Palm m500 and m505

A growing number of PDA buyers are turning to feature-rich competitors - to Pocket PCs with fancy multimedia capabilities, productivity software, and multiple connectivity options; or to Handspring Visors with their easy expandability via Springboard modules. Now Palm is fighting back with new models that add some of these features - in a package the size of the sleek, popular Palm V.

The new Palm m500, and the colour m505 include an expansion slot for postage-stamp-sized Secure Digital (SD) cards or MultiMediaCards (MMCs) for adding memory, content and, eventually, peripherals. The expandability, though welcome, seems half-baked in some ways. You'll have to wait at least until the late part of the year before SD cards that permit you to add hardware (such as Bluetooth cards or GPS devices) become available. And while the m505 is the first Palm with 16-bit colour support, the screen is disappointingly dull.

What's inside

The biggest innovation in these new Palms is the small SD/MMC slot on top. Users are likely to prefer MMC for memory, but SD cards will add content such as Lonely Planet travel guides and games (including an amusing version of Sim City). The input/output standard for SD cards has not been set, however, so you won't be seeing any SD hardware peripherals - similar to modules for the Handspring Springboard - right away.

Both m500-series Palms come with 8MB of RAM, a 33MHz processor, and Palm OS 4. They also have a new universal base connector that allows hot syncing via a USB or serial hookup. You can't use today's Palm modems, keyboards, or cradles with these devices; new keyboards and modems for the m500 series are due to be released soon.

The new Palms hold the line on weight (a plastic backing helps on the m505). At just over 100g, the m500 weighs less than the Palm V, while the colour m505 weighs about the same as the V and is a mere 1mm thicker. Other colour PDAs are chunky in comparison. To match the Palm V's estimated two-week battery life and skinny form factor, the m505 uses a reflective colour screen. It's easier to view in sunlight than the screen on the Palm IIIc, but indoors it looked too dark, even with the backlight switched on - and it paled in comparison to the brilliant screen on the IIIc and on Compaq's iPaq Pocket PC.

New software included

Besides offering SD and 16-bit colour support, Palm OS 4 builds in wireless connectivity software that lets you use a mobile phone as a modem via the infrared port or a cable. You can click on a phone number in your address book to place a call on your mobile phone, and you can now beam appointments made using datebooks that support the VCal format.

Palm bundles several programs that mimic Pocket PC productivity applications: MGI PhotoSuite, DataViz's Documents To Go (for reading and editing Word and Excel documents), AvantGo, Infinity Softworks' PowerOne personal calendar, and Palm Reader (for e-books).

The new Palms will retail at $979 for the m500, and $1149 for the m505. They'll compete head to head with PDAs such as HP's Jornada 548 Pocket PC and Handspring's colour Visor Prism.

The new-generation Palms offer room to grow in a slim, attractive package, but you'll have to wait for hardware add-ons, and the colour "display on the m505 is disappointing. If you want to view images, read books, and edit Word documents, you'll probably be happier with a Pocket PC. However, if a small profile and long "battery life matter to you, and you prefer the Palm OS, the m500-series Palm's SD slot and new applications make these devices more than mere organisers.

Palm m500 and m505

Price: m500: $979; m505: $1149; Phone: 1300 360 558; http://www.palm.com.au

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Cameron Crouch

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?