July 22nd, 2007

marcus 2013

PDA possibilities

I've been using an iPaq for about three months now and I am getting nowhere with handwriting recognition - I still have to enter some letters three or four times before it will work, and it doesn't seem to be showing an sign of improving. This may be because I'm left handed, but I've tried drawing letters lots of different ways and none of it seems to help.

I've tried an external keyboard, but while it worked it was just another thing to carry and / or lose, and it was so wobbly that it would be impractical on a train journey or anywhere crowded, the sort of places where I'd want to use a PDA rather than a laptop.

So I think I'm going to have to look at PDAs with proper keyboards again.

What I had before was a Psion Revo, which was never particularly reliable and died on me completely in the end. Also had way too little storage, and no easy route to Mac compatibility. I might consider Psion again but it would take some convincing.

What I think I want this time is something with enough memory and speed to run a decent software suite, e.g. Pocket Windows CE with its word processor etc., plus a reasonable amount of additional software available including the odd game or two, ebook reader, etc.. Good battery life is essential, colour isn't but would be nice. USB file transfer, PC and Mac compatibility, non-proprietary storage e.g. SD card or similar, not memory cards that only one company makes and cost a fortune. WiFi and Bluetooth are possibly useful but again not essential, especially if they can be added as a card or something, and I DON'T want a mobile phone.

The big thing is that the keyboard and screen need to be at least Psion sized - I can't see writing seriously on a Blackberry or similar. I also don't want to spend a fortune.

What I've looked at a few times is the HP Jornada 720 - they come up on eBay fairly often, usually selling around £70-80. I could just about afford that if it's OK, but I don't want an expensive mistake, and I don't know a huge amount about them.

So... Any suggestions, or any alternatives I should look at? Anyone used the Jornada?