Reviewing Tungsten C, part 2

by Volker Weber

[continued from part 1]

tungstenc.jpgI sent the Tungsten C back to Palm the day before yesterday. The device did not receive the prestigious "editor refuses to give it back" rating. For a number of reasons.

But let me start with the good news: The new screen is really good, especially indoors. The old screen is only better in direct sunlight. Performance is excellent, even compared with a Tungsten T. Adding more memory was nice but not a necessity for me.

Off to the bad news: WLAN never really worked. I consider this a defect since I tried against three different access points with various settings. This is one of the things that is supposed to be really easy with this particular device.

Also, I do not like the keyboard. If I were a keyboard user, I would have gotten a Psion in the first place. But that is obviously a matter of taste. A good friend actually uses the onscreen keyboard with his Palm V and I am pretty sure he would have liked the keyboard a lot.

Next on the list is Graffiti 2. I have years of using the original version under my belly; I actually started using it on a Newton 100. The new version is different enough to make me stumble. Of course if that would be my permanent machine I would finally adjust. But it would take some time.

Finally form factor and finish. The C is significantly larger than a T, which is already thicker than a V or 500 series. While I can keep the T in a shirt pocket, I would not do it with a C, especially with the folding screen protector. The surface also feels like cheap plastic, that only looks like metal. What a diffence if you compare it to a gun metal T(1).

Things I have not tried: MP3 playback. I have an iPod and I never get around trying anything else.

If WLAN would have worked and I did not already have a working Bluetooth access point, my verdict would be different. When WLAN access becomes available everywhere, the whole thing might change. But today a T which can connect through Bluetooth to a mobile phone and from there over the GSM network to the Internet seems to be much more attractive. Therefore I never carried the C with me instead of the T although I had all my data sitting on it.

So what's next? Hopefully a newer T or — very high on my wish list — the new Treo that is coming out. I could finally consolidate phone and PDA.


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