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18 July 2007 @ 06:56 am
Analysis Paralysis  
I hate having to decide on major or even semi-major new purchases. I'll do some research, find lots of options, and never be convinced that i've actually done enough research to actually make a good decision. I'll look at the cheap version, then think "for just a little bit more i could get the slightly better version that has a feature i want" and keep repeating that until i've worked myself up to one of the expensive versions and then go "but that's lots of money, and i'm not sure i need all these features," and sometimes the expensive version will be missing something i wanted that one of the cheaper versions had, so then i cycle back around to the beginning.

So i'm still trying to figure out the cellphone vs. PDA vs. smartphone thing.

Usually when you have one device that performs multiple functions it performs one or more (and sometimes all) of those functions poorly compared to good single function devices. The exceptions to this rule are probably also the higher end and more expensive ones. Of course there's nothing guaranteeing that if you buy single function devices you won't get a piece of crap that way too, but at least if item A is teh busted you only have to replace item A and it doesn't impact items B and C.

Another consideration in this case is that if I use up all the batteries in my PDA/camera/mp3 player/whatever, then my phone will still work fine. If i get a combined device then i risk leaving myself incommunicado if i use the other functions too much.

On the other hand, the reason why i started considering the smartphone thing is that i always have my phone on me, or at least close enough as to make no difference. Every time i've wanted to make note of something in a store or elsewhere i've had my phone on me, just no pencil and paper. I could carry a separate PDA around with me, i could also carry around a notepad and a pen, but that would be a pretty extensive behavior change. Also, my pockets are fairly cluttered with wallet and keys and cellphone already. Trying to fit a PDA in there as well would be tricky. And i don't think i'd carry off the hanging stuff off my belt thing very well. For one i don't like wearing belts.

I have gotten relatively used to carrying my messenger bag with me whenever i'm going anywhere i expect to have to kill some time. Perhaps i should start trying to do that more often, but that could get annoying.

So anyways, at the local Sprint store, which mostly seems to align with their online store, they have a smartphone, the "Moto Q" or something similar that meets the bare minimum of what i want for $100, on the minus side it includes a camera. For $150 they have a Blackberry that seems to have most of the same stuff and no camera. Then there are the Treos, one for about $275 and one for $300. They do all the stuff i want and then some.

There are also of course several free low end phones, of which i'm pretty sure if i end up getting one it will be the LX 150.

So i decided to check out the standalone PDAs to see what the alternatives were. So far the only cheap PDA i've found with decent functionality so far is the Z22, from Palm. So i was correct when i stated earlier than you can get a PDA for $100, but not by as wide a margin as i would have liked. So since Palm had both the PDA i was considering and some of the phones i was considering i decided to check out their site, which turns out to have a rather nice comparison chart between their different models, both for PDAs and for smartphones.

So i look at the specs for the Z22 and it seems to do all the basic stuff i need. But then i start looking at the E2 and think that having something with expandable memory and that can play video might be useful. However according to wikipedia the E2 can only handle SD cards up to 1 gig in size, which could be annoying. The TX can handle larger cards and is supposed to have less glitches than the E2, but now we're talking about exactly as much as Treo, and the only benefits over it are a slightly larger screen and all the previously mentioned benefits of having two devices rather than one, not to mention all the disadvantages of course. Also if i were to buy a second device spending $300 to get a Palm with 128 megs of memory that i'd have to buy SD cards for in order to actually watch video seems a little silly when i could get an iPod for less that would play video and come with 30 or more gigs of memory. However i don't believe that iPods have the basic note pad/document functionality which is what i was looking at smartphones/PDAs for in the first place.

So i guess the main question (other than deciding which way i fall on the costs/benefits of combined functionality) is exactly how cool and useful would it be to have a portable video player? $100 of cool? $200 of cool? If i can answer that question i can at least reduce the problem down to one particular smartphone vs. one cellphone and one particular PDA.

I don't suppose anyone has any brilliant suggestions to make? Or happen to know of any cool devices that i've overlooked which might help solve my dilemma?
Current Mood: geekygeeky
Kirinkirinn on July 18th, 2007 04:24 pm (UTC)
I've never seen much use for portable video myself. The only time I could imagine making use of it is if I had a public transit commute, and then I'd probably just as soon play NDS instead. But YMMV.

I currently use an iPod (non-video), a smallish cell phone, and post-it notes. ;) Maybe in like three years there'll actually be an affordable version of the iPhone that combines all of their functions adequately. :P
DonAithnendonaithnen on July 18th, 2007 07:40 pm (UTC)
True, i can't think of how the portable video would be especially useful, but it would be nifty :)

It's the kind of thing that i would never consider getting rid of an old device in order replace it with something that could play video since i don't feel any need for the functionality, but since i'm already thinking of getting something that _could_ do it i'm a little tempted :)

I suppose now that i've started downloading more episodes of stuff off the net it might be useful to be able to watch them places other than at the computer, even if it was just while lying in bed rather than out on the go.

Of course i could accomplish the same by getting a new laptop, but that's an entirely different matter:)