Business users will find everything they need in the Palm Tungsten C ($500 street), a powerful PDA with built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b) networking that provides wireless access to corporate applications, a desktop PIM, e-mail, and the Web. This latest addition to the Tungsten line incorporates a 400-MHz Intel XScale processor, the latest Palm OS (5.2.1), a backlit 320-by-320 screen, a 64K color display, an integrated QWERTY keyboard, 64MB of RAM (with 51MB available for user storage), a rechargeable battery, the Palm Universal Connector, and an SD I/O slot. The end product is a well-designed mobile productivity tool that stacks up against other PDAs in its class.
The Tungsten C runs in close competition with the Sony Clié PEG-TG50, which is Sonys best model for mobile professionals, and the Palm Tungsten T (both $400 street), the Tungsten Cs predecessor. The Sony Clié PEG-TG50 offers the same screen technology and an integrated keyboard, runs Palm OS 5.0 on a 200-MHz processor, provides 16MB of RAM and a voice recorder, and wirelessly connects via a Bluetooth radio. The compact Palm Tungsten T, another Bluetooth device, shares the screen technology of the Tungsten C and the PEG-TG50, provides 16MB of RAM and a voice recorder, and runs Palm OS 5.0 on a Texas Instruments OMAP1510 chip, but lacks a keyboard. The Tungsten C, with its faster CPU and more than three times the user memory, is more powerful, and the integrated Wi-Fi is more useful than Bluetooth for connecting to the Internet and corporate LANs.
With its side-flip cover installed, the 6.8-ounce brushed silver Tungsten C is 4.8 by 3.1 by 0.8 inches (HWD), which fills a small hand. Lacking a jog dial on the side panel, the device isnt conducive to one-handed operation, but we like the keyboards tactile feedback and the placement of the five-way navigation button with the four application-launch buttons below the keyboard. There is an integrated mono speaker for audio, but no microphone, requiring the use of the $15 Palm Tungsten W and C Hands-free Headset (also mono) for making voice recordings.
In addition to the standard Palm PIM (VersaMail 2.5) and Web browser applications, the latest Palm OS offers useful improvements, such as color themes, the optional capability to use the full screen for handwritten input, and the PC Quick Install HotSync program that simplifies synchronization of multimedia and zipped files. The Tungsten Cs impressive third-party productivity, communications, and entertainment software bundle includes Bachmann Softwares PrintBoy for printing Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files from DataVizs Documents to Go 5.0 Professional Edition. Youll also find Solitaire, the Kinoma Player PDA video application with the companion Kinoma Producer for the desktop, and Colligo Meeting for WLAN, which maintains joint schedules between two WLAN-enabled Palm PDAs.
Palms Wi-Fi Setup application requires only four screen taps to discover and connect to an existing public or unprotected private Wi-Fi network, such as a network with WEP turned on. We established a connection to our home office network in 9 seconds. Mergic VPN, a separate app thats also accessible from Wi-Fi Setup, lets you enter VPN information for a secure connection to a corporate network.
Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity versus the less practical—and less expensive—Bluetooth connectivity justifies the Palm Tungsten Cs price tag for Palm devotees who want a versatile and powerful PDA to boost their productivity.