Thread: Best PDA for Law School?
04-16-2001, 04:43 PM #1RobbyS13Guest
My brother is going to Law School this Fall, and I'd like to get him a new PDA. He's using my old Everex A-20 right now so he's somewhat familiar with CE.
All you lawyers or lawyers-to-be out there with PDAs, any input on the best PDA for a law-student? Pros and Cons? Thanks.
04-16-2001, 05:28 PM #2
Yes! Another lawyer that likes PDA's, great! It depends on the needs of your brother.
If he is like I was in Law School, he will like multimedia. But where I had to use the original Sony Quartz Walkman, he can use any Pocket PC to play MP3 files. You know, to concentrate better .
The built in PIM functionality of a Pocket PC is good (even better if you get PocketInformant), and you can also use the Pocket PC for notetaking through Pocket Word. If you would take an iPAQ or a Jornada, you could add a Stowaway keyboard for on speed data entry. He can always add extra memory or add a modem for net connectivity. Add a nice database program like HanDBase, and keep yourself organised at all time. Your options are unlimited.
In short: if your brother want only PIM and data entry, a Palm might be sufficient. But if he wants a pocketable computer with all added funtionality in the multimedia / net access field, go Pocket PC.
I have no preference for one of the big namens in Pocket PCs. In short IMO it comes down to:
iPAQ for speed and outside visability
Casio for screen and best built in expandability in E125
Jornada for durability and most business looks.
04-16-2001, 06:03 PM #3
In this case it really is the software that makes the decision, not the PDA. Both Palm OS and PocketPC devices can be sued for calendaring, to take notes with a keyboard, etc.
Software is the key here- make sure that he has a good DOC reader and knows about Memoware.com, because there are quite a few legal texts available for free there. http://www.pdajd.com and http://www.lexisonewireless.com are other good sites for more info. Also, some legal textbooks come bundled with both a CD-ROM and a printed book. They cost a bit more, but it'll be worth it when he can download cases he might need in class to his PDA and annotate them right there in the same file.
Same thing with either PocketInformant for PocketPC or ActionNames for the Palm. If you are thinking long term, a number of time and billing software applications are available for the Palm OS that tie in directly with popular packages at law firms, including Carpe Diem, etc.- he could enter time and expenses on the go and save an incredible amount of work as a young associate. They don't all get secretaries anymore, and most major law firms expect attorneys to enter in their own time sheets these days.
Certainly a modem, either wireless or landline, for email and net access. More and more administrative functions are going straight to the Internet these days. At some law schools, course schedules, etc. are exclusively online, as well as job postings, announcements, etc. Sure, he can go to the computer lab in the library when he needs to, but a PDA with Net access would be ideal.
Keyboard is of course a given. I take class notes every day with my Palm and PPK, and he could do the same as you mentioned with either an iPaq or Jornada.
BTW-- You're a great brother for doing this!!
04-16-2001, 06:17 PM #4
- Join Date
- Mar 2001
- Washington, DC, USA
Jen, an apt typo (in a post for lawyers): "Both Palm OS and PocketPC devices can be *sued* for calendaring, to take notes with a keyboard, etc".
04-16-2001, 06:29 PM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2000
Your brother may like the IPaq for its speed, sleekness, and portable keyboard, especially when he wants to edit his notes outdoors during breaks.
The Cassiopeia E-125 is probably the best bet if he is assigned to a seat that is not near an outlet. He can purchase several rechargable batteries so he'll never be without entertainment. He may also be interested in purchasing a microdrive or two for notes and entertainment. Hopefully a portable keyboard will become available soon.
If he is interested in a HPC Pro, consider the NEC Mobile Pro 780. It has a typeable keyboard, a half-size screen, and plenty of power. I've had mine for almost two years and It makes note-taking, faxing, and studying a breeze. I carry it along with my Pocket PC when I study, because it is easier to review briefs on the NEC 780 screen than on the Pocket PC screen.
04-16-2001, 07:06 PM #6Scott(E)SGuest
As a former law student...
I would, without reservation, pick the Compaq, because it's screen is best for taking notes, studying, etc., under the widest variety of lighting situations. I say this as a Jornada user. (If he's a fumblefingers, though, get a case!). He almost certainly will want to study outdoors or in the library, and the Casio and Jornada screens simply wash out too easily under too many types of lighthing.
I would definitely give him a Stowaway keyboard, too. At the risk of dating myself, I had an old 1 lb. Radio Shack 100; it was great to take notes on.
IMHO, I would definitely choose a PocketPC, mostly because it's easier to work with documents on the desktop.
Good luck to him (and you are a great brother for thinking of this).
04-16-2001, 07:37 PM #7GGGuest
I'm two weeks away from completing law school. I currently own a Handspring Prism. For the past few years, I've been lugging around a Dell laptop along with my book bag. With the release of the Targus Stowaway keyboard and a work processing program like WordSmith (I love WordSmith, by the way), I could have carried it all in one bag. Further, my Prism gets a full day and a half of solid use on one charge - try that with a laptop!
Anyway, if I had to start from 1L all over . . . I'd get a color PDA and a matching Targus Stowaway keyboard. Which PDA? Well . . . I'll try to keep it short (too late already):
For organization, reading Avantgo and e-texts only, I would go with a color Palm OS device - Handspring Prism, or (the new) Palm m505. Both have the ability for expanded memory, albeit different formate - Handspring utilizes proprietary modules while the m505 utilizes SD cards.
For listening to MP3 audio, I'd recommend a Pocket PC - HP 548 or 525, or Compaq Ipaq. Now here's a twist on MP3 functionality. I'm considering purchasing an HP 545 or 525 along with the largest compact flash memory card I can find - last I checked, 256MB. I would then convert my bar review audio CD's to MP3 format and download them to the cf card. From what I understand, I could nearly carry most, if not all, of my audio multistate review material on the cf card. I hope this helps.
04-16-2001, 08:15 PM #8GGGuest
I forgot to mention why I would purchase a color PDA with a Targus keyboard - so I wouldn't have to carry around a laptop and an AC adaptor.
Regarding word processing . . .
If you buy a Palm device (and please . . . make sure it's color, whether it's a IIIC, Prism, or m505), I highly recommend WordSmith software - find it at www.bluenomad.com. Transferring documents between a PC and Palm PDA is painless. It's also a very compact and powerful word processor for the Palm OS.
If you buy a Pocket PC device, no problems - you've got Pocket MS Word built-in already. I've not used Pocket Word extensively, but it seems sufficient for portable word processing needs.
Which PDA? Basically, two camps - Palm OS and Pocket PC.
Palm OS: I have preordered Palm's new m505. Aside from that, I highly recommend the Handspring Prism. The only reason I'm switching - size. The Prism is large . . . the m505 is not. On the downside, both are expensive at $400++. You can get a great deal on the Palm IIIc (Palm recently slashed prices on older models), which has the same screen hardware-wise as the Prism. However, the IIIc displays only 256 colors, while the Prism displays 65k colors. Both have the same brightness and contrast.
Compaq - I've owned the iPaq - but it was from an early production run. I had lots of problems with it, but I understand that in the latest production runs, they have addressed those problems (too many to list here).
HP - I'm leaning towards the HP, because it is THE smallest pocket PC having a BUILT-IN compact flash slot (type I). For reasons I mentioned in my last post, I'm attracted to the CF cards as a means of data storage. Right now, it's a toss up between the 525 ($350, 16MB ram, no screen cover, serial synch) and 548 ($450, 32MB ram, screen cover, USB synch, AND free targus stowaway keyboard after rebate at CompUSA). I've tried both, with the same settings, the 525 screen is brighter, although it displays only 256 colors versus 4,096(?) colors on the 548.
Casio - Both the E125 and EM500 have beautiful screens - arguably the best viewing indoors. Both have memory expansion options - the 125 (I think) uses CF, and the EM500 utilizes SD/MMC cards. My problem with them is that they're bricks - big bricks. OK, the EM500 is not that bad size-wize, but still larger than the HPs.
Confused? I'm only considering the HP because I'm getting impatient waiting for the m505 - it's drivin' me nuts. One more week, I'm gonna snap and buy the HP. Otherwise, if I can wait, I'll get my m505 and purchase a separate mp3 player (for music and bar review audio courses).
04-16-2001, 10:39 PM #9
As an attorney who used a Sharp laptop for heavy notetaking all 3 years of law school, I have to say a great keyboard is critical. I would personally recommend something like an IBM Z50 or Sharp Mobilon (I think IGO has these on sale for $449 brand new) or one of the HP's. Battery life is sufficient for a day's use (you can recharge in the law library , lightweight, instant on, windows ce, all one piece, has trackpoint and is perhaps a bit less "geeky" than a palmtop attached to a keyboard (and I love palmtops -- don't get me wrong).
I also have an IBM Z50 and with keys 90% the size of a true IBM keyboard, it's a touch typist's dream (and silent). My Z50 can run almost 8 hours with the standard battery and you can also purchase additional batteries and/or a dry cell case if you're really concerned about battery life.
The other alternative is to get a laptop with great battery life, a spare battery or two and you're good to go. Processing power is not much of an issue since notetaking (and outline creation) is all I did with mine. I'd say any Pentium class machine with WordPerfect (hey, I'm a lawyer) would be great. I took all my notes in WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS (dating myself, or what?)
A torts outline, anyone? (hehehe)
04-16-2001, 11:20 PM #10
- Join Date
- Sep 2000
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Just my .02 cents
As a lawyer I would say that storage memory is critical because generally, lawyers deal with a lot of information (probably we interact with more information than any other proffessional), so I went with the Ipaq and it's expandability.
I've been able to have in my Kingston Datapak, lots of cases in reader format, and also, been able to carry a Handbase database with the history of my most important clients.
So, if there is an important case I'd like to read, or perhaps, refresh my memory, I just open my MS Reader. If I want to know the status of a case, I just have to open my database. I could only do this with a good storage memory option, and the Kingston 2gb its a very good one. I'm expecting the 5gb or the 10gb that have been anounced from Toshiba, so that I could increase the size of the law data I carry.
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