- Slim and light
- reflective colour screen
- SD/MMC expansion slot
- USB docking connectivity.
- New Universal Connector requires more force than previous designs
- no microphone or audio playback facilities.
There's little doubt that the m505 (£399 inc. VAT, or £339.57 ex. VAT) provides Palm with another winner. The new device combines a superior colour display with the compact size and weight of the very popular Palm Vx. Stand-out features include a 16-bit, 65,536-colour, reflective side-lit display (the first Palm screen that's truly usable in daylight), Palm's Universal Connector for plugging the device into its cradle or into add-on devices, and a Secure Digital (SD) slot for additional memory and, in the future, hardware expansion. A second new model, the m500 (£329 inc. VAT, or £280 ex. VAT) has a 16-greyscale display but is otherwise very similar.
The m505 uses a side-lit reflective display similar to the Compaq iPAQ H3650's, but the Palm device's brightness is not adjustable. Indoors, the iPAQ and the Palm IIIc are slightly brighter than the m505. In a dark room, the IIIc is the brightest, followed by the iPAQ, and then the m505. The greatest variation in quality occurs in sunlight, where the Palm IIIc's non-reflective display is almost useless but the m505 and the iPAQ are equally viewable. As with all existing Palm OS devices, the m505's display has a resolution of 160 by 160 pixels.
Expansion is the m505's key new feature. On the top edge there's a dual-purpose slot that accommodates SD (Secure Digital) or MMC (MultiMedia Card) modules, which are about the size of a postage stamp. The m505 also features Palm's new Universal Connector, which is located on the unit's bottom edge. The new connector and accompanying USB HotSync cradle will be common across all new Palm models. Although this is a welcome development, we did have more difficulty undocking the m505 from its cradle than with earlier models. Tiny hooks that secure the device to the cradle or to peripherals require you to use more force than with earlier designs.
The m505 (and the monochrome m500) ship with Palm OS version 4.0, the latest release. Also new are a vibrating alarm mode, Palm's Mobile Internet Kit software (you'll still need a wired or wireless modem or compatible mobile phone connection), and a rich selection of bundled software. Unfortunately, Palm -- once again -- has failed to include an integrated microphone or audio playback capabilities.
As far as the device's other vital statistics are concerned, little has changed. The m505 uses Motorola's 33MHz Dragonball VZ processor and has 8MB of static RAM. Flash ROM, however, has doubled to 4MB. The m505 sports the sleek look of its Palm Vx predecessor, but weighs just a bit more -- 139g compared with the Vx's 114g -- and measures 11.4cm by 7.9cm by 1cm. The m505 isn't a perfect pocket computer, but is easily the best Palm device yet.
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||79x12.7x114 mm|
|OS & software|
|Desktop software||Palm Desktop|
|Operating system||Palm OS 4.1.x|
|Software included||Address Book, Date Book, Clock, To Do List, Memo Pad, Note Pad, Mail, Calculator, Graffiti, Documents To Go 3.0, PhotoSuite Mobile Edition, AvantGo, PocketMirror 3.0, Palm Reader, Palm Mobile Internet Kit (MultiMail SE, SMS, Web clipping)|
|Synchronisation software||HotSync Manager|
|Processor & memory|
|Processor model||Motorola Dragonball VZ|
|Clock speed||33 MHz|
|Display technology||passive-matrix LCD|
|Display size||3.3 in|
|Native resolution||160x160 pixels|
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