I'm a complete PDA newbie and am looking for some info on their capabilities as well as help in selecting the right one for me. To give you a better idea of what I'm looking for, I've included some background, but I have a number of very basic questions that you can just skip down to and still be a great help to me.
I'm heading off to grad school in a few months and am looking for a basic, portable 'computer'. While touring schools, I was struck by the number of students using laptops (it was certainly done in ungergrad, but not as extensively). Many of the students felt their laptops were simply indispensable. For a variety of reasons (screen size, my recent inheritance of a top-of-the-line desktop, etc) a laptop simply would not replace a desktop for me. I feel I would only use a low-end laptop in most of the ways that I suspect a PDA can be used too.
I'm looking for a portable device for using the general internet use, email, viewing PDFs, and editing Office documents. I believe I'll mostly use the device (along with a portable keyboard) for creating/editing documents. Reviewing PDFs/PPTs and using the internet would be the next biggest uses. Being able to use it as a calendar and to-do list would be great as well (that task is currently handled by my phone), as is the idea of syncing that data with my computer and phone. GPS, movies, etc might be nice, but would only be using sparingly I believe. I'm pretty big into photography and would also like to use the PDA for storing and viewing pictures. The ability for the PDA to retain data with a dead battery is a must given my lifestyle.
Because of these requirements, it seems like I'd need a PDA with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, either a large storage capacity (hard disk?) or dual CF/SD slots, and persistent storage. After reading a number of reviews, including the excellent ones on this site, it appears that some of the best options are the Dell X51/X51v, HP hx2490/2490b/2495, and the Palm LifeDrive. Any other suggestions? Any tips for how one would be better suited for my needs?
Basic Questions: 1. Can programs like Graffiti only be used for alphanumeric symbols? I'll be taking a number of upper level math courses were the ability to simply write on the screen - like a tablet PC - to enter symbols, foreign characters, and equations would be wonderful. Can it be done? Are there any 'drawing' programs?
2. Can files easily be transferred around flash cards in two different slots?
3. Does an IR keyboard use a lot less power than I bluetooth keyboard?
4. Do older PDAs be upgraded to WM5 have all the functions (like persistent storage) of newer PDAs designed around the later OS?
5. Are hyperlinks in webpages opened using the stylus?
6. Can PDAs now view PDFs without any file conversion?
7. Can Powerpoint files be edited on any PDA? I've read that they can't be in WM5's office software. The LifeDrive article mentioned that Docs to Go 7 can only view PPTs. I see Docs to Go is now up to version 9 and seems to indicate that it can edit PPTs. True? Is Docs to Go 9 only for Palm OS and WM5 smartphones (not PDAs)? Is there other software to manipulate PPTs?
8. Several articles seem to rave about the LifeDrive's ability to be hooked up to a computer like a USB drive; how do other PDAs appear/operate when connected to a PC?
9. I know the HP hx2490 and the hx2495 are basically the same model. What is the difference of the hx2490b?
My apologies for such a long list, but like I said, I'm very new to this field. Indeed I'm sure I'll have many more questions as I learn more or buy a PDA should it fit all my needs, and I thank you in advance for all your help!