As the popular Zire 71 goes into retirement, the Zire 72 is here to take its place. Boasting more memory and a faster processor, the palmOne Zire 72 also lets you take photos and videos, connect to devices via Bluetooth, listen to music and watch videos. Its eye-catching blue design and its multimedia capabilities will appeal to young professionals who want a device that can get the work done but still leaves room for fun.
palmOne has revamped the look and feel of the Zire, giving it a bit of flash with its electric blue colour. And forgoing the plastic casing of models past, the Zire 72 comes sheathed in a soft, rubbery material that feels like it could endure some rough treatment. However, if you don't want the colour to scratch off, be sure to store the device in its case. It feels sturdy in your hands, and it's compact and light (75 by 117 by 17mm, 136g), especially for a PDA with a built-in camera.
The Zire sports a beautiful, 320x320-pixel, transflective 65K-colour display. Just beneath the screen lies the five-way directional keypad with a central select button and four shortcut keys to the Calendar and Contacts applications, as well as the camera and the RealOne audio player. You can customise these shortcut controls to launch different apps. Though the design isn't anything revolutionary, we felt comfortable using the device one-handed.
The Zire's camera is built into the back of the device, where it (along with the expansion slot) adds a bit of bulk to the top of the handheld. Unlike the Zire 71, the 72 doesn't include a protective cover for the camera lens. Even though the lens is recessed into the device, we're concerned it will get scratched or damaged over time if the cover isn't in place. Also on the back of the Zire is the unit's speaker (see 'Performance'), which actually surrounds the lens, and a small Reset hole.
The rest of the design is fairly standard. The bottom of the device houses the USB cable and power adaptor ports, while a lone voice-record button occupies the left side. Rounding out the Zire's layout are the expansion slot for SDIO/MMC media, the power button and a stereo jack that accepts Walkman-style headphones, all located on the top. We have one complaint about the expansion slot, however. Like the Zire 31, the Zire 72 has a slot that is deeply recessed into the top of the unit; we found it difficult to insert and remove the memory card.
The Zire 72 comes with a protective carrying case, but we were disappointed that palmOne excluded the desktop cradle that came bundled with the 71. At time of posting, the company had not made a decision on whether it would offer a desktop cradle for separate purchase. Also, the rechargeable lithium-ion battery is not user-replaceable.