JetTalker Voice Recorder for the PalmPilot/Palm III/IIIx Review

Program Requirements:
Device:
Pilot 1000, 5000, PalmPilot Personal, PalmPilot Professional,
Palm III, Palm IIIx
60 K free RAM

DynaFirm has released a digital voice recorder
solution for Palm OS devices called the JetTalker. The JetTalker is a clip on module that
fits all current Palm OS devices except for the Palm V. The module uses the same grey
plastic housing as the Pilot Modem. The unit is powered by 2 AAA batteries which are not
included.

Let’s look at the hardware. On the front of the module is a button which is used to
reset the device. On the bottom is a combo ear bud speaker / microphone jack (sold
separately). This isn’t a standard sized earphone jack so you can’t just plug a regular
set of earphones into it. Next to that jack is the on/off power switch. This is a small
unlabeled slider switch that is recessed so that you have to actually use your fingernail
to switch it back and forth. The switch was crooked on the unit I had. They really should
label this switch. It is too hard to remember if the unit is turned on or off. Beside the
power switch is the built-in microphone. The microphone has a rubber boot around it that I
suppose is designed to protect it. I found that when I installed batteries that this boot
got in the way. It made it hard to remove and replace the battery cover. On the back of
the JetTalker is the built-in speaker. This speaker seems to be made out of very thin
metal that can easily be flexed (or crunched ) by pressing it with your finger or other
object. There is a plastic ring around the speaker that is supposed to protect it, but it
still seems to fragile to me.

jettalker-1.jpg (9718 bytes)jettalker-2.jpg (10633 bytes)

jettalker-3.jpg (6449 bytes)

The JetTalker clips securely to the Palm device. I tested this unit with my Palm III
and it clipped on fine.

To actually use the module, you have to first install a 60K .PRC file that is included
on a floppy disk. Then you clip on the JetTalker and turn it on. In order to make a
recording, you have to turn on the PalmPilot and run the JetTalker application. You then
can tap the little record button and start talking. When you are finished recording, you
press the Done button. The JetTalker is supposed to provides up to
34 minutes of recording time but my Palm III only says 32 mins available.
The
recordings are stored on the JetTalker and not the Pilot. Once you make a recording, it
will show up in the list on the screen. To play it, you just tap the little speaker icon
to the right of the list.

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The JetTalker application will allow you to categorize the recordings by category and
sub-category. You can setup 15 custom categories and 15
sub-categories
. This application is really set up very similar to the ToDo built-in
application. You can mark items as completed and you can also assign an alarm to an item.
When you assign an alarm to recording, the actual recording will play (after the regular
alarm tone) when the alarm is sounded. Of course, this will only work if the JetTalker is
attached to your PalmPilot and is powered on. If the JetTalker isn’t attached, just the
regular alarm tone is played.

The application has a few things about it that I don’t like. One is that the onscreen
buttons to record and play are too small. Also, one of the options didn’t work and popped
up a “Not enabled in this version” message. I don’t think that is acceptable for
a product of this price range.

What about the sound quality?  According to the manual, you have to hold the
microphone about 2inches from your mouth in order to get the best recording (DynaFirm
didn’t send me the earphone/mic combo which they say is supposed to achieve the best sound
quality. With the built-in microphone, the recordings seemed a bit muffled and have some
white noise in the background. DynaFirm states that this device isn’t meant for high
fidelity sound recordings. When I tested the JetTalker in my noisy office environment, I
wasn’t impressed with the volume level (even at the highest setting). In a quite house,
the recordings sounded much better. I was able to record my voice, set it up as an alarm,
go in another room and hear/understand the alarm when it went off.  Below you will
find two sound samples. I recorded these using my the microphone on my PC while holding
the JetTalker up to the mic.

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Sample1
58k       Recorded with mouth 2in
from the JetTalker built-in mic. and volume set to highest setting.
Sample2
60k       Recorded with mouth 6in from the JetTalker
built-in mic. and volume set to highest setting.

Overall, I don’t think that the JetTalker is a very good voice recording solution. For
one thing, it is just too expensive. And for another it just takes too much effort to make
a recording. It should be as easy as pressing a button like on the WindowsCE Palm-size
PCs. The JetTalker has a button on the front that is used to reset the device. Why you
would need to reset it is unknown… I think it would be much better if pressing this
button could power on the PalmPilot, launch the application and begin recording. Letting
go of the button would stop the recording and save it. As it stands, it takes the
following steps to make a recording:

1. Turn on the JetTalker module.
2. Turn on the PalmPilot.
3. Launch the JetTalker application.
4. Tap the small Record button at the bottom of the screen.
5. Talk.
6. Press the Done button at the bottom of the screen.
7. Turn off the JetTalker module.

You won’t be able to do all these steps if you are wanting to make a quick voice note
while driving for example.

As for the actual quality of the hardware, In my opinion it really seems more like a
do-it-yourself project than a commercial product. Bottom line, save your money.

Price: $149, $24.95 for Ear bud speaker/Lapel Microphone

Pros:
Stores recordings in its own memory. Hard reset of the Pilot won’t effect
recordings.
The only voice recorder option available.

Cons:
Too expensive.
Too many steps involved with making a recording.
Sound quality is a bit muffled.
Speaker seems flimsy.

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Product Information

Price:$149.00
Pros:
  • Stores recordings in its own memory. Hard reset of the Pilot won't effect
  • recordings.
  • The only voice recorder option available.
Cons:
  • Too expensive.
  • Too many steps involved with making a recording.
  • Sound quality is a bit muffled.
  • Speaker seems flimsy.
17 comments… add one
  • Judie December 12, 2002, 9:16 pm

    Post your comments here on the WriteSHIELD™ Screen Protector.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/writeshield-review.html

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • smittyofdhs December 14, 2002, 7:59 am

    Judie, which did you personally prefer? Brando or whriteshield? I have used Brando’s since they first came out a while back. I really wanted to try these but at 30 bucks, that’s a bit steep if I don’t like them.

    Are these any clearer then Brando’s or do they slightly mute the screen colors as well?

  • Judie December 14, 2002, 2:57 pm

    smittyofdhs,

    The protectors are very similar, but I would have to go with the WriteSHIELD. It seems a little bit smoother and a little easier to see through.

    Regarding the price, just keep in mind that with the Brando, you get ONE protector for $12. The WriteSHIELD comes with THREE protectors and THREE screen cleaners. This actually makes the WriteSHIELD a more economical choice, IMO.

    Judie

  • JakeRich December 14, 2002, 8:08 pm

    Judie, I have used WriteSHIELDS for some time now. If you follow the directions, the protectors go on with no bubbles pretty easily. I have used other protectors, and I got bubbles every time, but WriteSHIELDS go on easily and perfectly.

    They also last a loooooong time. Much longer than Writerights, for example. I had one on my E-125 for six months. It’s still there, I gave the Cassie to my wife when I got a new Axim. No scratches, no mars, no bubbles! 🙂

  • Judie December 14, 2002, 8:53 pm

    Jake,

    That’s just the sort of info everyone wants to know – thanks for sharing!

    Judie :0)

  • dstrauss December 18, 2002, 3:39 pm

    Do you prefer the Writeshield to the G2? I tried the Writesheild on my Clie 615c, and liked them, but they still seemed a little “hazy” – not clear like original surface. I’ve seen some reviews that claim the G2 is nearly “clear.” I’ve just switched to the new HP 1910 (You’ve got to get one of these! Shame on Palm for the $499 Tungsten pricing), and I want it to be as clear as possible.

  • Judie December 18, 2002, 3:42 pm

    The G2 is still my top choice for clear, non-adhesive screen protection.

    For someone that prefers non-glare and doesn’t mind a light adhesive, I suggest the WriteSHIELDS.

    Judie :0)

  • dstrauss December 18, 2002, 3:51 pm

    Thanks Judie – I always prefer clearness over anti-glare. I think I’ll go with G2.

  • smittyofdhs December 18, 2002, 3:52 pm

    Judie,

    what’s the G2? never heard of that and can not find any reference for it. Do you have a link so I can check them out?

  • Judie December 18, 2002, 6:18 pm
  • smittyofdhs December 18, 2002, 6:23 pm

    Originally posted by Judie
    [B]Here you go: http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/g2-screen-protector-review.html

    Judie :0) [/B]

    so would you use the G2 or the writesheild for your devices? I know they are somewhat “apples and oranges” but what’s your choice?

  • Merlion December 19, 2002, 10:58 am

    I’d like to mention that PocketPCTechs has mentioned on another website that their <u>WriteSHIELD has a silicon coating on the inside surface so that it has the static cling properties similar to window decals'</u>. That’s how they attach to the screen – not with adhesives, that’s also why they don’t leave any residue when removed. I’m thinking that maybe the Brando, P-i-v-o-t, & ClearTouch screen protectors are using the same method. :confused:

    Like Judie, I preferred the completely clear screen protectors. There’re a lot of money, time & effort spent on developing a superior-quality display. With a non-glare screen protector, the screen is dimmed & dulled somewhat, compromising a bright & clear display. With a completely clear screen protector like the G2, the screen looked as if it doesn’t have any screen protector on, preserving the display quality. The G2 has also a hard & smooth outer surface, like glass & like the naked screen. I much preferred that feel to any other kinds of textured surface.

    Those are my unique preferences of course; if you needed a non-glare screen protector, & liked their textured feel, then I think the WriteSHIELD is a good option. Both the G2 & the WriteSHIELD are the 2 premier screen protectors in the PocketPC world.

    Judie, is the WriteSHIELD or the G2 thinner?

    Thanks! 😀

  • Judie December 19, 2002, 1:57 pm

    Originally posted by smittyofdhs
    so would you use the G2 or the writesheild for your devices? I know they are somewhat “apples and oranges” but what’s your choice?

    I am actually using both types. I have a G2 on my iPAQ, WriteSHIELD on my PPC Phone Edition, a Brando on my CLIE, and a cut down G2 on my Tungsten. They are apples to oranges, and the choice is personal.

    Just think of it like this:

    If you want total clarity and a glass-like feel, go with the G2.

    If you want a more “papery” feel and don’t want a glare on your screen, go with a WriteSHIELD type product.

    Judie :0)

  • Judie December 19, 2002, 2:07 pm

    Originally posted by Merlion
    I’d like to mention that PocketPCTechs has mentioned on another website that their <u>WriteSHIELD has a silicon coating on the inside surface so that it has the static cling properties similar to window decals'</u>. That’s how they attach to the screen – not with adhesives, that’s also why they don’t leave any residue when removed. I’m thinking that maybe the Brando, P-i-v-o-t, & ClearTouch screen protectors are using the same method. :confused:

    Welcome to the club. These type screen protectors seem so similar that I think they are essentially the same – which is good for us as consumers because that means we can buy them based on how many we get in the package and if there are any other bonuses thrown in. 😉

    Like Judie, I preferred the completely clear screen protectors. There’re a lot of money, time & effort spent on developing a superior-quality display. With a non-glare screen protector, the screen is dimmed & dulled somewhat, compromising a bright & clear display. With a completely clear screen protector like the G2, the screen looked as if it doesn’t have any screen protector on, preserving the display quality. The G2 has also a hard & smooth outer surface, like glass & like the naked screen. I much preferred that feel to any other kinds of textured surface.

    Exactly!

    Those are my unique preferences of course; if you needed a non-glare screen protector, & liked their textured feel, then I think the WriteSHIELD is a good option. Both the G2 & the WriteSHIELD are the 2 premier screen protectors in the PocketPC world.

    Well said!

    Judie, is the WriteSHIELD or the G2 thinner?

    They are essentially the same, thicker than traditional adhesive screen protectors which I suspect allows them to last so much longer.

    Judie :0)

  • dstrauss December 31, 2002, 7:08 pm

    Tried the G2, and its a winner to me. I really prefer the feel of the original screen, and this is the closest I’ve ever seen for clarity. No one who looks at my HP 1910 even notices there is a screen protector on it (or maybe its just that unbelievably clear/bright screen that they’re focusing on in the first place).:D

  • f2002q January 22, 2003, 6:16 am

    Based on Judie’s review of the G2, I decided to try it. Here are my experiences:

    I went to the website http://www.pdascreenprotectors.com/ and selected my PDA (Sony Clie NR70). I bought 2 of the protectors.

    Normally, when you order something online a confirmation email almost immediately arrived. I got no such email. I did, however, see a transaction for $16 and change go through my bank.

    After waiting about a week for the protectors to arrive (while waiting for the confirmation email) I decided to send the people at PDAscreenprotectors a kind email requesting status on my order. 3 days later an envelope containing the protectors, instructions and a lint-free blue paper arrives. I was excited !!

    I’m not excited any more. After following the instructions to the letter, I could not get the things installed. First of all, they say use piece of tape to peel the film from the curved side. I must have tried 3 different kinds of tape to no avail. I was tempted to try a duck tape… I had to use my fingernail to wrestle that film off the protector.

    Next, was cleaning the screen and trying to keep it dust free. I knew that was going to be tough, but I did not expect it to be impossible. I even broke out the bottle of compressed air, which only kept spraying this hard to clean freezing liquid on the screen and the protector. I’m never buying the Kensington brand compressed air again.

    Finally, after getting everything clean and dust free I tried to put the protector on. It simply would not go in. I had to cut about 3 mm. from the sides to see if it would fit. I must have tried for about 1 hour to get that piece of plastic to slide between the edges of the Sony. At this point, I decided to cut my losses and stop trying to shove it in. I rather loose $17.00 than the Sony.

    I don’t think I will use the “slide-in” type protectors again. If anybody can recomend a “glue-on” protector, I would apprieciate.

  • Chronos February 12, 2003, 4:35 pm

    I just got a set of the WriteSHIELDS for my T-Mobile. I am in love! This screen cover is great for my specific PDA, as I use it as a phone and a PDA. The shield went on without a hitch. No bubbles, no dust. Easiest screen protector I’ve ever applied. The plastic is durable and reusable, so I’m a bit at a loss as to why I have two more (unless I manage to badly scratch it, I guess). The non-glare coating is fine for me, as it really doesn’t dim the screen much at all. I love the fact that these protectors don’t “smudge” as much as the unprotected screen. When running between meetings, sitting at the curb, etc, I typically use my fingers to do the dialing. Also, face prints (yecch) are a thing of the past too. If I do “smudge” the screen, the protectors are easy to wipe off.

    I got the top of the line kit (the name escapes me); it included a spray cleaner for plastic LCDs in a bottle, several screen cleaning pads, and picks to help remove the protector for cleaning. I understand they now include a microfiber cloth; I use one I have for my sunglasses.

    I don’t work for them, represent them in any way. Just a great product, and I’ve used many!

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