HandEra 330 review - Healthcare's "Dream Machine"

It was Voltaire who first wrote that common sense was not all that common. Looking back at some of the missteps in the handheld device manufacturing world shows that hardware manufacturers are not immune to Voltaire's missive. Handspring's "Visor Edge" or Palm's "Claudia Schiffer Edition" are two examples that immediately spring to mind: both were feeble attempts to win over customers with style, but failed because they lacked substance. Handspring's Visor Edge is a failure because they tried to to get into the "slim and trim" game and still support their clunky Springboard modules and produced a unit that achieves neither goal very well. Palm's "Claudia Schiffer Edition" was a nonstarter because ... well, because nobody cared.

Thankfully the engineers at HandEra chose to use history as a servant, not a master. HandEra built their new offering on the same basic chassis as the TRGpro, but they took the venerable TRGpro and gave it a slightly sleeker housing and then proceeded to cram it full of innovations.

The choice to focus on technological innovations and to use an existing (albeit slightly modified) chassis is a welcome relief from the crop of "designer" products that are hitting the market. By encasing the new HandEra in the same basic housing, users will be able to use all of their Palm III compatible accessories. We are all growing weary of being required to go out and get a a new set of accessories each time a new "designer" product that has few new features but a "bold" new form comes out.

Apart from increasing the real cost of ownership, this constant changing of form factors is making for an incompatible world of gadgets that is increasingly frustrating to operate in. It seems the handheld industry thinks little of backward compatibility of devices and is focused on the next latest "look". Breaking with the current trend, the engineer team at HandEra chose to expend their energies and creative thoughts in an area that really matters .... functionality .... and we're glad they did.

Yes, HandEra did give a nod to aesthetics, and gave the HandEra a nice chrome front, but you very quickly come to realize that this machine was designed and built by mobile device enthusiasts who craved much more that just a another pretty face. Expandability and storage are once again the hallmarks of the HandEra product. The 330 comes with two separate expansion slots capable of accessing three types of media: The Compact Flash (CF), Secure Digital (SD) and MultiMedia Cards.

What all this means to you is; you can now swap cards (information) with just about any, software compatible, device (handheld or otherwise) on the market today: Excluding Handspring & Sony , who are still dedicated to their proprietary expansion systems. You can also utilize a wireless modem, like the enfora (formerly nextcell) PocketSpider in the CF slot while still accessing the vast amounts of data you have stored on your SD Card. Flexibility, compatibility and computability have attained new heights in the 330!

The second most striking feature of the 330 is it's screen. HandEra has introduced a revolutionary new screen technology: The 1/4 VGA high resolution 240x320 screen. It's a gray scale (monochrome) screen, but what a gray scale it is! More than just a high resolution screen the viewable area has increased as well. By incorporating a virtual Graffiti area, users now have some interesting choices available to them. With a tap of the stylus you can make the Graffiti area drop out of sight and increase the usable viewing area or you can select the landscape mode and view data in a "wide screen" format.


Our Favorite "Cool Extras"

  • The Jog Wheel allows for one handed navigation... how many times have you wished for that?


  • A full sized reset button that will accommodate the tip of an ordinary stylus, no more fiddling with ridiculous, tiny reset pins.
  • Optional battery configurations: The 330 comes standard with 4 AAA batteries, doubling the time between replacements. Or you can order a removable, rechargeable, Lithium Ion battery pack ...how's that for a smooth way of ending the debate over rechargeable Vs replaceable?
  • Voice Pad software, embedded microphone and enhanced speakers enable voice recording on the fly. Need to remind yourself of an important event? Simply record a voice memo for playback later. The software will allow you to record to your CF & SD cards so you can record as long a message as your storage cards allow. The quality is fine for voice but but is not recommended for music playback.
  • 33MHz Motorola DragonBall-VZ, CPU gives you the speed to access all that data you've got stored on those CF & SD cards.
  • A special fully functional registered copy of Quickoffice that has been enhanced to take advantage of the 330's larger screen and higher resolution. Quickoffice is a suite of powerful utilities that you can use to synchronize with Microsoft Excel, build charts, or create and edit Word compatible text. "The Quickoffice suite was a natural choice for the new HandEra 330 handheld, because it is the most powerful business productivity suite offered for the Palm OS." - Michael Downey, Chairman and CEO of HandEra ...( we could not have said it better- RNpalm )

Software Compatibility

Some compatibility issues are sure to arise when new screen technology is introduced. The HandEra is no exception. Some compatibility issues have been raised, however most are trivial (mostly gaming software) and will be overcome. The important software i.e. NursingDrugs and all other clinical software developed by Skyscape, we've run without a glitch.


For a complete list of specifications click here

Wish list for the future

  • An option to choose a Color screen.
  • USB connectivity.


The HandEra 330 with it's dual expansion slots and ground breaking screen technology (not to mention all the other many innovations) is the ideal mobile device for healthcare.


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