How to Buy a PDA

Introduction

PDA Buying Guide graphic

Ready to get your life in order? Then maybe it's time to get a personal digital assistant. These small, lightweight devices can keep track of your appointments, phone numbers, and to-do lists, usually syncing with Microsoft Outlook or other desktop organizer software. Today's PDAs can also keep you amused with games, music, and video; a growing number have built-in cameras, and a few newer ones integrate GPS receivers as well. Even entry-level PDAs now have color screens, and all but the most inexpensive models also let you track e-mail, browse the Web, and send instant or text messages via built-in wireless Internet connectivity--Bluetooth (for connecting via a Bluetooth cell phone), Wi-Fi, and/or (in the case of PDA-phone hybrids) cellular networks. At the high end, a couple of models support two or three modes of wireless connection, so you can enjoy broadband speeds at Wi-Fi hotspots and increasingly speedy cellular hookups almost anyplace else.

The Big Picture
PDAs range from simple, unconnected devices designed primarily to replace pocket address books and calendars to powerful devices with lots of memory, wireless connectivity, integrated cameras and keyboards, and graphics muscle for playing music and video. Here, we'll discuss the main issues you need to think about, such as PDA operating systems and how much memory you need. more

The Specs Explained
We'll address the CPUs used in handhelds, screen resolution, and internal versus external memory--and tell you how important each feature is to your purchase. more

PDA Shopping Tips
How much memory does your PDA need? What about the different operating systems? Find the answers to these questions and more in PC World's buying advice. more

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