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.
---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.
---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
Palm Life Drive--$399 (awesome)
Dell Axim X51--on sale for $239
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.