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Screen Test

Palm m505 vs m500

The bottom line

I did this test to demonstrate my concern that the m505 doesn't have enough contrast indoors to be used comfortably. This would not be a problem if the sidelight were stronger, as it is on the Compaq iPaq. There is a lower light level where the sidelight is effective, but in typical office lighting, little difference is discernable, such that you often don't even know whether the sidelight is on.

For me the ultimate comparison is how the m505 performs in low light when compared to a a monochrome screen like the m500. Here I show the m500, then the m505 with no sidelight. Then the m505 with a sidelight. (The m505 with a backlight actually looks better in the photo than it did when I took the photo. I think that's likely due to the longer exposure and the Epson 850z's tendency to enhance colors and contrast. In the future, I'll try to do it at 1/30th a second to see if that helps.)

Palm tuned the sidelight down so they'd get better battery life, "In tune with the rest of the V line." I agree that longer battery life is important, but it doesn't matter how long my PDA will last if it's a bad user experience the whole time.

(click on the image to enlarge)

Palm m500, main screen, inside, no backlight

Palm m505, main screen, inside, no sidelight

Palm m505, main screen, inside, sidelight on

-Shawn Barnett

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