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Purchasing a PDA

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There's more to computing than just a PC. If you've ever wanted to bring your data and information with you, most people use a notebook computer for this. Bringing your most important information with you at all times is becoming easier than ever, thanks to handheld PCs.

This How-To Article helps you decide if you need a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), and which PDA you should buy.

Purchasing a PDA

The two main types of PDAs

The two major types of PDAs are the Palm OS Handhelds, and Microsoft's Pocket PC. Each company's handheld is aimed at a different market, and because of this, each handheld has many different features.


If you're looking for simplicity, then the Palm handheld should be your first choice.

Palm's PDA is designed for people who are looking for an easy way to carry their appointments, addresses, and to-do lists around with them. Don't expect much from current Palm models for multimedia, though, as they are much more geared at being an organizer than anything else. There are, however, thousands of software products available for the Palm. Anything from mobile Internet software to interface enhancements can be found for a Palm.

We highly recommend the Palm for anyone who is looking for an easy and simple way to manage their appointments, addresses, and to-do lists.

Recommended Palm Devices

Palm Vx - affordable, sleek, and professional

Palm m105 - one of the most affordable Palm devices available. Low on price, not on features.

Microsoft Pocket PC

The main difference between the Palm and the Pocket PC is multimedia. While the Palm is geared at making it simple for organizing your appointments, addresses, and to-do lists, the Pocket PC is designed to be almost a replacement for your notebook computer. While it is still capable of managing your appointments, addresses, and to-do lists, the Pocket PC is trying to fit an entire computer's features into the palm of your hand.

Pocket PCs offer rich multimedia features. Pocket PC's Windows Media Player lets you play MP3 files, video files, and more.

The Pocket PC is full-featured, but overall we don't recommend it. It's really too much for a mobile computing device. However, if you do choose the Pocket PC, here's our recommended products:

Recommended Pocket PC Devices

Compaq iPAQ 3635 Color Pocket PC

Hewlett Packard Jornada 548 Color Pocket PC


In conclusion, if you're looking for a simple solution for managing your appointments, addresses, and to-do lists, go with a Palm device. Palms also offer the broadest selection of software that you can add-on to your Palm.

If you want more of a mobile multimedia device, with less software available than a Palm, then the Pocket PC should be your choice. It is, however, more difficult to manage your appointments, addresses, and to-do lists with the Pocket PC than it is with a Palm.

PDAs are powerful, important computing products which will soon be devices that everyone uses on a regular basis. No longer will you be tied to a computer, or need to carry around a notebook computer around with you. Instead, all the information you need when you're on the go will be in the palm of your hand.

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