Advantages Build Quality, Looks
Disadvantages Slow, Restarts without Warning, Poor WIFI
|Look & Feel|
|Memory / capacity|
|Comfort & Portability|
|Robustness & Durability|
|Ease of use|
|Range of Extra Features|
I bought a Palm Life Drive a few months ago and am still living with it, although there have been a few times when I have wanted to throw it with all the force I can muster from my office window. Having been a Windows PDA user I migrated to the Palm Life drive from reading reviews but never actually using one in anger. Having done so I have to say as soon as I can justify spending some money on a new PDA I will without any hesitation.Anyway, let's begin with the review.
1) The CaseThe Palm feels well made, the case appears to be manufactured partly from metal and there are no creaks or squeaks when you apply gentle pressure to the device. The device is ipod-style in design with a simple formed case without many obvious buttons.
2) The ButtonsThe on-off button is at the top of the case and requires a sideways sliding motion to operate. The devise is quite easy to switch on however sometimes when you wish to switch it off it doesn't seem to respond and a couple of attempts are required in order to deactivate the device.
A button on a side of the case allows the orientation of the screen to switch from landscape to portrait mode which whiles this would seem a good feature is something which I seldom use.Other buttons, which are nicely flush to the case, allow navigation around menus and quick selection of specific applications.
3) The ScreenThe screen is of good quality and a pleasure to use both inside and outside (although full sunshine is a bit of a problem).
4) Interaction with the DeviceInteraction is either done in a limited fashion via the front panel buttons or via the stylus. The stylus is of good quality, made a metal and feels really nice in the hand. It has a nifty mechanism which allows it to increase in length when it is extracted from the top of the device. You are able to use the palm style graffiti interface to enter information, which is something which as an ex-pocket pc person I seldom do, or you can activate a "software" on screen keypad. This works reasonably well, however does take up one third of the screen when it is displayed, which is a shame.
5) Memory CapacityThe large amount of onboard memory (4 Gb) is useful and has enabled me to transport some quite large documents around which has proven useful. A IBM micro drive is where your data is stored and while this does offer the advantage of high data storage this comes at a price - lower battery life with increased use and slow speed - more on these things later.
6) Battery LifeBattery life is quite good. I can get a week's reasonable use out of the device on one charge, however this does diminish if you are transferring large files when using applications or transferring from a PC.
7) Operation and Application PerformanceThe applications which the Life Drive comes with are quite decent. It has support for Word and Excel documents, a reasonable email system and a diary system, amongst others.
Unfortunately The Palm Life Drive is very very slow indeed. You can click on an icon to launch an application or save a file and there is a noticeable delay of a few seconds before anything appears to happen. This becomes highly annoying only after a few hours of use. This single fact really lets down what could have been a very good PDA.The Life Drive has WIFI connectivity - which is one of the main reasons I bought it. However, the WIFI connectivity is a bit of a pain to get to work sometimes. At home I can connect to my LAN fine, but at work the Life Drive often fails to connect, while other Windows based PDAs in the office have no problem.
One final thing regarding the device is that it crashes and reboots on average of about once a month, which while not being a "show stopper" is also annoying.8) Summary
In summary, then my advise would be to look elsewhere for a quality PDA. When I bought this product a large selling point was the large amount of internal memory, However, memory prices are falling fast and I would suggest a different device with a third partly memory card would be the way to go.
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Palm LifeDrive Mobile Manager / PDA with 4GB Hard Drive
amazon marketplace electronics
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days