Sony – Clié PEG TJ35 review

Palm-based entry-level PDA
Photo of Sony – Clié PEG TJ35
£199

Sony seems to pump out Palm-based PDAs as if its factory is about to be taken away by some off-world daemon and its contents vapourised. Hardly a month goes by without a new device appearing; recently we’ve had the ultra high-end PEG UX50, this rather more sedate entry-level machine and a less well-specified variant on this review model, the PEG TJ25.

Sony has come up with yet another new hardware design for the Clié PEG TJ35, the key feature of which is a roller positioned underneath the screen. This is the vertical movement interface, and to its left and right are tiny buttons which are used for movement across the horizontal plane.

It is a bit fiddly, but it is all you get, as Sony has abandoned its jog-dial wheel this time around. Instead of having said wheel on the left edge of the casing there are hooks for a removable flip-over screen protector, which is surprisingly robust.

The right edge of the casing has a dual-function ‘Power and Hold’ button. The ‘Hold’ feature is useful, as this PDA is supplied with Palm’s own audio player. The ‘Hold’ function means that when listening to music with the Clié in a bag or pocket you aren’t going to accidentally tap the screen and do goodness knows what to the data and files stored on the device.

There is 32MB of RAM but only 23MB of that is available to the user for applications and software; the rest is set aside for some of the army of free applications Sony pre-installs to complement what comes as part of Palm OS 5.2.

These include CLIE Launcher (a replacement for the usual Palm application launcher), CLIE Viewer (digital image viewer), CLIE Files (file manager), CLIE Memo (write notes to the screen), the Picsel Viewer (read documents in various format), and Decuma (for handwriting recognition). If you want more storage space – for example, for music files – you will need to invest in Memory Sticks, as this is Sony’s memory format of choice.

The processor is not one we have come across before, an i.MXL from Motorola. We found it coped with the demands we placed on it without breaking down. The battery did irritate us a little though. We ran a benchamarking tool at both its Full Power and its Normal Use settings. In the former case we got nearly two and a half hours from the battery, in the latter four hours ten minutes. Heavy audio-visual users might want to consider a machine with more stored ‘oomph.’

The Clié PEG TJ35 is both relatively small (110 x 75 x 12 mm) and light (140g) which means it is easy to carry around, and its 320 x 320 pixel screen delivers the goods nicely. You don’t get a docking cradle – instead a cable does the job of synchronising and charging.

Company: Sony

Contact: 01932 816417


Verdict
Sony's Clié PEG TJ35 is a likeable PDA if you are nimble-fingered enough to cope with the navigator wheel, and the large bundle of software Sony supplies make it an appealing choice for those looking for a versatile 'out of the box' experience. This is a busy price-point, though, so be aware that there may be other PDAs that meet your needs for the same amount of cash.