Palm Z22

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Palm Z22
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Value for money, compact and stylish

Cons

  • No web support

Bottom Line

Stylish, small and simple to use - there's nothing wrong with the Z22. And there's plenty to like about that price, too. If you want a PDA, you'll struggle to match these levels of quality and value.

Would you buy this?

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Palm's Z22 is a cute, lightweight and inexpensive PDA, or personal digital assistant. Like a super-slim packet of cigarettes, it will slip into your pocket - if there's any space left there. After all, at a mere $179 the Palm is hardly going to drain your trousers of cash.

Out of the box it takes a hefty three hours to charge the Z22, but once up and running things are straightforward. Adding memos and to-do items using the stylus is fairly easy, and once you've installed the Outlook-alike software (Palm's own application), synching with your desktop PC is a one-button trick. Contacts and memos will be safe in the Z22's flash memory, of course, but it never hurts to have a backup. And if you use Palm's software as your desktop diary, it will feel as though you have access to your PC wherever you go.

So far so nifty, but it's difficult to escape the suspicion that the electronic filofax is hurtling towards obsolescence at a similar pace to red braces and horn-rimmed specs. Today's PDAs feel like smartphones that can't make calls. Of course, you wouldn't get this level of functionality or memory on a phone for this price. And at $0 a month, you can't beat those running costs. But in this world of constant communication, a mobile diary that doesn't hook up directly to the web feels quaint.

It's an impression not eased by prolonged use of the stylus and 'virtual keyboard'. The ability to scrawl notes will be useful to some - and doodling passes time in meetings - but we soon hankered for a bit of qwerty action.

All of which is more of a comment on PDAs in general than criticism of the Z22. The Palm OS is intuitive and the hardware well put together - particularly for something so small. The screen is bright and the options for diary entry myriad. It's a good PDA.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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