First look at the palmOne Treo 650 GSM

by Volker Weber

I have to make a confession: I have been testing the Treo 650 GSM for a while but could not write about it yet, since I was under an NDA. Now that a number of dealers started listing the new Treo as being available next week, I can finally start writing up a few things I have wanted to say for a while.

So, you already have a Treo 600 and are asking yourself whether you should upgrade? It would answer with a qualified No. The Treo 600 is a wonderful smartphone, and it continues to be. Yes, the Treo 650 does away with the two major weaknesses (bad screen and missing Bluetooth), but if you could live with that so far you can continue to do that. It does not make that much of a difference if you continue to use the same applications.

Having said that, the Treo 650 has changed one major thing for me: I can now use it as a mobile navigation system. GPS receiver and SD card from the T3 navkit worked without a hitch. Mind you, TomTom will run down a fully charged Treo in less than 6 hours since the screen is always on and it maintains a Bluetooth connection to the GPS receiver, so you may want to buy a charger for the 12V outlet in your car.

With Bluetooth I can also use the recently acquired Jabra headset. Although the headset is paired with the handsfree profile, I have had no luck so far in redialing the last dialled number as documented in the Jabra manual. It does work with the RAZR, but not with the Treo 650.

The camera resolution remaines at 640x480. The picture quality however is much better, especially in low light situations. Since the screen is a whole lot better you can actually watch the pictures on the device. If you want to send pictures by MMS please note, that you can annotate the picture by drawing on it.

I have one complaint: The Treo does not display the O2 Homezone. I have switched on the audio alert (call 1212 from your Genion phone) so I know that I am in the Homezone when placing a call but I cannot see whether I am "in" without dialing.

I am also not using the mail client or the browser since there is no data tariff that I would want to use. I have been told that O2 blocks the Blazer browser on the WAP gateway so the O2 Surf&Mail pack is useless and I am not going to risk running up a huge bill on metered GPRS usage. I am pretty good at trying out new stuff, but if none of the providers can come up with a limited data plan that protects my wallet, I am not buying.

Comments

Ouch. I'm glad I have the CDMA Sprint version in the US at $15 US per month for unlimited data. There's a ton of other reasons I'd rather have a GSM/GPRS phone, but having the data unlimited changes the way I use the thing, definitely. Where's the SIM go? Behind the SD slot?

Kevan Emmott, 2005-03-05

Was there an early hint that you were checking the 650 in the comparison "Treo vs Razr"? => "The camera in the 600 is much worse than the Razr, the 650 is better."
How would you know the 650's camera is better if you hadn't had one for a while? I bet you wouldn't just say it by reading manufacturer's whitepapers, would you? ;-)

Ragnar Schierholz, 2005-03-05

No, I would not.

Volker Weber, 2005-03-05

And I wondered, why you bought the Jabra without having a Bluetooth enabled phone ;-)

Thomas Lang, 2005-03-06

* Start using Blazer! And start using VersaMail, which should also come with your treo.
And you also can buy VeriChat, which is a decent IM-Client for the Treo.
For me It doesn't really make sense without these features.

* The Surf & Mail Pack is crap, which I realised from when they started offering it, as it only works for browser-based services, that run over the wap-gateway. I'm not sure, wether O2 blocks the Blazer Browser, but I know that you have to use different Network Settings for using other Internet Services than WAP.

* Buy the O2 Data-PackVolume10. I have been using the treo 600 for the past three months with this pack and haven't run into problems up to now. I am downloading mail from 3 accounts every half hour all day long, read RSS-News with bloglines (they have a mobile version) and check on other web- and wap-sites.

* If you browse the web with blazer, you should definetly check out http://www.skweezer.net. This is a web proxy server, that strips Websites off pictures and unnessecary HTML-Code. It even shows you how much kb it has saved at the bottom of each page. And it is free.

Hans Dorsch, 2005-03-07

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