Palm – Tungsten T3 review

updated business PDA
Photo of Palm – Tungsten T3

Nobody can accuse Palm of dragging its heels when it comes to upgrading its PDAs, and this is especially true of the Tungsten range. The T2 was only just beginning to feel comfortable in our hands, yet now we have the sequel, the T3.

Any comparisons with the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies should be resisted at all costs, apart from the necessary observation that the Tungsten T3 is essentially the same as its predecessor but with a few more funky effects.

Being a similar price to the Tungsten T2 at its launch, you will want to know what’s new, what remains the same and is it worth upgrading? The first improvement you’ll notice is the extra wide screen; it now spans 320 by 480 pixels, which is 50% greater than any other Palm handheld, plus it supports 65,536 colours.

In addition, at the touch of a button you can now rotate the picture to work in landscape as well as portrait mode, which is especially helpful if you want to examine your spreadsheets in more detail or enjoy the latest widescreen movie trailers.

The PDA itself is thinner, sleeker and sexier than its forebears and the slider is easier to operate. The extra good news is that it’s no longer essential to open the slider to reveal the main functions; the interface has been revamped so there’s now a Status Bar that appears at the bottom of the screen and allows you to access the most popular applications.

The other major boost is to the amount of power available. While the Tungsten T2 had 32MB RAM (doubling that of its predecessor), the Tungsten T3 has matched that by doubling again to 64MB, driven by a 400MHz Intel XScale processor. Additional memory can be supplied in the form of MultiMediaCard and SD expansion cards. The operating system is the latest Palm OS 5.2.1.

Software improvements include a new agenda view, colour-coded calendars, more flexible scheduling, enlarged contact information and more space for memos and notes, plus advanced Microsoft Outlook compatibility and Grafitti 2 for writing.

Familiar sights from before include Documents To Go 6.0, which allows you to create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents; Palm Photos and Kinoma Player for storing and playing back stills and videos; and the voice memo facility. MP3s can still be played back via headphone or speaker (and the quality and volume of the speaker has been greatly enhanced), while Bluetooth wireless connectivity remains.

Although some early customers have complained about variable brightness quality of the screen, and the cradle is still the preferred method of recharging the battery, overall it seems likely that the Tungsten T3 will find a steady stream of aficionados.

Company: Palm

Contact: 0118 974 2700

If you already own the Tungsten T2, you may pause before considering a hefty layout for its successor, but if you have yet to get your hands on a PDA, this is an ideal business companion.