Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Zire 72 Handheld

I got a Zire 72 the weekend before Halloween, and I've been enjoying it. The main selling point for me was Bluetooth. I don't have to plug it into my laptop to sync it, so it doesn't play into my phobia about wearing out my USB ports every time I want to take the laptop away from my desk.

Its camera takes (icky ASF) video as well as stills, but the video requires a memory card for some reason. Just to see how it worked, I borrowed the memory card from our Nikon. The Palm's camera is basically a bullet point on the box. It doesn't do well in low light, and zoom is done with elbows and sneakers. It has some features to help with those, but they're clunky.

Supposedly it will play music, but I have another device for that.

It takes voice memos, and I actually like it better than the standalone device I was using before simply because it's much easier to get the audio to my computer to listen to without the Palm than it was with that other recorder. Basically the Palm works as I'd wished the recorder worked.

It has a gorgeous color screen with obviously better resolution than the m505 I had before. The old apps that I carried from the m505 look really blocky and crude compared to the native software.

I don't like the blue color paint and I don't like that it comes off so easily. In less than a month, it had silver showing through where the paint had been easily scraped off. The best I can say for the stuff is that I like the feel of it. My other Palms have been slick when my hands are dry, but this one is easy to hold regardless.

I was disappointed to find that some of the software that worked on the m505 didn't work with this. My favorite solitaire game comes up with a blank screen but then works normally after tapping the screen once.

I don't like the new Graffiti 2 text entry alphabet. I can't write "L [space]" without pausing significantly. I like that writing a capital letter means writing halfway between the letter and number areas, but I see no way to tell it to write a lowercase letter in a place where it's decided to automatically capitalize (e.g., after punctuation), so "Appt. with Bob" becomes "Appt. With Bob" even when I'm willing to go through the old "triple shift" to make it not so.

I don't like the new buttons on the face either. It's not true that I'll use the camera and music player more than the todo list and memo pad. It's true that I can remap those buttons (and I have), but it's not true that I can remember which is which now that they're above each other instead of next to each other. Also, though I didn't use the feature much, I always liked that the buttons were convex enough to push with the stylus. Now they're concave and really require a thumb.

All in all, I'm glad I got it. What annoys me about it is mostly based on past experience with an older Palm.
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