Friday, January 13, 2006

Palm Tungsten E2

I received a Palm PDA for Christmas. This is my 3rd Palm device and I'm impressed by its functions. Here is a summary of my impressions.

Palm Tungsten E2 (Jan. 2006) Review and Summary

Specifications:

1. 32MB internal memory
2. Color LCD screen (320x320 pixels)
3. Rechargeable battery (internal)
4. USB interface to Computer
5. AC Power charger
6. Stereo audio earphone jack
7. Stylus included
8. Leather protective cover included
9. Add-on slot for MMC or SD memory card (available in various sizes 512MB, 1GB)
10. Touch sensitive screen.
11. 5 way navigation button.
12. Infrared feature to beam and exchange data with other Palm devices
13. Blue tooth capability
14. Wi-Fi add on available
15. Palm OS Version 5
16. Processor speed (200mhz)
17. Price: $200
18. Warranty is 90 days

Review Summary:

1. Excellent quality product overall. – (4 stars out of 5 *****)
2. Good power capacity for up to 30 hours of operation.
3. Excellent display quality for color still images and videos and the screen is sharp and bright and it has adjustments.
4. Square aspect ratio of display may not show full images but allows for scrolling.
5. Power saving option to shut off display for passive listening.
6. Easy to use interface, graffiti option for inputting data.
7. Tech. support is lacking depth. User forums on the web are more helpful in most cases.
8. Install software needs better testing.
9. Warranty is too short, should be at least 1 year.
10. Best new feature is the addition memory slot. It is easy to use, flexible and can be stored and used as backup in addition for multimedia data.
11. Over all, this is a very useful device that packs a lot of functions into such a small package. It is easy to use and better than an Apple ipod in my opinion.

Basic Palm PDA functions –

1. Address book – also allows adding photo of person.
2. Memos – for storing short notes.
3. Calendar – for setting appointments.
4. Notepad – for hand scribbles.
5. To Do list – for tasks.
6. Clock / Alarm – can be used as alarm clock.
7. Calculator – has basic operations.
8. Expense tracker – for keeping track of expenses during a road trip
9. Store and display still images (JPG format) – Photo album
10. Solitaire games


MP3 player – by RealPlayer requires the addition of MMC memory card.
A 512MB card cost approx. $35.
The MP3 files can be down loaded using HotSync.
You can create various playlists and you have the option to shuffle the list randomly.
Typical song will take approx. 3-4MB of storage. A 512MB card can hold approx. 125 songs.
It is possible to listen while doing other tasks. However, some more intensive tasks such as video player can cause glitches and pauses in the music.
The player application is free. There is also a desktop version that can make the sync. easier.
There are also audio books available for purchase.

Video Player – (a free version is available from TCPMP)
It will handle MPEG format. Can show clip at Full screen Mode.

Media Application – from PalmOne will allow display of still images in JPG format.
Also will show a set of images as a slide show with a time delay.
It is preferable to scale down the images to approx. 320 pixels wide so that the whole image can be shown and also reduce the storage size of the image file.

Document Readers - There are various text reader applications available both for purchase and for free. The basic reader provided by Palm is the PalmReader. There is a tool on the computer called Dropbook that can convert any text file to the PalmReader format.

There are various free and for purchase ebooks that are stored in this format.

Other reader applications include Silo and Acrobat reader for Palm. The Acrobat program can read PDF files that have been converted to this Palm format.

This program will remember the position of the page for each Document opened and will return you to the same position when you re-open the document.

Bible Reader – There are various applications that will allow you to read and search text of the Bible. One free one is provided by Olive Tree Bible software called BibleReader.
You can search all occurrences of a word or phrase. You can also navigate easily between the various books.

AvantGo – There is an application that will sync your Palm with various information collected from the web and they can be updated anytime you HotSync. Information such as weather, stocks, and news are some of the data you can get.

Utilities – There are various utilities that can make using the Palm easier. Here are some examples.

1. backup/restore all data to/from the memory card. – by InnerBackup.
2. Information about your Palm. – by Trajectorylabs.

Games – There are numerous freeware games such as solitaire and card games and board games and crosswords are available from various sites.

Other Applications – There are thousands of other applications that can be loaded to the Palm. You can also add a GPS card and use the device as a road navigator.
Checkout www.palmgear.com site and other sites for additional info.

How to?

This Palm is the third Palm Pilot that I owned. There are some things that are intuitive and some that are not. I will list a few items that will guide a new user on how to work with the Palm.

1. How to install the Palm software?

A. You might think this is simple but it turns out it may be a potential source of problem. If you are a brand new user, it should install fine right from the CD. However, if you are a previous owner of another Palm Pilot, you need to un-install the old Palm desktop program and the HotSync program. This will in-effect delete all your old data. So, before you do that, if you want to preserve your old data, it might be a good idea to backup that old data. Here is where Palm technical support falls down. They should have tested this product better and uncover this deficiency. If you try to install this program without deleting the old version, you will encounter some cryptic error message.

2. How to perform a soft reset on the palm?

A. Unfortunately, there are some Palm applications that occasionally may cause the
device to freeze up. This is called a software bug. Since many of the applications are freeware, you have no recourse except to perform a “reset”. You can do this by taking the stylus and unscrewing the top, and using the fine tip and press down on the small button located on the lower back of the Palm device. This will not cause any lost of data. Your Palm should just restart and return you to the Home menu.

3. How to install a software application?

A. There are several ways a new application can be installed on your Palm. The most
basic one is to download the (PRC) file from the web, and then open it with the Quick Install button located on the left side of the Palm Desktop. You have the option to install it on the main Palm or on the extension card. Once selected, the next time the Sync button is pressed, will launch HotSync and the data will be transferred as part of the standard sync operation. Any data entered on the Palm or on the Desktop will be “synchronized” so that the same data exist on both ends. In effect, you Desktop is a backup copy of your Palm data and vice-versa.

4. How to play music?

A. First, you need to get a MMC or SD memory card. It cost approx. $35 for 512MB Version. Insert the card into the slot located at the top. Download the MP3 file from the web onto your computer. Add the file to the Palm using the Quick Install. Perform a HotSync. Open the RealPlayer application and play the music. Plug the earphone into the jack located at the top. Enjoy the music…

Warning, if you want to listen passively, make sure you are in the RealPlayer application and the system will shut off the display to save power after 30 seconds.

If you are working in another application, it is Ok. If you are idling, make sure you return to the Realplayer else, the total system will shut down after 2 minutes.

5. How to create documents in the PalmReader format?

A. You can create a text file using MS Word or Wordpad. Use Dropbook to convert
To Palm PDB format. Install the PDB file to Palm and open with PalmReader.

Wish list:

1. The Palm could use a “lock” switch to disable all buttons and touch screen for the time you want to listen passively.
2. The system should not shut down if the music application is running.

Idiosyncrasies:

1. When listening to music passively, you must leave the screen at the RealPlayer application. The screen will shut off after 30 seconds of non-usage to save power. However, if you go to another application, the music will play in the background. But if you don’t use the device for 2 minutes, the whole device will shut down. This is the system power saving feature. It is a annoyance never the less.

END

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