Zire Straits

I’ve had a Palm Zire 71 for over a year now, and it’s been a decent multiple-use handheld. In addition to the standard Palm OS features, it also includes a digital camera and music capability, both of which function acceptably. The camera, though not drop-dead exquisite, produces good enough photos for 0.3MP; while music playback, though quite soft on the default MP3 player, can be ramped up with PTunes or AeroPlayer.

Anyway, after a year with the Zire 71, I noticed that the last batch of photos — the cherry blossoms — was looking rather hazy in places, and a close look at the handheld’s camera revealed the problem: a miniature dust bunny (or perhaps pocket lint) had gotten between the glass window and the camera lens. That’s what was causing the hazy diffusion.

At this point, I’m well past warranty, so PalmOne’s official Zire 71 repairs will set me back at least $125 — which I estimate to be about the resale value of this handheld in its current condition. Another riskier option, but also much more fun, is to take the unit apart and clean it myself: an exciting, no-holds-barred, all-or-nothing gambit.

So what’s a handheld user to do? Get it repaired at exorbitant rates, sell it as “slightly defective” for a dusty camera lens, or disassemble it? (The last option is the most tempting, I must say.) In any case, if I get rid of the Zire 71, I may opt to settle for an older, cheaper handheld for the time being, just for simplicity’s sake. (Well, in truth, to tide me over till a decent smartphone falls within my price range.)

Update: Also posted to AxMe.