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The new model is equipped with Intel XScale PXA270 processor at 416 MHz. As is well known, a powerful processor is not necessary to run the majority of PDA applications. This rule especially applies to Palm OS devices. The heaviest tasks will be video playback and opening large spreadsheets in Documents to Go. Unlike Pocket PC, Palm OS still requires converting video into its own format for software players on a handheld. This procedure is not complex and is easily automated, but it takes much time. But its results are not always predictable. For example, a test fragment of "Shrek" was played back with noticeable jerks after being converted into 480x320. While we had no problems with watching "Knockin' on heaven's door" encoded from scratch. So we can draw a conclusion that processor is powerful enough to replay video, but the software component must still be improved.
Smooth playback depends noticeably on video bit rate. Flash memory is slower than DRAM.
The old OS (Garnet) does not use the full potential of the new processors from Intel. It would be much more interesting to test this handheld on Cobalt, but alas, no such devices are available on the market. Even considering that PalmSource started licensing this OS a lot of months ago. Actually we have a lot of complaints about the software part of T5. For example, our tested sample was extremely unstable. We had to reset the device several times a day, this procedure taking 40 seconds, by the way. The vaunted reliability of Palm OS does not stand up to criticism. Compatibility with old programs is also not good enough.
This handheld is equipped with 256 MB flash memory. This solution is highly original: no need in backup battery, no need in maintaining memory when the handheld is off. Before palmOne, only Casio PocketViewer could boast of a similar scheme. 63.8 MB are available to a user to install programs, plus 161.2 MB can be used as data storage. Unfortunately, the most logical use of flash drive — to store backups — has no sense in case of T5: hard reset erases all the data. Including the data on a user's disk. You'll have to buy an SD expansion card to create backups. By the way, in Drive Mode this card will be visible as another disk. T5 is good at working as a card reader, but its data rate is not high (from 160 to 600 Kbytes/sec.).
palmOne Tungsten T5 uses a built-in 1300 mAh Li-Ion unexchangeable battery. There is no backup battery as superfluous (the data are stored in flash memory). Operating time has not been a trump card of Palm OS devices for a long time: hardware elements are almost identical with those in Windows Powered devices. As a result – comparable figures in battery tests. So, according to BatteryTime the operating time was 4 hours 43 minutes with an average backlight level, after which the handheld operated 15 minutes more in the book reading mode. The device operates from 6 to 8 hours in mp3 playing mode (depending on the music volume and choice). Minimum operating time (2 hours 10 minutes) was demonstrated during video playback.
It takes the battery less than three hours to charge from an electricity supply network. As this handheld offers no indicators to monitor external power and charge process, you have to turn it on from time to time to see the battery status. T5 can also be charged from USB, but this is real slow, so you'd better not take this feature seriously (about 25% for 6 hours). Perhaps it was only a problem of our sample.