MobileInfocenter
Review: Chapura KeySuite
By: Richard J. Dalton Jr.
November 12, 2003

Many companies allow customers to send in their wishes for software improvements. But Chapura provided my wish before I even asked them. I’ve always been mystified and annoyed at Palm’s limitation of 15 categories, and I’ve searched for solutions. Then earlier this year I stumbled upon KeyContacts, which had answered my wish.

KeySuite ReviewAllowing more than 15 categories has been essential for my job because I write about personal technology for a living, so in Microsoft Outlook I have dozens of categories from “Amazon” to “Wireless.”

KeyContacts has been a godsend because it allows me to synchronize more than 250 categories. In June, Chapura released software for the three siblings of the Palm’s contact application: the calendar (KeyDates), the to-do list (KeyTask) and notes (KeyNotes), all bundled in KeySuite, for an introductory price of $49.99 (regularly $79.95) at www.chapura.com.

It’s expensive for a handheld application, but it’s about as close to Outlook as you’ll get on a Palm. I’m so hooked that shortly after installing KeySuite, I reset my four Palm buttons to start the KeySuite’s programs, and I deleted the Palm counterparts.

Since four programs are a suite, it’s easy to switch between any of them using a small arrow in the bottom left side of each screen. So users can assign just one Palm button to launch KeySuite, and reassign the remaining three buttons for other frequently used programs.

Chapura, based in Mobile, Ala., also makes PocketMirror, the basic Outlook synchronization software included with most Palm-powered handhelds. KeySuite offers far more options than the free software, including more fields, better synchronization of recurring tasks, synchronization with subfolders and the ability to associate contacts with any of the four applications.

KeySuite ReviewThe most recent version hotsyncs with Outlook 2003, released last month. And it offers an excellent weekly planner view that shows events for the week in six equally sized panes, with the weekend pane split in half for Saturday and Sunday.

While KeyContacts is my favorite Palm application, KeyTasks is the clear No. 2 because it lets me easily work with multiple task lists. I use one for work and one for home.

Though Outlook will only set alarms for items in the main task folder, not subfolders, that’s no problem with KeyTask because it hotsyncs with Outlook subfolders. On my work computer, I hotsync my Palm’s work task list with Outlook’s main task folder. On my home PC, I sync my Palm’s home task list with Outlook’s main task folder. That setup also means I won’t receive Outlook alarms at home for my work tasks and vice versa.

KeySuite ReviewAll four programs offer at least 250 categories, which I’ve found useful for all but KeyDates, as I never categorize appointments.

Additional fields in KeyContacts include “file as,” department, assistant, birthday, anniversary, spouse and more. KeyTasks includes fields for the status, assignment of the task and billing, useful for professionals who bill by the hour, such as lawyers. KeyDates deftly emulates Outlook’s handling of recurring appointments, and tasks can be set to recur as well. Events, tasks and notes can be linked to contacts. And contacts can be associated with each other as well. Users can set the default search field in KeyContacts: first name, last name, company or the “file as” field. KeyContacts can be set to search on any part of the field, using “Smart Look Up.” So if I’m searching for “Dalton” and the contact is filed as “Richard Dalton” instead of “Dalton, Richard,” it will still find it.

One downside is that the Smart Look Up is slow on my Palm IIIxe. (Yes, I’ve never felt the need to upgrade the latest and greatest Palm.) The problem is likely not an issue for OS 5 devices with much faster ARM processors.

The reason it’s sluggish is that if I’m searching for, say, “Dalton,” when I type a “d,” it narrows the list to contacts with a “d” anywhere in the search field, and that takes a while. Meanwhile, I’ve already type “a,” but it won’t narrow the list to “da” until it narrows the list based on just the “d” alone. Each new character requires a short wait as the list is narrowed.

Still, I’m sold on KeySuite. Now I’m just waiting for KeyMail.

PIC Bottom Line

PROS
CONS
  • Handles recurring items better
  • Synchronizes more Outlook fields
  • Includes subfolders
  • Links contacts to items
  • Smart search is slow (on OS 4 devices)

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Treo 600 and Keysuite?

Nicker @ 11/12/2003 2:14:38 PM #
Has anyone use Keysuite with a Treo 600?

I am surious if any of the integration such as dialing from contacts, etc. is lost.

Keysuite vs. upgraded standard palm apps in T3

dnorton @ 11/12/2003 3:56:46 PM #
Can someone compare Keysuite to the upgraded "more Outlook compatible" organizer apps in the T3?

RE: Keysuite vs. upgraded standard palm apps in T3
Hippocrates @ 11/12/2003 4:21:59 PM #
Totally different. The upgraded standard Palm apps are just minor revisions to the old core apps. They made a few cometic changes, added a few extra fields, etc.

Keysuite is an attempt to bring Outlook to your Palm.

RE: Keysuite vs. upgraded standard palm apps in T3
ausinasia @ 11/12/2003 7:48:29 PM #
I also really love the suite, but one thing that I wish Key Contacts would have is a shortcut ICON that will allow you do dial a number. I like the T3's new OS5 that has that icon right there on the top. So simple. Find the the person you want, hit the icon and boom it's dialing.

Personally selecting a forward slash and then frustrating "i" on the new OS makes it really had to dial the number. Chapura if you are listening please change this.

That's my 2 cents worth.

RE: Keysuite vs. upgraded standard palm apps in T3
oggie @ 11/13/2003 8:06:40 AM #
Have you enabled tap-dialling in Keysuite ?

Options > Preferences > Enable Tap-Dialing

When this is on, if you tap on the right-hand side of the address list for a contact (where the phone number is displayed) it will bring up a list of phone numbers for that contact. Pick one and tap 'Dial'.

Cheers,
Simon

RE: Keysuite vs. upgraded standard palm apps in T3
ausinasia @ 11/13/2003 11:54:13 AM #
Ahhhh thank you Simon! So much better!!!!!!! Now I don't have to use QLaunch to bring up the OS5 contacts just to dial someone. Thank you thank you thank you!!!


Sluggish Lookup

PhilP @ 11/13/2003 4:07:24 AM #
I'm a fan of KeySuites too, especially the ability to have so many categories in KeyContacts.

But the sluggishness of Lookup is quite frustrating. I have an OS5 Tungsten T, and even with the faster processor, it is still noticebly slower than the Palm Address lookup. Even with the Smart Lookup turned off, it's still feels a bit slow.

I wonder why it is so slow, and whether there is some error in the search algorithm used.



Palm IIIxe? You gotta be joking!

24fc @ 11/13/2003 2:03:37 PM #
You let some dork using a Palm that has been obsolete for three years write a review of software that he cannot even see some of the features of? And then he turns around and says "it's slow on my 1hz processor - the rat has to eat extra cheese." I think this is a well-written, but ill-conceived review for this product.

The following come to mind:

1. He couldn't see it in color to determine how it would look on a color machine.

2. He commented on the speed of the app which he is unable to separate from the slug-like performance of his $30 P.O.S. ancient Palm found in a tomb near the Great Pyramids of Giza.

3. He doesn't have one of the newer high-res machines so he can't comment on how it performs there.

4. He doesn't seem to know how to use a PIM. 250 categories? Uh, at some point you have to realize that you can over-organize to the point that you can't find your stuff. I am working professional in IT buried in meetings, notes, todos, and all sorts of stuff. I have two categories: personal and business. If you have more than five, you stink at using your palm and are probably equally unorganized using paper or anything else.

5. No comparison with other products? What about the much-vaunted Outlook mimic from DataViz? Is this similar? Better? Worse? Don't write a review for a product if you haven't tried the competition.

6. I think the app looks ugly. I notice there are no comments on its appearance - or the lack of compatibility with the T3's new screen.

7. Here we have yet another PIM for the Palm that doesn't record completed todo's into an untimed event in the calendar or Daily Journal. Arrgghhh!!!

I found the review next to useless. Going to the site and reading about the product, it seems to be yet another entry in the "PIM not as good as Datebk" column.

-24fc


RE: Palm IIIxe? You gotta be joking!
acorntree @ 11/13/2003 2:44:07 PM #
Whatever, I don't see you writing reviews. Not that I would want to read them. Not everyone has the latest and greatest. So go back to your closet.

RE: Palm IIIxe? You gotta be joking!
JonathanChoo @ 11/13/2003 3:43:58 PM #
So what? It is a review for the software and he did say that it should be faster on a ARM PDA.

I still see alot of users running old OS3/4 PDAs and there is a market there.

Psion 5/Motorola StarTac -> Palm Vx -> Palm m505 -> Sony N770C -> Sony T625C -> Sony NR70V/Ericsson T39m -> Toshiba e310 -> Palm Tungsten T/Ericsson T68m -> HP h2210 -> Palm Tungsten T3/Ericsson T610

RE: Palm IIIxe? You gotta be joking!
ganoe @ 11/13/2003 4:28:29 PM #
Seeing that the original Zire is probably one of the most common PDAs out there, I see nothing wrong with looking at this on a IIIxe.

RE: Palm IIIxe? You gotta be joking!
Palmary @ 11/13/2003 6:50:33 PM #
One of Palm's strengths is that people CAN use 'ancient' PDAs. I am one of those loonies who has to have the latest and greatest model, but that doesn't to most (arguably saner) people. It is perfectly reasonable to review a product on older models - so long as that the reviewer is up front about it and acknowledges the inherent limitations. Richard did exactly that - to call him a "dork" is pretty ignorant.

I'd also point out that people who stick with 'obsolete' models often only want a decent PIM suite rather than pictures/music/graphs etc. In that light, it seems reasonable that such a user would be very interested in reading a review of KeySuite working on an older device.

And of course you can always download a copy of KeySuite, install it on your more modern PDA, and submit a review for us to read.

Vx->m500->m505->m515->TT->T2->T3/TC

RE: Palm IIIxe? You gotta be joking!
24fc @ 11/14/2003 12:59:26 AM #
You guys don't get it.

The point is not that you shouldn't know how it works on an older palm. That is valuable since not everyone has a T3 or UX50.

The point is that he's just assuming what it would be like on a newer Palm, and according to what I've read, he's wrong. The features he described as slow are still slow on a much faster Tungsten machine.

And he provides no input for those of us with color or high-res screens, so it's like he's reviewing a movie that he only watched half of.

He also left out the lack of support for T3. The FAQ on the developer's website says that it doesn't do stretch screen.

And there is still no comparison to comparable products, such as that by DataViz or Datebk.

That's not how one does reviews. The reason? It's not useful.

Yes, I have written reviews. Lots of reviews.

Do you see me writing reviews of Palm software? Hell no. I'm not willing to play with every single package and maintain several different machines in order to compare the experience.

I think you should be an expert in your field to write reviews of products.

If all of you want to have a group hug, that's just great for you. But it doesn't mean the review is valuable. It's not. It lacked depth, it lacked commentary on all features, and it lacked perspective.

That's my review of this review.

RE: Palm m505? You gotta be joking!
Hippocrates @ 11/14/2003 2:01:53 AM #
You guys don't get it.

{Several scathing-but-valid points.}

That's my review of this review.

Ouch. Remember, this isn't a professional website with paid reviewers. People have complained asking for software reviews (to stem the tide of pathetic press releases) so the site's editor tried to oblige. It appears that only one person is running Palminfocenter (in their spare time?), so don't expect them to singlehandedly post news, review hardware, review software, monitor trolling, etc.

Most PDA sites do fluff stories and fluff reviews, so this was par for the course. I doubt you're going to find many intelligent, experienced Palm owners that have several devices and are able + willing to write thorough, unbiased reviews for free.

Bottom line: use forums and Usenet for feedback on apps and then try out for yourself the ones that sound like they may be useful.

If you want to give back to the Palm community, submit your own reviews so that others may learn from your experience. Or at least post your personal observations as a counterpoint to the story.

RE: Palm IIIxe? You gotta be joking!
drw @ 11/14/2003 11:31:31 PM #
ignore 24fc

---
David
RE: Palm IIIxe? You gotta be joking!
rjdalton @ 12/3/2003 6:03:07 PM #
Some of your comments were on target to a point, such as No. 1. Others, such as No. 4, were way off target. Few were written as constructive criticism but merely seems to be rantings and ravings, as clearly demonstrated by the numerous responses you received to your nasty comments. Nevertheless, as the author of the review, I'll respond...

1. He couldn't see it in color to determine how it would look on a color machine.

RESPONSE: Valid, to a degree. But the features of this and the synchronization with Outlook are key factors. The screen shots above give a good sense of how it looks on color machines.

2. He commented on the speed of the app which he is unable to separate from the slug-like performance of his $30 P.O.S. ancient Palm found in a tomb near the Great Pyramids of Giza.

RESPONSE: You sound very angry at something. I'm sure it's not my use of a Palm III xe. Nevertheless, I'll reply: Many people are still using the Palm III series. It performs quite well.

3. He doesn't have one of the newer high-res machines so he can't comment on how it performs there.

RESPONSE: Valid point that was fully disclosed to readers.

4. He doesn't seem to know how to use a PIM. 250 categories? Uh, at some point you have to realize that you can over-organize to the point that you can't find your stuff. I am working professional in IT buried in meetings, notes, todos, and all sorts of stuff. I have two categories: personal and business. If you have more than five, you stink at using your palm and are probably equally unorganized using paper or anything else.

RESPONSE: See first sentence of the response to No. 2. I can see why you would need just two categories: one for each brain cell. (Excuse the sarcasm, but you deserve a bit of your own medicine.)
In any event, as I said, my categories go from "Amazon" to "Wireless." I use many categories because I have a lot of contacts, and I need to look them up by category.

5. No comparison with other products? What about the much-vaunted Outlook mimic from DataViz? Is this similar? Better? Worse? Don't write a review for a product if you haven't tried the competition.

RESPONSE: That's valid. And I'm glad to see it was constructive criticism up until the last sentence, in which you seem to serve as THE source for writing reviews. In any event, this site has many reviews, and so do other sites. Feel free to browse for competing products.

6. I think the app looks ugly. I notice there are no comments on its appearance - or the lack of compatibility with the T3's new screen.

RESPONSE: "I think the app looks ugly." You're on your way to doing top-notch software reviews. But try to limit those multisyllabic words, alright.

7. Here we have yet another PIM for the Palm that doesn't record completed todo's into an untimed event in the calendar or Daily Journal. Arrgghhh!!!

RESPONSE: Glad to see you write "Arrgghhh!!!" You really do need to vent your anger a little more in constructive ways.

moving keysuite to card

Lonepine @ 11/18/2003 3:11:14 PM #
Anyone figure out how to move Keysuites to a card and keep the conduits working?

Manual says absolutely don't do it but it sure takes up a lot of room. Maybe powerun or launcherx???

No Public Folders

ryanc2 @ 11/20/2003 5:11:54 PM #
Needs support for Exchange Public Folders to make it worth it.
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