SAN FRANCISCO (08/28/2000) - A colleague took one look at my prerelease version of Palm Inc.'s newest pocket organizer and exclaimed: "That's like a Palm--only smaller."
Well, yes and no. The Palm M100 actually has almost the same dimensions as the 4.5-inch-long, 3-inch-wide Palm V; and at 5 ounces, it weighs just as much. So why does it look smaller? The device's subtle hourglass shape--which makes it particularly comfortable to hold--no doubt deceives the eye. The resulting smaller screen does not, however: It's about 25 percent shorter and a little more than 10 percent narrower than those in other Palm models. Surprisingly, however, the tighter screen didn't hamper my productivity. The M100's bargain list price of US$149 did make the size reduction an easy burden to bear.
When the M100's wrap-around swivel cover is closed, you can press on the exposed panel button to see date and time through a window on the hard-shell cover. Also new: A Note Pad app that lets you jot and doodle in your own handwriting on the entire screen (as well as on the dedicated Graffiti handwriting entry area).
The M100 costs about the same as Handspring's Visor and Palm's own IIIe but lacks the Visor's expansion capability and the IIIe's desktop syncing cradle.
Memory is limited to 2MB and can't be upgraded, but that's still enough to keep 5000 addresses, to-do items, appointments, and memos. The unit's protective door can be a nuisance sometimes, but it is removable.
Overall, the M100 is a welcome, entry-level Palm for anyone who wants a compact PDA--and ideal for those users whose clarion call is "give me the simple life."
--Michael S. Lasky
PRO: Slightly smaller Palm provides same productivity as other models at a bargain price.
CON: Not upgradable; memory limited to 2MB; protective door occasionally gets in the way.
VALUE: The price makes this Palm a great buy.
List price: $149