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Palm i705 Wireless Handheld

The latest wireless Palm provides anytime/anywhere access to e-mail, the Internet, and Instant Messaging.

The focus on the wireless operation of this handheld can be seen without even turning the unit on. The hardware buttons now allow direct, instant-on access to the Calendar, Address Book, MyPalm web browser, and the MultiMail e-mail application. The silk-screen buttons also provide one customizable button where the calculator button once appeared. The screen is black & white, but considering the poor reviews of the Palm 505 screen, it is just as well. This highly visible screen will require less usage of the backlight and preserve battery power.

The wireless radio of the i705 can be turned on or off, or scheduled to be on during specific daily hours. There is no antenna to flip up; it's built in. The LED at the top of the unit slowly blinks green when the radio is on and connected to the Palm network. Red indicates a weak or no signal. The LED is also used for alarm and reminder functions, along with a sound or silent vibrate mode.

All the classic operation of the Palm operating system remain, but now instead of just being able to "beam" them to other Palm users, you can "send" anyone a memo, appointment, or contact via e-mail.

You don't get access to just one e-mail account. With MultiMail, you can configure up to 10 e-mail accounts from POP, IMAP, and corporate accounts. If you have an AOL account, you can use the available mail reader and AOL Instant Messaging. You can have multiple chats happening simultaneously, and to show off just how connected you are, one of the "I'm away" options in AIM is "Driving".

The i705 is intended to compete directly with Blackberry devices for their access to corporate e-mail systems. There is even a keyboard accessory that snaps on to the Palm so you can peck away using your thumbs, but if you already use Palm's Graffiti writing method you won't need one.

The included web browser features a customizable portal called "MyPalm" which can provide local information from where ever you are. (it knows!). Other sites optimized for the Palm include financial for stock and trading information, news, entertainment, shopping, travel and other information. No matter where you are, you can look up a phone number in the Yellow Pages, check the status of your flight, and map directions to your hotel. No booting up the computer and no dialing, this baby is always on. You can access any URL, but not all sites are configured to be Palm friendly.

Wireless coverage appears excellent. It does require a monthly access fee that ranges between $20 and $35 depending on the plan. I have used it successfully in New York City, New Jersey, Chicago, Milwaukee, and all places in-between, in cars, trains, and low-flying aircraft. There are some areas that won't work, but like a cell phone, a signal is not far away. The battery life is also impressive. Like some of the other high-end Palms, rechargeable batteries are used and charged in the included USB cradle. I have had the radio on for 3 days straight without recharging. More strategic radio management would yield better results.

Like all other Palms, the included case/flip-top solution is lacking. It is a flimsy face cover that keeps the overall footprint down, but does little to protect the unit confidently. Accessory upgrades are definitely a lucrative market.

Having owned and operated about 6 different Palm models, I don't know how I ever survived without wireless connectivity. If you need to be always connected and always on, this Palm is for you.

Palm i705
Buy it at Amazon.com

Model i705
List Price: $449.99

Review by
Greg Renza