PalmOne Tungsten E

A lot of functionality, an itty-bitty package and a reasonable price.

I always thought I didn't do handhelds because I couldn't afford one, but after spending a little time with palmOne's Tungsten E, I realized I'm just not a Palm kind of girl.

Initially I thought it was cool. It had a neat little cover and could hold a plethora of information -- my contacts' phone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses and birthdays, and any appointment I had. I could even open Word and Excel documents transferred from my PC (though not wirelessly -- this puppy must use a USB cord to connect to my computer).

The problems I encountered with the Tungsten E seem primitive in the technology world, but they're important nonetheless. The writing pad wasn't sensitive enough to the stylus's touch. When I attempted to write my appointments in the calendar, no word was translated correctly. When I wrote, "Interview with Brian, 3 p.m." in block letters, the palmOne's translation was "Ihterviv vitn Biiam. 3 pn." I typically enjoy learning new things, but getting accustomed to that Graffiti 2 writing pad wasn't my cup of tea. I want to write my appointments in without learning some new shorthand.

Either way, it forced me to tap letters on the keypad to insert my appointments or interviews, which took too much time.

After about three weeks of carrying the Tungsten E in my purse -- which fit quite nicely seeing as it only measures 114 mm by 78 mm by 12.7 mm -- and using it instead of my regular old calendar, I went back to the old school way of keeping track of my life.

I do, however, see how handhelds benefit those with lots to do, many places to go and nowhere to keep a monster calendar. If you're one of those on-the-go people without the need for infrared file sharing between the Palm and your PC, the Tungsten E -- which retails for $199 -- is for you.

Specs

Memory: 32 MB (28.3 MB actual storage capacity)

Screen: 16-bit, 320x320 transflective TFT color display supporting more than 65,000 colors

Size and Weight: 4.5x3.1x0.5 inches; 4.6 ounces

Processor: Texas Instruments OMAP311 ARM processor

Operating System: Palm OS 5.2.1

Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion/polymer battery

Rating: 3 out of 5

PalmOne Tungsten T3

Stretch display and fast processor make the T3 fun to use.

Specs

Memory: 64MB memory (52MB actual storage capacity)

Screen: 320x480 color Transflective TFT display with portrait and landscape support

Size and Weight: 4.3 x 3 inches (screen closed), 5.5 ounces

Processor: 400MHz Intel XScale?

Operating System: Palm OS 5.2.1

Battery: Rechargeable 900mAh lithium polymer battery

It's not that I'm a slacker, it's just that I don't have the sort of job that creates a need for a device like palmOne's Tungsten T3.

A colleague who works with California's Legislature and attends lots of committee hearings expressed genuine terror at the thought of losing his Palm when I asked him how important it was to him.

As a piece of technology, there's no doubt palmOne's Tungsten T3, which retails for $399, is a slick little device. The T3's most attractive feature is its "Stretch Display" functionality -- simply grab hold of the T3, pull on the bottom, and it slides down to give you 50 percent more viewing area than other palmOne devices. The extra viewing area allows you to work in portrait or landscape mode.

Though this does nothing to enhance the T3's beefy personal information management functionality, it does do two important things: It satisfies consumers' love for a mobile device with a nice big

Shane Peterson  |  Associate Editor
Jessica Jones  |  Managing Editor