Wanted: The perfect mobile device


. . . for a reader named Tom.

Since a universally "perfect" device that meets everyone’s needs will never exist, deciding which portable gadget will best enhance an individual’s mobile lifestyle is an entirely personal choice. A dream come true for one person could easily be another’s worst nightmare. With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about what to recommend to Tom, who recently asked me to accompany him on his search for "a portable unit that will help [him] carry around word documents and PDFs if possible, as well as [give him] the ability to make some notes."

After some general Q&A, we decided to take his quest for the ideal mobile companion to you. I think all of our collective gadget histories and experiences can help him (and others with similar needs) find something perfect.

Tom has a (negotiable) budget of about $300 and is looking for a pocket-sized unit that lets him:

  • read books, articles, and other documents in PDF, .txt, and .doc file formats
  • "do a little bit of writing" with a portable keyboard connected via Bluetooth or USB

He does not need any of the following features:

  • Internet access (WLAN or WWAN)
  • Phone capabilities
  • Infrared connectivity

Since most current and upcoming devices far surpass his needs, an older device without modern bells and whistles would probably be best. He likes "most of the Palm units and the great clamshell electronics dictionaries" and in particular has had his eye on the Tungsten C. Being unable to find a good price, however, has forced him to consider alternatives.

That’s where we come in.

Significant amounts of internal storage and expansion options via removable memory cards are not part of Tom’s must-have list, but both "would be good." He mentioned really needing only about 10MB of space, so finding something suitable in this respect poses no problem.

Based on his requirements, I suggested the Palm LifeDrive Mobile Manager, which is available through third-party sellers on Amazon for about $250. It’s more capable than he needs it to be, but I suspect that this will often be the case regardless of the device.

What do you recommend? Why?

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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