The Palm M500
Back many years ago, for my first engineering job, I had M515 color handheld. It was great for taking notes , keeping my schedule, tasks, etc. I really wanted to see how the M500 compares. Black and white Palm PDAs are pretty inexpensive. So off to eBay I go and pick up a M500. I am very pleasantly surprised by this little PDA.
First off is the amazingly sharp screen. It is a 160×160 16 level gray-scale. It is one of the best black ad white screens I have seen. It almost all lighting it is readable. Much better than older Palms and windows CE devices. The best thing is low power draw. This sucker can go for weeks on one charge. The overall form factor is sleek and clean. It is very thin and easy to pocket. Below the screen is the standard Palm touch area, home and menu on the left, graffiti area in the center, calculator and search the right. Below that are hardware buttons. Calendar, Contacts, up down, tasks, and notes. Very clear and easy to use. The case is all metal and on the back is something I didn’t expect, Assembled in USA. Much like my beloved dana.wireless, relatively modern electronics Made in the USA.
Along the top are a SD/MMC card slot, which I have not really used, but it is there. Also is the IR port, power switch, and stylus. Along the bottom is the I/O port, which is shared with one of my tungsten PDA’s. As a side note, I did need to replace the battery on this unit, but, as long as you have a torque driver, it was very simple and I now get hours and hours of battery life.
The OS is Palm 4.0, which I may try upgrading one of these days, I think it can be upgraded to 4.1. It is clean, simple to use, and half between the classic 3.x OS and 5, aka Garnet. It syncs quickly via USB, not old timey serial port, and plays well with modern operating systems, unlike some Windows CE devices I will mention.
Day to day, it is a classic PDA, built for a professional. All metal, clear screen, sleek, and feels like a tool, not like a toy or gadget. This is a daily organizer for the professional crowd. I am sure there are still people using the type of Palm for daily work. My favorite feature of all Palm based devices is they perform what they were designed for: keeping you organized. Your calendar, contacts, and to-do lists all talk with each other. Your dated to-do items show up on your calendar, and you can link your contacts to you calendar or to-do. It just works. It’s a solid choice if you want to get into the world of Palm collecting but be forewarned, you will probably have to replace the battery, but it is inexpensive and often come with the driver you will need. I don’t regret this addition to my collection.