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10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2005
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  1. Medical Student
I'm about to start 3rd year and looking for a cheap pda. I don't really know anything about PDAs. If I use it a lot, I'll probably buy a smartphone eventually. But for now, I just want cheap and functional.

Are there minimum specs I should look for to run epocrates and the other big medical programs? The Palm z22 is cheap on ebay. But maybe that doesn't have enough memory?

Any thoughts on how important it is to have a PDA? I'm tempted to just buy a pocket Pharmacoepia and use the hospital computers.



10+ Year Member
Mar 29, 2008
You might be better served by purchasing a used PDA from other students at your school. Make sure it's running at least version 5 of the Palm OS if you buy a Palm. The z22 is cheap, but it doesn't have an expansion slot for a memory card, so you'll run out of space very quickly. It doesn't even have enough memory for the full deluxe version of epocrates that includes various other references.

If you purchase a Windows Mobile device, I suggest getting one that is running version 5 or 6. The older 2003 versions may lose support pretty soon.

Make sure your PDA has an expansion slot for a memory card. Few devices come with enough internal memory for all the different utilities you'll want to install.

Finally, I recommend getting one that has wi-fi. Most hospitals have wi-fi networks now, so you may find it handy to browse and access certain features while doing your clinical rotations.

Here's a handy article for reference:


If you're really tight on cash, then get a cheap one for now. If you end up needing something better, sell it and get a better one. It's better to have something so that you can learn more efficiently while you're on the wards.
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