Visor Hands On

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

Lucius Kwok

My friend just received his blue Handspring Visor Deluxe yesterday. The first thing that I noticed is the translucent blue case on the Visor. Its translucency makes the Palm III look like yesterday’s technology, but its angular form seems unrefined. Its size abd the standard Palm OS collection of silk-screened and physical buttons are about the same as a Palm III, with different styling.

What I like about the Visor are the expansion port on the back, the quality of the display, the USB cradle, its 8 megabytes, and its price. What I don’t like are the weak backlight, the clumsy-to-use cover, and the plastic stylus.

The display is very readable, with high contrast, and as good as the Palm V’s display. The USB cradle is translucent and light, but I haven’t tried HotSyncing via USB yet. And with the 8 MB deluxe model going for less than US$250, it’s a bargain.

The cover on the Visor attaches at the top and bottom, and can be attached on the front to protect the screen or on the back when you’re using the Visor. However, the action of removing the cover to use it is less elegant than flipping up the cover as on the Palm.

The plastic stylus is nowhere near as solid as the metal styluses that you can get for the Palm organizers, and the stylus holder on the back can hold only the plastic stylus. Of course you can use non-Visor styluses, but you’ll be carrying around an extra stylus. Or you can use your fingertip.

And one last minor quibble is that the backlight is nowhere near as bright on the Visor as it is on the Palm. On the Visor, the backlight is only usable in a room with all the lights off.

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