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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Nice Job Ed...

EGarrido @ 9/24/2000 11:48:41 AM #
I completely agree with all of your points. Nice job.


By the way...
EGarrido @ 9/24/2000 1:58:19 PM #
What are you guys doing posting on a Sunday? I like it :-)


RE: Nice Job Ed...
Ed @ 9/30/2000 9:36:28 AM #
I try to post a few things on weekends. There isn't much new stuff but I'll put up some items that aren't time sensitive or that I missed during the week. Also, my rules for what is appropriate for the site get loosened a bit on the weekends so I'll add things like links to other people's reviews, comments, that sort of thing.

Palm InfoCenter

Try them out first

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/24/2000 2:14:05 PM #
Probably the best thing to do is just go down to the local store and try them out. For me form factor was the biggest issue. I wouldn't be using my Palm as much as I do if I couldn't fit it in my pocket comfortably, so I got the more expensive V (later upgraded to 8 meg).

[ No Subject ]

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/24/2000 4:08:39 PM #


PIERRE @ 9/24/2000 5:07:33 PM #
1.first: the starter device must use palm OS : fast - light - leader - efficient ..
2. think liberty: 2 alcalin aa works 6 weeks lonq. rechargearble lith. works less and needs wire.


Ron @ 9/24/2000 5:33:29 PM #
Good job on the recommendations for My First Palm. I must admit that more memory is the way to go. Most Palm users start out with just a few names ect.... but before you know it, your adding.

more mb

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/24/2000 8:04:42 PM #
i like the 2mb visor it is a great buy, plus you can add more memory via springboard accessory. In my mind get the visor


I.M. Anonymous @ 9/24/2000 8:04:43 PM #
looks great

III series

Edward Doan @ 9/25/2000 12:21:29 AM #
Perhaps it's a little early to judge the m100, but the IIIe is still the way to go for expansion capabilities. Palm made a mistake (not to mention frustrating hardware developers) by making the m100 incompatible with the world of III-series add-ons.

[ No Subject ]

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/25/2000 8:37:15 AM #

Palm 100

Phil @ 9/25/2000 1:57:59 PM #
I am also considering my first pda - I was wondering how well the note jotting capability works. It's advertized as easy as a pen and paper. I understand the graffitti in the other palms is very tedious.

RE: Palm 100
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/25/2000 4:37:57 PM #
Note jotting is horribly tedious and inefficient on all handhelds (Palm OS and WinCE) as I have experienced. Unlike pad and pencil, there is a translation from your stylus stroke to a format the handheld saves; a translation which often loses a lot of "information". When you take notes, you scribble here and there, write bigger, smaller, underline, draw arrows, sketches etc. Handhelds only grab sequential lines of text; you can keep changing your starting point of sequentiality, but it's still just sequential text.

I found a handhelds strongest point to be a portable data resource. Like carrying a small note pad around that you keep all your little notes, phone numbers, numbers, scratch ideas, sketches, etc in. So, rather than *replacing* a device like pad&pencil, it's actually a *new* device that you'll find very useful. (AvantGo kicks bootay...)

Used Visor

John Anderson @ 9/25/2000 3:38:00 PM #
If this is something you just want to test the water I would buy a used Visor. Soon the new Visors will hit the street and you may get a great deal. I will sell you mine soon and its almost new. If you want one now and you plan on sticking with it Visor Deluxe is the way to go $250.00 and can expand from 8meg to 16 meg for $80.00. I didnt think I would need it but holding apps. on the flash card that I hardly use is nice.
RE: Used Visor
Phil @ 9/26/2000 10:55:58 AM #
If you are serious about selling it let me know - I may go in that direction. Is it a 2mb model or a Visor Deluxe?

get the palm v

bernard @ 9/26/2000 1:12:19 AM #
great advice on the starter palm. but i'm a 1st time user too, & i find my palm v indispensable already. 8mb is a must if you wanna web browse. and the palm v sure looks cool too. if u have the spare cash - Palm V is the palm to get.


I.M. Anonymous @ 9/26/2000 8:11:53 AM #
I think memmory is a key factor. Once you relize what a Palm can do you will quickly find yourself out of memmory.

P.S. - I have not found graffiti to be that difficult

RE: Memmory
MrGrumpy @ 10/6/2000 10:20:52 AM #
I disagree. I have a 2M Palm V and keep it only about 1/2 full (that's counting the games my wife insists I keep).

RE: Memmory
SilliconMan @ 3/2/2001 5:54:18 PM #
HAH! 2MBs of memory. Yeah right! I've got a IIIxe with 8MBs of RAM and its got 300K free! Talk about full, I need more already! I've got 800k of Avantgo stuff, 300k of notes, a few games, a dictionary, a few novels...

Palming away.....

Handspring is the best!

Aaron @ 9/26/2000 2:25:28 PM #
I can't believe you gave so little space to the Visor! It is the perfect PDA to start with, mainly because it is the only one that isn't instantly obsolete! You can easily add more memory when you move up to being a power user, Handsprinq has proven that the OS is patchable in order to upgrade it AND it can become a pager, phone, or GPS unit with one simple snap of a Springboard! Go with Visor & never go back!

just a quick note

AussiS5 @ 9/26/2000 4:16:19 PM #
. ya know I hate to nitpick but in tth the article it said the Handsprinq Visor was $150 like the m-100. only thing is that that oooone doesn't come w/ a cradle. thtt-the m-100 comes w/ a little szncsync cord. the visor w/ a cradle is $180.

go for more mem!

Dan @ 9/27/2000 9:46:02 AM #
I am a first time PDA user and I chose the IIIX.The 4mb is barely enough if you want to install some quality software and web content.
m-100 is also hard on the eyes.
Oh, and once you see the color of the IIIc you wont want a mono machine anymore.

Handspring is the best!

Aaron @ 9/28/2000 3:58:21 AM #
I can't believe you gave so little space to the Visor! It is the perfect PDA to start with, mainly because it is the only one that isn't instantly obsolete! You can easily add more memory when you move up to being a power user, Handsprinq has proven that the OS is patchable in order to upgrade it AND it can become a pager, phone, or GPS unit with one simple snap of a Springboard! Go with Visor & never go back!


I.M. Anonymous @ 9/28/2000 11:56:32 AM #
Handspring makes the most sense to me since it can be upgraded more easily to become wireless, use a modem, an AM/FM radio with newsfeeds and pager, a golf game...

So for 250 now (or the 150 but getting the memory is a no brainer to me) you can still do more as your needs expand. Palm will be re-launching their product to be more like the Visor and immitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flatery.

The best starter is the cheapest one

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/29/2000 9:02:03 AM #
Buy used palmIII from second hand market. Try to use it. If you will like it, you will buy more expensive one. (Old you will throw out to trash or sell as starter). You will know what are you loking for in PDA computer after using starter.

Not sure about the modem comment.

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/5/2000 4:45:19 PM #
I agree with the comment if you are talking about palm modems, but in my experience it isn't too hard to connect a IIIx to a normal external modem. If you have an old 14.4 fax modem then thats the same setup as the specific Palm one but it cost a lot less. I would assume that this could be applied to the M100 as it is based along the lines of the IIIx.


Mike. :-)

RE: Not sure about the modem comment.
SilliconMan @ 3/2/2001 5:57:39 PM #
With the cable, I just connected wires directly for the hotsync port to the modem port and it worked fine! Really cool if you don't need wireless access.

Palming away.....

Go Handspring!!!!

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2000 6:28:04 PM #
I just got a Handspring Platinum as my first PDA. I love it! It is a bit pricey for a starter, but dollar for dollar the Handspring line is the way to go. For comparable memory and features Handspring will be cheaper than a Palm III or V. It is also expandable with the Springboard modules. * MB flash, a back up module (Must have!), and MP3 Players, and soon a cell phone...with more to come. You can't go wrong with Handspring. Just be sure you get the memory you need for what you are going to do. The Handspring Deluxe beats any comparable Palm device hands down, plus they are expandable!!! Get a Handspring. They also have the same OS. So any app you can use on a Plam device will work on the Handspring.

m 100 memory upgrade card

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/10/2001 9:56:32 AM #
Hi i have just bought a new m100 and i was expecting abit more from it, i actually thought that it would have memory upgrade cards but after searching
the entire net i have seen no cards for it but i have seen an occasional reference to a futre memory upgrade card associated with this device m100, i know
how this device can be upgraded but i was hopeing to get an upgrage card is their one not available on the market and if their is one availble can some one help me
and tell me if i can get a card may be in england


Which Palm should you buy?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/30/2002 7:22:56 AM #
We are always asked, "Which Palm OS Powered device should I get?". The answer has always been, "Depends". It depends on what you want to get out of it. We have created this tool to allow you to search the existing Palm devices that are on the market for the features that you want. Based on your needs and desires we can then suggest what might do the trick for you. Find out here!




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