Posted October 3, 2003, by Lisa Gade Editor
(Check out the TJ27,
introduced Feb. 2004 to replace the TJ25 and the TJ37 which
replaced the TJ35. They add a digital camera and more RAM).
Sony has become synonymous with high end Palm
OS devices thanks to their NX73V, NX80V, UX
series and other models. The mid-range SJ33 has done well,
but there really hasn't been much lately for consumers looking
for lower priced models offering strong performance and the latest
Enter the Clié TJ25 and TJ35, which have
high res 320 x 320 pixel color displays, a 200 MHz processor running
Palm OS 5.2.1.The TJ25 and the Clié TJ35, introduced in
October 2003, compete directly with Palm's new Tungsten
E. The TJ25 is targeted at business users who don't crave multimedia
and bells and whistles, but rather a highly portable and powerful
machine, and the TJ35 adds an MP3 player and more memory to the
basic TJ25 package.
Above: the Clié TJ25. The
TJ35 looks the same except for the headphone jack located on top
center next to the Memory Stick slot (see photo below).
The TJ25 and TJ35 look identical except for the headphone
jack located on the top edge of the TJ35. Both have an aluminum casing
that's attractive, light and strong. The TJs are very small, and competes
well with the Tungsten E (see comparison photos). They come with a detachable
black flip cover (neoprene-like material with a rigid insert on the TJ25
and what looks like black nylon on the TJ35). These covers snap onto
the left side of the unit, which works well for right handed users.
The combined power button/hold switch is located on
the lower right side, while the Memory Stick slot and IR port on top.
The TJ35's headphone jack is located between the IR port and the Memory
Stick slot. The four application buttons are interestingly designed:
the left pair are actually one piece rocker switches, as are the right
pair, which means you won't be able to do simultaneous button presses
in games. Sony has abandoned the popular side jog dial used in previous
Cliés, and instead they've put a combined jog dial and left/right
directional control on the front where a d-pad or up/down keys would
be located on other brands and models. This jog dial allows you to scroll
up and down, or move sideways, while pressing on the center functions
as an action button. I would prefer a standard 5 way directional pad
to this design.
Below: comparing the size of
the Clié TJ25 and the Palm Tungsten E. The TJ is on the
left in the top photo, and on the bottom in the lower photo.
Horsepower and Expandability
The TJ25 and TJ35, like Sony's other high end
Palm OS 5 models, have a 200 MHz processor. The TJ25 has 16 megs
of internal RAM, 11 of which are available to the user to store
programs and data. The TJ35 has 32 megs of RAM of which 23 are
available for your use. The rest of the RAM is set aside as program
memory (just like the RAM in your PC) so fairly large and complex
programs can run on the PDA. Some Sony value-added programs are
permanently stored in ROM, not in this RAM area.
The units feel fast, and run Kinoma videos and
demanding games well.
The TJ25 and TJ35 have a Memory Stick slot that
works with regular Memory Sticks and Memory Stick Pro media.
The units use the same connector as all recent
Cliés, so existing peripherals should work with the TJ (other
than cradles). The TJ models come with a USB sync cable and no
cradle. A TJ cradle is available separately if you prefer a cradle
over a cable.
The screen is a backlit TFT hi-res 320 x 320
pixel, 65,000 color TFT. Sony has some of the best PDA screens
in the industry, so I was surprised at how dim the display is on
the TJ25 and TJ35. Even on its brightest setting it's not particularly
bright. Colors are saturated and pleasing when viewing JPEGs, but
the screen is too dim to do justice to the good color and sharpness
of the display. The screen has a blue bias (like most Cliés),
and is evenly lit with no stray light coming from the edges of
Both models have a Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable
battery that is not user replaceable. Both exhibited very good
battery life— one benefit of a dim display is that it doesn't
use as much power as a very bright one. It should easily last a
few days on a charge using PIM and office apps. Gaming and videos
will shorten battery life, as with all PDAs.
Since this is a low end PDA by Sony standards,
it doesn't come with a huge software bundle. You'll get Palm Desktop
4.1for PCs, Intellisync Lite for syncing to Outlook, Clié Image
Viewer, Memory Stick Backup, Clié Launcher, Graffiti 2 handwriting
recognition, the usual Palm OS PIM apps and Clié Memo and
the free Palm Reader.
Since the TJ35 has an MP3 player, it comes with
the popular AeroPlayer (this is the first Clié that doesn't
use Sony's own MP3 player application). The TJ models use the Palm
OS sound APIs rather than custom Sony APIs, so audio software for
Palm brand PDAs should run on the TJs.
The TJ35 also adds Decuma handwriting recognition
which has appeared on other recent Cliés. It's an excellent
system that allows you to write naturally and even write an entire
sentence at a time. In addition, the TJ35 comes with Picsel Viewer,
a very capable application that allows you to view (but not edit)
MS Office documents, HTML files and PDFs.
What the Unit is Not
We normally don't have this kind of section,
but since Sony has become synonymous with multimedia and certain
other features, some folks might assume the TJ models have some
of the more common Clié features. It doesn't have an AV
remote or consumer IR, it doesn't have a camera, and it doesn't
come with a movie viewer app, image editor or paint program, though
you can install your own 3rd party applications.
Comparing the TJ25 and TJ35 to the Palm Tungsten
Had the TJ25 come out before the Tungsten
E, it might have seemed a better value than it does now.
The E has more memory, an MP3 player, a significantly better
screen and an excellent software bundle. The TJ does have a bit
faster processor, but most users won't notice the difference
in performance, and it does use the standard Sony connector for
peripherals, while the Tungsten E isn't compatible with Palm
universal connector accessories. The Clié TJ35, which
sells for $249 is the more direct competitor feature-for-feature
with the Tungsten E, though unlike the Tungsten E, it doesn't
include Documents To Go for editing rather than just viewing
MS Office documents. Sony is offering a $20
rebate unit Jan. 3, 2004 on the TJ25 when purchased from
any dealer, and a $30 rebate on the TJ35, which does help sweeten
Pro: They're powerful, fast Palm OS 5 devices
with a 200 MHz processor. They're attractive and one of the smallest
and lightest PDAs. You can use Sony T, SJ and NX series accessories,
including Sony's keyboard. If you can afford it, go with the TJ35
since it has more memory, Picsel Viewer, Decuma and an MP3 player.
Con: Disappointing that Sony's suite of their own fine in-house
apps aren't included with this unit, except Clié Viewer.
The screen isn't very bright on either model. Battery isn't user
List price: TJ25 $199, TJ35 $249
x 320 pixels, 65,000 colors backlit TFT.
MHz i.MXL processor (ARM family processor made by
Motorola). TJ25: 16 megs of built in RAM (11 megs
available to the user). 8 megs of ROM. TJ35: 32 megs
of RAM with 23 megs available to the user.
3/8 x 3 x 15/32 inches. 4.9 ounces.
/ Wireless: None
Rechargeable Lithium Ion Polymer. Not swappable.
in speaker for alarms.
OS 5.2.1 and the usual suite of Palm applications,
including Palm HotSync, Address Book, Date Book,
Clock, To Do List, Memo Pad, Calculator and Graffiti
2 handwriting recognition software. In addition,
you get Sony Software: Memory Stick Backup, Data
Import/ Export (for mounting Memory Sticks on PC
desktops), Palm Reader, and a lot of trial/demo software.
TJ35 adds AeroPlayer MP3 player for Clié,
Decuma handwriting recognition and Picsel Viewer
for viewing MS Office documents, HTML files and PDFs.
software: Palm Desktop 4.1 for PC (not Mac), Intellisync Lite
v. 4.0 for syncing to Outlook on the PC and Kickoo's
flip cover, USB sync cable, AC adapter/charger