Palm TX Handheld Review

Palm TX PDA Review By: Ryan Kairer
October 12th, 2005

The Palm TX is Palm's new wireless handheld. It features a improved 320 x 480 pixel screen, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless and 128MB of nonvolatile memory. The TX drops the Tungsten sub-brand moniker but adds Wi-Fi at a very competitive price.

The TX and Z22 are the first new models to return to the Palm name, after the company reacquired the rights to the Palm name. Palm has decided to drop the Tungsten sub brand, in order to highlight the strong Palm name brand.

The TX has solid body and finish. It is black plastic, though it is very rigid and almost feels like a metallic shell. The TX is physically identical to its predecessor the Tungsten T5 besides the new black color. It has the exact same dimensions and body.

Overall the TX has a very simple and smooth design reminiscent of the Palm V. The rectangular display makes up the majority of the front of the handheld. A white painted Palm logo is pressed along the top. The sides are smooth and the corners are nicely rounded. The left side functions as an attachment rail for the flip cover and the right rail doubles as a slightly open stylus silo.

Two sets of black customizable application buttons border the rounded rectangle 5-way navigator in the center. The buttons are flush with the case and have a sturdy feel. The 5-way is solid and has a smooth finish and is easily to pressed in each direction.

The top of the handheld is made of a glossy black plastic. On the left is the SD expansion slot, which unfortunately lacks a dust cover. To the right is the IR window, the standard 3.5 mm headphone jack and the power button. The bottom is slightly curved to the font and holds the multi connector in the center.

Palm TX HandheldThe back of the handheld is mostly smooth. The reset button is in the mid center and is now large enough to be pushed with the stylus tip. The speaker is also located on the center of the back, with a 5x5 hole grid. Below that is the standard sticker label with the Palm TX logo and the usual logos and serial numbers.

The TX has physical dimensions of 4.76 x 3.08 x .61 inches (120 x 78 x 15.5 mm) and weighs 5.25 ounces (149 g). It is just slightly larger and taller than the Tungsten E2. It is both shorter and thinner than the LifeDrive.

The handheld comes with a pleather black flip cover. It has a white stitching border that says "palm" centered on the bottom. It is a little different from the T5 flip cover as it has a more suede like feel. The stylus is polished steel metal and has a nice silver barrel with a black plastic tip. It is the same stylus as the T5 and is fairly comfortable with a good weight and size.

Palm TX Handheld Palm TX Handheld Palm TX handheld

Palm OS 5Hardware
The Palm TX is powered by a 312 MHz Intel XScale (PXA270 family) processor and runs Palm OS Garnet v.5.4.9. It has 128 MB of nonvolatile memory, of which 100 MB is user accessible. It has both Bluetooth (v1.1) and Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless technology. It also has a SD expansion slot for SD, SDIO and MMC memory cards.

The TX has a 16bit color, 480x320 pixel transflective TFT screen, which measures 3.25" x 2.2" inches. It is the same improved display that the LifeDrive is equipped with. The display is 30% brighter and has 40% better color saturation than previous models. The screen is very vibrant and holds up extremely well both outdoors and in direct sunlight. There is an on-screen slider to adjust, but it does not turn off the backlight. The display supports both portrait and wide-screen landscape orientations and switches with a touch of the icon on the status bar.

The Palm TX uses a 312 MHz Intel XScale processor. While not the fastest chip on the market the TX performs very well and the lower clock speed helps increase battery life. Listening to an mp3 and browsing the web over Wi-Fi was no problem and every game I threw at it ran very smoothly. Benchmark v3.0 rates the performance at 515%.

Dual Wireless
The Palm TX has both Bluetooth v1.1 and a WiFi (802.11b) wireless radio's built in. The TX is one of the most affordable PDA's on the market with integrated dual wireless. Both radios can be used concurrently.

Wi-Fi is controlled by a signal strength indicator on the status bar. Setting up a network connection is a fast and easy. There is a network scanner that shows all networks in range. If the network is open all you need to do is tap connect and wait 2 seconds to establish a link. The Wi-Fi signal range on the TX is quite good. It supports both WEP and WPA wireless security.

Bluetooth can keep you connected on the road via a compatible mobile phone if you can't find a nearby WiFi hotspot for internet access. With Bluetooth, you can dial out contacts from your address book, send and receive files and applications wirelessly, send sms and photos from your phone, link up to a Bluetooth GPS, hotsync wirelessly, and connect to the internet from a bluetooth mobile phone, computer or a bluetooth access point. Palm includes setup wizards that make connecting to a bluetooth phone and dial-up network connection very easy.

The Palm TX has 128 MB of nonvolatile flash memory, of which 100 MB is available. This is a pretty ample amount of internal space, given its price point. There is no usb drive mode, as seen on the T5 and LifeDrive. Because the unit uses nonvolatile flash memory, it will always preserve its data even when the battery completely runs out. TCPMP reports the dynamic heap as 4 megabytes.

The TX has a rear mounted mono speaker. The speaker is adequate for games and alarms. You can also play mp3's though the speaker but headphones (not included) will provide a much better experience. It has a standard 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack. Unfortunately, the T5 does not include vibration support or and LED for silent alarms and does not have a microphone. I was disappointed to discover the TX still uses the same old fashioned pilot 1000 alarm sounds for the calendar.

The TX has the now standard Palm multi-connector for hotsyncing and recharging. The TX hotsync runs at usb 1.1 speeds. Unfortunately, the TX does not ship with a cradle. Instead it comes with a USB cable and a separate AC charger, that can plug directly into the handheld or into the dual USB cable connector. The USB cable alone will not charge the handheld from the computer, you must attach the AC cord. The supplied USB cable has a button on the connector that can be used to initiate a hotsync.

The TX has a non-removable 1250 mAh lithium ion rechargeable battery. Palm states the TX will have a 5 day battery life with normal usage. Normal usage according to Palm would be approximately 40 minutes/day (20 mins of Wi-Fi, 20 mins of non wireless use such as PIMs, Photos and Docs). The Palm TX can play continuous mp3 audio for about six and a half hours. I was able to average around 5 and half hours of various use per charge while using wireless a couple times a day. If you plan on using the Wi-Fi often, you will definitely have a shorter life span.

Palm TX Handheld Palm TX Handheld and Z22


Size & Weight: 4.76 x 3.08 x .61 inches (120x78x15.5 mm); 5.25 oz (149g)
Processor: 312 MHz Intel PXA270
Operating System: Palm OS Garnet v5.4.9
Memory: 128 MB nonvolatile RAM; (100 MB user accessible)
Expansion: SD/SDIO/MMC slot
Screen: 320x480 pixel; 65k-color; transflective back-lit
Audio: stereo headset jack; rear speaker
Power: Built in Rechargable Li-Ion Poly (1250 mAh)
Connectivity: Multi-Connector, IrDA, Bluetooth (v1.1), Wi-Fi (802.11b)

Palm TX - 2005

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