PalmOne Tungsten E PDA 

Whatever flavour of PDA you use it is probably very different from a year or so ago. Certainly the Tungsten E has a lot more to offer at a greatly reduced price than when I got my 5X.

Dimension and weight are very similar but there what is on offer vastly changes. My 5x was monochrome, had lesser screen resolution, 25% of the memory and no expansion, it did have one thing that was larger, the price was more than double.

The Tungsten E is 11.5x7.5x1cm and the weight is 130grams. The screen is 320x320 and the displayable area is close to 6x5.5cm. The internal Ram is 32MB and as the unit takes both MMC and SD cards so the expansion possibilities are infinite.

As always I will not reveal the price till the end but certain things such as docking stations have to go so a number of third party add-ons will not fit. Connection to the PC is via a USB2 lead that plugs directly into the bottom of the unit. Another example of improvements, my old 5x uses serial connection and one of my large databases takes six minutes to synchronise, on the Tungsten E it takes less than a minute.

The display is very bright and while I do not feel that colour is essential on a PDA it is nice and certain things like maps certainly benefit from it. One small difference that I - as a left hander - appreciated with the 5x was that the fold over screen protector could be moved from the left side hinge to right. On the Tungsten E it can be removed from the left but will not fit on the right side.

The operating system has of course moved on and version 5.2.1 is provided, this makes use of faster processors and more memory in the unit. I certainly noted that searches within databases are now all but instantaneous whereas they took a considerable time on the 5x. One example is a name search bringing four results from 4827 records on the Tungsten E took four seconds while on the 5X it took over twenty.

The version of the hand writing software Graffiti has changed to version two. I never really mastered version one but found that version two seems – to me anyway – more logical and given time I think I could master it.

There is one other point where my 5x seems to have the advantage and that is in battery life. The improvements in battery technology have been vast but the battery in the Tungsten E is smaller so in use you will probably get around five hours. I tried to use the two units side by side doing similar tasks but the 5x was still going when the Tungsten E gave in, however remember that the screen resolution is higher and contrast is a lot better and of course the colour and more memory.

The stated price is £149 but check round and I am sure you can get it for less. Would I swap YES and certain tasks like playing MP3, reading maps, and playing video clips are just not possible on the 5X.

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