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zire 72 is an immensely sweet machine : an informal review

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Anonymous
May 5, 2004 4:18:11 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

BACKGROUND: I couldn't really resist the temptation to get the Zire 72
once it became available. Makes sense, as I've only switched to the
PPC two months ago after using palm for years. My last palm was a Zire
71, which I had put on eBay in anticipation of getting the Zire 72
once I heard the rumors. In fact, if you want the immediate gist of
this very informal review; it's an immensely sweet machine! Go get
one. I may even put my Ipaq on eBay if I need the money.

CAMERA: The camera is wonderful; much better than the Zire 71's. I
have set up an online album on webshots so you can see. It's not
perfect, but I feel it's more than good enough for a PDA. Brown can
look a little purple for some reason (it was a cloudy day), and
sometimes colors around the corners look a little faded in a white
haze (no always though). Depending on light conditions, some indoor
pictures can look a little grainy. But overall, I'm quite impressed.
With a 512mb card, I can take ~1800 pictures at the highest
resolution, which is 1280 x 960. Without a card I think you can take
85 such pictures if you have nothing else in internal memory (you can
take pictures at lower resolutions). There is no flash but if you
change the light settings from normal to low light it generally tends
to compensate for that. You can see examples of those pics hereā€¦

http://community.webshots.com/user/metalpretzels

VIDEO: The video is absolutely great. The best solid state video I had
seen before this was the Logitech pocket video 550. It took ASF video
at 400kbps 320x240 resolution and a 512mb card lasted for just over 2
and a half hours. The palm takes ASF 320x240 249kbps and a 512mb lasts
just under 7 hours (yup! 6 hours and something) if its estimates are
to be believed (you can take video at lower resolutions). I have not
shot as much video and I suspect the battery would only last half as
much as that but that's what the indicator says. The quality of the
video is more than acceptable. Again, brown looks a little purple and
there's some hazy fade around the corners but it's still quite
impressive for a little piece of machinery. The audio is crystal
clear.

VOICE MEMOS: Voice memos are easy to use. Just click the button. The
audio is very nice. It's very handy. When I had the Zire 71 this was
the one function I missed the most; to be able to just click a button
when I had a thought in bed without opening my eyes and taking out the
stylus and all that. It's easy, just click a button, talk after the
beep, let go of the button when you're done and that's basically it.

SPEAKER: The speaker is very loud. I love it. It's louder than the
Zire 71, and louder than most other handhelds. I highly value loud
alarms as I had a Clie sj-30 in the past which had such a mousy
speaker, and I intensely disliked it for that. I give this Zire 72 my
approval for alarm loudness. You're *unlikely* to *not* hear an alarm
in a noisy environment.

The speaker, the camera and the microphone are encased in some
aluminum mesh. It looks fantastic. It bulges out fittingly from the
top of the handheld. The camera's tiny spherical lens is covered with
some plastic that is sort of deeply recessed a couple of millimeters
into the mesh. I have no idea how shock resistant it is, but I guess
handhelds are delicate items anyway, and if you're going to subject it
to injurious impact you might as well worry more about the front
display/screen.

SCREEN: Now the 320x320 display; it's gorgeous. It looks just like the
one on the Zire 71, I can't tell much difference, except that it looks
really pretty. I wish palm shipped screen protectors as standard with
handhelds; I wouldn't mind paying extra for them considering how
useful they are.


SOFTWARE: In terms of software, the OS looks very familiar. It's a
palmOS 5.2.8, which is reassuring if you want to install graffiti 1
library, and other applications you're used to. One great improvement
is that when you look at applications that you can delete, you don't
see any of those that come by default with the handheld, but only
those you've installed; beautifully uncluttered.

Bluetooth is just great and so easy to set up and use, Palm gets a
usual award there for intuitive usability and ease of use. I see some
other applications I haven't yet used, such as Dialer, Messages and
Web Pro. Palm also ships a free copy of Documents To Go standard
edition on the CD. In addition, you can either hotsync with Palm
Desktop or with MS Outlook.

There is also RealOne player for MP3s, but that's not very exciting.
Makes me wonder though what the deal is now with the RealOne/PalmOne
naming thing. Somewhat reminds me of "the number bands" (sum 41,
blink182) or "the THE bands" (the hives, the vines) fads.

Forget about getting Kinoma and Mmplayer, the media application that
palm ships is a killer, and I feel those guys probably resent palm for
it now. It seems to mainly play ASF files, but who cares, as in my
experience ASF had the best performance/compression. Only downside is
that you're somewhat limited in terms of what applications you can use
on the desktop, as ASF is a Microsoft format that's heavily patented
and protected. Windows media player will play it, and windows movie
maker to make it, no problem there. You may have to do some work if
you want to convert it to some other format, but I don't see a good
reason to do that, as re-encoding invariably leads to some loss of
quality (It's still possible though if you must; just ask).




FORM: The 72 is a big improvement over the 71. I still recall owning
the Zire 71 as I've only sold it less than a couple of months ago at
the smell of the new machines arriving. The Zire 72 feels much smaller
and lighter, has a better grip thanks to the rubberized sides and just
fits in the hand so sweetly. It's really such a tiny machine, I could
say it *feels* like possibly the smallest palm I've ever owned (never
had the classic Zire).

The SLIDER is gone, which is great, I guess. It no longer provides
protection for the camera, but it makes using the palm much easier and
it seems less vulnerable to damage; I always worried about that
slider. I suspect it also makes it smaller, as the 72 is noticeably
thinner than the 71.

There is no UNIVERSAL CONNECTOR (shock, horror!). I won't be missing
it much, as I never liked cradles, but I guess others may and
especially those who have accessories they got used to over the years.
If you must use a portable keyboard then perhaps you may want to
consider those that use the IR beaming function. There are a few on
the market. There is a USB and a power port instead of the UC, and I
wonder if we're going to see battery extenders anytime soon that would
use the power port on the Zire 72.

BUTTONS, etc: The power button is a little hard to press, but I guess
the plus of that is that it won't be pressed accidentally often.
Anyhow, I never really used that, just press any of the buttons and
it'll switch on the palm. Similar situation with the SD slot, a little
harder to eject than on older models, but same plus side again. The
headphone jack is the regular standard one you use for your walkman.
I'm not sure where the IR port is, it should be on top and it used to
be quite distinctive on previous palms, I guess it must be there in
that centimeter of empty space.

The navigational D-pad is very responsive. It is the one you click
when you take pictures. To activate the camera, you click one of the
four other buttons. They are from left to right, top to bottom,
calendar, contacts, camera and music.


BATTERY: I can't really comment much on battery life. Some formal
reviewers on the web have done battery tests and a few have been
dissatisfied with the longevity of it, ranging from 3 to 5 hours of
heavy use. They seem to agree that it lasts less than the Zire 71,
which I guess is a concern especially so that with the Zire 71 you can
use battery extenders that connected through the UC. Not so with this
palm and I wonder if we'll see power accessories anytime soon. Another
thing that I'm not very happy about is how this battery is not user
replaceable. I have seen user replaceable batteries on the Ipaq and
palm should really use these as standard in all its palms. If you plan
to keep your palm forever this may be a problem, but if you're like me
and upgrade each cycle at a modest price thanks to eBay (sell and
buy), then it shouldn't be a main worry as I've never had to change
the battery.



P.S. if you have any questions feel free to ask, i can still add to
this pesudo-review.
Anonymous
May 6, 2004 12:45:37 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

I've got a few "gripes" with the 72. Before I list those, let me say that
I'm VERY pleased with it and would buy it again in a heartbeat -- no
regrets.

..No USB charging. This forces me to take either a "travel charger" (which
I'd need to buy) or the original charger with me on trips rather than just
use my laptop.

..A crash that causes a reset will toss your "background" settings back to
default (white background, no pic)

..Camera picture quality -- while quite better than any other palm I've seen
still does a poor job dealing with lighting.

..No ability to "schedule" hotsyncs. With built in bluetooth, this feature
should have been added. There are 3rd party solutions, however.

..Battery -- as you say, it should be user-replacable. I tend to use my
stuff until it falls aparts/breaks. I used a PalmPilot Pro (with Pager
Card) as my palm/pager until 2002 when it finally 'gave up the ghost'. I'll
not be looking forward to RMAing it to palm to change the battery.

..No 802.11 option. If an 802.11 version of the P72 was available, I would
have grabbed that. I can wait until an SDIO card becomes available (yeah...
right).

..No 'contrast' setting. The 'brightness' slider does very little.

..No equalizer on RealOne.
Anonymous
May 6, 2004 3:10:42 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

Mike Henley wrote:

> BACKGROUND: I couldn't really resist the temptation to get the Zire 72
> once it became available.

Me too. I clicked "Buy now" first thing in the morning the day it was
available. I mean morning in Greece, Europe!

> SCREEN: Now the 320x320 display; it's gorgeous. It looks just like the
> one on the Zire 71, I can't tell much difference, except that it looks
> really pretty. I wish palm shipped screen protectors as standard with
> handhelds; I wouldn't mind paying extra for them considering how
> useful they are.

I used Z71's protector. I only cut it 1.5 mm wider. Although the LCD
display is exactly the same size with Z71, the screen covering it is a
little bit wider.

>
> There is also RealOne player for MP3s, but that's not very exciting.
> Makes me wonder though what the deal is now with the RealOne/PalmOne
> naming thing. Somewhat reminds me of "the number bands" (sum 41,
> blink182) or "the THE bands" (the hives, the vines) fads.

The good news is that RealOne Player is now in ROM, or I must say Flash
EPROM (my Z72 says it has a flash ROM).

> There is no UNIVERSAL CONNECTOR (shock, horror!). I won't be missing
> it much, as I never liked cradles, but I guess others may and
> especially those who have accessories they got used to over the years.
> If you must use a portable keyboard then perhaps you may want to
> consider those that use the IR beaming function. There are a few on
> the market. There is a USB and a power port instead of the UC, and I
> wonder if we're going to see battery extenders anytime soon that would
> use the power port on the Zire 72.

It's good for reading in bed without draining the battery, which I found
lasts less than one of Z71.

>
> BUTTONS, etc: The power button is a little hard to press, but I guess
> the plus of that is that it won't be pressed accidentally often.
> Anyhow, I never really used that, just press any of the buttons and
> it'll switch on the palm. Similar situation with the SD slot, a little
> harder to eject than on older models, but same plus side again. The
> headphone jack is the regular standard one you use for your walkman.
> I'm not sure where the IR port is, it should be on top and it used to
> be quite distinctive on previous palms, I guess it must be there in
> that centimeter of empty space.

Press the D-Pad on the center. The clock appears. The press it again
before the Palm switches off. Here's you are with your launcher !

>
> The navigational D-pad is very responsive. It is the one you click
> when you take pictures. To activate the camera, you click one of the
> four other buttons. They are from left to right, top to bottom,
> calendar, contacts, camera and music.

The thing I like in the new D-Pad it's when I read a document I can push
all the buttons with one hand without use the other to stabilize the
device horizontally, an action that I used to do with Z71's joystick.


> BATTERY: I can't really comment much on battery life. Some formal
> reviewers on the web have done battery tests and a few have been
> dissatisfied with the longevity of it, ranging from 3 to 5 hours of
> heavy use. They seem to agree that it lasts less than the Zire 71,
> which I guess is a concern especially so that with the Zire 71 you can
> use battery extenders that connected through the UC. Not so with this
> palm and I wonder if we'll see power accessories anytime soon. Another
> thing that I'm not very happy about is how this battery is not user
> replaceable. I have seen user replaceable batteries on the Ipaq and
> palm should really use these as standard in all its palms. If you plan
> to keep your palm forever this may be a problem, but if you're like me
> and upgrade each cycle at a modest price thanks to eBay (sell and
> buy), then it shouldn't be a main worry as I've never had to change
> the battery.

This is true. But I agree, maybe I too will upgrade long before battery
betray me.
Anonymous
May 6, 2004 6:29:22 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

Where is the market research out there (and it must be there) that tells the
pda and phone makers that we need a camera with every device. I personally
would like much more memory (128Mgs), but maybe I am one of the few that
uses it for business.
Anonymous
May 6, 2004 10:15:12 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

RealPlayer for PalmOS is now at version 1.5 You'll need this latest version if
you want to play RealAudio 10 AAC files or songs purchased from the RealPlayer
Music Store.
http://www.realnetworks.com/industries/mobile/operators...

One other thing I noticed about the 72 is that you can now change categories in
the launcher by moving left and right on the nav button. This was first
introduced on the T|E. Unfortunately you can't do this on the 71. :-(

--
"I'm not a cool person in real life, but I play one on the Internet"
Galley
Anonymous
May 6, 2004 7:05:28 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

In article <6qhmc.7782$%Q2.548@newssvr23.news.prodigy.com>,
grilla@swbell.net says...
> Where is the market research out there (and it must be there) that tells the
> pda and phone makers that we need a camera with every device. I personally
> would like much more memory (128Mgs), but maybe I am one of the few that
> uses it for business.

Hear, hear!

My ideal would be the Z31 with 320x320 or Z72 without the camera.
Not sure I'm sold on the usefullness of Bluetooth.
Anonymous
May 7, 2004 7:26:07 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

Mike Henley wrote:

> VOICE MEMOS: Voice memos are easy to use. Just click the button. The
> audio is very nice. It's very handy. When I had the Zire 71 this was
> the one function I missed the most; to be able to just click a button
> when I had a thought in bed without opening my eyes and taking out the
> stylus and all that. It's easy, just click a button, talk after the
> beep, let go of the button when you're done and that's basically it.

In fact I hava some trouble with voice memos. The starting and ending
point of the recording doesn't seem to be exactly synchronized with the
time I hear the beeps. And sometimes during the playback I discover
corrupted sound.

Anyone else noticed that?
Anonymous
May 7, 2004 8:39:10 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

notme wrote:
>
> Not sure I'm sold on the usefullness of Bluetooth.

I have found Bluetooth to be immeasurably useful. Here are two examples:

Wearing a bluetooth wireless earpiece, I can bring up a contact on my
Palm, tap to call them, and then have a conversation without touching
the Palm again or ever taking my phone out of my pocket.

While in Brno (Czech Republic), I needed a hotel, but could not figure
out how to use the phone, and I was stuck in an industrial area away
from anyone who spoke English. Using my Palm and my phone, I wasable to
go on the web, find a hotel, and make reservations via email for a room
for the week. I was also able to bring up a map so I could show a taxi
where I needed to go, and while I was waiting I arranged a tour of Kutna
Hora (*very* cool) for the following weekend. All online.

Palm + GPRS phone (T-Mobile) + Bluetooth has saved my bacon a number of
times.

bblackmoor
2004-05-07
Anonymous
May 8, 2004 6:50:57 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

mnhenley@msn.com (Mike Henley) crawled to the nearest keyboard and
summoned the courage to write:

>VOICE MEMOS: Voice memos are easy to use. Just click the button. The
>audio is very nice. It's very handy. When I had the Zire 71 this was
>the one function I missed the most; to be able to just click a button
>when I had a thought in bed without opening my eyes and taking out the
>stylus and all that. It's easy, just click a button, talk after the
>beep, let go of the button when you're done and that's basically it.

Is this only for short memos or is the recording capacity large enough
(and the microphone sensitive enough) to record lectures? I have a
RipFlash Pro for recording lectures, which has good sound and can
record up to about 8 hours, but its notoriously bad software is a
pain. Also it would be good not to have to carry an extra device in
my briefcase.


--
the hums do not intrude
May 8, 2004 7:17:48 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

On Sat, 08 May 2004 02:50:57 GMT, Charles Hawtrey wrote:

> Is this only for short memos or is the recording capacity large enough
> (and the microphone sensitive enough) to record lectures? I have a
> RipFlash Pro for recording lectures, which has good sound and can
> record up to about 8 hours, but its notoriously bad software is a
> pain. Also it would be good not to have to carry an extra device in
> my briefcase.

Minidisc recorders (Palm sized or smaller) can record at much
higher quality, approaching that of DAT recorders, which are much
more expensive. Some models have mic. and/or line inputs, allowing
the use of better directional mikes (and stereo makes it much easier
to focus on the lecturer, while ignoring background noise). Current
models are limited to about 5 hours per $2 disc, but within a month
or two new HiMD models should be introduced that not only increase
recording times (in the 35 -> 45 hour range per disc) but also allow
the discs to hold/transfer up to 1GB of computer files, albeit on
more expensive $7 discs. If interested, see alt.audio.minidisc or
go to http://minidisc.org/
May 8, 2004 4:23:14 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

On Sat, 08 May 2004 02:50:57 GMT, chawtrey@hotpop.com (Charles
Hawtrey) waived the right to be silent and professed:

>mnhenley@msn.com (Mike Henley) crawled to the nearest keyboard and
>summoned the courage to write:
>
>>VOICE MEMOS: Voice memos are easy to use. Just click the button. The
>>audio is very nice. It's very handy. When I had the Zire 71 this was
>>the one function I missed the most; to be able to just click a button
>>when I had a thought in bed without opening my eyes and taking out the
>>stylus and all that. It's easy, just click a button, talk after the
>>beep, let go of the button when you're done and that's basically it.
>
>Is this only for short memos or is the recording capacity large enough
>(and the microphone sensitive enough) to record lectures? I have a
>RipFlash Pro for recording lectures, which has good sound and can
>record up to about 8 hours, but its notoriously bad software is a
>pain. Also it would be good not to have to carry an extra device in
>my briefcase.

On my TT, I can set voice memo to record to expansion card. With close
to 35MB free, it reports capacity for 147 minutes of recording. That's
about 4 minutes per meg.

--
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
Anonymous
May 9, 2004 12:07:16 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

"Charles Hawtrey" <chawtrey@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:409e4a07.13184980@news.individual.net...

> Is this only for short memos or is the recording capacity large enough
> (and the microphone sensitive enough) to record lectures? I have a
> RipFlash Pro for recording lectures, which has good sound and can
> record up to about 8 hours, but its notoriously bad software is a
> pain. Also it would be good not to have to carry an extra device in
> my briefcase.

It will record any length up to filling up free memory. Far beyond the
battery duration of 4-6 hours of continued use.

The problem would be the CLARITY of distant speakers. It would probably be
a poor choice for recording a LECTURE. It is handy for quick personal memos
or info like a phone number, address or SOMETHING until you can enter the
text.

My personal gripe is that the "memo" button is completely covered/blocked by
the Zire72 hardcase by palmOne. I'm TEMPTED to 'hack' the case to allow
access to the button.

-jhon
Anonymous
May 10, 2004 12:22:48 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot (More info?)

On 9-May-2004, "John Ryan" <jrusenet@removethis.greenquark.com.removethistoo>
Flushed this thought from his brain to the screen::

> My personal gripe is that the "memo" button is completely covered/blocked by
> the Zire72 hardcase by palmOne. I'm TEMPTED to 'hack' the case to allow
> access to the button.
>
> -jhon

I'm not very happy with the Z72 hard case either... bought it from the Palm
website, and expected it to have better protection of both ends. I work in an
inhospitable environment sometimes and need better dust protection.
The fact that the dang hinge wasn't designed like the m515 hard case is
maddening also! One extra pin and the thing could've folded in back of the
unit making it a one-hand operation. Difficult at best with the present
design.

WyreNut

--
A: Because it reverses the natural flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top-posting considered inappropriate?
!