Palm m review: Palm m

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.7
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Color display; rechargeable batteries; affordable.

The Bad Small screen; difficult to read in direct sunlight.

The Bottom Line The m130 is on the low end of the color-Palm spectrum, but it's a decent PDA for the price.

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The m130 delivers all of the features that you want in a Palm PDA--including a color screen--for a price that doesn't break the bank. The screen is a tad small, but if you can forgive that shortcoming and you have good eyesight, this model looks pretty attractive. The m130's standout design element is its color, transflective STN screen, which is very small at just two inches across. In most other ways, the m130 is identical to the monochrome Palm m125; they both come with a two-toned faceplate and a rubberized screen cover with a little window. This model's overall design isn't as slick as that of the step-up m515, but the m130 is fairly compact. And though this 5.4-ounce PDA is not as slim as some Sony CLIE models, it's not hefty either.

The Palm is larger than a deck of playing cards.It's slightly thicker than a deck, too.

At the top of the device, you'll find a small slot for adding additional memory and compatible accessories. Look around back, and you'll notice that there's no place to add batteries because unlike other m100-series devices, the m130 has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. You can juice up this cell in the included USB HotSync Cradle with the power adapter attached. More good news: The m130 will work with all accessories--such as keyboards and digital cameras--made for Palm m500-series models since it's equipped with the same universal connector.

Juice it up: The cradle acts as a power and syncing station.You have connections: The m130 works with most m500-series accessories.

Forget ginkgo biloba--SD is the key to memory enhancement.


Inside the m515, 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. As far as expandability goes, like the m125, the m130 gives you a card slot for adding more RAM in the form of MultiMedia Memory cards, Secure Digital (SD) cards, or the recently announced Bluetooth SD cards.

When the unit is powered off, pressing the up button makes the Palm show the time and the date. A small hole in the cover and a window above it let you check the time with the cover closed.



Peekaboo: You can check the time without opening the cover.

You'll find all of the standard Palm applications--such as Date Book, Address Book, and Note Pad--installed on the m130. And the m515 comes with Palm Desktop software for both the PC and the Mac. To help sweeten the deal, Palm has thrown in Documents To Go 4.0, which lets you work with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other files on your Palm. To show off the color 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 cell phone and Palm's MultiMail SE e-mail application.

Ogle your pics with MGI PhotoSuite Mobile Edition.Word up: Upload and view Word and Excel documents on your Palm.


Lo-res: The m130's screen can muster only a 160x160 resolution.
We were pleasantly surprised by this little PDA's performance. We worried that the passive-matrix screen might limit its gameplaying ability compared to models with active-matrix screens. But we couldn't see much difference between the m130 and a Sony CLIE PEG-N610CV on the first-person shooter game Serious Sam. And since the m130 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 Palm m125 but worried that you couldn't read the small screen, the m130 is a better choice because its display provides greater contrast, making it easier on the eyes. The 160x160-pixel display has a backlight with two brightness settings for indoor use. The screen also reflects ambient light so that you can read it outdoors, although it's not as easy to see in bright sunlight as the reflective TFT screen on Sony's CLIE PEG-N610CV. Sony's PDA also has a larger, higher-resolution display, so fonts and icons are smoother and more legible. But we'll forgive those shortcomings because the m130 is significantly less expensive than the Sony.


As noted, the device has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which Palm says can power the PDA for about a week between charges; you just drop the m130 into the included USB HotSync cradle to juice it up. We were impressed with this Palm's battery life. With the backlight on, we squeezed a whopping 12.5 hours out of the unit before its battery ran dry.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Palm m100

Part Number: 3C80700U Released: Mar 4, 2002
MSRP: $99.00 Low Price: $49.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Mar 4, 2002