The Good Always-on wireless e-mail; elegant design; expansion slot for adding memory.
The Bad Mail application isn't industrial strength; can't use the unit as a cell phone; only 8MB of memory for e-mail.
The Bottom Line Though it's a significant update to the Palm VIIx, the i705 faces very stiff competition from rivals RIM, Handspring, and Samsung.
A substantial update to the aging Palm VIIx, Palm's i705 provides always-on access to corporate e-mail. Even when the PDA is turned off and in your pocket, it will blink, beep, or vibrate when a new e-mail arrives. However, after trying this PDA and its accompanying Palm.net service, we're left with the feeling that Palm rushed this product to market. Heavy e-mail users should think carefully before investing in the i705 to be sure it will meet their expectations. A substantial update to the aging Palm VIIx, Palm's i705 provides always-on access to corporate e-mail. Even when the PDA is turned off and in your pocket, it will blink, beep, or vibrate when a new e-mail arrives. However, after trying this PDA and its accompanying Palm.net service, we're left with the feeling that Palm rushed this product to market. Heavy e-mail users should think carefully before investing in the i705 to be sure it will meet their expectations.
A Palm with a wireless modem
The i705 is much like other Palm PDAs. Its aluminum case is a bit larger than that of the Palm m500 and m505 but considerably smaller than the VII's. We found the 5.9-ounce device easy to slip into a shirt pocket. Its 3-inch-diagonal, 160x160-pixel monochrome screen is serviceable but looks decidedly low rent compared to that of Sony's CLIE handhelds. Inside, it runs a 33MHz Motorola DragonBall VZ processor with 4MB of ROM, a meager 8MB of RAM, and Palm OS 4.1. The i705 does have a Secure Digital (SD) card expansion slot for adding more memory, but it can't be used to store e-mail. This model uses Palm's universal connector, so it works with cradles, keyboards, and other accessories designed for other recent Palm devices. For those who don't like Palm's Graffiti handwriting system, the company also offers a compatible thumb keyboard ($59).
The big change with this PDA is the built-in wireless modem that works with Cingular Interactive's Mobitex network. The service will cost you $40 per month for unlimited use or $35 per month if you sign up for a year's contract. Palm also offers 100K of data for $20 each month, but that's likely to be too little for almost all users. The advantage of the Cingular network is its wide coverage area in the United States, but data moves at an achingly slow 9.6Kbps. You'll also want to consider that there's no service in Europe or Asia, you can't use the i705 as a cell phone, and this model cannot be upgraded to any of the next-generation wireless networks such as GPRS, which offer higher data speeds.
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