspect there are the same problems on Palms. I believe you would call this poorly written software or maybe just plain bad stuff. Think about it... there are plenty of buggy apps in the desktop world, too.

    MarkEagle - Ice is nice!
  4. pk
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    Stay with a Palm OS device. A recent review on Pocket PC at CNET was not very favorable. It's prone to crashing...just like windows (gee will they ever learn!) The main difference between a PPC and a Palm OS device is expandability! MSFT tries to cram as much as possible into their software trying to be a jack of all trades to all users. Palms/Visors on the other hand are customizable to YOUR specifications with all the thousands of third party options available and at extremely reasonable prices. Springboards will come in time...just like so many of the Palm applications out there came.
    "If you build it, they will come."
  5. #5  
    Let me set the record straight. I've had my new Pocket PC for 2 days now. I have used it constantly, doing everything from browsing web pages, using spreadsheets, word documents, playing MP3s and even watching a video clip or two. The Pocket PC is NOT "crash prone", in fact it hasn't crashed once. The CNET article was wrong, and so far they are the ONLY online review source to make such a claim, and that's because they are grossly biased towards the Palm.

    You can argue any point you like, but please don't spread inaccurate falsehoods.
  6. #6  
    Cnet is NOT a reliable, unbiased source of information.

    They are unflinchingly biased against the Visor and the Pocket PC.

    I have seen the PPC, played with it a bit, and it is an impressive piece of technology. While it is true there are less independent developers for the Win/CE platform, it is also true that the PPC comes with more software from the get go.

    The real questions is do you need a $450 personal organizer? If you need a personal organizer the $250 for the Visro is well spent but the PPC is likely to be more satisfying as a Pocket computer. If yo want maximum power in a small package get the PPC. It is a way cool toy and gizmo. I am interested in one myself and I am deeply pleased with my visor.
  7. #7  
    Which PPC did you look at?

    Also, the number of WinCE developers is increasing steadily, and before the end of this month Microsoft will release a software development kit (possibly free) for developers that will eliminate the need to recompile source code for every particular type of processor.

    So far my PPC has been a blast, but your right Grump, if all you want is a basic organizer the Palm is definitely the way to go. And the Visor is arguably the best Palm OS device on the market. If, however, you want more functionality, then the Pocket PC is the clear winner hands down. There is no wrong or right answer, it's about what you want from your PDA.
  8. #8  
    Unless all you will use your PDA for is storing your contacts, the Pocket PC is a better deal. You can get the Jornada for $399, only $150 more and you get free 2-day shipping. That doesn't even take into account the fact that the Jornada has a color screen, MP3 capabilities, plus more useful applications right out of the box. Pretec just announced their GPS module for Compact Flash I, but I didn't see a price or date of availability on their website.

    I agree that there are many more developers for the Palm, but I have found that the applications for Windows CE are much more professional and can do almost anything that the massive amounts of Palm programs can do.

    As foo fighter said, if all you want is an address book, buy the Visor, but my money is going to the Pocket PC.
  9. #9  
    Foo Fighter:

    How did you surf the web on your PPC? Did it come with a modem built in? And if not, how much did you pay for a modem for it? I love my visor, but I am interested in using the PPC as a portable internet device.. instead of buying a notebook.
  10. #10  
    Originally posted by demaximis:
    Besides the loss of the SB capabilities, and USB connection, are there other disadvatages to the Palm Vx vs. the Visor?
    Don't sell short the liability of the lack of a USB connection. Especially if you are in the habit of using AvantGo.

    I have both the visor serial (at home) and USB (at work) cradles. Hotsynching gobbles batteries like mad, but the serial cradle really drains the little darlings.

    If you are going to regularly use AvantGo, a USB cradle will dramatically increase your battery life.

  11. #11  

    Do you have an idea of how long (timewise) the difference is between an USB sync and a serial sync? I've been curious of the actual speeds.

  12.    #12  
    Thanks for the advice thus far. For those with the HP Jornada 545, is it CARRYABLE? How does it compare in feel to the visor? Is the weight/shape conducive to treating it the same as a palm device?

    Also, the $399 offer from HP is enticing, but it requires a coupon code. Could one of the attendees of the MS forums cough one up, in case I decide to go this route?

    One thing no one has commented on is the e-book situation on the Visor/palm. I see this as being a big plus for the PPC. Could someone elaborate?

    One last question - there seems to be little discussion of the TRG & the difference b/w the CF slot and the Springboard (at least from the recent threads I've read). If I go the Palm OS route, isn't the CF slot a more viable solution for the future because of its open platform?

    Again, thanks in advance for the help!
  13. #13  
    The Jordana PPC I saw at Fry's has what I consider a decent form factor, falling somewhere between the Palm III and the IIIc, but thinner. Granted, it's no Vx, but its still nice.

    I agree with MarkEagle's observations about the Visor incompatability list. If developers would maintain their software with each Palm OS upgrade, there probably wouldn't be any incompatability whatsoever. I seriously doubt the the Visor's incompatabilies are any different than the IIIxe, the Vx, the IIIc or any product that runs a recent Palm OS.

    To counteract the "if all you need is an address book" FUD, go to PalmGear to get an idea of just how much the Palm is capable of. Surely we should be past the point of dismissing the Palm or the Visor as "just" on organizer.

    The Springboard slot's proprietary nature is its one disadvantage to compact flash. To learn more about the compact flash's numerous disadvantages, check out this previous thread. Argent's comments in the thread are particularly illuminating.

    [This message has been edited by Gameboy70 (edited 04-21-2000).]
  14. #14  
    I checked out the new Casio and HP PPCs at my local Circuit City yesterday. The Casio is still a HUGE monster, but the HP seemed to be a pretty similar size to the Visor. Unfortunately I didn't have my Visor with me at the time (Doh!). I think the HP may be slightly longer.

    Anyway, I think I will be quite happy with my Visor for another year or more, but it is fun to check out the new toys. If I were looking to buy now and the PPCs were similarly priced to the Visor I would certainly investigate them more, but for now the Visor meets my needs quite well.
  15. #15  
    The Jornada is awesome! It feels great in your hands. Very solid, stylish, and well engineered. I love the look and feel of the metal case. My only gripe, so far, is the stylus! It's flat, which is a far cry from the typical cylinder shape we are accustomed to. At first glance it looks like a nail file, but the more I look at it, the more it reminds me of that stupid looking submarine from the TV show "SeaQuest". It also takes some use to get accustomed to the placement in the lid. As a Visor/Palm user I'm used to a standard stylus silo as apposed to it being inside the lid. But that is a fairly minor complaint, and as for function, the stylus works scrathces on the screen!
  16.    #16  

    What's been your real-world experience with battery life on the Jornada?

  17. #17  
    So far, my experience with power has not been an issue. Each day, after heavy use, the battery level only fell slightly below half. In the evening before I turn in, I rest the Jornada in it's cradle, and In the morning it's fully charged. It looks as if it charges very fast as well. When I purchase the unit was only half charged, and it took only twenty minutes to bring it up to full charge. While the unit is charging, the light at the top will glow red, when the charge is complete, it turns green.

    As of right now, power is a non-issue for me. However, if you do nothing but listen to MP3 tracks all day long, non-stop, with the backlight at full brightness, you can expect to run out of power. I think HP quotes 8 hours of continuous useage.
    My guess is if you listen to MP3 tracks non-stop for 5 hours straight, you will run low on juice.

    As a side note, the Stereo playback is incredible. Very loud and crisp. I'm not sure but I think it's even better than the Casio.

  18. #18  
    I checked out the HP Jornada Pocket PC yesterday. I agree with Foofighter that it is a well designed piece of hardware and feels good in the hand. It is slightly longer and wider than my Visor but not so much so to be a concern. It is considerably heavier thus is not going to sit temporarily in my shirt pocket with any comfort. I read it was 50% heavier and it feels it.

    What still bothers me is the elegance factor of the software. Microsoft just doesn't seem to get it. They must have ham handed software designers. It starts with the clunky looking icons and then continues to have no smooth presentation or logic. If this is a vast improvement over WINCE I can understand why they failed with the prior.

    The screen is vastly superior to the Visor. There is no doubt 320 x 240 vs 160 x 160 makes a major difference and the Cleartype adds. The Reader will be the way to go for e-books. Palm/Visor has to do something about that to catch up.

    Handwriting input on the PPC plainly sucks. I worked for more than 5 minutes trying to get in some semblance of recognition. There is also a noticeable and disconcerning time delay. My conclusion is it is worse than the Newton! It is a total failure and the only way I would be able to input is with a tap keyboard or external keyboard. With the Palm I have gotten quite proficient with Graffiti and can write as fast as on paper but with readable clarity.

    Battery life is a concern. I just took a two day trip and read a book on the plane to and from as well as take extensive field notes with my Visor and that was after more than 20 days of use on the batteries. Since the Pocket PCs are rechargeable devices I would guess I would have to drag a charger along as well in this situation.

    I'd like something better than current Palm OS and hardware but this isn't it. Palm/Visor reminds me a lot of the first Mac Classic. It took Apple a while to figure it out. Palm needs to also. They can't stand pat or this competitor will overtake them.

    [This message has been edited by Davydd (edited 04-22-2000).]
  19. #19  
    I understand you can switch to 'all caps' in the handwriting recognition (is it still Jot?) and this will mimic Grafitti!

  20. #20  
    Originally posted by demaximis:
    [snip]One thing no one has commented on is the e-book situation on the Visor/palm. I see this as being a big plus for the PPC. Could someone elaborate?[snip]
    I find the legibility of the Visor more than good enough. I read alot - probably 3 or more hours a day - and I do most of it on my Visor. Are ebooks easier to read on the PPC? I don't know. I don't have one. On the basis of some pre-release screen shots, I'd have to say no - an attactively rendered typeface is not necessarily easier to read. However, others disagree with me (see the latter part of the thread below).

    Originally posted by demaximis:
    [snip]One last question - there seems to be little discussion of the TRG & the difference b/w the CF slot and the Springboard (at least from the recent threads I've read). If I go the Palm OS route, isn't the CF slot a more viable solution for the future because of its open platform?[snip]
    It depends on what you want. Some CF devices may not be plug & play - this means that you may have to load or manually activate a driver before you can use a CF ethernet card. For a more practical comparison, consider that TRG offers nothing like the Handspring Backup Module. The CF cost advantages are real for storage, but have not materialized for the modems (about the same price as the Handspring modem). Do not expect the range of Palm OS compatible products using CF that you are already seeing on the Visor. Why? TRG is still shooting for vertical markets within the business world - they are not really attacking the consumer market.

    Also, as others have pointed out, CF devices have severe size restrictions (unless you only use CF as an interface to a physically separate device or as a large box extending beyond the top of the PDA). Finally, again as someone else pointed out, CF storage interfaces with the PDA's CPU at 1/4 the speed of the Handspring 8MB Flash Module.
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