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Comparison Review - Palm Tungsten T vs Sony Clie NX70V (Hardware)
UPDATED 11/16/2002 11:57 PM CST

HARDWARE, Page 2 or 3. For more information, Page 1. For software, Page 3.

This will probably be exhausting for most people, but I wanted to cover as much as I could. I am going to attempt to cover most of the hardware and the software included with each unit. I realize there are applications and accessories for each unit that gives it capabilities beyond what is in the box, but I wanted to get the value of each unit when you first get it.

Last, but not least. All information is my own humble opinion. Feel free to agree or disagree. All feedback is welcome, so e-mail me at lance@palmfocus.com or post to the topic on PalmInfocenter (Palm Tungsten T and Sony Clie NX70V).

Update - Real released the RealOne Mobile Player for the Palm Tungsten T back on March 17th. This has given the Palm the ability to play the MP3 and the Real Audio ATRAC 3 formats. Although for previous Tungsten T owners it is an extra download, it works, and it's free. I will update my comparison (link below) to include screen shots of the player, and I will compare to Sony's player in the near future.
  1. Screen
  2. Form Factor
  3. Processing Power
  4. People Magnet
  5. Navigation
  6. Accessories
  7. Software (Separate Page)
  8. Battery Life
  9. Examples of Pictures and Movies Taken on the NX70V
  10. Cost Comparison
  11. Decision Time?

1. Screen

The screen on the Sony NX70V is extraordinary! It's huge (relatively speaking)! The image is crisp and clear! The colors are vibrant! Plain and simple, it is the best screen I have seen on a handheld unit, Palm or PPC!

The screen on the Palm is great, too! Compared to previous Palm devices, this thing is excellent! It is the best Palm screen to date! If you never saw the Sony, you would think twice about it. Unfortunately, it just falls short when you put it next to the Sony, especially when working with videos or images.

With all that said, I still find the Palm device more readable. Hopefully you can grasp what I am trying to say by reading this and looking at the pictures I have posted. The font that Palm chose to use as the device's default font is more readable to me and all other people I have asked. Note: I showed them both units, and they decided for themselves. I realize you can change the fonts in most programs, but there is still text that you can not change from the default font (i.e. button labels, titles, older low-res apps, etc.,). Palm's choice in the default font makes the Palm easier to read, especially outside in the sun.

Also realize, some of this is subjective, but I really think you cannot argue the fact that the Sony has the better screen. I am not saying that there are not trade off's for having the great screen. I am just saying that judging the screen by itself, the Sony has a winner!

All pictures were taken with both models at 100% brightness.

2. Form Factor

This is where the Palm unit shines! It is simply amazing! It is really hard to describe without having one in your hands! This is definitely a unit that you will be taking with you everywhere. There is just no reason not to have it with you. It is unobtrusive, and you can put it in virtually any pocket. For the record, I do not suggest any device costing $450+ go in your back pocket.

The Sony, on the other hand, is a brick. Do not get me wrong, it looks a lot better than a brick, but it is huge. In addition, it is heavy. It will take some lifestyle changes if you want to take this with you everywhere. Here is where you pay for wanting that great screen. :)

When it comes to form factor, Palm has got a winner! The Palm makes it possible to have it with you all the time without changing your lifestyle. If you need to take a quick memo or check your calendar, the Palm will always be there!

3. Processing Power

I am a little limited to what I have been able to test in this arena. I do not do any major video playing or any real intense calculations. In my experience and for all practical purposes, they both perform equally well. I have tested some rather large spreadsheets with Documents To Go and rather large databases in SmartList To Go. In every side-by-side comparison, there is not a noticeable difference in the two.

4. People Magnet

If you want attention, get the Sony! Every time I pull the NX70V out in a meeting, the meeting is interrupted, and the attendees are more interested in the Sony than the speaker. In addition, I usually have to spend time after the meeting answering questions.

For those folks paying attention in the meeting, I get a similar response from the Palm. It is just a little less conspicuous. With the Palm, I do not interrupt the meeting when I need to take some notes.

Of course, this is a personal preference. Personally, I prefer a low profile.

5. Navigation

How about Sony's jog wheel on the side? How about Palm's five-way button on the front? More than likely, this is a personal preference, but I prefer the five-way button on the Palm device? You just have more functionality. With the five-way button, you have four directions (up, down, left, and right) and a select button in the middle. Hold the select button down, and Palm adds another function (takes you back to the list of applications). If I added correctly, Palm's five-way button actually gives you six functions when the unit is on. Palm also adds two functions to the unit when the device it off. Pushing the select button once, the clock is displayed for a few seconds. Press the select button twice, and it turns on the Palm.

Technically, the Sony has six functions, also. The jog dial goes up and down, plus you can press in the jog dial as a button. Keep the dial pressed, and you can scroll up and down for two more functions. Then, you have a back button just underneath the jog dial that takes you back to the previous screen, normally the list of applications. Unfortunately, the back button is a little difficult to press. In addition, pressing the jog dial while moving it up or down is also a cumbersome task. Realistically, the Sony has four functions: up, down, select, and back.

Palm's five-way button gives you more functionality and allows easy one-handed navigation from the moment you turn it on until you retrieve the information you need. It is quicker, more intuitive, and it also works if you are left-handed.

Note: I let a few left-handed people see both devices, and navigation on the Palm was a clear winner. The Sony's jog dial was too awkward to work with the right hand. I am right-handed, and I did not enjoy the Sony using my right hand instead of my left hand, either.

6. Accessories

Both devices give you the basics (stylus, charging/sync cradle, etc). You do get a few more items for the multimedia functionality of the Sony model. There is a set of headphones for listening to the unit, and there is nice hand control with four switches. One for turning up and/or down the volume, one for previous and/or next track, one for play and/or stop, and one for a hold. The hold locks the control, so you will not accidentally bump the switches. The control plugs into the headphone jack just above the jog dial, and then the actual headphones plug into the control. A nice touch Sony carried over with their experience with portable audio equipment.

I will mention the clear plastic cover that comes with the Palm to cover the screen. When I first saw a picture of this, I thought is was pretty lame. After I got mine, I found it indispensable. It protects the front of the device by only adding a 1/16" of an inch to the thickness of the device. In addition, it is clear enough to view the screen without any distortion, and it still allows you to use the five-way button on the front of the unit. Thus, you can navigate and view information without even removing the cover. I was pleasantly surprised!

I was surprised, again, by Palm with their stylus. It is amazing! I know, it is just a stylus, but check it out if you get a chance. It is simply elegant. It is basically one of those nice touches that you did not expect, but you are glad it has it.

7. Software

This is where Sony learned from the NR series and took advantage of the 320 x 480 screen. They finally gave all the built-in applications the ability to use the full screen with or without the virtual graffitti area. This includes all the basic applications found on all Palm OS devices and the extra applications especially designed for the Clie. I have posted some actual pictures of the Palm and the Sony with different applications. In addition, I have posted some screen shots of the applications. I am missing some software applications included with the Palm (i.e. Arcsoft photoBase, BlueChat, and BlueBoard).

I would like to mention that Palm does a better job integrating the features of their device with the user's desktop PC. Everything on the Palm is accessed through the Palm Desktop software (i.e. Datebook, Address, To Do List, Memo Pad, Notepad, and Voice Memo). I just hope Palm ties in the same integration with other added features, such as audio and video. With the Sony, you have to be more knowledgable of the file system to listen to voice recordings on the desktop PC, and as far as I know, I cannot view the handwritten memos from the Sony on my desktop PC.

Click Here for More on Software

8. Battery Life

I have not done any official tests, but both units have performed a lot better than I anticipated. After reading all the comments on web, I thought I would be charging them every day. Maybe I just to do not use mine enough, but I consider myself a heavy user, and I get several days out of mine. I mainly use DataViz Mail, Documents To Go, Bible Reader, Voice Memo, and the basic PIM applications (Address, Datebook, To Do List, Memo Pad). In addition, I keep my brightness setting on the lowest allowable setting and turn it up only when I am demonstrating the units to others.

I do not really have anything else to add here. I did not have the time to do any exhaustive testing. I apologize for those wanting more comparisons in this area. Maybe, I will have some time in the near future to do so.

9. Examples of Pictures and Movies Taken on the NX70V

Here are some pictures taken on the Sony. There are a few settings you can adjust, but these were taken with the default settings. I just pointed and clicked. In addition, I have included a video clip taken on the Sony (below the pictures).


Click Here for QuickTime 6 Movie Created on the Sony

10. Cost Comparison

As for average cost, you can pick up a Palm Tungsten T for $450 - $500. The Sony Clie NX70V will set you back $550 - $600. With your specific requirements, cost may vary. I took three features (may add more later), and I did a cost comparison. The three features are as follows:

  • Camera/Camcorder (included with the NX70V)
  • Keyboard (included with the NX60/NX70V)
  • Wireless Communication (included with the Tungsten T)

Some points to understand before you look at the spreadsheet. One, the keyboard you purchase for the Palm is a portable full-size keyboard. This comparison may not be valid for functionality purposes, but I was using the comparison for cost purposes (i.e What would adding this feature cost me?). Second, the price for the NX60 was used if the camera/camcorder feature was not important for you to consider. Third, I am assuming that bluetooth will serve your purpose.

Cost Comparison in Microsoft Excel Format
Cost Comparison in OpenOffice/StarOffice Format

11. Decision Time?

This is a difficult choice, but I have decided to keep the Palm Tungsten T over the Sony Clie NX70V.

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