The Ultimate PDA?

  1. I just found out from my school that smartphones aren't allowed. I had my heart set on the HTC TYTN and have been holding out on buying a new phone/contract for around 6 months.

    I am completely clueless about just plain vanilla PDAs. Just curious, if budget wasn't an issue, what's the ultimate PDA someone can buy? I save a lot of money by going to CC, so I like to spoil myself with tech toys.

    Only good thing about no smartphones is I can at least get the upcoming Nokia N95 for myself. It's not Palm or PPC, so it would've been no good for nursing.
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  2. 45 Comments

  3. by   Cinqly
    Quote from Doofy
    I just found out from my school that smartphones aren't allowed. I had my heart set on the HTC TYTN and have been holding out on buying a new phone/contract for around 6 months.

    I am completely clueless about just plain vanilla PDAs. Just curious, if budget wasn't an issue, what's the ultimate PDA someone can buy? I save a lot of money by going to CC, so I like to spoil myself with tech toys.

    Only good thing about no smartphones is I can at least get the upcoming Nokia N95 for myself. It's not Palm or PPC, so it would've been no good for nursing.
    I also had my heart set on the HTC phone from Cingular (branded as Cingular 8125/8525). HOWEVER, my phone decided to die 6 months ahead of schedule, and even though my contract was up, I didn't have the money to purchase the smartphone. I ended up getting a Razr (and a headset!!!), and my dreams of the smartphone went down the tubes.

    After this, I started seriously looking into PDA devices. I have come to the conclusion that I am glad that my phone died ahead of schedule. Although smartphones are great, and are very useful to professions both in and out of the medical fields, I decided that the performance, flexiblity, and durability of the PDA seems to outweigh that of a smartphone. I have listed my conclusions, as well as the devices I am considering buying, and I hope this helps. Keep in mind it is only one person's opinion, but I was drooling over that HTC phone for months, thinking it would be perfect for me. It turns out that I probably would have ultimately been pretty disappointed with it's performance.

    Smartphones
    ---The advantage to a smartphone is that you have your phone and PDA all rolled into one. You don't have to switch back and forth between devices, or even lug two devices around. Need to make a phone call? Great! Need to check your schedule while on the phone? Do it! The smartphone is great for that kind of flexibility. Nursing reality check: you can't use a cell phone in the hospital/clinicals, so you don't need to lug a cell phone around anyway. So having a smartphone is useless at work, because you'll have to disable the phone feature.
    ---A smartphone is good if you need to constantly be on the internet, and are making extensive use of your phone carrier's network capibilities. If you feel the need to check your e-mail or browse the internet every 30 minutes, then a smartphone is useful. Even so, you have to pony up for a data plan (usually $50 for unlimited access), and be in an area that has fast-access internet for phones. Nursing reality check: I'm not sure on this, but I would venture to guess that if you can't use a cell phone in the hospital, you probably can't use the data connect either. I would double check to be sure.
    ---If you like texting, or plan on doing a lot of writing on your device, then I can see the allure of the smartphone. Most smartphones have qwerty keyboards, and the HTC is especially cool with it's slide out keyboard. Although they take some getting used to, it can be helpful if you are entering in a bunch of text, or constantly sending text messages. (FYI: I have also read on several message boards of complaints of that very same slide-out keyboard breaking, or getting loose.)
    ---The average life of a cell phone is about 2 years. In reality, NONE of my cell-phones have lasted more than about 12-15 months before breaking or malfunctioning in some major way. It's not that I treat them badly or drop them all the time, they are just not MADE to last a long time. They know that your contract lasts 2 years, and they know that phones, though expensive, don't last quite that long. Unless you have had extraordinary experience with cell phones lasting years, I could only expect that a smartphone would have about the same life-span on it. Also, smartphones are just that...phones first, PDAs second. They are fancy phones. Just something to think about...
    ---Expansion: I believe the HTC uses micro SD cards...expensive, and hard to find quality cards.
    ---NO INSURANCE!!!!! Cingular won't offer insurance on most of their higher end phones, aka smartphones. So, after the 1 year warranty runs out, you are screwed if something goes wrong. I don't know about other providers, but on a 500 dollar device, I'd check first.

    PDA
    ---No phone....BUT! If your PDA device has bluetooth, it may be able to sync up with your phone! You can download certain programs that will sync up with your phone so that you can dial from your PDA! I believe you can dial from a number pad (like a regular phone), or even from your address book/contacts page! This means that if you also have a bluetooth headset, the phone stays in the pocket/purse, and you can pretend like you only have one device! Naughty!
    ---There is no keyboard on a PDA. However, IMO the grafitti feature is easy to learn and use, and if you practice enough you can get pretty fast at entering text. Plus, many PDAs have a notepad feature, where you can directly write your notes/message onto the screen. Also, you can purchase small portable keyboards if you want a life-like feel for typing into your PDA.
    ---If you don't need to incessantly check your e-mail, but like to use the internet and browse every once-in-a-while, then a PDA with wi-fi would suit your needs. Most upper end PDAs (think: at least $200) have wi-fi, which will automatically connect to a wireless internet. You can use your PDA to surf the net, download programs, and check e-mail anywhere there's a wi-fi signal: home, coffee shops, libraries, schools, and yes: most hospitals!!! Plus, wi-fi doesn't interfere with hospital cell-phone policy, unlike the cellular network plans.
    ---The average PDA user seems to report having their devices for a minimum of 2 years, up to 4 (or more). It seems that the devices are constructed better than the average smart phone. Also, they are built specifically for use as a PDA. I've known several people to have a treo, and if it lasts through their 2-year contract, then they have ALL had to buy new devices.
    ---Screen resolution is generally better on a PDA, especially the higher end models. Plus, some of the newer models have screen rotation (although so does the HTC).
    ---Ability for easy, cheap expansion. Most use SD (Palm does), and with the right sale you can get a 2G SD card for under $30.
    ---More program availbility. There are generally fewer PDA models, and they aren't released as often. This means that the amount of software and availability is much greater. Plus, most PDAs run one of two platforms: PALM or WindowsMobile. It sometimes seems like programs have to be updated or tweaked in order to be compatable with certain smartphones. Don't believe me? Go to handango.com and check the program availability for the HTC. Then check the availibility for a palm device (such as Palm TX). No contest.
    ---WARRANTY! Depending on where you buy your PDA, you can usually get a warranty to extend and augment the manufacturers warranty. Usually ranging from 1-3 years, these warrantys cover wear and tear from normal use. Translation: screen cracks, hardware problems, or if the dang thing just quits working. If they can't fix it, they replace the device or write you a check and you can get something else. Just don't drop it in the toilet...

    Anyway, I could probably think of some other stuff, but whatever! That seems like enough. The devices I am considering buying:

    Palm Tungsten E2--$199
    http://www.palm.com/us/products/handhelds/tx/
    Palm TX--$299
    http://www.palm.com/us/products/handhelds/tx/
    Palm Life Drive--$399 (awesome)
    http://www.palm.com/us/products/mobi...ers/lifedrive/
    Dell Axim X51--on sale for $239
    http://www.dell.com/content/products...=19&l=en&s=dhs

    I have used the TX and Life Drive, and they are very easy to use. The screen size is awesome on both, and I like the way the features are arranged. As far as the E2, it's very similar to the other Palm's, but it has a little grafitri area on the bottom 3rd of the screen which takes up valuable screen space. I haven't tried the Dell's, but they look nice and are on sale right now. It just depends on whether you want Palm OS or WindowsMobile. I am leaning towards the Palm.

    Anyway, hope this helps. If you have any question post them here or private message me.
  4. by   Doofy
    Thanks for that info. I adopted PDAs during its early years. I owned a Palm III and Clie before. But have been so used to a smartphone for the last few years. I've been using the SE P800, 900 & than 910. The ease of carrying only one item outweighs all the other benefits to me. But reading your thread made me feel better for not getting to buy the HTC.

    I thought Windows Mobile was the way to go. But it seems the Palm is much more popular here. I'm gonna head out to Circuit City to take a look at them tomorrow. My friend showed me his Axim just now. It's quite bulky.
  5. by   traumaRUs
    I just got a Treo 700p and really love it. I am an advanced practice nurse who uses PDA/phone daily (today racked up over 100 minutes on 20 calls). I use it a lot. Love the palm OS and didn't want to change programs so I got the 700p versus 700w.
  6. by   Doofy
    urgh. no smartphones allowed by my school. Even if it is on 'flight' mode.
  7. by   Cinqly
    Quote from Doofy
    Thanks for that info. I adopted PDAs during its early years. I owned a Palm III and Clie before. But have been so used to a smartphone for the last few years. I've been using the SE P800, 900 & than 910. The ease of carrying only one item outweighs all the other benefits to me. But reading your thread made me feel better for not getting to buy the HTC.

    I thought Windows Mobile was the way to go. But it seems the Palm is much more popular here. I'm gonna head out to Circuit City to take a look at them tomorrow. My friend showed me his Axim just now. It's quite bulky.
    I am still crying over that HTC...just a little though!

    I was thinking that because I have a Windows computer that I would like Windows Mobile better. However, I got to use it a little, and I have to say that the interface is not as easy to use as the Palm. Maybe it's just me...I dunno. Let me know what you think after you try them both, because I'm interested to hear your opinion!!!

    I also used PDAs years ago, but as it wasn't so necessary for my previous field (music), so I fell off the wagon. The HTC device sort of renewed my interest (actually BEFORE I decided to apply to nursing school!). However, after really researching it and looking into the options, (and peoples reviews), I decided that as convenient as they are, for the type of heavy usage that a nurse encounters a smartphone probably wouldn't cut it.

    Oh, and I was in Office Depot playing with the Palm products for a long time one day (the customer service guy was glaring at me!). I really like the TX the best. It's lightweight, easy to navigate, and has a nice, bright screen. The Tungsten has a smaller screen (because the grafitti area takes up space). The Life Drive is nice, but aside from 4G of internal memory and a slightly faster processor, it isn't much different from the TX. It is a whole lot heavier too!

    Anyway, let me know what you think about the devices you try, as well as the platforms. I want a PDA, but with a good review I can still be swayed, especially if it's by a seasoned user!
  8. by   Doofy
    PDAs must really be on the way out. Today I went to Staples, Circuit City & Best Buy. They all had like 2 or 3 demos out. And they didn't work (except one). Some were locked up in plastic casings, so I couldn't even get a feel for it. There must have been like 100 digital cameras and over a dozen smartphones on display. And most of those worked.

    I wanted to check out the Palm TX. But no luck. They had an older Palm, I think Tungsten, that sort of worked. And it reminds me of the same Palm III that I used yearssssss ago. Nothing wrong with it, but I just expected more. From looking throught the web, the TX seems much better.

    But I think I'm going to go with Windows Mobile. I tried it on my friend's Axim. None of the stores I went to sold the HP rx5915 that I'm interested in. I really wanted to see how big it was and the weight. I guess I'll have to buy it from an online store that has no-hassle returns.
  9. by   traumaRUs
    Doofy - I was wondering the same thing - you can find lots of smartphones, but few PDAs anymore. I ended up with a smartphone and for me, it is much better than lugging around a cell phone and a PDA. Maybe this is the wave of the future?
  10. by   RN007
    Quote from traumaRUs
    I just got a Treo 700p and really love it. I am an advanced practice nurse who uses PDA/phone daily (today racked up over 100 minutes on 20 calls). I use it a lot. Love the palm OS and didn't want to change programs so I got the 700p versus 700w.
    Stupid question: I have a Palm and plan to get a Treo when I graduate in May, provided the hospital where I work allows phones on the floor/unit. I will be able to download my existing nursing software (Davis, Tabers, etc.), right?
  11. by   Chaoticdreams33
    I got a palm TX for christmas and I absolutly LOVE it!!! But I've never had one before. My friend got one too, a HP with windows OS, I tried them both out and I much prefer the palm OS.
  12. by   PeachyERNurse
    I have a Palm Tungsten T3 and I absolutely love it!. I have my drug guide, medical dictionary/encyclopedia, etc. on it.
  13. by   KnarfKS
    RN072b,
    you probably can't transfer them. Especially if you got it through skyscape, the programs are encoded to only work on 1 pda.

    You can get ahold of the company and see if they will allow it.( I had to because I did a bios upgrade on my PDA and it erased the PDA Identification code)
  14. by   Cinqly
    To the OP, I wanted to let you know that I just purchased a Palm TX from CircuitCity.com. They have a sale going through 1/27 where several of their PDA's have significant rebates. The Palm TX has a $75 rebate, and the lower end models have a $50 rebate. At $225, that pretty much makes that the best price you can get for the TX!! I also purchased a 2-year extended warranty. With free shipping, the warranty, and tax, the price was STILL under $299 (the list price!!). If anyone is seriously interested in purchasing a PDA, the now might be the time to buy!!!!

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