palmOne LifeDrive Mobile Manager PDA Review - Layout Review

With its brushed silver finish and curved edges the casing looks very modern and like it’s been hewn from a single piece of metal. The palmOne logo is set on a silver square at the centre of the back panel – which looks rather impressive. The four silver buttons and the centre control pad are larger than normal and keeping them the same colour as the surround adds to the look. The centre pad consists of a button used for making selections and is surrounded by a D-pad that moves left to right and up and down. Thanks to its generous size this can be used to operate the device one handed. The rocker can be used to scroll though options or act as a volume control, but the direction this works in depends on the orientation of the display. A button on the left hand side switches the display from portrait to landscape mode on the fly and this pleasingly works speedily and flawlessly ever time.

Above this button the left hand side are the built-in microphone and the voice memo button. Hold this down and it will record. You can also set the alarm from here by clicking at the top option. The default sound isn’t loud enough but the others certainly are. The speaker is located at the rear and the volume level is ok but could be louder. Sound quality over headphones is decent but not up to the best audio players.

At the top of the device is a light that glows when charging and flashes during disc access. Behind this is the rather unusual power switch. Instead of a button you flick it right to turn on and left to put the device in the hold position so that it doesn’t turn on accidentally in your bag or in the supplied case. It works but it’s a little awkward to turn on the device and I can’t see any advantage over a separate power and hold switches. Behind this is an SDIO compatible SD card slot – this means that you can add even more storage to the device – and 2GB cards are now widely available. To the right is the slot for the stylus. This is silver to maintain the look and has a top that can be shortened. This is probably just to take up less space so the hole doesn’t have to be as deep but this also makes it fun to play with.

It seems then the palmOne ran out of space as the headphone socket is at the bottom which is quite odd really. The supplied case has a opening for this at the bottom so you can play music and keep it in the case. The reset button is also there and the power and sync cable connector are also at the base.

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