Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Do I Really Need A PDA?

I’ve been thinking of getting a PDA for quite a while now but have not really decided on which one to buy. These PDAs still cost a pretty penny that I am really reluctant to rush into buying one only to find that it does not fit with what I have in mind. As a substantial investment, I would like to get as much information as I can about them before deciding which is best for me. A casual search on the Net gave me a plethora of choices that is simply mind boggling to me. I’ve never been so much of a gadget geek so a lot of the things out there are unfamiliar and intimidating.

One thing that I have yet to really nail down is the reason why I would need to get one of these PDAs. I still consider them as luxury items that while are nice to have, they are not yet absolutely essential. But then again, I had exactly the same argument the first time I was deciding to get a cell phone so I can foresee how this purchase might change my outlook on the subject after I finally bite the bullet and get one. The other factor that I have to consider is how much usage would the PDA see once I get it. I would like to select one that would allow me to maximize the returns on the investment in terms to actual productive usage. Anything else would be a bit wasteful considering the high price.

One of the choices that I have been looking at is the normal handheld devices. From what I can find, the most popular products in this category are offered by Palm. Almost all of them would have the features of a normal organizer that one would expect from these things so I guess it is the extra features that would set them apart. In a way, I have to decide if the features offered are really something that I am interested in. It is a good thing that there is an easy comparison chart at the Palm website to help me decide which one would be best suited for me. To tell the truth, I am currently torn between the Palm Tungsten-T and the Zire71. On one side, the Tungsten-T seems to offer the best solution as an “office on the move” but then I would just be using the unit for things work related. The Zire71 on the other hand does come with a built-in camera and MP3 playback capability which in itself opens a new venue of opportunities but then again seems to be a bit trivial as a main reason to purchase it.

Then, of course, I have several other choices that fall into the smartphone category to consider. Among those that I found on the web are the Palm Tungsten-W, O² XDA and Sony Ericsson P800. They all combine the features of a normal cell phone with an electronic PDA in one package. I expect that I would find myself using them more than a normal offline PDA so the potential for a quick return of investment would be there. Since these units cost a bit more that a normal PDA, the choice between which one to get is actually harder to make. I have to take into account which criteria, whether it be as a phone or an electronic organizer, would have more weight in influencing my decision of which choice would be best of me. For the moment, I’m being swayed by the impressive talk time claimed by the Tungsten-W but both the XDA and P800 have features that the former lack.

Just thinking about them actually gives me a headache. I have a lot of features to sort out and decide if they are really necessary for me within at least a five year time period. I’m still searching the web to find product reviews and testimonials for people who have used them which while I do not let them sway my decision too much; I still take into serious consideration. I also would need to find the opportunity to physically experience the units and compare the way they feel in my hand. It wouldn’t be much use to me if the item has all the bells and whistle that I want but weighs a ton and I can’t put it in my pants without someone cracking a joke about me being really happy to see them.

I think that there is a shop in Sunway Pyramid that might carry those I’ve identified so far. I don’t really have an urgent need to get one immediately so I still have the luxury to do more research on them before finally biting the bullet and getting one for myself.

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