HP iPAQ Classic 110
Purchased: $150, in-person exchange on craigslist, Fall 2008
A great upgrade from my previous iPAQ (though I haven't been able to discard the other one because it has an IR port handy for remote control). It is easy to use and fast, making applications such as Skype also a wonderful addition, making the PDA a mobile phone as well (I've made calls from Portugal to the United States). With so many applications to add it becomes almost a good substitute for a netbook.
Pros: Windows Mobile 6 allows for a lot of applications to run, memory and processing are fast.
Cons: A speaker on the back muffles any sound you might enjoy, though it makes for a convenient earpiece.
HP Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard
Purchased: $20.10, purchased in bulk (3 units total) via eBay
In order to maximize your output via the iPAQ, this little nifty gadget is a must. It folds into a size of a small book, and unfolded it comes to the size of a relatively small keyboard. It connects to the iPAQ via a Bluetooth connection and requires 2 AAA batteries.
Pros: Makes it very easy to write into your iPAQ. Connection via Bluetooth is fairly simple.
Cons: There is no off button, which means the batteries are always, in some fashion, being used.
Canon Powershot Pro Series S3 IS 6MP
Purchased: $249.99, September 2007 on Amazon.com
The Canon S3 belongs in a category of its own, in particular because it can do so much, despite the price and its size. My first reaction upon purchase was that it was so small- it fit snugly in my hand, and yet it felt rugged and strong enough for the bumps that I would undoubtedly subject it to.
I wasn't keen on purchasing those 10MP cameras that have recently made their appearance- my personal experience was that more megapixels meant a larger photo size, but didn't translate well into better pictures. I wanted something solid, something built to take good photographs, one that gave me enough control over the shots I'd take.
Sony Cybershot DSC-P92
Purchased: $100, spring 2006 via in-person purchase on craigslist
A wonderful, rugged camera well worth its price, I bought this camera in anticipation of the Five Boro Bike Tour that I would be riding later that spring, as well as summer plan which would no doubt necessitate the use of a camera. With 3x zoom and 5 megapixels of resolution, the pictures came out crisp and clean- most of the times. The results under dark light were less than satisfactory, and the starup time, lens extension and flash load times made for a rather frustrating experience at times. The proprietary Sony memory card was an annoying but necessary purchase, too.
Pros: Very reasonable price, compact size and rugged construction makes it feel very good in the hands.
Cons: Slow startup, picture quality mediocre at times.
Purchased: approximately $180, spring 2006 from in-person purchase via craigslist
The iPAQ RX3100 has served me very well, to say the least, and I recently purchased a foldable keyboard to maximize my use of it. Quite frankly, it serves a multiplicity of uses, allowing me to type up documents, connect wirelessly to the internet, use bluetooth, listen to music, use remote control on my TV, watch videos, listen to streaming audio... the list is endless. No need to use something fancy and more likely to break. The iPAQ is rugged, solid, and powerful.
Pros: Removable battery to replace, lots and lots of integrated useful tools, small in size.
Cons: Very few, if any. It was too bad that the device doesn't have an integrated camera, but then again I've given up on getting a device that does everything well. It's worth much more to have different gadgets that do each independently, but very well.
Purchased: approximately €30, sometime late 2004 or early 2005 from in-person purchase via eBay
Battered and abused, this little marvel I will never find a suitable replacement for. Surprisingly I have not been able to find it anywhere online for purchase since then. The most amazing thing is that it runs 50 hours on one single AA battery and I have definitely tested that to the limit. It does it by turning off the display after a set amount of time, lending others to think that I am listening to absolutely nothing. It has a measly 256MB of internal storage but space for plenty more.
Pros: 50 hours of music on one AA battery. Enough said.
Cons: Unfortunately they require their own software to transfer songs and you can't download a song from the player onto your computer.
Purchased: €30 (~$40), October 2004 from in-person purchase via eBay
I had been eyeing the PDA ever since a trip to Japan and the tech world that was to be found practically everywhere there. After careful review of other brands, and recognizing that the PalmVx, while clearly superseded in favor of color-screen wireless PDAs that cost several times as much, I still knew that it had been immensely popular, sporting IR and enough space (8MB of RAM) as well as a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It is a great tool for a rugged device capable of your basic word processing needs (made extremely convenient with a foldup keyboard) and feels very solid as well.
Pros: Rechargeable battery, decent amount of space and holds charge well, capacity to add a lot of applications, upgrade to newer OS.
Cons: Requires a serial port that newer computers (like my current one) are now phasing out, which means the need to purchase a serial-to-USB connection.