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Dell Axim X50v Device Spotlight

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ActiveSync Folder Synchronization Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:15 pm
Well, I keep learning more and more about the X50v. Today, I learned a little more about the file synchronization feature in ActiveSync. Basically, it keeps a folder on the X50v synchronized with a folder on the desktop. This includes all files and sub-folders. Thus, if you copy a file to the folder on the desktop, the file will automatically get copied to the X50v. The same holds true when you create a new file or change a file on the X50v. The file will get synchronized with the desktop. By the way, this folder on the X50v is also the location where most (if not all) applications store their data, so this serves as a continuous backup of this data.

On my computer, the default folder on the PC is 'C:\Documents and Settings\Lance\My Documents\Pocket_PC My Documents\'. You can find this location if you go to the settings for the 'Files' information type within ActiveSync. I have yet to figure out how to change this default location, so any assistance is appreciated. Note: I found the registry key that appears to be where the value is set, but I was not sure how it would affect things. Surely, there is a way to do this without going to the registry.

Best regards,
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Some More Video Testing Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:14 pm
Well, I was able to test some other videos on the X50v. I converted a few using some online instructions and freeware. One worked fine while another one I had was out of sync. Thus, I thought it was time to give Pocket-DVD Studio or DVD to Pocket PC a try. I looked at both interfaces, and Pocket-DVD Studio seems to give you more options when converting a DVD, so I started with it. In addition, Pocket-DVD Studio uses XviD while DVD to Pocket PC relies on the Windows Media format.

I used Pocket-DVD Studio to convert "Shrek 2" (excluding credits) to a 640x416 video for playback on the X50v using Betaplayer 0.093a, which by the way, works wonderfully for everything I have tried to play on the X50v. The conversion process and playback went smoothly. It just looked and sounded incredible. I am going to tweak the settings a little more to get a better compromise between quality and size. With my initial test, the movie was about 654 MB with CD-quality stereo sound and VGA resolution.

By the way, I think the X50v is here to stay. I ended up purchasing a second battery for the X50v this afternoon. Smile

Take care,
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PocketMusic and 2004 Best Software Awards Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:12 pm
I found a MP3 player I really like called PocketMusic. The only thing it is missing is "real" VGA support. I do appreciate the recommendation from PixelPusher on this one. By the way, it is free if all you want is MP3 playback. For other formats and other nice features such as a Today plug-in, the PocketMusic Bundle is $19.95. PocketMusic is also a winner of the Best Software Awards of 2004 from PocketPC Magazine. This list of award winners is definitely worth a look. I am going through different applications as we speak.

Best Software Awards of 2004 from PocketPC Magazine

Since I have SplashWallet for the Palm, I thought I would try the Pocket PC applications that are available (SplashID and SplashPhoto). It surprised me that my registration code that worked with my Palm version also works with the Pocket PC versions. Thank you SplashData! These applications are not as full-featured as a lot of the software award winners, but they do the job. Plus, the transition to them from the Palm was easy and free! Wink

Take care,
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Bible Reader and MP3 Player Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:11 pm
Well, I really do not have a lot to share except for the fact that things are going well. I have used the X50v a lot this weekend for surfing the web, checking POP3 email accounts, reading the Bible, and getting ready for work in the morning (i.e. using PIM applications). I have yet to reset the device. At the same time, I did come across my first out of memory error when I had the Messaging application and the Internet Exlporer running. When I attempted to run BibleReader by OliveTree, I got the error. I simply closed the Internet Explorer, and I was able to run BibleReader just fine. I will say this, I am not real comfortable trying to optimize the memory for the PPC device right now, but I plan on looking into it this issue further. After I get a better understanding of how applications use and allocate memory, I should be able to optimize my setup better. Surely I should be able to run at least three applications without any problems.

I have yet to find a MP3 player that I really like. I am tried to use GSPlayer and the Windows Media player. I am used to Pocket Tunes Deluxe on the Palm, so everything else just seems less than ideal for me. Any recommendations are welcome.

Take care,
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ActiveSynce and Pocket Money Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:08 pm
Well, I have finished connecting the X50v to another computer. I loaded ActiveSync 3.7.1. The calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes synchronized just fine with Outlook 2003. Of course, I already had my X50v installed and running at work, but I really need to have that information readily available at home. Although the calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes synchronized just fine, the inbox did not synchronize because you can only synchronize with one partnership. A partnership is the term used for the relationship between the desktop and the X50v or other PPC device. Thus, I have two partnerships setup, one at home and one at work. The inbox on the X50v will only allow one partnership. For me, I synchronize all my other e-mail via a wireless connection anyway, so the only inbox I need to synchronize is with my Exchange acount at work. Note: I plan on testing to see if a third partnership with another PC can be establshed for all other data.

In addition, I finished setting up Microsoft Money 2004 on my PC, and now I am synchronizing with Microsoft Money for Pocket PC on the X50v. Unfortunately, synchronization with Microsoft Money 2005 is not supported at this time. For me, this is not an issue. Microsoft Money for Pocket PC is not a full featured application, but it does support managing transactions, accounts, categories, and payees. If you are looking for a full-featured application, I suggest looking elsewhere. I would like to mention UltraSoft Money, which is a popular, full-featured application for the Palm platform, and it appears Spb Finance is a full-featured application for the PPC platform. I have used Pocket Quicken for the Palm OS, so I might consider using it for the X50v.

Take care,
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Software List at Aximsite Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:06 pm
Just wanted to mention a useful thread for numerous pieces of recommended software for the X50v.

Software List at AximSite.com

Take care,
Permalink | Discuss (0)

Input on the Dell Axim X50v Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:02 pm
Okay, I will have to plead ignorance on this one. I did not realize Transcriber on the X50v gives you the ability to write anywhere on the screen. This is the first time I have seen this functionality, and I must say that I like it. It gives you the ability to write entire words anywhere on the screen. Thus, just a small toolbar is available on the bottom of the screen which is very unobtrusive. I am glad I came across it. This pretty much nullifies the comments I made earlier about the input on the T5 being better than the input on the X50v. In fact, the X50v might actually have the advantage.

Take care,
Permalink | Discuss (0)

Decision Between Tungsten T5 and Axim X50v Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:01 pm
I have received a couple of e-mails, lately. One person requested that I try to synchronize the Dell between two or more computers. I will have the opportunity to test the scenerio this weekend. This one is very important to me, as well.

Here is a more detailed inquiry that I thought I would address.

Thank you for all your insightful posts on the T5 and X50v. I, like many others, am eagerly watching your posts for help in deciding between the 2 units.

If you could, please help in finding the right unit/software:

I do graphic design and would like a handheld that can show most easily show my portfolio of designs and sign projects. It should be able to let me navigate through different catagories of photos by list or thumbnail and then show full screen pics of the selected catagory. Is there a unit/program that would do this effectively and does any program allow zooming of photos?

I also am trying to determine which (palm or ppc) will let me sync with my outlook schedule & contacts, run simple Excel spreadsheets and view pdf files most efficiently/accurately.

I seem to be reading conflicting reports on the 2 units battery life; how do they compare?

Finally, for a user relatively new to handhelds (I did briefly use a Sony handheld a few years ago and had no problem learning the shorthand script back then) - is Grafitti or the PPC's shorthand script easier or more intuitive than the other?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I was going to post this on one of the message boards, but didn't know where it fit best or which you followed more closely. If you wish, post and answer(if you can make time) on your choice of board so others may benefit as well.

For viewing graphics, simply put, "the higher the resolution, the better the experience". The Dell Axim X50v has a 640x480 resolution, the PalmOne Tungsten T5 has a 480x320 screen. You can tell the difference. Pictures are amazing on the Dell! For me, it almost as obvious as comparing a 160x160 Palm device with a 320x320 Palm device. It is incredible, and you have to see it to appreciate it! Now, do not get me wrong, viewing pictures on the T5 is an incredible experience. Viewing photos on the T5 works great for me. Viewing the pictures on the X50v just reminds me that there is room for improvement. Wink

As for a program for viewing graphics on the Palm or the PPC, Resco Photo Viewer is an excellent piece of software for either platform.

On the issue of battery life, the T5 lasts longer than the X50v, but the X50v lasts longer than the T3. I ran a video playback test on all three machines. I tried to match all the settings as best I could, and I used the same exact movie file for all units. The results are as follows:
  1. PalmOne Tungsten T5: 3 hours 40 minutes
  2. Dell Axim X50v: 2 hours 35 minutes
  3. PalmOne Tungsten T3: 2 hours 10 minutes
One important thing to remember is that the X50v has a replaceable battery, so you can purchase extra batteries to take along with you. There is even a place on the cradle to charge a spare battery. In addition, you can get an extended life battery rated at 2200 mAh. The standard battery is 1100 mAh. I believe the batteries for the T3 and the T5 are rated at 900 mAh and 1300 mAh, respectively.

On synchronizing information with Outlook, both do a great job, but there are some differences in how it is accomplished. The X50v uses ActiveSync which keeps the X50v synchronized with Outlook whenever the device is turned on and connected to the computer. The T5 uses HotSync which needs user intervention to start the sychronization process. I like the fact that if I running late to a meeting, I can just pick the X50v out of the cradle knowing that the latest information is there. On the T5, I have to perform a HotSync before I leave to insure the latest data is there. On the other hand, the HotSync process on the T5 automatically backups all applications, data, and settings in the Palm's main 64MB of memory which eases my mind if something unexpected were to happen (i.e. hard reset, lost T5). With the T5, I do not have to re-install everything. I just HotSync, and it puts everything back like it was. With ActiveSync, just the data is backed up. The applications and settings for those applications are all backed up separately using a backup solution similar to that of a desktop computer. You have to perform or schedule backups to run within the ActiveSync application. Fortunately, ActiveSync (X50v) gives you the ability to make incremental backups since full backups take a considerable amount of time.

Input is important, and both devices perform this function well enough, but the T5 takes input a couple of steps further. One, the T5 allows you to write on the screen without having a special area on the screen for it. Note: The X50v may offer this ability through a third-party application, but I am not aware of it. This allows you to view the document you are editing and not the writing area. Secondly, even if you do use the writing area on the T5, the input area is less obvious while you work than on the X50v. If you are running the standard resoltuion on the X50v, the input area is very obtrusive. If you are running "true" VGA on the X50v using a third-party application like SE_VGA, this is less of an issue, but the text is more difficult to read. Wink

About PDF files, the Adobe viewer on the X50v is much, much better than on the T5. This really has more to do with Adobe than Dell or PalmOne because Cerience makes a software package called Repligo that allows users to print any file on a computer to the Repligo format. This works similar to how users can print a file to the Adobe format. The X50v and T5 perform equally using Repligo and the Repligo file format. Of course, the higher resolution on the X50v does help in the quality of the image. I prefer the Repligo format for viewing files because it is so much faster than viewing the Adobe format whether on a handheld or the desktop computer. Note: In order to convert files on the PC to the Repligo format, you have to have a Windows computer. Once you convert them, they are viewable on any number of devices that Cerience supports.

Best regards,
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Another Perspective Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:58 pm
By the way, I another Palm user is dabbling into the PPC experience. You can follow his blog for more.

Best regards,
Permalink | Discuss (0)

VGA Screen and Video Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:56 pm
As much as I hate to say this, I am really enjoying my experience with the Dell Axim X50v. I have installed a few more programs:
  1. PlanMaker 2004
  2. TextMaker 2002
I do need to put my limited experience in perspective. First, it is limited. I do not have the X50v fully loaded with everything I do on a day-to-day basis. I am trying to work into this gradually because I want to understand as much as I can in order to give the PPC platform a fair opportunity to prove itself. It would be easy for my to prejudge the PPC platform and then rush through the experience just to prove my preconceived notion. I think that would be unfair because I am searching for an objective perspective on the Pocket PC and Palm OS decision.

With that said, I am enjoying the various features of the device. I think 640x480 display is the main reason why I am enjoying this device. I find myself running true 640x480 resolution most of the time using the program SE_VGA 1.01. If your reading vision is good, this makes surfing the web and reading a book great experiences. It is just like on a desktop PC. The higher the resolution, the more information you can see on the screen at one time. The more, the better. Right? Well, you can reach a high enough resolution that the ability to read the text because more of a problem than it is worth. The same thing is true with the X50v. True 640x480 may be difficult for some people. It is something to consider. From my persective, I use the Courier New font set at 8pt on my PC running 1280x1024 on a 19" LCD monitor or 1024x768 on a 15" LCD monitor. Some people do not say anything, but some people come in my office, and say, "How do you read that?" Anyway, I just wanted to help describe true 640x480 resolution because it may or may not be an advantage to you.

What have I being doing on the X50v? Mainly, I have been surfing the web and responding to forums using Wi-Fi and the palmOne universal wireless keyboard. In addition, I have been enjoying video playback using Betaplayer 0.093a. It is simply a treat on the Dell. I have been able to playback 640x480 video that simply blows anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that is offered on the Palm platform away. Period! For those curious, the video format used was 640x480 24fps 1500Kbit/s 2-pass XviD, and the audio format was 44Khz Stereo 128Kbit/s MP3. Of course, the file size was a hefty size - 29 MB for the 2 minute 30 second clip. At the same time, you can make changes in the file conversion process that would provide great results without the large file size. I have used several 320x240 videos that resize to full screen very well. Bottom line, the X50v handles video very well!

Best regards,
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