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Screen Test

Palm m505 vs Sony CLIE PEG-N710C

Final Comparison

The new color Sony CLIE finally came in, and it is stunning compared to the m505. In all low-light circumstances, it outshines the competition, its pixels appearing much closer to white, instead of metallic blue. In the direct sun, the m505 often looks a little more contrasty.

The three shots below show the low light situation quite well. In the window light, facing straight up, it's clear that the m505's backlight is ineffective compared to the Sony (yes, they are both on). In the open doorway, trying to draw in as much light as possible, the Sony's backlight is still working, where the m505 is only reflecting. And of course in the darkest shot, indoors with lamplight, the Sony appears blown out compared to the m505; this is not a problem, it just shows how much brighter the Sony is. Quite a difference. I'm still hopeful that Palm can fix the situation with a software upgrade.

Both products light from the bottom, which I've previously called a sidelight. Sony calls it a "frontlight." Whatever you call it, Sony's is brighter.

Note: I've gotten a lot of questions about the form factor of the two devices, so I'll attempt to answer them here. As you can see in the pictures, the CLIE is not as wide as the m505, but it is a bit thicker, about 1/8 inch. It is plastic instead of aluminum, which makes it a bit warmer to the touch. It weighs .6 ounces more than the m505, which itself weighs .1 ounces more than the m500. According to my digital postal scale: CLIE, 5.7 oz; m505, 5.1 oz; m500, 5.0 oz; Visor Prism, 6.8 oz; Palm Vx, 4.5 oz.

If your application or use style requires the Palm V's thin profile, then the only readable option will be the m500, unless you think the m505 is just fine. As for me, I think the Sony fits in the hand better. Whereas the m505 is wide and thin, making contact with only the far end of the fingers and bulge beneath the thumb--basically only two points of contact, the Sony sinks more securely and comfortably into the hand with its narrower width and deep, tapered back. It makes contact with more of the palm. I like them both, but ergonmically speaking the CLIE is more comfortable. I'm always concerned the m500's and Vx's are going to slip out of my hand, while that's seldom a worry with the CLIEs. I think the addition of a mere .6 ounces and US$50 is worth a screen that is readable in more types of light. Also, the CLIE N710C will be available sometime in June.

One last note that may be relevant to some: the Sony's HotSync conduit is not compatible with syncing other Palm OS devices on the same computer. Only the monochrome CLIE will sync on the same machine. This is the only major drawback I've discovered with the Sony, and I thought I should mention it here. Most users won't care about this, but it is a problem for me with my multiple devices. Users hoping to hand down their old Palms to other household members could find this problematic.

And now to the screen shots:

(click on the image to enlarge)

Palm m505, Sony PEG-N710C next to window light, facing up

Sony PEG-N710C, Palm m505 in doorway with best reflection

Sony PEG-N710C, Palm m505 in very low light

-Shawn Barnett

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