This is the first of the Palm range of mobile devices to enter the arena currently dominated by the XDA, top of the range IPAQ's and Blackberry.



The chunky Tungsten W has combined a mobile phone with a PDA. But the addition of the mobile communications, and depth of frame that has come with it, has been made full of with e-mail and WAP being brought into the package as well. The RRP is £499.99, placing it at the steeper end of the market, compared with the XDA and Blackberry. Add onto this the cost of the calls and or GPRS data transfer and the price tag is defiantly aimed more at the corporate than personal user.

Following doggedly in the footsteps of Sony Clié range, a minuscule Qwerty keyboard has been provided. Not only is the keyboard too small to be used by anyone, bar a pre-pubescent Edward Scissorhands, but to add insult, the graffiti area and functions have been removed, even though a nice weighty stylus is sleekly embedded in the right shoulder of the bodywork. Quick navigation come in the form of a 5-way paddle at the bottom centre of the device, the 5th way is the nipple in the centre allowing you to select objects and applications.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers an impressive 10 hours of talk time and the phone's features include SMS and unusually Triband GSM/GPRS. Triband means that the device is fully compatible with the US mobile networks, a feature that the Tungsten W competitor's generally lack, making it internationally versatile. Mobile Dialler software allows up to 5-way conference call, call logs and caller ID feature to operate as well as allowing easy access to the phone numbers stored in the devices synced address book. Unfortunately, unlike some of its competitors, the Tungsten W need a hands-free set to call and receive voice calls. This makes it a fiddle to easily use and removes any spontaneity to operation as you feverishly try to untangle cables in your bag to receive that important business call.

The 320x320 pixel 65,000 colour display would greatly benefit from a back-light feature for low light conditions but in an optimal operating environment the definition is faultless.

Processor power comes in the form of a 33Mhz Motorola Dragonball VZ processor, which drives the slightly older Palm OS 4.1.1. The onboard memory of 16Mb can be bolstered with additional cards added into the Secure Digital slot in the side of the device. The software that comes with is fairly standard and you can sync and view Microsoft files quickly and easily including Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Besides the standard tranche of communications formats that include IR and cradle HotSync the mobile aspect has given rise to WAP and E-mail through an ISP. You can either connect GSM or GPRS. The E-mail runs Palm VersaMail™, which will allow you to view both POP3 and IMAP systems, offering handheld management of up to 8 separate accounts. I must admit that the set up for this feature was tortuous and I failed to even connect, let alone to manage one of my accounts, so be prepared for a slog before you get fully comfortable with this feature. For more standard connection a sync methods the device ships this a USB cradle as standard. For those users still on Windows NT, a Serial cradle is available but must be bought separately.

The universal adaptor in the base will allow the Tungsten W to be attached to related peripherals including a WiFi sled, Global Positing system or MP3 player.

Verdict

Some nice features, but a lot of flaws as well.