Which Starter Palm Should I Buy?
I recently received this e-mail:
I'm interested to getting my very first handheld. I've looked at the m100 and the IIIe and even the IIIx but I can't decide. Which should I buy?The one that is right for you. There is no clear winner when comparing these; you will have to decide for yourself.
The m100 is much smaller than the IIIe and IIIx, which makes it easier to carry around. But the screen is 25% smaller, too. The screen resolutions are the same; the pixels are just smaller. Are you relatively young with good eyes? If not, you might consider the III series.
The m100 is newer and easier to find. The m100 is still in short supply due to high demand but the IIIx is out of production, I think. I'm not 100% sure of this but I know you can't buy it from Palm any more. You can find some refurbished ones or a few still on store shelves waiting to be sold but they are getting rarer every day. You might consider moving up to the IIIxe, with 8 MB of memory but costs about $225 - $250 and is still being made.
The m100 is less expensive than the IIIx. It is selling everywhere for about $150 while most of the IIIx's I saw were going for closer to $200. The IIIe is also selling for $150, in the few places I saw that had them in stock.
The IIIx has twice as much memory as the other two. If you are just going to lightly use your PDA to store phone numbers and as a scheduler, 2 MB is fine. If you want to get your e-mail or use it as a Web browser (like I do), 4 MB is barely enough. For $75 or so you can mail your m100 off to any of several companies and have more memory added but that is the end of your warranty...and much of the price advantage over the IIIx or even IIIxe.
While more are being created, right now there are very few peripherals for the m100. I don't think there is even a modem for it. The III series, on the other hand, has a huge number of add-on devices, from carrying cases to modems to cameras, etc. The m100 has those cool clip on face plates but you can also buy replacement bodies for the III series that cost about the same.
The M100 is tougher. It has been designed to survive being dropped better. While my IIIx has survived a couple of nasty falls, the Palm Graveyard is full of sad stories of people who dropped their Palms just a few feet and broke the screen. The m100 has a plastic screen that is darn near impossible to break.
Don't ignore appearance. Which one do you like the looks of more? Many people think the m100 looks sleek and cool, some people have described it as hideous.
Also, don't forget about the competition. Handspring makes a pretty good, inexpensive Palm clone called the Visor, also for $150. It is basically the same size as the III series and has 2 MB of RAM, plus is has a slot that will let you easily attach various hardware add-ons called Springboards. There are MP3 Springboards and games, modems, and a bunch more.
I'm leaving the TRGpro out of this because, while it is an excellent Palm clone, it costs $330, more than twice the cost of the m100. This doesn't make it a very good starter machine in my book. The same goes for any of the other Palm models like the IIIc or the V series.
I wish I could just say 'Buy the m100; it is what you want'. But you are going to have to decide what is most important to you.
These are just my opinions. If you would like to chime in, please do so below.
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