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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Choosing a PDA

In a busy world where work, home, and recreation aren't always separate, having an assistant to track appointments and important dates, make the internet available, and allow users to access and complete their work wherever they may be is invaluable. To meet this need, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) is most often the best and most affordable answer.

For those who are first time PDA buyers, the options can be overwhelming. Although there are certainly a large number of features available, having a brief list of some of the primary characteristics to consider can make the decision making process much easier.

- Size

Which size works best varies by individual. The smaller the better for some while others prefer larger as they feel it is easier to handle and operate. To assure satisfaction with a PDA purchase it is wise to put hands on and use the device before buying. For those who take advantages of the savings that can be found in shopping online, a pre-purchase excursion to a brick and mortar store can give them the face-to-face time they need with a variety of devices.

- Data entry method

Keyboard entry is the old standby, touch screens are newer and generally use a stylus pen, and some have handwriting recognition. Again, if you haven't used a particular method of entry it is best to give it a trial run before making a decision to assure that using the PDA will become almost second nature. These devices are made to make life more simple or efficient not frustrating and slow.

- Get enough memory

32 MB of internal RAM is a recommended minimum and having the ability to expand memory is also suggested. Keep in mind that some software demands even more memory and therefore must also be taken into consideration. Use of Compact Flash and Secure Digital (SD) are the most common memory formats.

- Functionality

How will the PDA be used on a routine basis? Will the user make phone calls with it, access the internet, play games, use it to play MP3 music or games, use it as a camera or voice recorder, or work with spread sheets, MS office documents, etc.? PDAs can do all of these things and much more. Buyers also need to remember that with more demands for processing, more processing power is needed.

- Wireless connection

Is Bluetooth, infrared, or WiFI preferred? Of course, buyers also want to be sure their new PDA will connect to their computer so that work, calendars, and other information can be communicated among work or home PCs and the PDA. A disorganized assistant that can't communicate is of little value.

- Visibility

While many shoppers think to try out the key pad and controls, many fail to really look at the display. It is important to note the visibility of the screen; which is influenced by a number of things including screen size, resolution, and brightness. When possible it is best to view the PDA screen in various lighting conditions.

Certainly, a PDA can be a very useful and time saving tool. Determining which functions the individual user will need and putting hands on the device before buying can be the two most critical steps in assuring that a shopper makes a wise purchase.

The author, Christine Peppler invites readers to discover more information about any of a variety of home electronics products through information available on her website. Visitors to her online home electronics store can also shop for the products they want.

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