|09-14-2005, 09:39 PM||#1|
Recovering Gadget Addict
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Real life Treo 650 evaluation
As a Treo 650 user for many months now, I think I'm finally qualified to give some thoughts about the device. Bottom line is that it's a great device, if you are okay with the tradeoffs of a smartphone device with an integrated physical thumboard.
What I want to do here is not cover the same old territory that so many others have covered already in some excellent Treo 650 reviews, but instead to provide real life observations after much daily use. My observations should be pretty common among users for the most part, but everyone has their own preferences and concerns so it's just my opinions. At least I think most Treo 650 users will read my thoughts and respond with "Yeah, that's right" or "Yeah, I can see why he feels that way." Feel free to share your own thoughts in the replies to this post.
What a fantastic device! All around it's solid, well designed hardware and software, and it's a pleasure to use. The keyboard is so much more wonderful than I could have imagined and is useful in navigating by first letter in a way that I never expected. I went from skeptic to believer in one-handed operation without a stylus almost instantly. If you try it, you'll know what I mean, and I've heard the same comment from others consistently. I rarely ever use a stylus now, even though it's right there for me any time I want it.
Nice little touches
The one real regret I have about the Treo is the carrier. I'm using a Verizon plan which gives me only 10meg/month for $20 data charge. Unlimited is $40/mo, and they specifically rule out streaming content and using it as a modem, and other important uses.
You can't go without a data plan because the phone connects when you don't expect it and the per KB charge is high. That also makes airtime charge plans unusable because if it connects when you don't know it, you might get charged for a long, long phone call you didn't initiate.
I wish I had gone with Sprint's $15/mo plan even if I had to pay $150-$180 to break my commitment. It's frustrating using a wireless pda and smartphone having to worry about data usage. You'd be surprised how fast you can use up a meg. So I shy away from the email, blogging, web surfing, music streaming, remote terminal, and other wonderful wireless apps that you expect to get a smartphone for. I just can't justify paying $40/mo for the data plan.
To give you an idea of the impact of just email, it uses 4k/sync just to connect and determine if mail is available. You do that every 15mins, plus download some email and it eats up a fair amount of your data budget just for email. Not prohibitive, but small amounts add up. I think at the settings I was using, probably at 15min intervals only during daytime hours, it came to something like 1meg/month.
Cingular is probably a similar price, so it also makes one wonder what will happen during the term of commitment once you choose a provider. Will Sprint start charging more? Will Verizon lower prices? Will they all just increase prices with the reasoning that they have upgraded their networks to high speed connections that you have to pay for whether your device is high speed or not? I don't trust the carriers to be fair and reasonable, or even honest and forthright in what their reps say. So for now, I guess it's sort of a buyer beware situation.
One nice thing about the Treo is that the device makes it clear in most cases when you are connecting to the network. I'm not sure that applies to text and multimedia messaging connections, though, which might appear and hang around without you knowing it.
One example of how rediculous things are... Web surfing on the Treo. You can surf WAP sites to your heart's content on the phones that are $50 with contract. I had one, so I know. The charge for that? It's only $5/month! But you do the same thing on a Verizon Treo and you get charged $40/month! That's not right. You say, "But on the Treo you're doing heavy duty surfing so it doesn't compare." Well, not really. If you surf on a Treo, it's painfully slow (especially if you have to turn the phone on and get connected to the network first) so you may only use it for things you really need to get to. You're not likely to do heavy surfing. And the data volumes pile up fast when you count by the KBs! I basically stick with WAP sites anyway just because it's a pain to surf general sites. You can do that, and I'm sure many people do it, but between data usage and the slowness, it's just not something I want to do often.
But before we call the carriers thieves and blackmailers, there is a balance. They have to protect the amount of usage on the network, and there are heavy costs to recoup for infrastructure. Until it's mainstream, we carry a large part of the burden as early adopters. Additionally, they are understandably nervous about becoming simply a utility that supplies the network pipes and nothing else. As a result they are very focused on controlling how you use the network and ways to charge you for it and for content and features. They want to be able to make money on the business into the future, and for the time being they are the only game in town for nearly ubiquitous connectivity because wi-fi has a ways to go.
Okay, now that I've tried very hard to be fair, I'll tell you that I still don't trust them, don't think their tactics are fair and honest, and that if they become unimportant or become a less-profitable commodity I won't mind one bit. I think they basically give only lip service to serving the customer, and are cutthroat competitors willing to scalp you to make a profit in the short run. But that's just my opinion, and I reserve the right to change my mind if they prove themselves worthy of the control they desire.
By the way, I use Phone Tools Pro Suite to track my minutes and data usage. If you need to keep track it's a fantastic way to do it.
Things I wish it had
Last edited by BobR; 09-15-2005 at 04:34 PM. Reason: Spelling/Clarity
|09-14-2005, 10:35 PM||#2|
Join Date: Jul 2005
Device: Treo 650
Very good review
I've had a Treo 650 on Verizon for almost 4 months now. Everything you say is true, but there are a couple of other points:
1) I find that if I am in a location where the Verizon connectivity is "iffy" and the Treo spends time search for a Network it uses up a lot of power.
2) When you get an incoming call, after the call is over, if the number is not in your contacts you are asked if you want to add it. If you tap on "Yes" it takes you to the contact screen where you can fill in additional information.
All in all a great device.
|09-14-2005, 10:48 PM||#3|
Join Date: Mar 2003
Device: Treo 700p, Zodiac2
Great hands-on review Bob. As a Treo 600 owner and a Verizon Wireless subscriber, a lot of your observations carry over. My 2-year contract is up this month, and I was lucky enough to buy my Treo 600 at a discount using the Willy Wonka's-golden-ticket-like "Roadshow Coupon". I'm considering switching carriers and/or upgrading to a Treo 650 now that I'm out from under my contract, but I think I'd like to wait and see what Palm has up their sleeves for their next non-WM 5.0 Treo. If Verizon releases an EVDO capable next-gen Treo with a reasonably priced data plan (not holding my breath), I'd be very tempted to upgrade.
Right now I'm pretty happy with my 600 because it does have a lot of the great features of the 650 that you mention. The usability and one-handed, stylus free operation is a delight, especially for a usability Nazi. The 650's screen is absolutely gorgeous, and I'm sure once you have one, you'd never go back to something like the 600's screen.
|09-15-2005, 12:07 PM||#4|
Mobile Ministry Magazine
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Charlotte, NC
Device: Nokia N75/N800 Internet Tablet
Great review Bob. Cross posting this to MMM as I write this in fact,
I have a 600 on CIngular and though the data issues are there as well. But overall, I am liking it very much. I echo the statement of missing the screen of my T5 (man I miss that screen). I also would like Drive mode (instead of File Export) and the T5's RAM that went along with it. Right now though, the 600 is nearly perfect and has made me quite a bit more mobile and productive. I've even been doing a better job of typing in doing notes and SMSs.
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