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Old 09-11-2003, 12:38 PM   #1
Hestia
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Question PDA/Handheld Help

Hi all,

I'm looking for some help on selecting a handheld and finding that the more I read up on them, the more choices there are and I'm not sure what I need and don't need.

I'm a real estate agent so I think I would get a lot of use out of a built in camera, although I realize the quality won't be the same as if I purchased a digital seperately. It would be one less thing to carry, though, which would be nice. Would I be better off to get a camera attachment?

I'd of course also use it for scheduling and as a database - beyond that I'd like to be able to use email, download maps (or have map software?), and acccessing the internet would be nice, although I'm in a more rural area so I don't know if that's something that will work for me or not. Who knows where I'd end up if I asked for the nearest hotspot around here... And of course, I'd like to use it for fun as well - MP3's and the like.

I've done some reading on WiFi and Bluetooth, and from what I understand (help me out if I'm wrong), each accomplishes the same thing, but WiFi can do it from a further distance than Bluetooth. Am I understanding that correctly? Are there monthly fees for these services?

I don't care so much what I spend (one that looks cool is the Clie PEG-UX50) since I think I will get a lot of use out of it, but I don't want to spend a ton on things I won't end up using or that aren't necessary.

Also, is there a huge difference between using the Palm OS vs the Windows OS?

Should I wear my brown shoes tomorrow or my black ones? hehe Sorry for so many questions. Hope someone can help me out.

Thanks!!

Hestia
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Old 09-11-2003, 07:24 PM   #2
Dunwut DaMojoOgre
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Hiya Hestia!

Only thing I have to contribute is that the camera attachments I have seen for PDA's are not anywhere near the quality of a true digital camera. Seeing you are in real estate I would think you would want high quality photos unless all you plan to do is put em on the web. Then a PDA camera should fit that bill fine.

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Old 09-12-2003, 03:45 AM   #3
Kerryn
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I've had a Dell Axim X5 for abour 4 months now that I'm very happy with.

It has a 400mhz Xscale CPU and 64 Megs of built in ram. My advice to you is either buy one without a SDRAM card and get your own 256mb card later, or get a 256mb one with it. 64MB fills very quickly, not surprisingly.

Don't get one with bluetooth or wi-fi built in because they usually come without a spare compact and sdram slot and they're a must if you want to use it for anything else.

Don't get the ones with the camera built in. You're going to be looking at the same quality you could get out of a mobile phone screen which is not very much, but it will display JPGs at very high quality. Edit 5 : I've just checked and you can get a mobile camera that plugs into the compact slot of any PDA providing it has Windows OS.

Bluetooth and wi-fi can do essentially the same thing but they are different beasts. Neither will cost you anything other then the basic kit as all you're actually doing is using a connection to the internet which is already open. If you have DSL this is even better as it wont cost call charges.

Wi-fi will allow you to connect to a network that had a wireless access point. If you don't have one of these already its the most expensive option, but it will give you greater range and access to a larger number of features.

What it won't allow to do is surf the internet when you're out of range of yoru access point. i.e. in a clients house.

However Bluetooth which is much cheaper has what is called a dongle which plugs into the USB slot of your computer. If you have access to the internet on that machine you will have access on your PDA.

Where bluetooth really shines is with the use of a bluetooth enabled phone. Basically this is a mobile phone with a built in bluetooth dongle. ( Stupid name isnt it? )

You dial out on your mobile and you can then connect to the net, and in turn back to your computer at the office or at home and sync. You are however paying for premium rate mobile phone charges.

Personally I prefer the wi-fi option but only because I broadcast mpegs and receive them on my PDA like my own little radio station, which is great for garden parties, and because I can usually piggy back someones wi-fi network around the city.

MAKE SURE YOU GET A WINDOWS OS, preferably 2003.

Windows OS will give you a miniature computer with access to word documents, excel spreadsheets, a simplified version of Outlook including multiple account handling if you've got more then one e-mail address, Windows Media Player for karting music around with you and also real gaming features. ( I've completed EverQuest and Tomb Raider on the PDA whilst on the train. )

Palm OS will give you a glorified address book and calculator.

Final Edit ( 4 times now because I keep thinking of other stuff )

download maps (or have map software?), and acccessing the internet would be nice, although I'm in a more rural area so I don't know if that's something that will work for me or not. Who knows where I'd end up if I asked for the nearest hotspot around here...
Any PDA with a compact flash slot will take a GPS unit for about the same price as the PDA iteself. If you really really dont like getting lost this will really help.

All slots on the PDAs are hot-swappable. Want GPS? put that card in, want to use the camera? Pull the GPS out and plug the camera in.

Any more questions. Let me know.

Last edited by Kerryn; 09-12-2003 at 04:00 AM.
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Old 09-13-2003, 03:37 AM   #4
Hestia
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/hug Dunwut Long time no see!

Thanks, Kerryn - that info helps a lot.

-Hestia
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