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palmOne Tungsten T5 Review

Date: 2005-2-7

   PDAs have been around for a long time and though I have used a lot of different ones I have avoided getting too attached to any of them. My life consists, at any given time, of dozens of little...

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palmOne Tungsten T5 Review

Exploring the T5 a bit I found a number of the reasons why people buy these. The applications that come with the Palm OS are finely-tuned and work suprisingly well. My favorite is the Blazer web browser which does not appear to be much at first but is much better than Pocket Internet Explorer. The included SMS program allows you to send text messages through your phone and the Versamail email client is easy to configure and highly competent.

Its no surprise that the palmOne T5 has a lot of potential and great features but a many of the most useful ones require some sort of connection to a communicative devise, like a router or your cell phone. The T5 has integrated BlueTooth, which is a nice thing to have considering its growing popularity, but no Wi-Fi. I am sure a lot of you are cringing in horror and revulsion right now, but it is irrefutable, the four hundred dollar T5 does not come standard with any sort of wireless fidelity. This means that internet connectivity at your favorite coffee house or library is going to be severly limited unless you invest in a Wi-Fi enabling SD card, which will cost a bit over a hundred dollars.

palmOne Tungsten T5 Review

Connecting the T5 with a BlueTooth-enabled cell phone is very easy using the PDA's built-in connection guide. I did just this with a Sony-Ericsson T630 and played around a bit to check out out what the BlueTooth connectivity offers. I used the Dialer application which simply dials the phone from the T5, the SMS, which allows you to send text messages from your PDA, and then the Blazer, which is the built-in browser. I was very happy with the results and the T5 handled itself quite nicely, never getting bogged down with incoming/outgoing material, or becoming too confusing to operate easily. Setting up Versamail took a few minutes but once this was down checking my could be done almost effortlessly. I really appreciated that I could choose to not have my mail deleted off the server, which makes sense as the T5 will probably not be your primary tool for sending/receiving email.

As with most other PDAs, setting up your BlueTooth to connect with my computer was pretty difficult. This is not impossible but the two do just not play together well. This is almost entirely a moot point though because you should be using your USB sync cable to connect to your computer anyway.

The lack of including Wi-Fi is especially troubling, not just because you have to spend over a hundred dollars to buy an Wi-Fi enabling expansion card, but because without the card you are left to rely on BlueTooth. This means that you need a BlueTooth capable phone and that you should have a wireless plan that takes internet use into account. If you do not do this you will have to pay exoribant rates for text-messaging and kilobytes downloaded. This makes the lack of Wi-Fi even worse because if you refuse to add 25% to the cost of the T5 you are forced to pay for it each month in your cell phone bill.

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