Dr. Eye for Palm

A new version of Dr. Eye has been released that is compatible with Palm OS 3.5,4.0,4.1 and 5.0. Retail price is 699. I think it’s really nice for the price (I bought a copy).

Here’s the link

What does Dr. Eye do? The site is all in Chinese?

It’s basically a Chinese-English / English-Chinese dictionary. It has 100,000 English entries and 50,000 Chinese entries. It also has this feature that allows you to select a word (English or Chinese) and a window will pop up with a translation.

I was about to buy the Oxford dictionary for Palm when a friend noticed that there was a new version of Dr. Eye for palm. It’s a lot cheaper and (according to my friend) better.

It’s setup for people that don’t know English, but after you get the hang of using it, it’s all good.

Is there a demo somewhere? I’d like to evaluate it, but I’m not gonna pay 699 to figure out that the English is crap, or something like that. (Sorry, haven’t seen the good Doctor Eye for a few years, but our last encounter did not show me much in his favor.)

OK, guys, just visited the Web site and had a look around.

Keep in mind that this is a product intended for Chinese speakers. There doesn’t seem to be a convenient display of the pronunciation of the character you are looking up, on the pop-up window type of lookup. If you use the regular dictionary, so far as I can tell, it will give you bopomofo or Pinyin.

Be aware of footprint issues too – the “slim” installation takes up 3.9 MB and gives you only the first definition for each character (this is listed in the box at the bottom of the page). Looks like it would be 5.3MB to get the Chinese features – the largest installation seems to offer more English features, not additional Chinese. So we’re talking 5.3MB PLUS your Chinese system.

I don’t see many features offered by the Oxford, such as flash cards, handwriting input (that might depend on your Chinese system, but on the Oxford the Chinese system is included, in case you don’t want a Chinese system on your Palm for anything else – so count the Chinese OS in your additional footprint calculations), Pinyin lookup (with and without tone numbers), etc.

Compare footprint too (and remember that Oxford includes the Chinese support you need, which is extra memory for Dr. Eye):

(Oxford dictionary memory requirements)
English-Chinese dictionary with one font file 1543K
Chinese-English dictionary with one font and radical table 1575K
Chinese-English dictionary with one font, radical table and handwriting recognition 1864K
Full install, with traditional and simplified character support and handwriting recognition along with both dictionaries 3585K
Full install plus high resolution fonts 4555K

I don’t see the advantage to Dr. Eye based on the above, other than a small price differential (the Oxford is $39.95 right now, so it does cost a bit more, but I’d rather pay for something that’s going to work for me.) Dr. Eye might be OK for more advanced learners but for the average Joe or someone who doesn’t want to struggle quite so much (like me) I’d still recommend the Oxford from www.pleco.com

I would just be cautious with a product designed for learners of English. It’s the same with Far East’s products. They do not listen to what learners of Chinese need (although I’m sure they believe they do). They simply continue designing products for Chinese people, their major market, and then translate the packaging or write up a nice blurb about how the product is so useful for foreigners learning Chinese. But there is no thought given to whether or not it really IS useful. Fair enough – not their market. The companies just want to milk a little extra money and to their mind, it’s perfectly suitable for foreigners to use. It’s just that they never bother to ask any of them.

Ok, been using it for almost a week now. A few more things to add.

The auto look up things is pretty useless. When you look up words in English, there isn’t a pinyin or zhuyin pronunciation. The full install is big, but you can install the database files on to an SD Card, which makes what’s on the palm only about 160K.

So far this has been exactly what I wanted it to be. The main thing I use it for is to look up characters that I don’t know (like on a sign or something), and for me it’s been doing that well.

I also agree with what ironlady wrote.

For the average joe I’d give this a D-, because you need to have your own Chinese OS to use it (most cost, more setup hassles), you can’t look characters up phonetically (no pinyin and zhuyin) and it’s setup for Chinese learners of English so all of the menus are in Chinese.

But, for more advanced learners I’d give it a B, because of everything being in Chinese it kind of forces you to up your skills.