I had a Palm M515 (I think that's the right model) and generally loved it. It's wonderful to make notes or schedule stuff and then have it on both the handheld and the desktop computer via the hot-sync. I also had the Documents to Go. I would think one with a camera would be ideal with the added bonus of on-the-spot documentation of existing conditions. On the downside, I placed mine on its recharge cradle and went back to it in about 20 minutes and it was hotter than blazes - so much that I could barely touch it. I couldn't find any evidence of it being mis-seated on the cradle nor any physical damage but it obviously had something wrong because it cooked as it sat there. I did a google.com search for info on Palm problems and found that cracking the screen is both common, ruins the device, and is not covered nor easily repaired. I carried mine in a neoprene Palm case that was extra cushy and I don't remember it being dropped or handled roughly but that's a possibility. I'll probably get another handheld for the convenience but I'm not sure it'll be a Palm.
If I get a PC-based handheld there's a version of ConstructCALC (see it at http://www.winest.com/products/other/calc.asp
) for it that matches what I use on my PC at work.
I lug around a laptop daily and it's NOT fun. I just got a backpack for it yesterday and that's an improvement. I also have a couple of docking stations for it which make it much more tolerable to use at either end of the journey.
There are some advantages:
- sit in front of the screen as few times as possible for any particular event (data entry, report writing, quote building, etc);
- all data is available where you are working
- larger keyboard/pad makes typing easier
There are also disadvantages:
- Heavy or cumbersome to carry
- more wear & tear on laptop
- overkill on many occasions
- space to work in a truck might make it less convenient