When Palm, or palmOne as it was known, released its LifeDrive in May, we were thrilled that the company had finally integrated Wi-Fi into one of its PDAs. Unfortunately, when we saw the wallet-stretching price tag, the celebration was short-lived. Now, it appears we can put our party hats back on, because the new Palm TX offers a more affordable solution (£240) that should please a wide range of users, both professional and casual. Aside from built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the TX crams a long list of features and solid performance into a sleek package that can go head-to-head with its Pocket PC counterparts, such as the Dell Axim X51 and the HP iPaq rx1950.
With the exception of the colour scheme, the Palm TX largely resembles the Tungsten E2 and the Tungsten T5 in design. Rather than the classic metallic silver chassis, the TX sports a chic midnight blue colouring that can easily pass as black. In addition, the solid-feeling PDA is sleek and compact -- 78 by 121 by 15mm and 136g -- and should have no problem slipping into your bag or coat pocket. Palm does package the device with a flip cover that attaches on the left side to protect the screen and outer face from scratches, but if you want complete protection, we suggest you invest in a full-size case. Besides, once you take a look at the TX's gorgeous screen, we suspect you'll want to do everything to keep it that way.
The Palm TX's spacious 102mm (4-inch) display supports 65k colours and a 320x480-pixel resolution. Text and images are sharp and crisp, and you can even customise the PDA with a number of colour themes. As with the Tungsten T5, there is a toolbar along the bottom edge of the screen, where you can switch between landscape and portrait mode, bring up the virtual keyboard and turn on the wireless radio with a tap of the button, among other things. One-touch access to Home/Favorites, Calendar, Contacts and Web is also available through the four shortcut keys below the screen. The five-way navigation toggle sits in between this quartet. Overall, the layout is spacious, and all buttons are tactile.
On top of the Palm TX are an SDIO/MMC expansion slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a power button and a stylus holder. To sync with your PC or Mac, you can use the included multiconnector USB cable, which plugs into the bottom of the PDA. The connector for the AC adaptor sits immediately to the right of the USB port -- this made for a tight fit when both connectors were plugged in. If you ever need to reset your device, you can do so by pressing the button on the back of the device with a paper clip or a sharp point. Unfortunately, the battery is not user-replaceable.
Palm includes enough of the basics to get you going right out of the box. Aside from the aforementioned flip cover, AC adaptor and USB cable, you get a user guide and an installation CD loaded with an interactive tutorial and various software. Palm will offer a number of optional accessories, including Bluetooth-enabled goodies, such as a Bluetooth GPS navigation system and Palm's Universal Wireless Keyboard.