The Palm Tungsten T3 continues to refine the expandable slider design that Palm pioneered with its earlier T and T2 models. Aimed squarely at corporate users who need Microsoft Office compatibility and multimedia power, this well-stocked handheld packs a luxuriously large and versatile screen. Power users who are partial to Palm's OS and who don't need built-in Wi-Fi or a keyboard should give the $400 Tungsten T3 serious consideration.
At first glance, the Palm Tungsten T3 looks like a near clone of its predecessor, the Tungsten T2. Both PDAs feature a sliding design that allows the compact 4.3-by-3.0-by-0.63-inch housing to expand almost a full inch in height. But where the T2 simply hid the Graffiti input area, the T3's extra real estate is put to much better use. With the exception of a thin Windows-style taskbar at the bottom, the entire 320x480 transflective screen is available for applications and documents. Even better, the entire screen can pivot from the default portrait (vertical) mode to landscape (horizontal) orientation with the click of a taskbar icon. Likewise, a virtual Graffiti input area can be popped up when needed and just as easily minimized when not. Sony's swivel-screen models, the NX73 and the NX80V, have the same large screen and the advantage of a built-in keyboard, but they lack the T3's sliding design.
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|The T3's sliding design means a more compact travel size.|
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|The power button, the stylus storage, the IR port, and the SDIO expansion slot are found along the T3's top edge.|
The Tungsten T3 is sheathed in a durable metallic casing and weighs in at 5.5 ounces--a bit lighter than its older brother but still somewhat weighty for a PDA. The handheld's top edge hosts the stylus receptacle, the infrared port, the power button, and the SDIO expansion slot. The microphone, the voice memo button, and the standard 1/8-inch stereo headphone jack are clustered at the top of the unit's left side. A small speaker is mounted above the screen, and the squarish five-way navigation pad is surrounded by dedicated Task, Calendar, Contacts, and Memo buttons. A Palm Universal Connector can be found on the bottom edge of the handheld.
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|Given the large cradle and AC adapter, frequent fliers should invest in a travel charger/sync cable.|
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|The Graffiti input area is virtual and can be minimized to the taskbar below, leaving more room for applications.|
The T3 ships with the same beefy synchronization cradle as the T2. Attached to the cradle is a standard USB cable for syncing to Windows PCs or Macs. Recharging duties are handled by a separate AC adapter that plugs into the cradle. Travelers will want to spring for a cradle-less USB cable that handles syncing and recharging. A more travel-friendly add-on is the included removable leather flip cover, a welcome improvement over the T2's Plexiglas snap-on screen protector.
Palm has endowed the Tungsten T3 with a lightning-fast 400MHz Intel XScale processor and a healthy 64MB of RAM (about 52MB of which is available to the user). Additional SD or MMC media can be added to the SDIO-compatible expansion slot.
In addition to the standard applications native to Palm OS 5.2, the T3 includes the new Contacts and Calendar applications, which replace the aging Address Book and Date Book, respectively. Contacts allows for additional and customized fields (you can finally, for instance, store multiple addresses for each contact), while Calendar adds richer scheduling information and easier navigation. Furthermore, both programs offer better compatibility with.
The T3 includes a healthy software bundle. Dataviz Documents To Go Professional Edition 6.0 allows for full manipulation ofand files (and even limited use of decks), and separate applications offer support for Adobe Acrobat and e-book documents. Palm has even added J2ME support so that the Tungsten T3 can natively run mobile Java applications. Multimedia support is also strong, with a photo viewer, MP3 playback via RealOne's Mobile Player, and Kinoma's Producer and Player software available for compressing videos for on-the-go viewing.