All this while palmx has been populated by Palm & Visor users, with a smattering of TRG/Handera users. It is only recently that Clie has made inroads into palmx. The first was Hamid (aka Dr Godam) with N760C, then Dr Ibrahim Lutfi with T615C, followed by Haza with N760C and then myself with T615C. Just this week there was Muis with his S320.

When I bought it last week, Nazley made me promise that I would write a review on it. So here it is. Don’t expect much since I’m not Nazley. Only he can do a decent job of it with his vast experience.

First Impression

Palm T615C is slim & sexy. It is even slimmer than Haza’s N760C. Style-wise it is very appealing. The casing is made out of alumnium & my set is “Silver” in colour (the other option is Royal Blue). Compared to all the other palm pdas, the T615C is very classy & attractive in appearance. It is also solidly built, unlike my Palm IIIc. My IIIc power-on button was broken from its base within a week of use. So there is no more tactile response when I switched it on. This I don’t think will happen with my T615C since everything is solidly built, especially the buttons.

The front & the back is flat. The usual LED indicator for charging is located above the embossed CLIE logo at the bottom of the buttons.

We have heard a lot of gripe about the shape of the buttons, especially from Haza. They are skinny rectangular in shape with good tactile feedback & works just fine. (Too fine in fact, that my Clie tends to switch on by itself. It is okay now that I’ve installed the stay off hack.)

The up & down button is integrated into a single button that you push forwards or pull backwards. It is quite tiny & a bit awkward to use. So using it to scroll while reading is a no-no. I’ve realised that the jog dial is a much better substitute, so the up & down button is no longer an issue. Unfortunately for games like Zap!2016 & Tetris-like clones, it is a huge handicap. But not for my two sons. The fantastic display attracts them like bees attracted to honey & the buttons issue was easily circumvented by their youth & finger agility (maybe their finger is smaller kot 🙂 )

As mentioned above the display is fantastic. It has 320×320 resolution with 16 bit (65K) colours. It’s just plain gorgeous. It is even better than the new m515. Since it uses backlight, the display is comparable to the IIIc but with one advantage; you can see the display in bright sunlight, unlike the IIIc. I usually use the backlight at its lowest level & that was more than enough. With the screen protector on the screen (I used the IIIc screen protector), I need the backlight to be switched on most of the time except when I am outdoors. The T615C will remember if you had the backlight switched on & will keep that setting when you power it on again, unlike my bro-in-law’s m505.

The screen digitiser is sensitive & responsive, however there in no virtual grafitti area like Handera 330.

The left side has a lanyard eyelet which I uses to attach a lanyard so that I can put it around my neck and slip my Clie into my shirt pocket. I just have to remember to shift the T615C into my pants pocket before praying or else disaster will strike :-). It did happen twice actually but the lanyard was short enough to stop it from hitting the ground.

On the left side there is also the jog dial & the back button. I have yet to figure out the usefulness of the back button but the jog dial takes the cake. Reading & searching has never been easier. I can easily scroll down the pages using only one hand. Reading myself to sleep has never been easier 🙂 If only I can figure out how to keep the darn thing safe while I’m asleep………

In the main screen, clicking the jog dial will open whatever that was selected while the back button will take you out of it back into the main screen or wherever you were before.

(Addendum for back button – Press the back button for a second, the category menu get selected. Press it longer, the menu get selected. Use it in conjuction with the jog dial to execute commands (click the jog dial) and change categories/groups. Allows single hand browsing & selection!)

The right side contains the slim stylus which has a metal body with plastic tip & top. The top of the stylus contains the reset pin.

The top of T615C contains the Memory Stick & the IR port. As you can recall from my previous posting, the IR port consists of 2 parts, the usual Palm IR transmitter/receiver & the special Sony enhanced IR transmitter. The enhanced IR in conjuction with the Clie RMC allows you to control Sony TV, VCR & DVD. Only the US version contains the ability to control other major electronics brand. My Clie which is a parallel import from Singapore which doesn’t have that option. I can only control Sony products.The range is fantastic, up to 4 metres for my TV and 5 metres for my VCR, maybe more (my living room is not big enough to fully check it out). The OmniRemote cannot make use of the special IR transmitter, so I can’t use that to control the non-Sony devices in my house. I do regret buying that non-Sony DVD now since it is the only device that I can’t control with my Clie ;-p The Clie RMC doesn’t have a learning mode therefore I can’t program it to do so.

The T615C has 16MB internal RAM, so I am really enjoying myself. No need to delete another app just to install a new one (sounds familiar aaa Jiwa….). I cannot comment on the MS since I have yet to buy one. Either Haza/Hamid or Muis has to give the feedback on that.

The speaker on the T615C is fantastic. Zap!2016 has never sounded so good. The wav & midi samples sounded better on my Clie than my notebook. That bird singing wav file sounds so authentic that my children was looking for the mysterious bird. With the conversion application, I can convert my collection of wav/midi files to play on my Clie. But that has to wait till I get my MS. I can make use of the sound files to replace my alarms. If I want to, I can get it to vibrate instead.

The cradle is like the m505 USB cradle. Very easy to use, therefore no need to write up on that.

Performance wise, it is pretty fast with the 33MHz DragonBall. Battery life is pretty damn good after I figured out the reason for it switching on by itself. After installing the stay-off hack, it was still 60% after 2 days of hard use with IR HotSync (more than 1 hour due to AvantGo delay) & intensive gameplay by my children.

Therefore hardware wise it is almost perfect. My only grouse is with the up & down button.

Bundled Software & Special Precautions

As you all know, I had problems with MultiMailPro 3.1 crashing on OS4.1, on both my T615C & IIIc. Please follow the instructions in my previous posting to avoid it.

The glitch unique to T615C is its instability while running “Dialer”, the application that came with SMS4.0 (not a standard item on Clie) which allows you to dial your IR-capable cellphone straight from the Palm Address Book. By ensuring that the person’s info is selected first, before selecting “Record”->”Dial”, you will avoid crashing the OS & the subsequent soft reset.

I won’t comment on the software bundled with it since we are familiar with most of it. Below is the complete list of the software that came with my T615C;

Sony Software
  • PictureGear Pocket – Great little viewer application that is easy to use.
  • PictureGear 4.4 Lite (for PC) – This is the program that you run on your desktop to convert images to a format that the CLIÉ can view.
  • Memory Stick® Gate – File manager application.
  • Memory Stick® Autorun – Application that allows you to copy to RAM and automatically start a program from the Memory Stick when it is inserted. T
  • Memory Stick® Backup – Easy to use backup application that copies everything to your Memory Stick.
  • Memory Stick® Import – When you run this application on the CLIÉ, it will create a mounted drive on your PC that you can use to copy files to and from the
  • Memory Stick in the CLIÉ.
  • Sound Utility – Nifty little program that allows you to listen to all the sound files installed on your device.
  • Sound Converter v. 1.0 (for PC) – Use this program on your PC to convert MIDI and .WAV files to a format that you can listen to on the CLIÉ.
  • World Alarm Clock – Keeps track of 4 different time zones.
  • CLIÉ Paint – Easy to use paint program.
  • CLIÉ Remote Commander – Control your Sony TV, VCR & DVD with yourCLIÉ!
3rd Party Applications
  • gMovie (Generic Media) -Watch video clips in the palm of your hand.
  • Documents To Go® – Standard Edition (DataViz. Inc.) – allows you to create, view, and edit Microsoft® Word and Excel files on the handheld.
  • Acrobat Reader v. 5.0 (Adobe Systems, Inc.) – for your PC, enabling you to read the pdf manuals
  • Intellisync Lite v. 4.0 (Pumatech, Inc.) – similar to Pocket Mirror
  • QuickTime v. 5.0.2 (Apple Computer, Inc.) – reqd by Picture Gear 4.4 Lite
In Conclusion

The T615C is a good buy if you’re buying it in Singapore (SD700 or RM1460). I paid RM1788 for it here in M’sia. The price difference of RM328 riles me even now. In USA, it is selling at only USD400 (RM1520), that’s RM268 cheaper than what I paid for!

But at least I know that I have a good thing in my hand. Hardware wise, it is almost perfect. Software wise, I would be contented if I could get the Clie RMC that they are shipping to USA. Hopefully you guys can help me on that 🙂

The best thing is of course that it runs on Palm OS. It is so simple that even my 5 years old son can figure out by himself how to use it. If only I can figure out how to get it away from him….

Author: Dr Azmi Mohd Tamil

I am a lecturer in Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia since 1996, teaching in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. My main interests are gadgets and cycling. You can connect with me at Facebook.