You know theVooner just couldn’t resist it. New PDAs everywhere and I hadn’t bought a new one yet. The Sony CLIE’s are spectacular and I had always wanted one. Just look at them. I’ve been looking at it for over 3 months now since the introduction of the present form. By sheer luck, I did the right thing as the N760c replaced the N710c rather quickly.
I have had a very strange trend in terms of PDAs. I have switched back and forth between Windows CE and Palm OS. I’m obviously keeping on the same trend because I did it again.
I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about all of the functions because most of you are probably well aware of the CLIE and PDAs in general. If you want the full specs, check here. I’ll just run through some of my thoughts.
I was lured to the CLIE by its looks. The iPaq is cool, but I had two big complaints about it: 1) it didn’t come with a built-in expansion/memory slot, and 2) with the case on, it was too big. The CLIE looked like the best of both worlds: I already owned 7 memory sticks which I could use, and it came with these cool screen covers (and there were many more covers and lots of other cool ‘Sony’ accessories to choose from).
I was pretty much sold when they came out, and when they came up with this “updated” model, I knew it was only a matter of time till I got it.
What can I say about its form — the CLIE looks great. The silver, metallic shell looked great with the iPaq and looks even better on the CLIE. The entire PDA has a very nice silver, metallic feel — very solid like the iPaq. The pictures speak for themselves.
I must say again, I really like the design of the protective cover. The flip design is definitely one of the best that I have seen for a PDA. The only problem is of course that the cover blocks the pen slot so I have to keep remembering to take out the pen first before I flip the cover.
While I’m on the subject of the pen, I do have two small concerns — if any one from Sony is reading, please try to fix this. First, after using the CLIE for over a month, the pen has become “loose” easily sliding in and out of the slot. I know I’m going to lose the pen soon. But I guess that may be why Sony sells extra pens. The other slight problem is with the Memory Stick slot right next to the pen slot. On one occasion, I placed the CLIE in my bag and when I took it out again, the MS was gone. I searched my bag and luckily found the MS and I guess somehow, it ‘ejected’ from the slot because of movement within my bag (the MS goes into the slot by pushing down on the MS and vice versa when you want to take it out). Just a bit dangerous to me – they should have made a ‘lock’ slide or something to keep it in the MS slot.
The 760C is, to me, very much a standard Palm PDA. The functions are all there and are very much the same as when I first used it. EXCEPT it’s all in color now (this is my first color Palm OS).
But that’s about where the nice things stop. By now everyone should be aware what functions you get with a PDA. It’s those “functions” that I didn’t get that really annoyed me about the 760C. The Palm OS feels very much like the Palm OS of the past. At least the Windows CE changed quite a bit. Yeah, the basic functions are still really good on the Palm OS, and the fact that the response time is nearly instantaneous is a big swing factor, but why didn’t they keep going with the functions, i.e. add on more?
For example, I got really used to being able to download Word and Excel files to my PDA, a function that I took for granted. When I got the 760C, I didn’t realize that I would have to go out and buy more software to get Excel and Word to work! That on top of the US$500 I already spent. I don’t know — it’s just sort of frustrating. I just feel it should have all been included.
Then there’s the Sony MP3 music system. What a nightmare! First of all, you get an included memory stick with the 760C. Sony allows you to choose between its own music recorder (done in ATRAC3) or Real Player where you can record it all in MP3 files. I already have a bunch of ATRAC3 left over from my old Music Clip days and so I thought I would install that. HA!
Sony completely fools you. If you want to use ATRAC3 files, you have to buy the WHITE memory stick, not the purple one that is provided. The white memory stick has copyright protection built-in. Not only do I have no intention of buying another different memory stick when I already have 7 other purple memory sticks, but the white memory sticks cost more than the purple ones.
So I had to install Real Player and then either re-record everything I had on ATRAC3 or convert them into MP3 files. That is such a pain. Ok, this wasn’t that different from the Windows CE where I re-recorded everything to Windows Media. But to do it just because of the stupid memory stick. It just annoys me.
Lastly, to the one major reason that I don’t like the Sony CLIE 760C: strangely enough, it’s the screen. Yes, I realize that the Palm 4.1 OS is supposed to enhance the color and thus, the images on the screen. Actually the images are really sharp and clear. My big problem is that the screen is now so small. Compared to the iPaq, the 760C feels like it’s 30% smaller. Why? I didn’t realize this till later, but it’s because of the writing pad area. It’s set in the Palm systems whereas it’s a “floating” area for the iPaq (sort of like a pop-up menu). That means that you can get a full screen image on the iPaq whereas you’re stuck with this on the 760C. To put it in perspective: remember when you upgraded from a 14” monitor to a 17” monitor. After that, you just couldn’t go back to the smaller screen. That’s kind of how I feel now. What’s a gadget guy to do?
After all that is said and done, the 760C is still pretty cool. If you want or have to have the Palm OS, there probably isn’t a better one out there, even now. Although, the new CLIE 600C/615C is very cool because it doubles as a remote control, I still have very mixed feelings about the Palm OS. Yeah, it’s fast, simple and easy to use, but it just didn’t change that much from before and Windows CE has become dramatically better. I’d say the Sony CLIE 760C is a WASTE OF TIME and in hindsight, I should have bought the iPaq 3835 even though I would have had to buy SD memory cards. Anyone want to buy a slightly used CLIE?