My Treo 650 Mini-Review and Software list

Edit 9/25/05: So, I did return it after all, and am waiting for the Next Big Thing(tm). Until them I’m using a RAZR. Tragically, it only makes phone calls… πŸ™‚

So yours truly once again has dipped his toe into the smartphone/communicator/PDA/what-have-you waters to see if technology has in fact caught up with my ideal device-topia. In this foray we examine the omnipresent Treo 650 and my feelings thereof… Note, you’re not going to get a lot of pictures or screenshots of the OS. They have been covered ad nauseam elsewhere, so I invite you to open your encyclopedia and I’m sure you’ll find them πŸ™‚ As you will have seen in my previous reviews, I’ll cut straight to the meaty part, in the interest of saving you time:

Current verdict: Great PDA (but lack of multitasking means many apps won’t keep running in the background. There are various hacks but tends to make things unstable.), mediocre phone. Will I keep it? Not sure at this point. It’s a lot of $$ to swallow for something I’m not 90% happy with. Call me a version whore, but Windows Mobile 5 is right around the corner and, like most things Microsoft, they probably got it pretty close to right after the numerous previous versions. Not to mention that if I want to keep using most of my apps, I’ll have to shell out quite a few dollars more. I have 2 weeks or so left in my Cingular "first 30 days" trial, so feel free to help me make up my mind πŸ™‚

Pros:

  • QWERTY
  • High res screen
  • Moderate breadth of apps

Cons:

  • Mediocre phone (earpiece volume is unusable w/o it IMO, sound quality (often garbled even w/ perfect reception))
  • Unstable (or at least a lot of poorly coded apps), resets
  • Size (but really not that bad)
  • No EDGE anywhere I’ve been so far
  • Most “decent” apps are charge for (based, in my opinion, on the fact that coding for Palm is ‘hard’, and thus people want ROI. This is versus Windows Mobile and the .NET CF which I believe is going to lead to a large number of free apps for that platform)
  • Sold my soul to Cingular to save $100 or so on the phone (priceless!)

Here’s what I’m currently running, in order of coolness/usefulness. Note that all ($) are charge for and I’m currently using their demo versions.

  • RadioState: (Free) Turns radio back on after reset, MUST have…works 97% of time unless software inits manual reset
  • VolumeCare: ($) Volume is simply unusable w/o it (which btw is #1 reason I’m on the fence)
  • DirAssist: (Free) one of the best mobile phone apps ever, must have, thing I will miss most if I switch to something else
  • TakePhone: ($) Great phone dialer replacement
  • MobileTS: ($) Terminal Services client, works great (if a tad slow), looks great on high res screen, $40 yikes!
  • ZLauncher: ($)absolute best launcher, great for storing apps on your SD card
  • InnerBackup: Free, and unfortunately I find I’ve had to restore from backups a few times now
  • FlightStatus: Free, does what it says
  • HandzipperLite: Free zip/unzip
  • pSSH: Free SSH util
  • TreoAlarm: ($) schedule alarms and apps to be run at those times
  • TiBRLite: Free version of ebook reader (so far my #1 use for Treo which simply just isn’t right :-))
  • Adobe Reader for Palm: nuff said.

I took Docs to Go off since it kept crashing even when it wasn’t running (diagnosed by #*377 in Cing firmware…only useful thing?)

So, like I said, I’ve got 30 days, and we’ll have to see what transpires in the next week or two. I’m considering tossing in the towel and going to get the RAZR as a new (dumb!) toy to tide me over until the WindowsMobile 2005 devices come out, but what a step down! Cingular is also about to launch (per rumours) the hw6515 (EDGE, QWERTY, GPS) but it runs WM2003SE which I wasn’t totally pleased w/ in the past.

Let’s hear it people, what should I do? πŸ™‚

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