Palm Visor review: Palm Visor

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Palm Visor Pro

(Part #: 1023NA)
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Stylus-free contact lookup; 16MB of RAM; rechargeable battery.

The Bad No real advantages over the Visor Deluxe for the average user.

The Bottom Line This is a roomy, yet limited PDA for power users on a shoestring budget.

7.0 Overall

Meld together some of the best features from across the Handspring product line, add 8MB more RAM, and you'll come up with the Visor Pro. While it may look like the slightly souped-up Platinum, power users will discover a lot more power with a reasonable price tag. This is a good choice for those who need the full 16MB of RAM and the Springboard expansion slot, but other PDAs are available that match the Visor in price, capacity, and capability. Meld together some of the best features from across the Handspring product line, add 8MB more RAM, and you'll come up with the Visor Pro. While it may look like the slightly souped-up Platinum, power users will discover a lot more power with a reasonable price tag. This is a good choice for those who need the full 16MB of RAM and the Springboard expansion slot, but other PDAs are available that match the Visor in price, capacity, and capability.

Room to grow
So what is involved in Handspring's recipe for a good PDA? First is the generous 16MB of RAM--more than any previous Palm OS device. You're likely to wonder if you'll even fill up all the available room. It's certainly more than you'll need for storing your contacts, calendar information, and to-do items. AvantGo and Vindigo fans will find this model especially appealing (because those two services eat up megabytes of storage), as will those who regularly use large databases on the go. However, when you consider that the Pro, like all Visors, has a Springboard expansion slot so that you can drop in additional storage or other modules such as the entire Physicians' Desk Reference, you'll realize that it's overkill for many users.

Another important ingredient in the mix, Motorola's 33MHz DragonBall VZ processor keeps this PDA speeding along. Running taxing software, such as Dreadling, didn't slow this PDA a bit. However, most users will have a very hard time discerning the speed increase over the Visor Deluxe in everyday use.

Borrowing from the Prism and the Edge, the sealed case of the Pro houses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. With its energy-efficient, three-inch, monochrome LCD, this handheld should let you go several weeks between charges. Unlike most Handspring models, the Pro is offered in only one color: a warm silver with a see-through gray cover.

The edge in software
The most attractive addition to the Pro is the augmented Fast Lookup feature in the address book. First seen in the Visor Edge, this function lets you quickly bring up any name simply by pressing the six buttons below the screen with one hand--no stylus required. We tried stumping it with a test database filled to the brim with 1,700 contacts, and it worked without fail every time. The only surprise is that the Visor Pro runs an updated version of Palm OS 3.5.2H3, although OS 4.0 was available at its date of manufacture.

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