Choosing a PDA
When choosing a PDA to purchase, you should consider the following characteristics and uses prior to purchase. I recommend that users make a list of the uses for their PDA and consider the following characteristics:
Size/Weight - Does the PDA fit in your pocket? Is it portable enough? Is it light enough that you will carry it with you when you need it? Is the system too large to carry with you?
Input Methods - Does the PDA have a keyboard? Do you want to use handwriting recognition for input? Does the PDA have a touch screen, glidepad or a trackpoint for mouse functions? Does the PDA support an external mouse?
Features - Do you need a CompactFlash, PC Card or SD slot? Do you need a modem - if you do then what speed? Do you need a camera card? Do you want to have a keyboard? Will an external keyboard meet your needs? Is the keyboard large enough for you to touch type? Is the unit fast enough to meet your needs? Do you have enough ram for running programs and storage? Will a flash card suffice for additional storage or is the PC Card slot occupied? What kind of connectivity do you need - Ethernet, IrDA, RAS, wireless LAN, wireless nationwide? How long do you need to run on batteries?
Uses - Will you be entering in lots of data? If so, is a keyboard important? How important is a large screen? How many colors does the screen need to support - 256 colors, 65536 colors? Are you going to be editing pictures? Is printing important?
Applications - Do you need Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Access or Pocket PowerPoint? If so then consider the H/PC Pros since the P/PCs do not offer these capabilities. Do you need to run a special application? If you are looking for specific capabilities, I suggest you review my PC Companion Feature Comparison for a list of the capabilities of the Windows CE devices.
Once you have an idea of the size/weight, input methods, features, uses and applications then prioritize them based on your personal usage patterns and tastes. Then you are ready to compare your input with the different devices that are available.
Discuss your Handheld PC, Palm-size PC or Pocket PC needs at Pocket PC FAQ.