Good to great price/performance
Alarm not loud enough
The Bottom Line:
Dandy as an entry palmtop. Look more if you want alarms.
Paid: $84.40 before tax ($130 less 12% less $30 rebate) at Staples, including a free case.
I'm upgrading from a Clie T-415, monochrome with 8M. Previously, I've used a Palm III and a PalmPilot Personal. I've also used the PC-based simulator. For the price, the SJ-22 seems like a fine deal. It's low-end, certainly.
SJ-22 Quick Specifications:
. 320x320 high resolution 64K color display
. Memory stick
. Nothing special: no wireless, no vibrator, no MP3, no digital audio
. The screen looks good, far more readable than the T-415 primarily due to the high contrast between the white background and the black text.
. My biggest complaint by far is that the speaker volume is too low. This is a long-time Palm problem, though the T-415 was better. I normally carry my palmtop in a fanny pack, and the alarm is only barely audible. In a noisy environment like a car, it'd be tough. Unlike the T-415, the SJ-22 has no polyphonic MIDI, and no ADPCM audio. This rather restricts your choice of alarms sounds. In addition, as on other PalmOS devices I've seen, the alarms are all very short, one or two seconds at most. I'd like the alarm to play for at least a minute, in case I'm in a noisy environment where I might not hear it at first or in case I'm sound asleep.
. I use my palmtop as my alarm clock, and so it is always on the nightstand in its cradle. I'd like to leave it with the backlight on and running a clock application, but the T-415 wouldn't leave the backlight on, even when externally powered. The SJ-22 is happy to leave the backlight on when powered, and so makes a dandy bedside clock in conjunction with BigClock or the included PhotoStand in one of its clock modes.
. The power switch is out of the way, a small flush button on the top of the unit. This is probably mostly bad. It doesn't help prevent accidental power-on, because the application buttons will power the device on. It makes accidental power-off pretty much impossible, but I've never had a problem with that. Presumably the primary reason for the location of the power button is to reduce the size of the face of the device.
. Like the T-415, the SJ-22 has a jog dial on the upper left side of the unit. This works well for one-handed use of some applications, in particular HandyShopper. Most of the newer Clie models have a roller in the center between the (rotated) up and down buttons. Although I haven't tried that configuration, I suspect it would be awkward for one-handed use. I can also tell you from experience with the T-415 that the jog dial allows you to make limited use of the palmtop even when the touch screen stops working. :-(
. The unit comes with PalmOS 4.1. I believe that high-resolution (320x320) support was added in PalmOS 5, so the SJ-22 has the same Sony-specific support that the T-415 has. Although the Hi-Res Helper feature gives most applications high-resolution fonts, low resolution stuff still leaks through. For instance, all launcher icons are low resolution, and I suspect that some high-resolution capable applications aren't compatible.
. Some applications aren't color-compatible. I don't know whether other color implementations have mechanisms for supporting these applications, but the SJ-22 doesn't seem to.
. The T-415 case is aluminum. The SJ-22 case is silver-colored plastic.
. Not as tall as the T-415 (good). Thicker than the T-415 (bad).
. Like the T-415, the cover is a fabric-covered hard flap that covers the screen and buttons. I'd prefer a true hard cover or case.
. One of the perhaps most annoying features of the T-415 is that its cover can hit its application buttons and turn the unit on. The cover on the SJ-22 can, but not easily. This means that it's harder to hit buttons accidentally, but on the T-415 I've actually gotten used to using it as method of shutting off an alarm without taking the unit out of my fanny pack.
. The SJ-22 has an up/down rocker switch, versus a smaller switch on the T-415. I prefer the Palm III double-button or even the PalmPilot Personal pair of buttons.
. Like the T-415, the connector on the bottom is always exposed, and runs some risk of accumulating crud.
. The SJ-22 does not come with a cradle - it comes with a cable only. The cable consists of a USB cable, an AC cable, and a small connector. The cables plug into the connector, and the connector plugs into the unit. Normally I like modularity, but here I think it may have been taken to excess - the connector looks easy to lose. Luckily, the SJ-22 is compatible with the T-415 cradle, and so I can use the cradle most of the time. Sony is to be commended for this cradle compatibility, since in a household with multiple palmtops cradle proliferation is an issue. The AC cable has a brick in the middle of the cable, not a wall wart at the end, and so avoids consuming extra outlet space. Better still would be to optionally draw power from the USB connection - Belkin does this, and starts to get the right idea with modules like a cigarette lighter plug with a USB female connector on it.
. According to the Palm Info Center review, the SJ-22 doesn't have the "enhanced" IR support that gives other Clie models a decent range when controlling consumer electronics. I'd wondered about that, given the lack of the remote control application.
. The standard Palm applications have little change; they are pretty much as they've been since I first looked at a PalmPilot Personal.
. Address book: Like the T-415, the Edit screen reserves quite a bit of screen space for an image. Since most entries presumably won't have an image, this seems like a waste of screen real estate. Better would be to have a relatively small "no image" notation that expands when you select an image.
. I thought there were mechanisms on the color PalmOS systems to select a color theme. I don't see one on the SJ-22. Perhaps this is a PalmOS 5 feature.
. I find the LauncherIII use of the Memory Stick for storing applications to be superior to the basic PalmOS launcher support. While the PalmOS launcher requires that you select a special category to run applications from the Memory Stick, LauncherIII lets you have shortcuts that behave just like RAM-based applications, but slower to start.
. PictureGear Pocket and PhotoStand, which allow you to carry pictures of your kids on your palmtop. The pictures seem to range from 140K to 200K, so it's not very practical to store more than a few in RAM. Putting the pictures on a Memory Stick is supported, and makes it reasonable to carry hundreds of pictures if you like. I suspect that a Memory Stick from a Sony camera is directly supported, though I don't know.
. Clie Paint is a relatively simple paint program. Aside from its non-Palm user interface, it works fine. It can load photos downloaded for PictureGear Pocket, making doodling more interesting.
. powerOne Personal is a more advanced calculator than the standard Palm calculator. As distributed, it includes mathematical functions like trigonometric and logarithmic functions, and some business and calendar functions. Additional functions are downloadable, though I haven't looked at them yet. I'm an HP fan from the old days, so so far I prefer RPN.
. Kinoma Player lets you play movies. At about 50K per second, this doesn't seem very realistic. Perhaps a short clip of the kids. Putting movies on a Memory Stick would be reasonable, but I don't see any indications that it can be done. In addition, the lack of sound support makes movies less than totally interesting.
. Unchanged from the T-415, there's a Memory Stick management suite. Card Info tells you about the Memory Stick you've inserted. MS Backup backs up the entire RAM onto the Memory Stick. MS Gate gives you a file management interface for moving databases and applications between RAM and the Memory Stick. (I use it to move Quo Vadis maps to RAM when I need them - I keep several states on the Memory Stick.) MS Import makes the unit look like a USB disk drive and lets you easily move files to the Memory Stick from your PC. (That's how I get the Quo Vadis files to the palmtop.) MS Autorun lets you select an application to run or a database to install when a Memory Stick is inserted.
. World Alarm Clock, unchanged from the T-415, seems almost useless. Who needs an alarm clock per se when one has the DateBook? Sure, it displays the time in several time zones, but so do BigClock and CityTime, and they don't display the times in a microscopic font, and BigClock is free.