Palm T|X

published May 27, 2007, last modified Jun 26, 2013

Why you shouldn't get a Palm TX if you can avoid it.

Do not buy one. Here's why:

  • It resets out of the blue. Even with no applications installed, the bundled VersaMail and Blazer Web browser tends to reset spontaneously. Some VersaMail mail messages are undeletable (unless you manually nuke its databaes, in which case you need to reconfigure the app from zero again).
  • Blazer, the Web browser, is slow and bad. It won't load big Web pages either.
  • When an SD card is in the expansion slot, the Palm takes 8 seconds to power up (resume from standby). Imagine wanting to take a quick note and having to wait every time you turn the device on.
  • It's slow and unresponsive. Lots of applications block. There are tons of corners in the little TX's world where you can't do anything but wait.
  • Networking sucks. It fails out of the blue, and when it fails, the device hangs until the application times out -- no way to cancel network operations.
  • It has extremely poor audio quality. There's a horrible hiss coming out of the headphone jack constantly. If you want to listen to music, you better listen at max volume and brace yourself for hearing loss, because listening at low volumes is impossible given the hiss.
  • Every media player available for the Palm (even the bundled one) rescans the expansion card every time you launch it. This means that you have to wait up to 15 seconds in order to select a song to play.
  • Music on the go? Forget about it. Although Pocket Tunes can turn the screen off while listening to music, if you put your Palm T|X in your pocket, the 5-way navigation keys will be depressed constantly, randomly activating functions in your Palm and turning the screen on -- effectively, it's a music player with no Hold function. The only workaround, an app (aptly) named Hold On, takes a while to launch, shows an annoying dialog box, and needs two extra taps on the screen in order to activate. In effect, to put the Palm on hold, you need to start the app, wait 5 seconds, tap the screen twice, then hit the (hard to depress) Power button. If I want to change a song, I have to hit the Power button again, tap the screen again, then hit the a hard key mapped to Pocket Tunes, and endure its interface, awkward to use with a thumb. Compare to an iPod: slide a slider, scroll a wheel, and you're done.
  • Did I say Power button? My Power button is already damaged.
  • Battery life: bad. Don't get me wrong, for a PDA, it's quite good. But for a music player... come on, if the CPU scaled back when listening to music, it'd last so much more! I'm forced to use WarpSpeed to manually set the speed to 70 MHz when the Hold On app is active.
  • Zero support. The forums about Palm on the Web are helpful, but you ain't getting to talk to Palm customer representatives that easily. After extensive talk to reps, all they could suggest is that I erase everything from my Palm and see if problems continue to exist.

For me, the Palm T|X was the hopeful answer to carrying both a PDA and an iPod in my already crowded pockets. In reality, the Palm T|X has the potential to be everything you need, if you can hack the hardware to replace the poor DAC and amplifier, add an extra battery rucksack, and hack the software to work around all the limitations and bugs.

I suspect the LifeDrive is also plagued with the same issues (the Tungstens did have these issues, for the record).

Steer clear of Palm -- they're dead and I wish they were even deader.

Update: the problem I experienced with my SD card is circumscribed to my SD card and only it. Others don't make the Palm T|X exhibit the issue. However, there's no guarantee that spending another $100 in a new 4GB SD card will solve the issue, so I'm stuck with it. Sucks to be me, doesn't it?