PDA Buying Guide
You can have all kinds of information literally at your fingertips with a new, handheld PC. You can even connect to the Internet, read and send email, as well as keep all appointment and contact information. So, get a new handheld PC, a palmtop, or Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), all can provide you with valuable information when you need it.
There are many well-known manufacturers of handheld PCs. One of the first on the market was the Palm Pilot. However, there are many quality handheld PC including HP, IBM, Compaq, Blackberry, and Sony. There are also many other manufacturers of handheld PC’s that offer good value and a quality product.
Before purchasing a new handheld PC, you should decide what functions are most important to you and your lifestyle. Then look at the budget you have to spend. Remember, handheld PCs have been designed to fit together with a desktop or laptop computer and not replace them.
There are two main types of categories of PDA’s, palmtops and handheld computers. The two are similar in many areas, but usually differ in their overall size and the size of their display, as well as the mode of data entry. Handheld computers tend to be larger than palmtops and a little heavier. They usually have larger displays and use a small keyboard and touch screen technology for entering in data. Palmtops tend to be lighter and quite small, and use a stylus along with touch screen technology for data entry.
Most palmtop or handheld PDA’s use batteries for power. There are several choices of batteries on the market today, including regular alkaline (AAA) batteries. There are also rechargeable batteries like lithium, nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal hydride).
If you have a color display or are using your handheld PC for voice recording or as a MP3 player, you will use more energy than with normal functions. Make sure that you pick a battery solution that fits well with how you are going to use your PDA. You may also want to look at getting an AC adapter to use while you are near a plug in. You can run on this power source plus, if you bought rechargeable batteries, recharge them as well.
There are several options of displays or screen you can choose from. There are black and white screen, monochrome screen, or color LCD screens. Look for what kind of resolution you need and then make your selection. There are backlit screen sas well, which make it easy to read in low light environments.
The way you want to import your data is also a big consideration. The handheld PCs usually come with a miniature keyboard while the palmtops uses a stylus. If you are not precise with your stylus, you could make more trouble for yourself than necessary. So be sure to look at the keyboard options. Both ways are effective, however.
You should consider the type of software that comes with your handheld PC. There is some really fine writing recognition software available that may help you with the stylus data entry. You will get operating software and also software applications for calendar, addresses and to-do lists, etc.
Make sure you check the compatibility of the PDA you want with your desktop or laptop. Most PDA’s come with a cradle through which you can synchronize data from your desktop to your handheld or the other way around. This makes life easy, as all information will be up-to-date on both pieces of equipment.
When making a decision on a new handheld PC, take a close look at the style and the way you work. Ergonomics is an important considering if you will be using your PDA constantly throughout the day. Make sure that the design of the model you plan to purchase is comfortable for you and does not cause stress.
There are many different kinds of accessories available for handheld PCs. Research what is available and then make decisions on what accessories make sense for you. If you do a lot of typing directly to your handheld PC then a fold-up keyboard could be a great accessory for you, for example.
Storage is getting cheaper and cheaper these days, but still check the PDA you plan on purchasing for the amount of storage it comes with and if the storage is expandable. You would hate to run out of storage since there are many solutions to overcome storage problems, but it is much better to plan ahead.
One more thing that you should check out is the manufacturers warranty. Check if the warranty covers parts and labor and the length of time the product will be covered.. You may be able to purchase an extended warranty, so check that out as well.
Keep your information at your fingertips and purchase a new handheld PC or PDA. You’ll find it comforting to be able to carry all of your vital information with you wherever you go.
Article By Karla Soule, June 2004.