palmOne introduces two new colour-screen PDAs

If you're looking for a slim and stylish PDA at a reasonable price, palmOne may have a couple of answers.

As for the Zire 72 (now top of the Zire range) a number of changes have been implemented with regards to its brethren, the Zire 71. First up, a 312MHz ARM-based processor is a significant jump from the 71’s 144MHz.

Secondly, an improved 1.2 MegaPixel integrated digital camera is mounted on the rear of the device. This offers a resolution of 1,280 x 960 pixels in comparison to the 71’s 640 x 480, along with a 2x digital zoom and 320 x 240 video capture. When used in conjunction with PalmOne’s new multimedia suite the camera allows for framing, viewing, and recording of images and video. A voice recorder also adds to the Zire 72’s functionality.

The slider mechanism has been dropped too, with the speaker and mic now fully integrated into the chassis. Like the Zire 31, a five-way navigation pad makes an appearance, but an extra two buttons are included for activating the camera and music player.

As for the camera’s picture quality, I can’t really comment because at the time I couldn’t view the results on a full-sized monitor. Nevertheless, first impressions of images viewed on the 320 x 320 display, as well as the refresh rate and playback of a CGI movie were certainly good. However, with 32MB of memory onboard, of which only 24MB is free for storage, it won’t be long before you turn to the expansion slot.

The Zire 72 is a smidgen bigger than the Zire 31 and 71, measuring 116 x 75 x 17mm, but that’s largely due to the camera and the fact that it now packs in Bluetooth functionality. Completing the package is a new communication suite for sending messages and web browsing via your Bluetooth phone, and a vibrantly-blue ‘soft touch’ rubberised paint job. Expect retail prices around £229 inc VAT.

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