Last Fall Palm
introduced the Tungsten | T5
model PDA. Now one year later, they have released the TX model. The T5
the TX share quite a few similar features including the same body case
size and style. That should come as good news for T5 owners looking
to upgrade to the latest and greatest Palm device as they will not need
to buy new styli, cases, etc. They should all go out and buy the TX
today, right? Well, let’s
just hold off answering that question for a few minutes; because
sometimes a company’s newest
device isn’t always the best device.
Processor: 312MHz ARM-based Processor
Operating System: Palm OS software version Garnet v5.4.9
Memory: Total 128 MB (100MB accessible to user)
Display: TFT color display with backlight, 320 x 480, 65,000 colors
Audio: Speaker and standard 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
Interface: USB (for HotSync operation), Infrared, Bluetooth
1.1, Wi-Fi 802.11b
Dimensions and Weight: 4.76 x 3.08 x 0.61in, 5 oz. (including
stylus and SD card)
Power: 108-32VAC, 60Hz, 100mA (US and Canada only AC Adapter)
Battery: 1250mHa Lithium-ion polymer rechargeable battery (internal –
non user removable)
Expansion: SD card slot (Secure Digital), supports MMC and SDIO cards
Palm TX PDA
USB cable with sync button
Graffiti 2 sticker
Software Installation CD
Like I said before, the new TX is the same size, shape and
weight as the T5. The main difference is that the TX has a darker
almost blue looking gun metal colored case. The case looks
like metal and even sort of feels like it, but I believe it’s really
plastic. Even so, the TX passed the patent pending Gadgeteer
creak test with flying colors. I detected no creaking, flexing, or
rattling. Unlike the T5, the TX does not show finger prints
On the front of the PDA there are 4 application buttons, the
5-way navigation pad and the color display. The buttons have the same
layout as the ones on the T5. They are small, flat and square with good
tactile feedback. From left to right, the application buttons are
assigned to the Home, Calendar, Contacts and Web Browser applications.
Like other models before this one, the buttons can be reassigned to
launch other applications by modifying their preferences.
I’m not sure if it is just my particular review unit, but I
noticed that the application buttons and the power button would all
sometimes require 2 presses to activate the desired function. I’ve had
Palm PDAs exhibit this behavior before, and it’s annoying to say the
least. I’m curious if any other TX owners reading this have noticed
this problem. That said, I didn’t have any problems with the 5-way
navigation pad. Playing games with it is not a problem at all.
Although I don’t have a T5 to compare with, I find the 3.8in display on the TX to be very nice. It is bright and the colors are vivid. Reading eBooks, surfing the web, viewing photos and watching movies using the built in media application are all an enjoyable experience with this PDA. Even so, someone that buys this PDA will probably want to download the freeware player TCPMP which can play quite a few other video formats.
The left side of the TX has a slot for the included screen cover, while the right side has the stylus silo. The included stylus is better than your average plastic toothpick stylus. It has a polished metal barrel that is thick and heavy. The top screws off to reveal a reset pin.
The bottom of the PDA has the same Multi-Connector that the T5 and LifeDrive have. The TX does not come with a cradle… big surprise… Instead a USB sync cable with an integrated hotsync button is included. The cable offers a trickle charge to the PDA battery, but if you want to quick charge, you’ll have to plug in the separately included AC adapter. Unlike the cable supplied with the T5, this one does not plug into the USB cable. It plugs directly into the PDA.
The top of the PDA has the IR port, SD slot, power button and earphone jack. In some quick tests, I found that I was able to beam an address to a Zire 31 from the TX at a maximum of 5.3 ft. Much better than the 3.5 ft. distance in the same test with a T5.
Listening to MP3s using Pocket Tunes through earphones (none of which are included with the purchase of this PDA), is a treat. The max volume level on this PDA is way loud. Like the T5, the TX is one of the loudest PDAs that I’ve reviewed. For me a comfortable volume level in a quiet room was at less than 10% of maximum. Like the T5, I noticed when earphones are plugged in but no music is playing, you can hear some white noise…
The back of the TX has the reset switch and speaker grill. Speaker volume is impressive. You can easily use this PDA as an alarm clock.
Like the T5, the TX has non-volatile ROM. That means that if you happen to run the battery down to nothing, you won’t lose your applications or data. The problem is, that you only get 100MB available to you. The T5 has 60 more megabytes. The T5 also has a faster processor and a little bit larger battery (1300mHa vs. 1250mHa). So what the heck do you get with the TX that you don’t with the T5? WiFi. Yeah, that’s about the extent of it.
Using WiFi with the TX is easy and painless. At least I found that to be the case with connecting to my access point to surf the web. It was as easy as clicking the WiFi icon on the menu bar, clicking the scan button so it could find the network, and then selecting the network and clicking the connect button. I was surfing pages in less than 10 seconds. I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to do that with a Pocket PC.
Actually surfing non mobile optimized sites on this PDA is not as painful as doing the same on my Treo 650. The large rotating display really makes a big difference. I’d still rather surf on a laptop or desktop, but doing so on the TX is actually pretty fun.
As far as system speed, even though this PDA is has a slower processor than the T5, I’ve not noticed any real lag. Even when writing Graffiti.
Software-wise, the TX comes with pretty much the same bundle that the T5 came with.
Included in ROM:
Addit software catalog
Blazer web browser
DataViz Documents To Go Professional Edition
Pocket Tunes MP3 player
Solitaire by Handmark
VersaMail email client
Included on the CD:
Adobe Acrobat Reader – PDF file viewer
Enterprise Solutions (URL)
eReader – My favorite eBook Reader
Microsoft Outlook Conduits (Windows only)
Palm Desktop 4.1 for PC and Mac
Real Rhapsody Desktop
Windows Media Player/DirectX
The most notable omission in the software bundle is the built in Files file manager application that was included with the T5. I’m really stumped as to why Palm decided to leave that one out. It’s not a real big deal though as you can download a better free app called Filez. Palm also swamped the RealPlayer audio player with Pocket Tunes which I have no complaints about.
The bottom line is that the Palm TX is a nice PDA. It’s solidly built, has a nice display, snappy performance, built in Bluetooth and WiFi. But if you already own the T5, I don’t see a real reason to upgrade. Doing so will give you a slower processor and less memory. Yes, you’ll gain WiFi, but you could do that by purchasing Palm’s $99 SD WiFi card.
I’ve been a fan of Palm based PDAs off and on since the very beginning. I still appreciate their ‘it just works’ OS. Right now my main PDA is the Treo 650. But having said that, Palm seems to be circling the drain as far as non-smarpthone devices go. I don’t know why they even decided to release the TX. Despite the addition of WiFi, it really seems to be a step backwards from the T5, instead of forwards. In my opinion, they should have concentrated their efforts on making a thinner, faster LifeDrive instead of wasting time with the TX.