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Palm m130

The m130 delivers all of the features that you want in a Palm OS handheld -- including a colour screen -- for a price (£195 ex. VAT, or £229.12 inc. VAT) that doesn't break the bank. The screen is a touch small, but if you have good eyesight, this model looks pretty attractive.
Written by Colin Duwe, Contributor on
palm-m130-thumb.jpg
7.4/10

Palm m130

Very good
Pros
  • Affordable
  • rechargeable batteries
  • colour display.
Cons
  • Difficult to read in direct sunlight
  • small screen.
  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

The m130 delivers all of the features that you want in a Palm OS handheld -- including a colour screen -- for a price (£195 ex. VAT, or £229.12 inc. VAT) that doesn't break the bank. The screen is a touch small, but if you have good eyesight, this model looks pretty attractive.

The m130's standout feature is its colour transflective STN screen. However, it's very small -- just two inches across. The 160 by 160-pixel display has a backlight with two brightness settings for indoor use. It also reflects ambient light so that you can read it outdoors, although it's not as easy to read in bright sunlight as some reflective TFT screens we've seen.

In most other ways, the m130 is identical to its monochrome predecessor, the m125. They both come with a two-toned faceplate and a rubberised screen cover with a little window. Inside, there's a 33MHz DragonBall VZ processor, Palm OS 4.1, and 8MB of RAM for storing contacts, a calendar, other information and extra applications. But unlike other m100-series devices, the m130 has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which Palm says can power the device for about a week between charges (you just drop it into the included USB HotSync cradle to recharge it). However, that estimate seems a bit optimistic since we drained the battery in four days of normal use (40 minutes per day) in our tests.

As far as expandability goes, like the m125, the m130 gives you a card slot for adding more memory (it accepts both MMC and SD cards) or the recently announced Bluetooth SD card. The m130 will work with all accessories -- such as keyboards and digital cameras -- made for Palm m500-series models because it's equipped with the same universal connector.

We were pleasantly surprised by this little handheld's performance. We worried that the passive-matrix screen might limit its game-playing ability compared to models with active-matrix screens. But we couldn't see much wrong with the m130's responsiveness when playing the first-person shooter game Serious Sam. And since it has the same processor as all other current Palm OS devices, you won't be able to notice a difference in its number-crunching abilities. If you considered the m125 but worried that you couldn't read the small screen, the m130 is a better choice because its display provides better contrast, making it easier on the eyes.

You'll find all the standard Palm applications, such as Date Book, Address Book and Note Pad, installed on the m130. It also comes with Palm Desktop software for both the PC and the Mac. Palm has also thrown in Documents To Go 4.0, which lets you work with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other documents on your Palm. To show off the colour screen, you get MGI's PhotoSuite Mobile Edition, which can display JPEGs and small, silent video clips. There's also software to help you connect your Palm to the Internet via your cellphone and Palm's MultiMail SE email application.

The m130 fills an important gap in Palm's product line, providing a reasonably priced handheld with a colour screen. It would be nice if the screen were larger, but at £195 (ex. VAT), Palm seems to have hit upon just the right price to make this model especially appealing to students and more budget-minded consumers looking for an easy-to-use colour handheld.

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