Treo 650 is tough to beat, but Wizard does well

Antoine’s comment about my needs and desires got me thinking a bit more about my device usage so I went through and compared what applications I have loaded on my Treo 650. Here is what I have loaded on top of the Palm OS apps/utilities; Agendus Pro 10, Agendus Mail SSL 4, a couple PDAmill and Smart Box Design games, Handmark Express, SplashBlog, PocketTunes, SplashPhoto, Laridian MyBible, Daily Reader, and Memorize, Documents to Go, ProWord dictionary, RepliGo, Screenshot, PowerRun, KeyCaps600, ListPro, Resco Backup, TealMover, TideTool, and VolumeCare. Equivalents for Windows Mobile are Pocket Informant or Agenda Fusion, WebIS Mail, PDAmill and Smart Box Design games, Handmark Express, SplashBlog, Windows Media Player, Resco Photo Viewer or Spb Imageer, Laridian PocketBible, Daily Reader, and Memorize, Pocket Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Oxford DIctionary, RepliGo, Screen Capture, File Explorer, ListPro, Backup on device, and File Explorer. I haven’t found an equivalent tide program and VolumeCare is not needed at all.

So as you can see, the Treo 650 really does meet my needs as far as everyday applications go and there really is no compelling reason to switch to the HTC Wizard. I do like the seamless way Windows Mobile handles files placed anywhere on the device and I do like the reliability and integration of Outlook. Native PDF viewing is coming to Palm devices this fall/winter so I won’t knock it now for that lack of support. I do still find the Treo 650 to be zippier than the Wizard, although the Wizard is not bad at all. Windows Mobile 5.0 does significantly improve the one-handed experience, but they are missing a couple of important functions like the OK/close button and Start menu. I had to remap a couple of hardware buttons for these functions, but with the buttons located all over the place on the device you have to do some finger gymnastics to really use it one handed. The Treo 650 on the other hand has all the buttons right down above the keyboard and is a one-handed wonder.

The OK/close and Start menu buttons are found on the keyboard in landscape mode, but you are really only in landscape mode when entering text and this isn’t the normal operating mode.

The keyboard is pretty well designed on the Wizard with good key spacing and good tactile feedback. The backlight is pretty weak compared to the amazing Treo 650 backlight. I do not like the placement of the numbers along the top row and prefer the keypad placement that the Treo 650 uses. The Treo keyboard is made even more useful with the free KeyCaps600 utility that allows you to customize how to make capital letters and punctuation/numbers easily with a single longer key press or quick double tap. I understand the K-JAM keyboard backlights the punctuation and numbers while the QTEK 9100 does not.

I have to honestly say I probably am trying too hard to convince myself that I should move to the Wizard. It is one of the best Phone Edition devices I have ever used and Windows Mobile 5 is a nice improvement, but the Treo 650 hardware is just very tough to beat. WiFi is nice, but not essential when you have EDGE running well on the road and use a Tablet PC for real surfing at home.

We’ll see if my mind is changed when the production i-mate K-JAM arrives soon and I finalize my review.

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  1. #1 by Anonymous on October 4, 2005 - 03:06

    Fatefully, I ordered a Treo 650 with a new contract on the very morning the Treo 700w hit engadget, also a few days before the k-jam became available. I still have a couple days left on my trial period, and I’m following your and jayleb’s reports avidly to help make my decision.

    I’m in the UK, where data services are overpriced, so wifi and the idea of wifi+skype is a huge plus in my book. I’m also tempted by better bluetooth, smooth email synchronization (Palm’s versamail conduit can’t handle ssl!?), and not having to buy a half a dozen apps for everything (CardExportII, PocketTunes, SplashID, etc.).

    But I worry I have come to take the advantages of the treo for granted: its onehandedness, and the quality of its basic functions.

    Could you comment on how the kjam + WM5 compares in its datebook app (colorized categories?), in onehanded lookup and dialing, in SMS management? Do you think skype will run properly over wifi, or will the 200mhz processor be inadequate even after Skype releases an update for wm5?

    The screen is nicer, but the 650 seems slower and in some ways inferior to the 600, so I don’t want to lock in for a year to last year’s technology.

    alexis

  2. #2 by palmsolo on October 4, 2005 - 05:52

    The Calendar app is pretty basic and does not support any kind of custon colors or icons, etc. And I personally load Agenda Fusion or Pocket Informant on my Windows Mobile devices. I have not found an easy way to dial on the Wizard in portrait mode and you have to tap on the on screen keypad or scroll through call history or Contacts. With the keyboard out you can press the number keys and dial, but I would prefer to start spelling the name and have my contacts filtered like I can with the Treo and WM Smartphones.

    I do not have any family or friends that use SMS so I cannot judge this based on the couple of test messages I tried this week.

    Skype is preloaded on the I-mate K-JAM so I will be able to try it out again soon. It workd fine when I tested the beta, except for the time delay.

    I think the display, integrated Bluetooth, and non-volatile memory make the 650 better than the 600. The Treo 700w may be inferior to the 650 with a 240×240 display too.

    I like to have the latest technology and this is part of the reason I am looking to see if the Wizard is a better choice than the Treo. Then again sometimes older tech is the smarter choice.

  3. #3 by Anonymous on October 4, 2005 - 07:24

    Hey if you decide to sell the Treo, I have first have dibs on it alright? 🙂 Just kidding…

    But seriously, I think that it is key for all of us gadget-geeks to try to get a handle on what we need first, then try and find a system that works well for us. It’s too easy to get sucked into the excitement whenever a new gadget comes out.

    There’s certainly a wealth of exciting stuff coming out in the next few months: the K-Jam, the HTC Universal, the HTC Tornado (for the smartphone fans,)…and oh, yeah that Treo 700w. (! )And on the Palm OS side, we should be getting a new Tungsten with Wi-Fi this Fall. Very cool stuff, all of it.

    Lastly, I thought it was interesting that you mentioned that sometimes “older tech,” can be the better option. The various Treo 650s (Sprint, GSM, Verizon,) have been updated so they now are running pretty smoothly for most people. They’ve also come down a bit in price. The same can also be said for the iMate JAM, and the HTC Blue Angel, in all of it’s various forms. A TreoCentral user was selling his Siemens SX66 for $390 yesterday on eBay; that’s a big change from the $800 you paid a year ago, Matt, for your German-keyboard version!

    Anyways, thanks for all of the interesting comments on the K-Jam. And good luck to your girls with their soccer games. 🙂

    TMann

  4. #4 by Antoine on October 4, 2005 - 07:25

    Sorry to cause such a fuss there PalmSolo.

    Ironically, I have been debating whether a Treo/converged PDA is really ebst for me after getting a much too high bill for the last month of data usage from Cingular (mental note to have unlimited plan the next time I decide to use Treo to grab mail once an hour).

    I have also been more heavily considering the 650 as my needs for a higher resolution screen (my eyes have ben bugging out on 160×160), faster processor for my larger dictionary searches, and removable battery (thereby better cost of ownership) have been more attractive. The possiblity of a Cobalt Treo is pretty much dead to me at this point, and the 650 is the best integrated device out there.

    Then again, if my T5 had cellular, it would be perfect too seeing that it has the apps and drive mode features that I like a lot.

  5. #5 by alexis on October 4, 2005 - 09:10

    Palmsolo:

    Thanks for the quick reply. I think my decision is becoming easier.

    I’m surprised there’s no way to lookup contacts onehandedly in portrait mode. I’d imagine that’s the most important functionality for a phone. I suppose that is why PPC users talk about voice dialing so much!

    And if the calendar doesn’t support coloring events by category, and the sms messaging isn’t threaded, then it sounds like the Wizard is a clear loser in _all_ of its basic phone and pda functions.

    So it’s ahead in wifi and bluetooth, and the MS office apps, but behind in display, onehandedability, and the basic phone and pda functions.

    It pains me to say goodbye to the prospect of sweet, sweet wifi, but it doesnt’ sound like much of a contest. No?

  6. #6 by palmsolo on October 4, 2005 - 10:34

    OK, let me clarify this a bit in portrait mode. There is a Smart Dialing application in this Phone Edition that allows you to filter through your contacts by tapping the on screen keypad and spelling the name or starting the number. It is not that easy to accurately tap the screen with my finger one handed though and this smart dialing feature is not enabled with keyboard use in landscape/flip open mode.

  7. #7 by palmsolo on October 4, 2005 - 10:36

    Also, Skype is quite a processor and memory intensive application on the Wizard and many others have confirmed what I discovered and that is that you have to shut down all other running applications to use Skype. Testing on the HTC Wizard was the first time I used Skype, but I can really see a useful potential with it and may look at using it more with my devices. I need to try it with my Dell Axim X51v and see how it works.

  8. #8 by Anonymous on October 4, 2005 - 12:15

    How do you know native pdf viewing will be available for the Treo 650 soon? Can you verify/confirm this?

  9. #9 by palmsolo on October 4, 2005 - 12:24

    This post has been removed by the author.

  10. #10 by palmsolo on October 4, 2005 - 12:26

    Yes I can confirm this, Geek.com blurb.

    Also, my direct DataViz contact sent me the press release and will be providing me a copy to review for Geek.com.

  11. #11 by phil on October 5, 2005 - 02:42

    Do you find that Agendus 10 runs slowly on your treo. I love agendus but have tried both version 9 and 10 and flicking between days is very slow.
    Perhaps it is a config issues for me. I have already cleared out as much of the history as I can.

  12. #12 by palmsolo on October 5, 2005 - 06:48

    I find the response in Agendus 10 to be instantaneous when switching between days, views, etc. I don’t know what would be slowing your device down. BTW, I do have about 12MB of memory free and use PowerRun to manage applications on my storage card.

  13. #13 by phil on October 6, 2005 - 01:25

    very weird. I will have to email their support dept. I have heaps of room in memory and on the card. even more than you.

    Something else must be slowing it down

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