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Revisiting the LifeDrive


A while back, I noted my first impressions about my new PalmOne LifeDrive. Now that I have spent several weeks, day in and day out, using the device as a PDA to work with my Mac (a PowerBook G4 12-inch), I have a few additional observations to make, and corrections of some of my original comments.

The good news: The LifeDrive is a Palm-powered PDA with 4GBs of storage on board that works wirelessly with iSync via Bluetooth.

The bad news: It's a Palm-powered PDA with 4GBs of storage on board.

Read the long take on the LifeDrive after the jump...

Here's an intermixed list in no particular order of both good and bad bits I've noticed about the LifeDrive:

  • The battery life is good...unless you are syncing via Bluetooth quite a bit.
  • Setting up the sync via bluetooth and iSync integration requires installation of HotSync manager, and you have to enable the bluetooth port in both the Conduit Manager and on the LifeDrive itself. None of this is well-documented, so prepare for some tinkering.
  • iSync integration works well enough, although there are minor formatting differences between iCal's handling of appointments and the calendar on the Palm's handling of appointments; this unfortunately means that wireless syncing via Bluetooth is crippled, because you still have to walk over to your Mac and click "Okay" every time you sync and iSync warns you that the device is going to make changes to your calendar.
  • Syncing large files (which the 4GB LifeDrive is supposed to be able to manage) tends to cause a time out and failure in bluetooth sync.
  • If in a bluetooth transfer the file type is unrecognized by the LifeDrive it acts as if it is transferring the file, only to error out at the end of the transfer and automatically delete the file.
  • Web browsing on the device is surprisingly great. It's easily the LifeDrive's best feature and any files downloaded, even those that are unrecognized, are stored on the LifeDrive for later access via a computer.
  • The VersaMail program for handling email works well enough, but can only handle one email account at a time, and for some inexplicable reason, the other day when I performed a sync, all of my accounts were suddenly missing from the device. Not good at all and a major deal-killer for this device.
  • Although the LifeDrive can hold up to 4GBs of data, the Palm OS still isn't capable of handling large files very well. As a result, the LifeDrive crashes on a semi-regular basis. Another deal-killer.
Don't get me wrong, I like this device and have been using it daily. However, if you are considering getting one, you might want to hold off until they release a software update for it, or a version 2.0.

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