Palm m125 Review

Product Requirements:

Desktop:
IBM compatible 486 PC or higher running Windows
95/98/2000/NT 4.0 or Macintosh PowerPC running OS 7.5.3 or later
One available USB port**
30MB free hard disk space
16MB RAM for Windows(64MB recommended for Windows 2000) 6MB free RAM for
Macintosh
CD-ROM drive

** Windows 95 and NT 4.0, or serial connectivity, require a serial HotSync
cradle, sold separately.

When I reviewed the Palm m100 a little over a year ago, I wasn’t very impressed
with it. Although the price point was low, the unit felt and looked cheap to me
and I didn’t really like the bulbous styling.
So, when I heard about the m125, I was anxious to see if Palm had improved upon
their design.

Although this new unit looks almost identical to its m100/105 siblings, I
immediately noticed that the m125 felt heavier and more solid. For me, that
translates into quality. I’m happy to say that there is no longer any flexing or
creaking while squeezing the case like I had found with the m100.

Even though at first glance you might think an m10x and a m125 are identical
twins, they aren’t… There are a few subtle and not so subtle changes /
additions to this new model. Let’s take a closer look…

Hardware Specs:

Processor: Motorola VZ Dragonball 33mhz
Operating System: Palm OS 4.0
Memory: 8MB RAM
Display: 160×160 pixel, 16 gray scale LCD
SD/MultiMediaCard Expansion Slot
Power: 2 AAA Batteries
Communications: USB and IR port
Size and weight: 4.82 x 3.1 x .87 in. / 5.31 oz

First of all, the unit has a new two tone shell that looks much better to me than
the stock black m100. The pictures that were floating around the net led me to
believe that the m125 was silver and black. In reality it is silvery blue and
black. The black part of the casing is also shinier than the m100 which was
matte.

I’ll admit that the m125 style/shape has grown on me over the last year to
the point where I no longer hate it. I even kinda like it… a little….
sorta….

One of the first changes that I noticed was that the flip lid is now made of rubber.
I like it better than the original because
the bottom edge contours to the curve of the PDA body instead of laying flat
like the hard plastic cover on the m100. Yes, it is still removable for those of you
that don’t care for such a cover. Another very slight change to this cover is that the
plastic see thru window is a little larger which makes it easier to see the time with
you press the up scroll button with the lid in the closed position.

One of the more interesting features of the m100 is the removable face plate.
Just like Nokia cell phones, you can purchase all sorts of custom plates to make the
m100 reflect your personality. The face plate on the m125 appears to have inherited that
capability. However, the m125 that I had for the review was not mine so I was a little leery of taking off the plate. It felt more difficult to remove than the one on my old m100
and I was a afraid that I might crack it.

You might be wondering about the display on this new model. It is pretty much the same quality as all of the current mono Palm devices. I did notice that the background on the
m125 display is lighter in color than my m100 which makes it a little easier to read. That
said, all m1xx PDAs have small screens and I find them to be almost too small for one of my
favorite past times: e-book reading. As you can see below, the screen size is approximately the same as the m100/105 so nothing has changed there.

Palm m125 Screen Size 2.655 x 1.95in
Palm m100 Screen Size 2.675 x 1.96in
Palm V/Vx Screen Size 3.075 x 2.24in

The screen which I believe is still made of plastic, is very hard and flat
and has very minimal flexing when you press it with the stylus tip. I can’t tell
a difference between writing on this screen and writing on a glass PDA screen.

This unit also has the same reverse backlight seen most current Palm OS mono
devices. I have one word for it: useless. Ok, it works if you’re in total
darkness…. in any other situations, it tends to make viewing the screen more
difficult instead of better. Please don’t mention the little reverse hack, it
really doesn’t help in my opinion.

The Application buttons are now concave instead of convex and they have very
good tactile feedback. The up / down scroll buttons have changed as well. They
now have a dimple so that you can use the tip of the stylus to press them. The
power button is now much better. I have always had problems with my m100’s power
button needing multiple presses to turn the unit on or off. The button on the
m125 feels very responsive and I haven’t had that same problem with it.

The Infrared port is still located at the top left corner of the unit. A quick
strength test yielded a maximum of approximately 7 feet sending and receiving
contacts to a m100.

The stylus silo has been redesigned with a smaller opening. The stylus is also
a little different. It reminds me of a little golf club. It’s all plastic and feels like
the typical PDA ‘toothpick’. It does not include a reset pin.

I found that the speaker is quite a bit louder than my m100. That means it is
loud! I think I could use this PDA as an alarm clock with no problems at all!

One of the two major changes in the m125 is the new SD/MMC slot. It is located
on the left side of the unit. It is a spring loaded slot and has good tactile
feedback. The only problem that I can see with the slot is its location. As it
is, it will make accessing the slot impossible thru most current m1xx slipper
style cases.

The second major change with this new PDA model is the addition of Palm’s new
universal connector. This connector will allow you to use new peripherals such
as the Stowaway folding keyboard for the m500 series on your m125.


The unit fits perfectly in the m500 series cradle which is what the m125 comes with
now instead of a serial cable.

Under the hood, the m125 has the snappy 33mhz VZ Dragonball chip. Unfortunately, like
the m100, the m125 does not have Flash ROM to accommodate for future OS upgrades.
However, it does have the latest OS version 4.0.

The m125 is pretty snappy. I don’t have any complaints with the speed of
opening apps, switching screens, etc. Using Neal Bridges Benchmark program
(v2.0), I’ve recorded benchmark results of several devices.

m125 Visor Prism m500 m505 m100
154% 205% 154% 156% 91%

As you can see, the m125 is running just as fast as the m500.

Hardware-wise, I think the m125 is an ok upgrade from the m100. There’s not
that much of a difference besides the universal connector and SD slot,
but it just feels more substantial now.

Now let’s take a look at the software side of this new PDA.
The m125 comes with an pretty decent software bundle including: Address Book,
Date Book, Clock, To Do List, Memo Pad, Note Pad, and Calculator, plus HotSync
Mail, AOL Mail, Multimail SE, AvantGo, Vindigo, Palm Reader, MGI PhotoSuite,
Dataviz Documents To Go, and Palm Mobile Connectivity Software.

Software Bundle:

Dataviz Documents To Go
Take Word and Excel files with you. Take your important documents to meetings to
view and edit right on your handheld.

Palm Reader
DOC and e-book reader.

MGI PhotoSuite
This is an image (.JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .TIF, .PNG) and video viewer. The video file
formats supported are: AVI, MOV, QT, ASF, and WMV. and require Apple QuickTime 4 to
be installed. ASF, and WMV video files require DirectX 8 to be installed. This software
is not available on Mac OS. Viewing movies on the m125 is pretty much useless due to the
mono screen and blurring of images as they move.

AOL Mail
Pick up your AOL mail. Free for AOL members! If you have a compatible modem or
data-enabled mobile phone, you can check and send email and instant messages
from just about anywhere.

Vindigo
Find the nearest and best places to eat, shop and play in 20 U.S. cities.
Vindigo will guide you with step-by-step directions, ratings and reviews.

Avantgo
Use AvantGo to download Web information to your handheld. Carry stock reports,
movie listings, news and more in your pocket for offline viewing anywhere.

MultiMail SE
Use this software and an add-on modem to access your POP/IMAP email accounts
from anywhere.

Palm’s Mobile Connectivity Software
Use with your data-enabled mobile phone to wirelessly access your favorite
websites and manage email on the run.

Chapura
Synchronize your calendar, contacts, tasks and notes with Microsoft Outlook.

Bottom line: I think the m125 is a nice mono Palm. It feels good in your hand and looks good.
But, I think the price is too high for the population that this line of devices (the m100 series) was
originally aimed at, which is students. Not many students have $250 laying
around to buy a PDA. 

In my opinion, if you are looking for a more affordable mono Palm OS PDA, you should really
check out the Sony 320, Handspring Visor Platinum or new Neo (same as Platinum,
but in purdy new colors) instead. They all have 8mb of RAM but are $50 cheaper
than the m125. The Sony has Palm OS version 4.0 and the MemoryStick expansion
slot. The Handspring devices have an older OS version 3.5, but have the
Springboard slot for expansion which I think is better than both the SD and
MemoryStick options at this point.

The m125 is pretty much a little blip on my Gadgeteer excite-o-meter. Come on
Palm, let’s see something different.

Price: $249

Pros:
Solid feel
SD slot
Removable faceplates

Cons:
Price
Small screen size

 

Product Information

Price:249.0
Manufacturer:Palm
Pros:
  • Solid feel
  • SD slot
  • Removable faceplates
Cons:
  • Price
  • Small screen size

{ 24 comments… add one }

  • Julie July 21, 2003, 8:27 pm

    Post your comments here on the LAKS USB Memory Watch Review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/laks-usb-watch-review.html

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

    1
  • eichin July 22, 2003, 3:52 am

    I just wish that one could use the USB port to *set* the watch…

    2
  • blue_gundam2002 September 12, 2003, 1:31 am

    Just to let you know LAKS now makes a ladies version, http://www.laks.com/

    3
  • Julie September 12, 2003, 2:31 am

    Wow, I really like the looks of it too!

    4
  • blue_gundam2002 September 16, 2003, 12:14 am

    I’m going to order one of the watches soon and I wanted to make sure it would fit my wrist. I checked the laks web site but couldn’t find the length ot the strap. Can any one tell me the length of the strap?

    5
  • Julie September 16, 2003, 2:01 am

    Unfortunately, I no longer have the watch… :o

    6
  • Bob DeLoyd January 16, 2012, 1:13 am

    @Julie I just got my Palm M125 back together after it stopped working, was taken apart, and then stored for almost ten years :P
    I was looking for info on the M125 and was reading Wikipedia on it when I saw a link to this post as a reference, cool :)

    7
  • Julie January 16, 2012, 9:59 am

    @Bob That is cool. So, are you going to start using the M125 again?

    8
  • Bob DeLoyd January 17, 2012, 3:26 am

    @Julie I do enjoy tinkering around with the old stuff. I have the Palm Desktop installed on a Win98SE laptop and might play around with the M125 and also the TWO M105’s I recently bought (Both less than $10- there was a Palm refurbished M500 on eBay I stopped myself from purchasing). I came to the conclusion last night when I was searching for a replacement for the bad capacitor on the M105, that the iTouch I own is a multitudes far better than what’s was built back then and anything on the market right now to serve my needs; I do like watching lectures from Berkeley, listening to astronomy lectures, emailing, taking and posting photos on FaceBook….. the list goes on :)
    But I might just pop the M125 into my backpack once in a while; it does have a nice form factor :)

    9
  • GorT March 21, 2012, 7:18 pm

    Although Palm IIIxe has 2MB of ROM opposed to m125’s 4MB – the Palm IIIxe’s ROM is upgradable so the Palm IIIxe seems better.

    …Does it matter – what are your opinions?

    10
  • Bob DeLoyd March 22, 2012, 1:26 am

    I don’t think it matters much- if you enjoy messing around with the old stuff (I do) you can buy both on ebay. The M125 does have a memory expansion slot and a faster processor. But the backup-capacitor used in the m100 / m105 / m125 go bad after a few years; change your batteries you lose your data :P

    Palm IIIxe 16 MHz Motorola 68328EZ Dragonball can be upgraded to 4.1 Cost around $15-50 used on ebay.

    The m125 is powered by the Motorola VZ Dragonball processor operating at 33MHz, OS 4.0- can not be upgraded to 4.1
    Has an MultiMediaCard memory expansion slot.
    Cost about the same maybe a little more.

    11
  • GorT March 24, 2012, 7:49 pm

    Regarding the capacitor issue – is it possible to externally connect some capacitor to battery terminals while they are still in, then get the batteries out and put the new ones, so the data doesn’t get erased?

    12
  • Bob DeLoyd March 24, 2012, 9:25 pm

    @GorT
    Look here:
    http://www.pspilot.de/pppm100/pppm100.html
    http://www.lxtreme.nl/index.pl/docs/misc/m105_hack

    I thought this was clever and what you may be looking to do :)
    http://www.pdastreet.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-13024.html
    hcollins writes:
    “I also suffer the same problem. Have now made a single AAA battery with short leads and flat pieces of shim brass that I wedged into the end of the battery that I was looking at replacing. Swapped the battery and then removed the supplementary battery. I then did the same for the other battery. Replaced both batteries and didn’t need to rebuild the Palm from scratch. Virtually cost nothing and didn’t have to dismantle the Palm. All the supplementary battery is doing is being used in parallel with the one you are replacing each time. Hope this helps those who aren’t quite technical enough to mess with the innards of a Palm Pilot.”

    Oh and GorT remember these hacks will VOID your Palm Warranty :P
    I hope this helps you GorT

    13
  • GorT March 26, 2012, 6:43 pm

    Thanks. :)

    Hmm… Isn’t putting a battery in parallel with another battery increasing the current (amperage)? …To be on the safe side it’s better to use weak battery for that purpose.

    Anyhow – I see this model is very similar to m105:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_CLI%C3%89_PEG-SL10
    (using AAA batteries – 320x320px monochromatic display)

    But here is a question: what 8MB PDA has the longest battery life? (like 6 months or something)

    14
  • Bob DeLoyd March 26, 2012, 8:54 pm

    @GorT
    hcollins says he used a single AAA battery. I don’t think it would cause any damage because you are replacing a weak AAA battery.

    GorT here’s something interesting I found for the M125 that may work for the others when changing batteries: http://forums.hpwebos.com/t5/Palm-OS-WinMo-Hardware/How-to-change-the-batteries-on-a-palm-m125-without-having-to-do/td-p/169146
    I’m going to check this out on my M105 and M125…

    I imagine if you put fresh high quality AAAs in a M105 or similar PDA and turned it off for 6 months and not used it, it might power back up… Otherwise it’s something like 8 weeks or less depending on use… make sure you turn off the infrared :)

    15
  • GorT March 27, 2012, 2:02 pm

    Nice.

    …But what PDA holds the record for the longest battery life (with 2-8MB of memory and touchscreen)?
    (I have one old style CASIO PDA with QWERTY keyboard – batteries on it last between 6 and 8 months! – But it has only 128kB of memory)

    16
  • Bob DeLoyd March 28, 2012, 5:44 pm

    @GorT I don’t think they held any PDA marathons- Depending on use, I feel that any Palm with 2MB memory that used good AAA alkaline batteries (they hold their charge longer, rechargeable batteries drain faster) would be your best bet.
    http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/travel/pda5.htm

    May I ask three questions? :)
    Why, and for what purpose do you want to know?
    Bob

    17
  • GorT April 1, 2012, 11:31 am

    Because I don’t want to worry about batteries (batteries on modern devices last for 4-5h of constant use). Ideal unit for me would be the compact small pocketable one that has monochromatic touchscreen you can draw on, QWERTY keyboard you could write even a short story on, a minimum of 2 MB of memory (preferably 8MB), and batteries which could work for days without any attendance… But is there such device?
    (I see BlackBerry RIM 957 – that’s what I’m talking about – but it doesn’t have touchscreen, and it’s too big – so tell me is there something that looks like what I search for)

    18
  • Julie April 1, 2012, 11:37 am

    @GorT What you’re describing (minus a keyboard) is a Moleskine notebook. :) Sorry, could’t resist. In all seriousness, there really seems to be a void in the market for a KISS (keep it simple stupid) PDA.

    19
  • GorT April 1, 2012, 12:16 pm

    Well… it’s a wide subject really… it could turn out to be a long comment… …

    As a mater of fact – recently I was actually comparing what I can do with my old CASIO I cannot do with some regular paper notepad (vice versa!). …And actually those are totally different categories. In my CASIO I can store various passwords for various sites I use – and keep it all under one (PDA’s) password so no one else could access it – if I was to write it in a paper notepad anyone could read it and misuse it. Also: PDA allows for searching – enter ANY word and it will find it – and quick. Also: even some of the oldest CASIO PDAs have games (poker for example; not to mention variety one could get on Palm devices for example) – that interactivity one cannot get on a piece of paper.

    This is one important point: when you write text on paper it gets messy, yet – in digital form you can insert text, reorganize it easily and much more – it’s more malleable and yet tidy – anecdotally speaking: I am sure some professional writer could write a whole entire novel on BlackBerry RIM 950 while traveling or sitting anywhere outside in the sun (it can work for weeks on single AA alkaline battery! – it’s something one cannot possibly do with modern color screen devices), then go straight to the publisher, copy the text, paste it into Word, check it, shape it, and – voila – it goes straight to the press! :D Instant bestseller! :)

    20
  • Bob DeLoyd April 1, 2012, 12:41 pm

    @GorT I’m not sure about a “professional writer could write a whole entire novel on BlackBerry RIM 950″, but I do know that they have done it on the AlphaSmart Dana- There’s a whole forum website of writers who use the Dana.
    You can pick one up for around 30 bucks:
    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=AlphaSmart+Dana&_sacat=0&_odkw=alphmico+dana&_osacat=0&_from=R40

    Maybe the Dana is much larger than you would want, but it has a very nice keyboard and uses the Palm OS; can even type directly to a computer running Win98SE to XP… I own a Dana :)

    21
  • GorT April 1, 2012, 1:24 pm

    Hmm… It’s a digital typewriter – it’s large, I had a pocket device in mind.

    BlackBerry RIM 957 would be what I’m talking about if it was a bit smaller and had touchscreen.

    22
  • GorT April 14, 2012, 4:54 pm

    :) I intentionally didn’t answer here to see if someone would mention Handspring Treo 180 – as it was basically what i said in the previous message (a RIM 957 with touchscreen).

    But I like those AAA easily replaceable battery type PDA-s – so this is why I’m writing here again:

    Was there ever a replacement cover for some model of monochromatic Palm PDA’s which had buttons in it which then press on he touchscreen (something like Ericsson R380, but full QWERTY)?

    23
  • Bob DeLoyd April 15, 2012, 12:15 am

    @GorT, you really have me lost on your last post…
    I’m not sure how we got to this point… I tried to help… I’m done here…
    Good luck on your search for the ultimate in old PDAs :)

    24

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