All Palm, no frills

12th March 2004 at 00:00
At last, a Palm PDA (personal digital assistant) that has the sharp, bright screen of the more expensive Tungsten models but without their extra features - and with the clean, simple design of previous Palms and the entry-level Palm Zires (which don't have back-lit screens).

The fact that this Palm Tungsten E is already the best-selling Palm in the UK indicates that many people don't want to pay premium prices for beguiling features they don't really need.

You can get at everything in the Tungsten E without flipping anything open or over. You just turn it on with the power button on the top or, alternatively, press one of the four application buttons below the screen (diary, contacts, to-do list and memos) to go straight to what you want. In the middle at the bottom is the four-directional navigation device, at the centre of which is the action button that you can press (when off) for a quick time-check.

What sets this Palm apart from the older black-and-whites and Zires is its multimedia capabilities, supported by third-party software such as RealOne for MP3 playback through the headphone socket, or Kinoma for video playback. Palm has its own software for photos. And the latest operating system (5.2.1) is a joy to use The Tungsten E's own memory is plenty for everyday use, but for multimedia files and back-up you should buy an SD storage card for its SD slot. These can hold a mass of information (depending on how much you want to pay for one).

Bear in mind that multimedia places a further drain on your rechargeable battery. With normal use this lasted a few days, but with heavy use it was drained within 24 hours, so keep a charger close.

The good news is that you no longer need a Palm desktop cradle for PCMac connection - a USB cable suffices. That's all you should need for a device that resides in your pocket or bag rather than on your desktop. Thank you PalmOne.

Palm Tungsten E

Palm PDA with high-quality colour screen, Palm 5.2.1 operating system, 32Mb of memory, multimedia capability for graphics, sound and video, speaker, headphone socket, slot for SD storage cards, Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook compatibility. Comes with CDs for MacPC connection and add-on programs, charger and USB synch cable.

Weight 131g

Dimensions:11.4 x 7.9 x 1.2 cm

Price: pound;155

Available in High Street stores


Fitness for purpose *****

Ease of use *****

Features ****

Value for money *****

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