Zire 31


$229 RRP
Palm
http://www.palm.com/au/products/handhelds/zire31/

The jury’s out on whether the old PDAs will still exist in a couple of years. On one hand, quality tends to get cheaper as it catches on — how many of us kick ourselves remembering the $1000 we spent on our first CD burner or DVD player? As more people buy the sort of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink PDAs available now, there’ll be little market for models that don’t take photos, make phone calls, download Grand Theft Auto 7 and stream a radio station.

On the other hand, PDA users are as varied as PDAs themselves. We all have to eat three square meals a day, but hamburgers are a very different experience from a three-course seafood banquet. Which is ‘better’ is subjective. The Zire 31 won’t suit the sort of road-warrior executive who needs every trick at the touch of a button, but it has enough features to keep the average user happy — especially those not yet ready to part with the $1000 for something like the Treo 650, Palm’s flagship model.

The calendar is what you’ll get the most use out of — all the other features are adequately covered by other devices you’ll already have. It’s handy to have your contacts on it, but they’re probably already on your mobile, and we can easily end up with so many devices that ensuring they’re all up to date defeats the purpose of having them all for easy access to our data.

It’s comfortable to hold and use, but the luminescence and clarity look a bit shoddy compared to the bigger, better models. So if you’re content to wait until you can buy the latest smartphone technology for less than a fortnight’s salary, you can gamble on how long it will take for it to enter your price range, or you can fill in the gap with the Zire 31; you might even learn to love it.


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