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Palm Z22

Palm's new entry level handheld

Palm's new entry level device, the Z22, is a whole different animal from the company's sophisticated and powerful LifeDrive and Palm T|X. It's tiny--2.7x4.1x0.6 inches--and weighs just 3.4 ounces. The front has an iPod-esque look, the back is made of curved semi-translucent blue plastic that reminds of an early iMac. It's cute and feels good in your hand.

However, turn it on and reality hits home. This is the low-end Palm, no doubt about it. The screen is tiny (just 2-3/8 inches diagonal) and uses the original 160 x 160 low res pixel format that goes all way back to the original Palm Pilot. It's color nowadays and displays pictures nicely, but it's definitely a different universe compared to the Palm TX which has six times the resolution. Memory is a scant 32MB, with just 20MB available to the user, and the processor goes about its business at a meek 200 MHz.

These specs would have been incredible for a Palm just a few years ago. Today it's the barest minimum. The Z22 feels pretty sturdy, but the little screen is exposed as the unit does not have a lid. Not even an afterthought-leathery one like the TX. You can get cute semi-translucent rubber booties that fit the Z22 like a glove, but they don't protect the screen either.

What can you do with the Z22? Just the very basics: use it as an organizer to keep track of your contacts and schedules, look at tiny pictures, or play a few games. Don't even think about stuff like emailing or web browsing.

Nonetheless, overall, we like Palm's latest. The Z22 is the perfect entry-level PDA. it even fills the bill for those who simply don't need more than a basic PIM.