Very good, for the price
feature set: memory card slot, camera, bright screen, Multi-media, wifi/bluetooth. Standard connections.
Whine, charging connection not covered and always open to dust, some windows incompatibilities.
The Bottom Line:
Has something for everyone from newbie to geek. Worth passing on to your kid when business needs require more, but that may be a while.
I bought a second hand Zire 72 after giving up on HP honoring their product warranty. I'd had nothing but trouble with HP PDAs and the HP warranties aren't worth the paper they're printed on, so I figured I'd try out a Palm product.
I searched models, and found the Zire 72 had a lot of the high end features I was used to using.(My previous HPs had been top of the line models bought for business use.) I was close to giving up on electronic planners and going back to the big paper planners, but you really get spoiled by the convenience and the multi-media features. So I cheated and went on ebay to find a cheap used model for my experiment.
The 72 is a solid performer, and well worth what I paid, and probably worth the retail price as well.
It has a nice, bright screen, although it struggles in sunlight, as do many screens of this type. While we're talking about screens, let me suggest that if this is your first PDA, do yourself a favor and make sure you get a screen protector on right away. Should be standard equipment sold with them.
The stylus IS a bit different, but I find that a positive as most stylii feel cheap and flimsy. This one is hefty, with a solid feel in the hand for something so slim, and it stays in its sheath fairly well. (third party replacements don't snick into place as snugly and are prone to loss, but as they're cheap, buy them in multiples and scatter them in logical places...ash tray, desk drawer, purse, etc)
The camera only works well in bright light, and doesn't take very clear photos. It IS clear enough for me to take a picture of a business card so I could copy the information into my contacts list. It's also a nice feature that allows me to take a photo of the person in my contact list, there being a spot in each address for the photo. I use this for people I don't see often, like a medical specialist, or case workers for someone I transport. If you have trouble attaching names and faces, this is a feature you might find useful, especially for those of you in sales.
I really like that it takes a memory card, as that lets me keep a decent music library and use it as an MP3/4 player. There's no equalizer, but I suppose there's software you could download that would replace the provided media player and could allow you to tune the sound quality.
Having the memory expansion slot opens up a world of features. You can store every one of your photos on a single card and take them ALL with you when you go to visit family. The image isn't much smaller than a regular photo, or you can connect your pda to Aunt Mary's computer and show them on her big computer screen.
I'm not a fan of graffitti. Sometimes it's faster to just use the screen keyboard and then make corrections later. The notepad isn't as user-friendly as the Windows version. (size limitations)
The calendar isn't as elegant as some Window offerings, but the standard software does the job well.
I've never been able to get the email feature to work, but that's just me not understanding the setup.
There is an annoying high-pitched whine issuing from the right side of the PDA. As I'm deaf to that tone in my right ear, I barely hear it. Annoys the heck out of my cat, though.
Recently, the charger quit making a clean connection. Have to repeatedly connect the charger until the green charge light goes on. Charging could be improved by having a cradle with less wiggle-room.
The silver finish is holding up well, especially since I tend to not keep it in a case.
I've had only one reset since I got the thing last summer. Nothing lost. I'm not using all the features, such as bluetooth and internet, but they're there if I want them. This is a model that can satisfy a wide range of technical sophistication, growing with the newbie or providing a wide range of basic services to the technogeek.
What do I miss in this model? Excel/Word, and a biomorphic scanner for security.