PC Magazine Readers Give Palm OS Handhelds High Marks

PC Magazine has released the results of its 15th annual Service and Reliability reader survey, which covers handhelds for the first time. The three top Palm OS makers, Palm, Handspring, and Sony, all scored above average for satisfaction with reliability. The Pocket PC manufacturers didn't do so well. Hewlett-Packard had an average score while Casio and Compaq are worse than average.

Handspring and Sony did very well, scoring an A+ and an A, respectively. Both received above average scores in overall satisfaction. However, Palm didn't do quite as well, receiving a B-. Palm was hurt by a worse-than-average score for overall satisfaction and satisfaction with repairs and technical support. All three received better than average scores in the likelihood of buying again.

Though Compaq and Casio scored poorly on satisfaction with reliability, both Compaq and HP scored better than average in overall satisfaction and the likelihood of buying again. Casio is worse than average in both of these.

The companies offering alternate operating systems fared very poorly. Sharp, which uses Linux in the Zaurus, received a D, while Psion, which uses the EPOC operating system, received an E.

Most respondents were satisfied with their handhelds. The overall score for all types of handhelds was 7.8 on a scale of 1 to 10. However, 14% of the units required repairs in the past year. Receiving a replacement unit was the most common method of repair.

About the Survey
PC Magazine's survey, the largest of its kind, received feedback from more than 15,000 randomly selected readers about their satisfaction level with the technology products and services they use. The study evaluated everything from reliability, the quality and frequency of repairs and technical support, to the respondents' willingness to buy again from the same company. Companies are graded from A+ (highest) to E (failing grade). Products rated A- or better receive PC Magazine's Reader's Choice Award.

The 2002 survey covers desktops, notebooks, servers, printers, ISPs, digital cameras, handhelds, and home-networking gear.

Thanks to Foo Fighter for the tip. -Ed

Article Comments


The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Comments Closed Comments Closed
This article is no longer accepting new comments.


Palm's support isn't what it used to be....

Foo Fighter @ 7/11/2002 12:35:44 PM #
I can personally vouch for the fact that Palm's support and replacement service isn't what it used to be. Late last year my M505 died in less than 7 months. The replacement unit (refurb) sent to me by Palm has several scratches on the metal case, and it has VERY poor battery life. I confronted tech support with my complaints, but they didn't seem to give a damn. Needless to say, this will most likely be my last Palm brand PDA.

RE: Palm's support isn't what it used to be....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:43:51 PM #
How did Sony rank so high though?? Their bad tech support is legendary. Don't get me wrong, I love my Clie, it's the best PDA I've had. But my experience with their support left a LOT to be desired.
RE: Palm's support isn't what it used to be....
Altema @ 7/11/2002 1:05:31 PM #
I have to admit that I've seen a decline in technical knowledge. My first few calls were handled very well, and degraded with following calls to the point where a tech seemed to feel I was at fault for my former m505 SUDS failure. I get a lot of people at work come to me for handheld support, and one had her Palm go completely dead after the first low battery warning. She lost all her data, the time, and the date settings which indicates a total loss of power.

She was told by Palm Technical Support that if an m500 gives a low battery warning, it has to be charged within 30 seconds. I told the owner that the tech support person was wrong, and that her data should have been safe for about a week even after critical voltage was reached and the Palm refused to turn on. Her unit is defective and should be replaced.

I have had experts who were very helpful and friendly at Palm, but at the other extreme, they should not be putting newbies who know little about their products on the phone with customers.

RE: Palm's support isn't what it used to be....
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2002 8:41:23 PM #
i have no complaints about my dealings with them. I was attacked with suds on my 505, the first replacement didn't work, but they overnighted me an 3rd one and it's worked great!they were very friendly and apologized, then took care of the problem promptly.

Sony, Handspring, and Palm

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:40:07 PM #
It's strange that Palm didn't do as well as Sony and Handsping. I've owned more then one unit from all three and the best service I have recieved was from Palm, followed by Handspring, and Sony ranks last (still waiting for my unit to be returned back to me.)
RE: Sony, Handspring, and Palm
Fammy @ 7/11/2002 1:15:45 PM #
Sometimes you get better experience than at other times. You probably got lucky with Sony. I called Motorola yesterday about their bluetooth cell phone and connecting it to a Palm. The first tech support person was clueless. I am glad I asked to speak to someone else. You just have to be patient, or lucky.


Handspring, EPOC

BertBert @ 7/11/2002 1:03:38 PM #
Anybody else remember Handspring's tremendous customer service problems back when the Visor was first launched? Some of the real-life stories posted to VisorCentral back then were incredible. HS seemed to learn a lesson about good customer service early on, just so their flagship product wouldn't die on the vine. I wonder if that explains why they were so highly rated -- having gotten the hard knocks early on.

Also, EPOC was given a grade of "E"... what's that? The politically correct way of giving an "F"? :-)

RE: Handspring, EPOC
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 3:16:22 PM #
Handspring was INCREDIBLY friendly about replacing my Visor Platinum 1 month before the warrantee expired. It was so good, it convinced me to tell my friends to get them as well.
RE: Handspring, EPOC
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 3:36:41 PM #
eh, the fact that Handspring drop Springboard should make the article gives a F- for product support.
RE: Handspring, EPOC
Take1 @ 7/11/2002 6:28:03 PM #
I think Sony scores high on reliabilitty and not service. I've not had many problems with my NR-70 like I have with my iPAQ (backlight and SD card read/write). The only problem I've encountered is that the MS sometimes isn't recognized when first inserted, a known problem which is IGNORED by Sony (i.e., it must be YOUR FAULT that it's not working).

Sony would rank F- for actual support and an A- for product reliability.

Sony scores high on reliability???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 6:52:01 PM #
I talked to the kid and Best Buy and he said 9/10 NR70's they sold have been returned due to either cracked hinge OR Sudden Death of the Screen. Maybe abuse is a factor, but he says a modified NR70 is coming which is more durable.
RE: Handspring, EPOC
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 9:49:22 PM #
I have found Sony to be high both on reliability and service, from their handheld offerings to MD players to their A/V equipment.

And I would be suspect about anything mentioned by a kid in Best Buy, or Circuit City or CompUSA for that matter. This, especially, since I have seen no significant newsgroup postings about any hardware quality problems with the NR70.

The NR70 is remarkably durable and no one twists that hinge back and forth more than me.

RE: Handspring, EPOC
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 1:49:39 AM #
maybe you've never seen a hinge before, but sony made alot of products with a hinge like that, there is no way they could screw that up. You can say that the kid at best buy said the stlus is flying out, or whatever I might actually believe in you, but hinge has been using by basically all japanese consumer electronics maker for a long long time, to them it's just natural for the hinge to be reliable.

Oh god, not again

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 4:13:16 PM #
It's a SURVEY about Service&Reliability. A SURVEY.
RE: Oh god, not again
PR @ 7/11/2002 5:37:23 PM #
i think we realize that. yes it's a survey, and the survey results are being reported in this story. your point?

Wherefore art thou, Handera?

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 9:28:05 PM #
It's interesting to note that although both PC World and PC Mag gave the Handera 330 rave reviews, not a Handera, which makes two different PDA models, is nowhere to be seen in this survey. It would be interesting to see how they would have fared.
RE: Wherefore art thou, Handera?
LarryGarfield @ 7/12/2002 4:19:09 AM #
Traditionally PC Mag's surveys require a minimum number of respondants with a given product. I would guess that the number of HandEra who responded to their survey didn't meet their threshhold, which is why they were excluded.

FWIW, in my experience HandEra's support is phenominal. I have had to send a unit in for repair before, on occation. They had it back to me via UPS in 48 hours, fixed, and sometimes they would throw in a new stylus "by mistake" (I always keep the stylus when sending a device in). They have a reputation for the best support in the business, and it is indeed well earned. It's too bad they didn't make the survey, they would probably have rated an A+ as well.

This post is ROT26 encrypted. Reading it is a violation of the DMCA

RE: Wherefore art thou, Handera?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 10:17:28 AM #
I have found HandEra's tech support to fast and efficient. I bought a TRGpro new, as well as a reconditioned model. When I recieved the reconditioned model, I noticed the screen was bad and called it in. They were happy to replace it ASAP since it was a birthday gift. I generally use the e-mail support for my questions and get a timely response.

The Emperor has no Clothes!

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 10:34:39 PM #
Finally a mainstream computer mag has said what I have been telling the mindless Microsoft followers for years. This is Bill's Waterloo.
RE: The Emperor has no Clothes!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 9:36:04 AM #
One could only wish, eh?

Unfortunately, Bill seems to be somewhat bulletproof. Now if only his software was too...

RE: The Emperor has no Clothes!
Foo Fighter @ 7/12/2002 9:36:49 AM #
What on Earth are you talking about? A consumer survey gives PalmOS devices the nod in overall satisfaction, and you see this as the end of Microsoft?

As Dr. Evil would say.."Riiiiiiiiiight".

RE: The Emperor has no Clothes!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 7:17:42 PM #
Please... PC Magazine... Look at the source... The average PC Magazine subscriber is a PC Novice (not that that is bad mind you, but needs to be weighted) For a Novice PC User the Palm is a logical and acceptable addition. However, for Power usage, PocketPC can for surpass a Palm. Whats the best one ? Well, the one that works for YOU.


PIC mobile user @ 7/15/2002 1:29:07 AM #
I have found Palm's tech support to be great! It surprises me to read that its been rated below average.

According to the reviews at CZnet, Sony's tech support was rated terribly.


Register Register | Login Log in