One of the nice things about buying electrical equipment from Dick Smith is that they have a 14-day no questions asked refund policy. Today I took advantage of it to return a iPAC rx1950 that I bought four days ago. When asked why I was returning it, I said it was not as good as my Palm and I got my refund of $348.

I have been using Palm devices actively since 1997. So what motivated me to upgrade to the iPAC from a Palm Tungsten E. Well, here were the reasons:

  • Wi-Fi access.
  • Ability to play WMV videos.
  • Better screen.
  • Try something new as the Palm platform is pretty much dead as far as I can tell.

So why did I go back to what is a dead platform by my own words. Here is what is wrong with the iPAQ:

  • The battery life of the iPAC was horrendous. I played with it for about 30 minutes last night testing the Wi-Fi access and the battery dropped from fully charged to 75%. I then left the device connected to the USB cable overnight and it dropped to 50%.
  • Compounding the first point, recharging the device is a pain. It clearly does not trickle charge from the USB cable on my laptop meaning that I would need to plug it into the AC adapter. This is unacceptable as my laptop is in the lounge room and my SO would kill me if I had more cables lying around. Further, with my Palm I just leave it plugged in at home or at work and the trickle charge keeps it fully powered. I have not used to AC adaptor in two years.
  • The Wi-Fi access works, but as a form factor the iPAQ sucks (as would a Palm). Reading Gmail was achievable, but not an enjoyable process. Given the battery life, it was clearly not something I was going to do often.
  • AvantGo is something I use all the time on the Palm to read the paper on the train. To synchronise on the iPAQ you have to launch the AvantGo client on device and manually synchronise. On the Palm, AvantGo is synchronised when you synch the device. This extra step was going to drive me nuts over time.
  • I have used Eat Watch since 1999, so yes I have seven years of data. A port of this program does not exist for the iPAQ and I was not going to write one. Yes, I could use Excel to collect the data for input into a desktop clone of Eat Watch I wrote for my parents, but what a hassle.
  • Form factor. The Palm is nice and slim with an integrated cover that fits easily into my pocket.

So I am back to my Palm, which I can still use for:

  • Tracking weight in Eat Watch.
  • Reading the paper in AvantGo.
  • Listening to MP3s.
  • Synchronising with Outlook.

When the Palm dies I will need to consider whether I stick with the dead platform or go for the next generation iPAQ.