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Hands-on With the Palm LifeDrive

The other night I spent a few minutes in CompUSA evaluating the new Palm LifeDrive. I have to say that even though I am not really a huge Palm fan, that the device was quite nice. I spent some time playing around a little with Josh’s Treo 650 and this device seems right on par with this very popular PDA.

Size-wise, the device is quite similar to the Treo. From the pictures I have seen, I thought the LifeDrive was much thicker than it is in reality. It is actually slimmer than the Treo and weighs in about the same. It’s taller and wider than the Treo, but only marginally. It is comfortable to hold and Palm’s one-handed operation implementation is quite nice.

I have read that the screen on the LifeDrive is a little disappointing, but I thought it was completely adequate. The sample photos that come on the stock system were impressive and fonts were very easy to read. I think that the screen on the Dell Axim X50v is a bit nicer, but fairly comparable.

The other fault I have read about for the device is that it is a little sluggish. I thought the unit I handled was adequate at most tasks and if I hadn’t read anything about performance, I probably wouldn’t have ever noticed. As a matter of fact, the web browser I played with rendered pages much faster than Pocket IE on my Pocket PC (I know that’s not saying much). I am sure that you could get real scientific and benchmark the device to prove that it’s slower, but I don’t think this aspect is a deal-breaker.

Having said all of that, I didn’t feel compelled to buy one. Maybe if I was in the market for a new PDA, I would give it more thought, but right now, my Axim is doing everything I need it to quite nicely. I am sure that this device is going to make a lot of media-centric people very happy though.

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One thought on “Hands-on With the Palm LifeDrive

  1. Thanks for the write up, Brian.

    I’m on and off interested in this. I don’t need a new PDA, and PalmOS isn’t my favorite, but I’m looking for something to use my replacement plan on, and I keep vacillating between the LifeDrive, and a 5G Zen Micro and a small digicam.

    If I got a LifeDrive, it would probably be used almost exclusively as an MP3 player/recorder. It comes with PocketTunes, which Tom recommends highly as an MP3 player. I wonder what kind of audio recording capabilities it has out of the box?

    If it had a decent camera, this would make an awesome “life bits” audio/photo/video recorder and player…

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