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Comments on: Sony Clie TG50 Review

PIC reviewer and long time Piloteer, Dan Royea, brings us a review of Sony's latest handheld. The Clie TG50 features Palm OS 5, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and an integrated mini-keyboard. Read on for the full review.
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Good Review

UZI4U182 @ 4/28/2003 6:05:41 PM #
The subject line says all.

*****



UZI4U182@suscom.net
www.devanstavern.tk
Main PDA: Sony CLI PEG-NX70v
WiFi setup coming soon...

RE: Good Review
bookrats @ 4/29/2003 11:39:56 AM #
Ditto -- an absolutely first-rate review. Thank you!

----

"I'm warning you ... if you kill me, they'll just send 008!"

Jeff Meyer

Very nice review. Not a copy and paste as far as I can tell.
Observer @ 5/12/2003 5:04:38 PM #
Insightful review.

However, we should emphasize to the readers certains things you have mentioned and mention some things you have not mentioned.

Pros -

1 - Any complaints against the 3com Palm OS 5 is irrelevent. OS 5 is the new operating system for most all the new Palm type devices, not just the CLie TG50.

2 - The lid can be taken off. I guess this is important for those of you who want to use a lether case. Though the unit does look ugly with the sockets exposed.

3 - The TG50's integreted Bluetooth has wake on LAN ability. In case there ever exists any software that can take advantage of this. Meaning, a phone with bluetooth would theoretically be able to wake up the tg50 and look up the contacts database and the unit itself can be in the pocket or bag or whatever.

4 - The mostly all aluminum case is far superior to the low quality plastic used in Handspring or earlier Palms. I lost my Handspring Prism when it fel out of my wallet and hit the cement. I beieve the tg50 would have survived it, though dented.

5 - The unit comes with MediQ's 2D video accelerator. Applications that support it will have much faster graphics.

6 - The wrist strap is a welcome. I am always woriied that I might drop my $800 Pocket PC Thera if someone bumbs me in a busy area.

7 - TG50 is thinner andb lighter then the NX or NZ (the CF slot sticks out on these units).

8 - Very strong presure is required to press down on the keyboard. Which is good for me.

9 - Memory stick pro is faster and bigger then regualr memory stick. I use the 256meg version and it currently goes upto 1 gig. Theoretical limit is 32 gigs.

10 - It has jog dial/botton ! No other Palm device has it and I love it.


Cons:

1 - Using the keyboard is awkward, because typing numbers require two bottons be pressed. There should be separate number keys even if it means a little longer unit.

2 - 16 megs RAM, but only 11 megs free. 64 megs would be reasonable and 128 woudld be great. Palm OS 5 is still a very primitive and simple OS that can transparently use the memory expansion modules for applications. For those used to Pocket PCs or Sharp Linux PDAs the unit's 11 megs of free memory will seem very handicapping.

3 - Only one expansion slot. Hence, unless the memory stick integrates memory along with any other function like 802.11b, the memory would be sacrificed for some other expansion capability. Good news. San might come out with a 256meg 802.11b memory stick. 2 memory stick slots would be nice.

4 - The lid has some functional problems. It is sleef and smooth, and hence, difficlut to grab and open. Expect to take a few seconds to open the unit. Possible solution is to place a plastic tab on the edge of the lid. Another, if a alarm goes off on would have to open the lid to see the message, because the lid is not transparent.

5 - Battery life is somewhat very short for me. I might get through the day with out the unit dying if I conserve. It not really any worse then other units, but, I prefer about 9 hours continuous use from a PDA. Forget watching a movie or using it as a MP3 player unless the movie is short or its a short work out at the gym, but then do you want to take a $400 walkman to the gym ??!!

6 - I am not sure why the TG50 did not use the 400 MHZ chip. It is available.


Conclusion -

Typical high Japanese quality , design and craftsmanship (unfortunately handicapped by American OSmanship).
I chose this unit over faster units (400MHZ), over bigger screen units (NZ), better wired units (802.11b or GPRS), over smaller units (Tungsten T), over more feature rich units (built in camera) and cheaper units (Handspring).

Why ?
Becasue a combination of size, strength, keyboard and most of all the jog dial thats also a botton.

I am or was the owner of:
Palm III (good)
Handspring Prism (bad)
Audiovox Thera (terrible)

Perhaps over the next year many software developers will support MediaQ, OS 5 and memory modules. Combine that with a well designed bluetooth phones with Internet capability (none so far, current ones have software problems) and the TG50 will probably be a device people don't lieave home without.



RE: Good Review
Observer @ 5/12/2003 5:42:41 PM #
Typo -

.... that can NOT use the memory module ....

RE: Good Review
Observer @ 5/12/2003 5:43:53 PM #
Typo -
Memory if used would only be sacrificed for another function if the user replaces the memory stick with a card of another function.

RE: Good Review
Observer @ 5/12/2003 5:46:16 PM #
Oh heck !
I have typos all over the comment. =)

Non Flip-and-Twist

Be_True @ 4/28/2003 6:17:28 PM #
I am glad that they stepped away from the Flip-and-Twist design.

Looks to be a very nice design.
(and a very nice review)

Chris


RE: Non Flip-and-Twist
benixau @ 4/28/2003 6:41:17 PM #
the T-series has never been in the clamshell design. Why would they start now? That is how they differentiate their product lines betweeen upper models and lower models.
Still a good all round review.

RE: Non Flip-and-Twist
jmlg @ 4/28/2003 10:46:23 PM #
I think he was just referring to the screen size (virtual grafitti) on the NR/X/Z...and not the actual flip and twist design.

jmlg
(trying to think of a clever signature line)
RE: Non Flip-and-Twist
Palm_Otaku @ 4/29/2003 12:52:43 PM #
Hmm, not sure of the source of confusion for a few readers...

The point I was trying to make was that the Clie "T-series" (T415/T615C/T665C) has been a "tablet-style" form-factor, and Sony has now transitioned their mid-tier line to this new 320x320 + mini-keyboard design exclusively.

I think a lot of people were predicting that the T665C would be updated with an ARM processor/OS5 as well as the "hires+" screen from the NR/NX/NZ line. I know I've seen a LOT of posts from people who are expressing a desire for that style of device. Look at the number of people interested in Garmin's forthcoming iQue3600 who don't even really want the integrated GPS. ;)

So I'm curious: is Sony thinking that the integrated mini-keyboard is the way of the future for PDAs? And looking at the Tungsten W and Tungsten C, is Palm thinking the same thing?

Interesting....

"BS" Button?

Mr T @ 4/28/2003 6:23:48 PM #
I know, I know...It stands for BackSpace :)

RE: "BS" Button?
jbeedham @ 4/29/2003 1:59:00 AM #
lol

-------------------------------------------------------
currently using Palm m125 and waiting for Garmin iQue.

Sexy!!!

i2oadi2unnei2 @ 4/28/2003 6:25:20 PM #
Although many will like/dislike this form factor and/or features I think it has a nice sexy look! However I think I will stick to my NX70V for a while, but if it breaks, this one would be a contender next to the T|C which I'm interested in. *GRIN*

...|3eep |3eep!!...

Couldn't keep it

Quik_Fix @ 4/28/2003 6:27:51 PM #
I went to Best But to swap out a couple of weeks ago and saw this on the shelf. It was only a few bucks more than my old T-665C and I was excited about all the new features, so I picked it up and brought it home... and brought it back two hours later.

Now this is opinion, so don't shoot me.
But I hated it.

The buttons are small and hard. This reviewer under-emphasized the orange and blue writing around the buttons; its UNREADABLE. The backlight is horribly uneven. And I had no idea how horribly lost I would be without grafitti, AND without hacks. Combine that with the fact that all the MP3s on my stick wouldn't work because this Clie wouldn't play them because it won't accept MP3s coded in VBR (Beware!) and the fact that it didn't even come with headphones, I ran screaming back to the store and picked up the SJ33. They really disappointed me with this thing and I think I'll wait a while before I try to update again.

Density has popped me to you...

Quik_Fix
quikfix@hotmail.com

RE: Couldn't keep it
i2oadi2unnei2 @ 4/28/2003 6:41:27 PM #
Hmm, very interesting opinion Quik_Fix. I bought the SJ33 a few months back for my fiancee and she loves it to death. I was thinking of waiting for something like this model for her but its a good thing I got her that SJ33 because its still an overkill for her. She never uses anything but contacts, calender, calculator AND playing MONOPOLY! She uses her SJ33 to play monopoloy as much as a kid uses his gameboy *grrrr*, but hey, at least shes learning...

...|3eep |3eep!!...

RE: Couldn't keep it
tthiel @ 5/1/2003 3:59:27 PM #
Those buttons are way to small for me too. Unusable.

Integrated flip cover. Yuck.

Ben S @ 4/28/2003 6:47:05 PM #
Am I the only one who hates looking like I belong on the set of Star Trek when I'm using a handheld?

I can't stand integrated flip-covers, especially when removing them marrs the look of the device (removing the flip cover from the TG50 leaves two largish "voids" on either side that make the unit look unfinished). It's even worse when you *can't* remove the flip-cover (my old Jornada's flip-cover came off, but the stylus was housed in it, so if you took it off you didn't have anywhere to put the stylus!)

The TG50 does get marks for some things: a backlit keyboard (such an obvious requirement for a keyboarded unit!), a Bluetooth indicator (although the flashing *does* get a tad annoying), and an excellent software bundle (but they're really squeezing the internal memory, with only 11MB left over for the user... ouch!).

RE: Integrated flip cover. Yuck.
coop @ 4/28/2003 10:58:15 PM #
Actually I like the flip covers... One of the reasons that I haven't "yet" retired my old IIIxe is that it has the nice hard flipcover.

It protects the unit and for those times when I don't want it (I have a GPS/Palmholder mounted to the dashboard), the cover unclips without leaving unsightly holes.

My IIIxe is nearing the end of it's life (8mb of RAM, ouch!), but when I replace it I'd like to have something with a nice integrated yet removable cover.

coop

RE: Integrated flip cover. Yuck.
DigitalMonkey @ 4/29/2003 4:15:56 AM #
I totally agree!!! I was so excited to see the new Clie TG50 until I realized that the flip cover did not detach or fold over. What a lame design this was...
"Scotty beam me up." If this cover twisted around and folded back it would be ok but this is too much. The buttons were also way too sticky for my taste. Oh yeah...16 megs of Ram? This is 2003 guys, I need much more than that.
Maybe they might get it right next time.

RE: Integrated flip cover. Yuck.
Chameleon78 @ 4/29/2003 7:08:01 AM #
I agree with the Yuck comment. Flip covers have their place, but I want to choose whether or not I want to take it off. The extra step to open the flip is annoying.

Let me choose to take it off. And if I do take it off, please leave me with a unit that still looks great!

RE: Integrated flip cover. Yuck.
Take1 @ 4/29/2003 7:17:55 AM #
LOL. Being a big time Trekkie, I LIKE the communicator look.



RE: Integrated flip cover. Yuck.
speed-angel @ 4/29/2003 4:07:44 PM #
I concur. I'd like to do things without the cover flying up and pointing my head. It has to be soft or just don't include them at all. Most of us can find something reasonably priced to protect it.

Making the Shift, ,Fn and Alt Buttons Sticky

MrMark @ 4/28/2003 6:50:49 PM #
"As before, the "shift", "Fn" and "Alt" keys are not sticky, meaning that for many characters two keys have to be held down simultaneously (which often requires some real finger gymnastics!)."

Try this application:

http://palmgear.com/software/showsoftware.cfm?prodID=45479

I installed it on my TG50. Works great.

RE: Making the Shift, ,Fn and Alt Buttons Sticky
Palm_Otaku @ 4/29/2003 1:50:03 PM #
Good point: OKey is a great app for the TG50 as well as NX/NZ -- a lot of users consider it "essential".

Keyboard comparison?

rohdesign @ 4/28/2003 7:10:59 PM #
Hey Dan, how does the TG50's thumboard compare to the other Sony thumboards, the Handspring Treo, Palm's Tungsten W and C and RIM Blackberry?

RE: Keyboard comparison?
Palm_Otaku @ 4/29/2003 2:56:28 PM #
rohdesign wrote: "Hey Dan, how does the TG50's thumboard compare to the other Sony thumboards, the Handspring Treo, Palm's Tungsten W and C and RIM Blackberry?"

Hmm, good question!

Aside from the TG50, I've put in a lot of time with the RIM 950 (Blackberry), Treo 180 and Clie NX70V. Lately I've been playing with the T|W and T|C a fair amount. I've had minimal experience with the NZ90, but at first pass, it's very similar to the TG50. (and I'll leave out the various clip-on thumbboards I've tried from Sony, Palm, Targus and S-E...)

In terms of tactile feel and overall ease of entry I'd have to rank them: NX > TG > Treo > RIM I haven't put in enough time on the T|W/C to really judge, but so far it's very similar to the Treo - perhaps a little too "soft".

In terms of integration with with OS and overall usability, hmm, actually I have to assign the same ranking as above.

Backlighting is a key feature IMNSHO, so the TG50 scores big points there (with the caveats I point out in the review).

These are my impressions, so YMMV. I encourage people to go to a shop that carries several models and try them out first-hand (pun intended).

Cheers,

Dan

RE: Keyboard comparison?
Scott R @ 4/29/2003 10:07:23 PM #
I haven't had extensive experience with any of them but my Treo 300, but have tried the others at some stores. This would be how I'd rank them (best to worst):
1. Original RIM Blackberry (this is the one that is sized like a pager with a small LCD screen - not the newer one with the larger screen. It's important to note that the original design had a larger thumbboard).
2. Sony NR/NX-series.
3. Treo-series.
4. Sony TG50.

I haven't tried the Palm T|C or T|W, nor have I tried the newer (smaller thumbboard) RIM models.

Oh, since we've brought non-Palm OS models into the mix, I'll also mention that the Danger hiptop/Sidekick has a very nice thumbboard (I'd probably rate this #2 - below the original Blackberry).

Scott

RE: Keyboard comparison?
Palm_Otaku @ 4/30/2003 5:40:32 AM #
Very interesting Scott - I haven't tried the newer RIM nor the Sidekick, and agree that the original RIM is a great reference standard.

I'm somewhat surprised about your assessment of the NR/NX keyboard though -- what do you like about it that would rate it higher than the Treo and TG50?

Cheers,

Dan

RE: Keyboard comparison?
Scott R @ 4/30/2003 8:14:01 AM #
"I'm somewhat surprised about your assessment of the NR/NX keyboard though -- what do you like about it that would rate it higher than the Treo and TG50?"

Again, Dan, I have to stress that I've had VERY limited experience with that keyboard. I dislike the limited keytravel of all of the Sony devices and the backlighting of the TG50 and Treo devices are a DEFINITE usability improvement. However, I find the large palm-rest of the NR/NX/NZ-series to make the devices more comfortable to hold, as the TG50 and Treo end up being top-heavy. Also, I think that the spacing between letters (perhaps combined with the circular shape) of the older NR/NX-series is less prone to accidentally hitting the wrong letter (a larger problem on the TG50/NZ90, IMO). So, all of those things combine to make the NR/NX-series more comfortable (again, from my limited experience playing with them). I'll add that I dislike how the Treo and Palm T|C and T|W have the keys all slanted in one direction and I'd prefer hard rubber keys to the hard plastic keys of my Treo.

Scott

RE: Keyboard comparison?
Scott R @ 4/30/2003 8:23:29 AM #
BTW, I highly recommend a hack called KeyCapsHack. It lets you press and hold a letter to capitalize it. Apparently this is a feature that the Blackberry devices have always had and I think I read that Palm built this into the new T|C as well. I use it on my Treo 300. I'm not sure if there is an OS5-friendly version of this that would work with the Sony's.

Scott

RE: Keyboard comparison?
mtt @ 4/30/2003 10:08:19 AM #
One thing to note... although the Treos keys don't have the best tactile feel, and tend to be a either a little hard or else squishy, Handspring did an excellent job of making the keyboard usable on a PDA- such as sticky shift keys, easy to read alternates, the numbers arranged for easy phone and calculator use (including the + - / * # keys). Plus decent intregration for use without touching the screen at all (still not quite good enough though) Now when I use a Sony keyboard, I miss a lot of these features.

MTT

I liked it...

tantousha @ 4/28/2003 7:25:42 PM #
Well I like my TG50. It's a great little unit, certainly a great step up from my Treo 90. While I agree there are a couple shortcomings, compared to the new Palms I think it's a great device.

P.S.
A couple things I found: If you look in the manual, the battery is a user replacable one, it's just not as easy as on the NZ90. Also if you download the freeware OKey you can make all those keys "Sticky". Now if only there was a program one could download to fix that poor backlighting of the screen :P

------------------------------------
This is a Test, this is only a test. Had this been a real posting, it would have been followed by replies.

Replaceable battery packs.
Palm_Otaku @ 4/28/2003 8:04:23 PM #
tantousha wrote: "If you look in the manual, the battery is a user replacable one, it's just not as easy as on the NZ90."

Well, not exactly. Because it's a LiIon pack, the newer Clies have a door to remove the battery pack for proper disposal - but it's not like the end user can purchase a spare battery pack and swap it out.

By my definition, the only PalmOS devices that have a user replaceable battery are the NZ90, the Kyocera and Samsung smartphones, the dana, and the handhelds that are compatible with AAA alkaline cells.

RE: I liked it...
LarryGarfield @ 4/29/2003 11:31:32 AM #
The HandEra 330 also has/had a user-replacable LiIon battery. In fact, AAAs OR LiIon, user's choice.

--
This post is ROT26 encrypted. Reading it is a violation of the DMCA
RE: I liked it...
Palm_Otaku @ 4/29/2003 2:32:49 PM #
Good point Larry, I'm surprised you beat cbowers to that tho'... ;)

The 330's LiIon optional accessory is one of the nicest solutions out there.

Man, I'm gonna miss HandEra... :(

RE: I liked it...
cbowers @ 4/30/2003 8:49:45 PM #
;-)

Just lurkin' on this one...

Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?

TechnoCat @ 4/28/2003 8:32:29 PM #
The last line of the review was a telling indictment of the mindset of the reviewer... griping that a hi-res sister wasn't released at the same time.

Yeah, sure... he's scoring it down because of what it isn't, not for what it is. Probably knocked it down three points for not having an integrated fusion reactor as a power source also.

How about, next time, having someone who the device is actually [i]aimed at[/i] review it. Don't ask an NX70V owner to review the $99 mono/2MB Zire, don't ask a Ferrari mechanic to review the Honda Accord, and don't let this reviewer write reviews for products until he's learned the mantra... [i]for $399, I can't have a 42" plasma screen, the neural-net mind-input device, and the 14-terrabyte hard disk.[/i]

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
TechnoCat @ 4/28/2003 8:41:21 PM #
And, I've just learned, for review follow-ups I can't have italics!

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
abosco @ 4/28/2003 9:33:41 PM #
You don't need to be a consumer in one end of the market to be able to review something else. Hell, I've got an NX70v and I'm willing to review an SJ22 in an unbiased opinion if need be.

IMO, the marketing decision for a keyboard instead of virtual graffiti was a poor one. Despite the fact that it has Bluetooth and may be a specialty device, it would've been a huge it. Could've, would've, and should've. It was just a bad decision by Sony.

And you can use italics. And bold. And underline I think, too.

-Bosco
Proud Member of the Top Non-Mods
Members: abosco and ImpReza M3
Now accepting new applications

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
ozz @ 4/28/2003 10:01:43 PM #
Wait, I'm confused. I thought it HAD virtual graffiti so a user could use either the thumb-board or graffiti for input. Am I wrong?

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
abosco @ 4/28/2003 11:15:18 PM #
We're talking about virtual graffiti as in a 320x480 screen for the dedicated graffiti area that can be dropped down, not in the cheesy way the TG does it.

I don't care about the graffiti. I just want the extra screen space.

-Bosco
Proud Member of the Top Non-Mods
Members: abosco and ImpReza M3
Now accepting new applications

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
TechnoCat @ 4/28/2003 11:17:09 PM #
But Bosco, the point is, such a device may well still have that opportunity, but the TG50 will be huge also. Just because you don't like the thumbboard doesn't mean it won't sell well or be huge. But being so strongly predisposed for the extra real estate over a keyboard would make you, as well as Dave, the wrong ones to review it.

I'd understand him griping thatit has a poor keyboard (although it's not that bad; I like it a lot better than the NX60s), I understand the complaint of the not-transparent cover. But complaining because a virtual-graffiti 320x480 model didn't accompany it? Sheesh! Sony's decided that those people get taxed an extra $100 and 1.8oz, but that they get it PLUS a keyboard.

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
radleyp @ 4/29/2003 11:09:05 AM #
If I understand you correctly, you take the position that only someone who ALREADY is predisposed to the TG50 should review it. That's absurd. Reviews are opinions and opinions reflect bias, which is why they are interesting - your opinion is different from mine, and I read you, because I may well benefit from your point of view. "Unbiased opinion" is an oxymoron, and people should be happy to listen to others express their bias.

I took one look at the TG50, and knew, after handling it for a few minutes, that I would not buy it (and I had gone to the store quite ready to do so): I found the keyboard, which I did not want, to be unresponsive with too little key travel, and was horrified to see that the screen was the size of the one on my 615 ONLY when I killed the virtual graffiti. I think Sony was going after the Blackberry market, in which case they should have included wireless. The TG50 is not a success IMO. PDR

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
TechnoCat @ 4/29/2003 11:25:19 AM #
You don't quite understand my view correctly. You said, "I found the keyboard, which I did not want". Then why were you looking at it? Unless you could separate out that bias, you would be a poor reviewer for it; you're not the target and cannot put yourself in that position. Be smart enough to assume your audience is smart too, and let them decide if they should be looking for a keyboard or graffiti unit; don't simply decree that one type is better than the other.

My view is that the reviewer should be willing to view the device in the context of the targetted audience of the device. To use your philosophy, a "BMW Driver" writer could review a Ford F350 diesel pickup truck and diss it for poor handling, loud noise, large turning radius, etc. That's just sloppy thinking; those aren't flaws with the device (truck), but rather characteristics defining a difference between a large work-truck and a sports-sedan.

Similarly here, the TG50 is defined by having a keyboard. That's the biggest defining feature. So having a reviewer who doesn't value integrated keyboards look at it is stupid. Let the keyboard-phobes review the Zires, the NX-series (since they aren't forced to use them), and the SJ-series, and find a keyboard-phile to review the Treos, TG50, and Tungsten C, so that the resulting opinion is all about how well the TG50 does the job of being a keyboard-equipped Palm rather than how well it does the job of being a keyboard-less Palm.

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
radleyp @ 4/29/2003 12:00:17 PM #
You are merely illustrating my point. In your view, Sony doesn't make mistakes by including or excluding features, but PIC does by choosing a reviewer who says what he thinks.

Consider this: a bias can change. I can look at the TG50 and decide the keyboard is a good idea (as my wife has with her NX60), even though I was initially against it. Perhaps if Sony had designed the keyboard differently, actually designing one for 2-finger use, rather than the qwerty, I would have liked it. As it is, I don't. This review confirmed what I had thought in looking at the unit, and I found it on target. PDR

What is a review?
RAMdd @ 4/29/2003 2:06:41 PM #
My only concern is that some reviewers may give a product a low or high score without explaining why.

In the end, it's not the score that concerns me, but the information imparted to me.

While a reviewer should be objective, it's usually impossible to be completely neutral. A human foible, to be sure.

But at least if a reviewer explains why they rated a product the way they did, we are still free to decide if that opinion is relevant to us.



______________________________
An armed society is a polite society.

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
abosco @ 4/29/2003 3:10:51 PM #
It seems to me that you'd rather Dan say, "I love this keyboard so much! It's perfect for me!" than to actually pick out its flaws and point out that Sony could've put in a real virtual graffiti area with more screen space, which may have been a more viable solution and/or made a more successful device. No doubt the TG will be successful, but I strongly doubt it will be nearly successful as it COULD'VE been. There's nothing wrong with the reviewer pointing this out, and I commend Dan for saying that.

-Bosco
Proud Member of the Top Non-Mods
Members: abosco and ImpReza M3
Now accepting new applications
RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
Palm_Otaku @ 4/29/2003 6:51:07 PM #
TechnoCat wrote: "The last line of the review was a telling indictment of the mindset of the reviewer... griping that a hi-res sister wasn't released at the same time.

Yeah, sure... he's scoring it down because of what it isn't, not for what it is. Probably knocked it down three points for not having an integrated fusion reactor as a power source also.

How about, next time, having someone who the device is actually [i]aimed at[/i] review it. Don't ask an NX70V owner to review the $99 mono/2MB Zire, don't ask a Ferrari mechanic to review the Honda Accord, and don't let this reviewer write reviews for products until he's learned the mantra... [i]for $399, I can't have a 42" plasma screen, the neural-net mind-input device, and the 14-terrabyte hard disk.[/i]"

Hey TechnoCat,

If you look at the rating scheme for this device, you'll note that the overall rating is based on a number of factors, weighted for a comparison to the range of current PalmOS PDAs. Please point out where the fact that the TG50 uses a mini-keyboard in lieu of silkscreen graffiti or hires+ (virtual silkscreen) earns it demerit points. You can't, because that doesn't factor into the equation.

I own a RIM950 pager and a Treo 180 and have extensive experience with many other thumbboard input devices - so saying that I don't value integrated keyboards is completely off-base. If you're interested, check out my article on "Input Showdown" for additional perspective: http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_story.asp?ID=4393

Now about fairly reviewing devices based on their target market, please have a look at a couple of my other PIC hardware reviews and let me know what you think:
Zire: http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_story.asp?ID=4324
NX70V: http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_story.asp?ID=5084

I'm sorry if my review of the TG50 didn't reflect your personal tastes -- but frankly, I think the review is a fair assessment, and that your criticisms are groundless. I'm basing my findings on my experiences with PDAs over the years, and believe it or not, I have dozens of devices here for comparison.

I'd be happy to discuss any particular points made in the review with you (and feel free to review my additional Comments here under my PIC-handle "Palm_Otaku").

Regards,

Dan

PS Is it safe to take off my Nomex suit yet? ;)

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
TechnoCat @ 4/29/2003 7:28:28 PM #
Bosco said,
It seems to me that you'd rather Dan say, "I love this keyboard so much! It's perfect for me!" than to actually pick out its flaws and point out that Sony could've put in a real virtual graffiti area with more screen space

I don't see how you get this, except perhaps by projecting frustration. I would rather he had said,
As keyboards go, this one has the following attributes and detriments...

perhaps including that it has more keys than the Tungsten C, and therefore is easier to enter punctuation and move around with, but that it has an odder layout and somewhat poor ability to locate the buttons, especially compared to RIM and HP 200LX.

By focusing on it in context of graffiti, you screw up the point of the interview. We all know it has a keyboard and a square screen, and if you're looking at it, it's with that in mind.
Dan said,

I own a RIM950 pager and a Treo 180 and have extensive experience with many other thumbboard input devices - so saying that I don't value integrated keyboards is completely off- base. If you're interested, check out my article on "Input Showdown" for additional perspective:
Now about fairly reviewing devices based on their target market, please have a look at a couple of my other PIC hardware reviews and let me know what you think:
I think you were completely fair on these devices and on the input showdown... which still begs the question of why you chose to snipe at the TG50 for aiming at the non-graffiti-user niche.

It is scored for what it IS...
Palm_Otaku @ 4/29/2003 9:10:41 PM #
TechnoCat wrote: "I would rather he had said, As keyboards go, this one has the following attributes and detriments... perhaps including that it has more keys than the Tungsten C, and therefore is easier to enter punctuation and move around with, but that it has an odder layout and somewhat poor ability to locate the buttons, especially compared to RIM and HP 200LX."

The paragraph adjacent to the backlit keyboard image does discuss the pros and cons of the keyboard. I could have gone into more detail, but I suppose that's true of all the sections, and not all PIC readers are going to be interested in exhaustive detail. If you (or anyone) has additional input on the functionality or any other aspect, feel free to add it here in the comments section. That is one of the great features about this site IMNSHO, readers can add their impressions or request additional information from the author.

- - - - - - -

TechnoCat wrote: "By focusing on it in context of graffiti, you screw up the point of the interview. why you chose to snipe at the TG50 for aiming at the non-graffiti-user niche."

Sorry, but I don't believe I was FOCUSING on the keyboard in the context of Graffiti at all. The comments about the lack of a tablet-style variation are restricted to the beginning and end of the article, and accurately reflect the opinions of the vast majority of current users from what I've seen and heard. If you look at the "Palm tree" at my www.palmevolution.com site, you'll note that the mid-tier Clie line has had an abrupt transition -- from my POV it's a surprising move on Sony's part and worthy of comment. It sounds like you're taking commentary about the Clie line-up as a whole and applying it out of context to my impressions about the specific device.

Cheers,

Dan

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
Edward Green @ 4/30/2003 2:08:01 AM #
I was surpised at the low marks the TG50 gets, compared to say the Tungsten T which gets 5,5,5,4,4. 3,4,3,3,3 sugests that the TG50 is a far worse device that the T, and I am noy convinced.

Maybe US pricing is different but the TT and the TG are pretty much the same price, and only 50 more expensive than the z71 which is rendered pointless for many of us as it has no bluetooth, and the Palm bluetooth card is 100 (The Sony MS is 50) and doesn't even work.

Comparing the TT and TG both have unusual form factors that some people dislike, the TG has a better range of multmedia software, but the TT has better buttons, although for 25 you can grab a game pad for the TG. Both have less than perfect screens, and so it goes on. I think they are pretty evenly matched, yet the TT scores way higher, and I can't work out why.

Edward Green
--
http://www.khite.co.uk

Comparing device ratings.
Palm_Otaku @ 4/30/2003 4:54:15 AM #
Hi Edward,

You bring up a good point, though it probably should have been in a new thread ;).

The ratings for the five categories (Design; Features; Screen; Battery; Value) are assigned based on a comparison with other PalmOS handhelds available at that point in time.

Since the T|T was reviewed in early October 2002 the "bar" has been raised a few times and the ratings are essentially outdated. (Conversely, if the TG50 had been released 6 months earlier...).

Essentially, if I was to re-rate the T|T when the TG50 was released last month, I'd have to reduce its score by about 1 "star" across each of the categories (and frankly, with longer-term exposure to the "slider", I'm not as impressed with the trade-off between more compact form-factor and reduced ease of data input - but I digress).

In my assessment of the TG50 vs. T|T, the two handhelds are both great PDAs and compare very well overall -- one's choice will basically come down to whether one prefers thumb-board or stylus input. My strongest recommendation would be to get hands-on access to both devices and see which one meets your needs and preferences best.

[aside: Constant change in the PDA market is one of the few constants. The recent release of the Zire71 and Tungsten C have raised the bar again; and there will likely be new Clies coming out before too long. ]

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
Edward Green @ 4/30/2003 7:36:11 AM #
Thanks for the reply.

As some people on this site know I run a sport kite website and the performance bar raises in exactly the same way. I tend to go through the reviews every six months and regrade, but that's a lot of work.

Despite the fact that the TG50 and the Zire71 are both released in the UK no high street stores seem to have them, so I cannot comment on usability. I am just very frsutrated that the Tungsten C has no bluetooth to connect to my phone, so I am back to the waiting game - I wan't top end PalmOS device with bluetooth . . .


Edward Green
--
http://www.khite.co.uk

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
Palm_Otaku @ 4/30/2003 3:18:36 PM #
Hi Edward,

I hear you on the Bt issue - personally I'd love to see Bt become as ubiquitous as Ir on PalmOS handhelds.

I'd be surprised if Palm didn't provide updated drivers for their BTSDIO card to work in the Zire71 and T|C before too long, but that's an expensive upgrade option (not to mention losing the SD slot and having the card's antenna poking out).

There have been rumors of an updated T|T coming out, but whether these rumors are true - who knows?

Cheers,

Dan

PS Nice site - I've got an entry-level two-line sport kite which is fun :)

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
Edward Green @ 5/1/2003 2:43:41 AM #
At this rate I am going to have start coding kite videos in Kinoma format . . .

Palm have gone from being one of the most expensive PDA options in the UK to one of the best value very quickly.

350 inc vat for the Tungsten C is the same price as the NX70, and the z71 streets for about 220 undercutting the Pos 4.0 mp3 devices like the Clie and Acer as well as most PPC devices.

However the the TG and TT :) are both head to head with the Ipaq 1910 at a street of - 260-280 which I had to fight myself not to buy when I saw it in the store. Very pretty.

Sorry am I boring you? I'm in the market for a midrange and having trouble deciding . . .

Edward Green
--
http://www.khite.co.uk

RE: Why not get someone to score it for what it IS?
ceejay @ 5/1/2003 4:20:12 PM #
I travel to Europe several times a month and find tax free shopping in Dixons a good way to pass the time at Heathrow etc. TT prices appear to be dropping fast - about a month ago I paid 248 now they are 218.

Sony with 64MB ?

chrisf @ 4/28/2003 8:56:22 PM #
I have had my eye on this for a few weeks as an upgrade to my N760 (don't need all the camera on the NX)......

However, with the release on the Tungsten C with 64MB, when do we expect the TG50 equivalent with 64MB ? Should I wait......?


RE: Sony with 64MB ?
abosco @ 4/28/2003 9:39:34 PM #
You can expect an NX equivalent. Probably something like an NX70v with an advanced camera, built-in Bluetooth, enhanced and backlit keyboard, and 32/64 MB RAM and 300/400 MHz PXA255.

-Bosco
Proud Member of the Top Non-Mods
Members: abosco and ImpReza M3
Now accepting new applications
RE: Sony with 64MB ?
CleverClaire @ 4/29/2003 12:01:03 PM #
yep. And the Sony only weighs in at 5.6 pounds. (1 less than my laptop).

RE: Sony with 64MB ?
Palm_Otaku @ 4/29/2003 2:53:38 PM #
5.6 *pounds*??

Spec'd weight on the NX70V is 8.0 oz (= 0.5 lb)

RE: Sony with 64MB ?
Ezra4no1 @ 4/29/2003 2:58:55 PM #
I as well have had my eye on this PDA. It's small, thin, and it looks very nice, and I think it would be a welcome PDA to use after using my nr70v for so long (seeing how I am getting tired of the flip and twist movementof the display and how I am getting tired of taking apart my NR to tighten down the top of the screen ever 2 to 3 weeks) though I will miss the extra screen space and would loved to have WiFi instead of bluetooth making it more usable in business settings. But with the relase of Palm's new 64 meg PDA..I seriously hear the need of a whole bunch of new PDAs comming out this year with more internal memory. so, I'm just goint to wait and see what happens over the next 6 months.



sony is USELESS for business

kev @ 4/29/2003 4:44:24 AM #
i can't ever imagine sony taking a foothold in the enterprise market. companies are scared of sony clies since the support is a farce and the half life of their products is 3 or 4 months. at least the tungsten is a consistent range and well-supported in enterprise.

i own a sony myself and in spite of certain shortcomings still love it (n760). i constantly review their new models and find them brilliant for myself, general consumers and hobby users, but for enterprise, they're just a bad decision.

this is a "businessy" model, which is true. you won't see an order for 200 of them being placed anytime soon though.

RE: sony is USELESS for business
TechnoCat @ 4/29/2003 9:18:59 AM #
It's certainly true that Sony has poor support and poor products in general for business. But Toshiba has dreadful support for businesses also and does okay, by making the vendors support the product. Sonys tend not to be bought through those types of vendors.

Probably 15% of the portable (laptop) computers I rolled out over the last three years were Sonys, largely due to their C1G PictureBook, a truly tiny full-featured PC perfect for travelling execs. The only reliability problems were one had the escape key fall off regularly, and it (same one) died suddenly when exposed to Italian electricity. But that unit was constantly travelling for about 14 months prior to that, the others are all still going strong or have been retired, and the lifespan was decent for the treatment.

(All our other portables were IBM with two Toshiba exceptions.)

So could we see a large purchase for Sony TG50s into a business? Sure, excepting the basic problem that most of the time the rolled-out systems are those pushed by the suppliers, such as CDW. CDW carries it, at full list, but although they call me regularly, they've never mentioned it. They prefer to sell iPaqs. To further enter the corporate market, Sony would have to concentrate on building a sales team for it. That may not be worth it; such an endevor is very expensive.

TG50 or Zire 71

scoT1753 @ 4/29/2003 7:14:25 AM #
The TG50 was next model I was interested in. But after looking at what's now available with the Zire 71 - if I had to purchase right now it would be the Zire 71 - less expensive and camera. What are other's opinions?

RE: TG50 or Zire 71
kev @ 4/29/2003 8:23:33 AM #
i'm with you there.

until i read this review i was convinced tg50 was my next pda.

zire 71 has a killer screen with a camera and mp3 and imho comes from a much better company (i don't mean this in terms of innovation and features).

pity it doesn't have bluetooth, but i'm keen for this anyway!

RE: TG50 or Zire 71
peitron @ 4/29/2003 10:49:49 AM #
With the Zire 71 at a RP of $299 and the Tungsten T already retailing at $315, the TG50 doesn't stand a chance to gain market share. This will definately be a commercial flop.

_____________________________________________
"Why should I care about posterity? What's posterity ever done for me?" - Groucho Marx
RE: TG50 or Zire 71
jamesgood72 @ 4/29/2003 1:27:18 PM #
I went out and bought a TG-50 the day it was released. It best suits my needs, out of everything out there. PalmOS5, high-res, Bluetooth (seriously, I won't buy anything without this from now on (including the Zire71). It's so useful for web browsing/email anywhere, and hotsyncing to both my home and work PC's), MP3.

The only other unit that comes close is the T|T, but I have other Sony gear and prefer to stick with them. I prefer the looks of the TG-50 too.

-James.

RE: TG50 or Zire 71
jamesgood72 @ 4/29/2003 1:31:43 PM #
By the way, I would prefer a 320x480 screen, and no keyboard. But, there must be a reason why nobody has released a unit like that yet; battery life would be my guess.

Ta.

-James.

RE: TG50 or Zire 71
Puppy @ 4/29/2003 5:04:25 PM #
Yeah, not sure what the point of this review is. Who's going to buy this? You can pick up an NX 60 right now for around the same price, or a Zire 71 for $100 less. They're both much better PDAs, obviously, just by virtue of having Grafitti (geez, even JOT/Graffiti 2 is better than a thumb board).

Wish the NX60 had ditched the twisting design, and just used that space for a gigantic battery to power it's great screen :(

RE: TG50 or Zire 71
Palm_Otaku @ 4/29/2003 5:18:45 PM #
Different strokes for different folks... Many of *us* are used to stylus input, but there may be a lot of people that prefer thumb-board input - and as I note in the review, this may be particularly true for new PDA users. Bluetooth may also be a deciding factor for some folks - for SMS, the TG50 T68i combination is a GREAT setup.

The NX60 is a very nice device, but will appeal to folks with different needs/wants (and is $100 more to boot).

RE: TG50 or Zire 71
jamesgood72 @ 4/29/2003 7:18:27 PM #
I wouldn't buy an NX - too big. The TG-50 is bordering on too big, but just about get's the OK from me on size factor. Plus, the NX doesn't have Bluetooth. As I said, that is just the most useful thing ever.

The Keyboard thing is useful when I write an email... Although I'm just as quick on grafiti, it's a little easier on the keyboard. Saying that, most of my everyday input is still grafiti. They should have installed GrafitiAnywhere on the device by default - I don't miss the grafiti silk screen area at all.

-JAmes.

This person obviously hasn't used bluetooth

s_n_m @ 4/29/2003 7:41:16 AM #
The TG's light only blinks when waiting to connect. When you are connected to something via bluetooth, the light stays on solid blue.

I don't appreciate knocking something when they don't have all the information.

Overall it is an ok review.

_____________________________________________
*S*S*D*D*

RE: This person obviously hasn't used bluetooth
krosfyah @ 4/29/2003 9:55:02 AM #
I use BT and if the TG50 is anything like my T68i then this review is dead on.

My T68i also blinks when "waiting." The freaking thing lights up an entire room. If it was solid, I could get used to it but the incessant blinking is enough to drive me mad. If it is near my bed, such is an a hotel room, then I have to get up and flip it over or cover it.

Something about blue LED's that make them incredibly bright.

RE: This person obviously hasn't used bluetooth
Palm_Otaku @ 4/29/2003 12:27:48 PM #
s_n_m wrote: [i]The TG's light only blinks when waiting to connect. When you are connected to something via bluetooth, the light stays on solid blue.

I don't appreciate knocking something when they don't have all the information.[/i]

Heh, heh. FWIW actually I'm a Bt early adopter and use Bt a LOT -- my daily carry is a T|T and I've also got the Bt SDIO card as well as an imported Bt MSIO card for my other PDAs. I use these in conjunction with a T68i cell phone and a Bt-equipped PC.

When Bt is activated on the TG50 (so you can do a Bt HotSync, or send an SMS to your cell via Bt, or "bleem" to another Bt-PDA, or ...) the two indictors blink, and frankly I kept Bt on most of the time while I had the review unit. While the big indicator window on top initially seems very cool, after a brief period I found it to be somewhat gratuitous and would have been happy with just the small indicator on the hinge. YMMV.

The obvious answer is to disarm Bt, which is a multi-tap operation out of the box. [Launcher > Prefs > Bluetooth > Disable] One third-party application that I found to be a very convenient utility for easily toggling Bt-status is [i]BtToggle[/i] from www.petereaston.com -- check it out. :)

deciding factor also on SD vs memory stick

ayhlai @ 4/29/2003 9:08:24 AM #
I would like to add that a very important deciding factor is on memory media, since most people will want to invest in one kind only.

RE: deciding factor also on SD vs memory stick
Quik_Fix @ 4/29/2003 10:03:41 AM #
I have to agree here. I'll tell ya what; if it wasn't for the 128mb stick, the keyboard and extra cradle for my Sony that I have, I would have gotten a T|T instead of a Sony last when I swapped out my T665C at Best Buy. I've lost a few features going to a SJ33, namely vibrating alarms and IR remote control capabilities (port is not enhanced or strong), but I wouldn't want to have to buy another keyboard and an SD card. Just not enough money.

Quik_Fix thinks:"If I could only take over the universe... then I should have enough cash for the swap... Hmmmm..."


Density has popped me to you...

Quik_Fix
quikfix@hotmail.com

RE: deciding factor also on SD vs memory stick
ayhlai @ 4/30/2003 2:09:31 AM #
same here...

I buy my TT only since I have couple of SD cards from my DV and digital cam. It's all about integration and sharing.

Beating Sony...

mikecane @ 4/29/2003 10:32:48 AM #
RE: Beating Sony...
Marshall Flinkman @ 4/29/2003 11:08:01 AM #
Yeah, I think that Tripod logo will beat Sony any day...

Seriously, what was the original image?

virtual graffiti (NX version) with no cover......

speed-angel @ 4/29/2003 4:17:39 PM #
Then I will be a buyer. I just can't stand the keyboard and it gets in the way when people really want to view graphic files.

There is always something wrong with Sony's offering and I think the closest thing they did right was the T-665 series. Too bad it doesn't come with V-G and too short a battery life.

They seemed to fix the issue about battery life but V-G is still missing. I'd think that people would actually be willing to pay more for V-G in the TG model because of the added area. To think of it, if people really need to type a lot of text (which is not desirable anyway) they can buy an external keyboard anytime.

If there are any Sony people here please go back to your drawing board and instead of getting prototype stuff like NZ-90, get one that is closer to reality and try the to improve the camera thing on a memory stick instead....

RE: virtual graffiti (NX version) with no cover......
hotpaw4 @ 4/30/2003 12:45:26 AM #
All the OS 5.2 keyboard models can already display a virtual graffiti area. If you also want a rectangular hires+ display, it will likely cost more and require a larger battery than similar models with a square display.
RE: virtual graffiti (NX version) with no cover......
speed-angel @ 4/30/2003 12:15:30 PM #
I really hate that kind of graffiti and it makes the already small screen smaller.

I won't even call that V-G but just a V-G simulator....

RE: virtual graffiti (NX version) with no cover......
TechnoCat @ 4/30/2003 2:51:29 PM #
speed-angel wrote,
There is always something wrong with Sony's offering and I think the closest thing they did right was the T-665 series.

How about Palms? Toshibas? Compaqs? Whose offerings have been reliably perfect?

Of course "perfect" is very personal; I like thumbboards while you may despite them, so perfect would be different for us. But looking at the current offerings:

Zire 71 lacks any decent wireless. The keyboard-phobes will also claim it lacks virtual-graffiti on a 320x480 display, the keyboard-philes will note the lack of a keyboard.

The T|C is thick, plasticky, and no flip-cover. Some people like the lack of a flip-cover, I don't. It has minimal range and no CF slot, and a mono jack.

The NX60/70 are enormous, definitely not shirt-pocket friendly. Heavy too. No hard-buttons in tablet form. No WiFi. And very expensive.

Perfect is not an achievable standard. In my case, I set out some metrics and built a little chooser,
http://www.kittycentral.net/tgtcform.html"> here which can help point out how well the T|C and TG fit your definitions, but it is very very personal.

RE: virtual graffiti (NX version) with no cover......
speed-angel @ 5/1/2003 12:30:56 PM #
Technocat wrote:

Of course "perfect" is very personal; I like thumbboards while you may despite them, so perfect would be different for us. But looking at the current offerings:

Zire 71 lacks any decent wireless. The keyboard-phobes will also claim it lacks virtual-graffiti on a 320x480 display, the keyboard-philes will note the lack of a keyboard.

The T|C is thick, plasticky, and no flip-cover. Some people like the lack of a flip-cover, I don't. It has minimal range and no CF slot, and a mono jack.

The NX60/70 are enormous, definitely not shirt-pocket friendly. Heavy too. No hard-buttons in tablet form. No WiFi. And very expensive.

________________________

I really don't remember saying the word anything perfect. True perfection is universal which is not attainable. However I consider the fact that the T-series is probably the best selling series of Sony. They can obviously improve on things to "get it right"

The things I consider ideal would be at least one channel for networking (bluetooth or WI-FI), for the reason that most people prefer to have fast email accesss, an as big as possible a screen (virtual graffiti) and a small solid form factor and design. Zire 71 cannot network via those channels so it is bad in my opinion. T/C and NX70 is good but they are too big.

My bottom line is that under the above restrictions, any short comings can be overcome by additional accessories (Camera via MS, keyboard via external keyboard, etc). I therefore base on the T-series and hope to get something additional that cannot be compensate by accessories ----namely screen size and having V-G is the only possible way a screen can extend so big without getting the form factor awfully large.

See where I come from now? Not perfection but best selling....


Static noise when headphone was plugged in

cj1leung @ 4/30/2003 9:51:12 AM #
I am using a TG50 rite now and I found an irritating problem.

When I plug in the headphone to listen to MP3, there is a lot of noise, sounds like static, which is really annoying. It's okay when you play loud music, cuz the music sort of covers the noise. But when you play something soft, it's really really irritating.
It's even worse when you don't play any music and when you are in a quiet place.

Is it just my pda or did sony overlook this problem??


RE: Static noise when headphone was plugged in
powerfox @ 4/30/2003 11:11:45 AM #
Do you got noise while charging? AC line can cause noise on some low-end audio device.

RE: Static noise when headphone was plugged in
Palm_Otaku @ 4/30/2003 3:24:51 PM #
Hmm, I certainly didn't see/hear this problem. Have you tried another pair of headphones? If other headphones still give you static, it could be a problem with the jack or an internal circuit.

Good luck getting it resolved!

- D

RE: Static noise when headphone was plugged in
blaineh @ 9/8/2003 12:56:17 AM #
I'm having the same problem, I to have a TG-50 and I'm getting static from the headphones I'm using. Does anyone have any answers for this? Thanks.

Regards,
Blaine

PLaying MP3s??

mtgroup @ 8/19/2003 2:15:09 PM #
I have a new TG50 - some have told me i HAVE to have the magicx stick, others say I dont.

I dont want to waste the money buying something I wont use, so what is the scoop?

Can anyone tell me the truth here??

Thanks!

CHris

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