A Treo 650 / Palm TX comparison

Discussion in 'Palm' started by r0k, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. koshki

    koshki Mobile Evangelist

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    Wow, what a great thread! I have so many questions, I hope I can make sense.

    I bought a TC in early 2005 and considered a 600 then but decided WiFi was better for me...for home/office, school and harbor networks. Plus cell phone reception in my area (Detroit, near Lake St. Clair, lots of interference from Canada) is spotty, and poor in my house. I love my TC, especially the thumbpad! (Good riddance to Graffiti!!)

    In July 2005 I had a serious illness that put me in the hospital for three months and left me paralyzed, initially from the mid-ribs down. I've been in rehab since and making slow but steady progress. Significantly, I can now drive with hand controls, which is one of the things that is prompting me to consider the 650. Hand controls work like this: one hand on a suicide knob to steer, and the other on a lever that controls gas/brake. I have to let go of one or the other to do things like wipers/turn signals/radio/heat, etc. So obviously this has to be done carefully, as I can't drive with my knees! Phoning is currently too dangerous, even with a headset. But as I drive more, I need to keep in touch with home/kids, etc.

    My contract with Cingular (AT&T) is up soon, and they are offering a free Bluetooth headset with a Bluetooth enabled phone. I'm now carrying the TC, a small flip phone and an MP3 player that I use during therapy. The idea of combining all three into one unit that will also allow me to use a handsfree phone is appealing.

    I compared my therapist's 650 with my TC yesterday and was surprised that the screen is appreciably smaller on the 650...I had not expected that. The overall size of the 650 is smaller.

    I use the TC for picking up emails when I can't get to my computer, which is a portion of my day due to my limitations. I'm trying to get back to work, and email is important to that, and eventually Act!. I'd like to get back to school, so DocsToGo and EndNote (a bibliographic database) would be helpful, but my other uses for the PDA are modest: DateBk5, TealPhone, HandyShopper, and Solitaire, and a dictionary on a card. I have a bunch of other programs loaded, but I don't think they're very demanding in terms of memory.

    I also have an MP3 player that has 1G internal and a 2G card that are both full.

    So here are my questions:

    **Can I live with the smaller screen, especially playing Spider? I think other uses like DateBk, HandyShopper, etc, will be fine on that sized screen.

    **How does a Bluetooth headset work? Can I make calls using voice dial? Can I adjust it to fit my ear? I bought a headset to work with voice dial for my flip phone, but it won't stay put in my ear.

    **How much space for MP3s? Does it work with Windows Media Player? How does it sound?

    **Can I get a WiFi card to work with the 650? I'm worried about phone coverage in my home and being able to pick up email.

    **How much does Web use really cost? I don't really understand what I'd need from Cingular to allow me to use email and occasional surfs.

    **How do you hotsync the 650? I currently do this wirelessly, and would not like to be forced to use the charger/cradle to do this, as my cradle is now not hooked to my computer.

    **Do I need a backup battery and what do they cost?

    **If I don't like this, can I return it?

    Thanks in advance...I get the best advice from this site!

    Koshki
    Palm IIIe, V, M505, T|C.
     
  2. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    Koshki, I have taken the liberty to number your questions above...

    1 - Up to you. For me, with reading glasses the tiny screen on my Treo 650 is just fine.

    2 - I have a bluetooth hands free car kit, but recently my Treo slipped into a reset loop whenever I get in the car. This is a major pain. I even tried a hard reset. I suppose I will find the time to do a zero out reset and try again. This would be a deal killer for you to have a handsfree kit so you can work your controls while driving. I will update this thread if I find the time to repair my handsfree/bluetooth setup.

    3 - The sound is fine, but I'm no audiophile. I'm not sure about windows media player as I try to avoid windows anything. I simply put mp3 files on sd card and as I have a 2 gig card, there's plenty of room. It makes my Treo 650 hold as much as a mid-range Ipod nano. The only down side is that with the realplayer software, you must put all your mp3's in the root folder of the sd card. You can't organize songs by folders. This bothers me, but not enough to make me spend money on an alternate mp3 player. TCPMP also plays mp3's and can see the entire sd card but I use realplayer because it can run in the background. You will not be able to use a 4 gig sd card on the 650 without jumping through a lot of hoops reflashing your OS. Check to see if the 680 supports 4 gig before you opt for the 650.

    4 - You will need the $100 plus Enfora wifi sled as a pcmcia wifi card for the Treo series is NOT an option.

    5 - If you stick with GSM providers like Cingular and Tmobile, the web can be relatively inexpensive. Beware of Verizon. Their data plans range from a minimum of $25 for a mere 10 megabytes to around $60 for an unlimited plan. I don't have a data plan right now and I would sooner pay Verizon's $175 cancellation fee than pay for their outrageous data plans.

    6 - I use a card backup program and only hotsync once a week or so. When I hotsync, I do use a cable. I suppose once you have the enfora sled, you could hotsync via wifi. Be careful. Some phone providers lock the network preferences and even with the enfora sled, you might not be able to sync via wifi. Beware and stay away from any phone provider's wireless sync. I have heard they aren't very good.

    7 - I got a second battery with my Treo 650 and it is somewhere in a drawer forgotten. I never needed it. It's better to get a car charger cable and on a short drive you can get quite a bit of charge into the phone. Don't bother with the extra battery.

    8 - This depends on how you buy it. If you buy it on ebay, you might be stuck. If you buy it from a carrier, you might have a warranty. Normally you get between 14 and 30 days to figure out if you like electronics. If you are nervous, it might be worth spending money for the "add on" warranty at the store you buy it from so that you can go back and use the money toward a different smartphone if you don't like it. I doubt you will need to return it for any reason other than a defect. Since you are a gsm user, why not wait until the 680 is available? The 650's mere 20 meg of user memory is a compelling reason to opt for the 680. Another reason to consider the 680 is that it might actually cost about the same or even less than the 650.

    hope this helps...
     
  3. koshki

    koshki Mobile Evangelist

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    Well, I've been looking at the info on the 680. I am getting thoroughly confused, and not sure how to make this decision. I'll now expose even more techonology ignorance:

    If I wait for the 680, I'd have to go ahead and get a new phone now. Can I just transfer the SIM card into a new 680 and have it work? Do you think buying a 680 directly from Palm will cost a lot more than the $250 I'd spend for a 650 from Cingular when we renew our contract?

    Do I understand correctly that a 680 can connect my laptop to the internet when I don't have WiFi service?

    Arghh...I'm not anxious to give up my T|C, but it is showing signs of wear, and I want to make a good decision about what to buy next.

    PS..Go Tigers!
     
  4. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    Hmmm. If I were a mod, I'd be tempted to move this post to one of those "which pda/smartphone should i buy?" forums. On the other hand, since you are choosing between the 650 and 680, perhaps this is the best spot to provide some sort of answer. I need to update this thread anyway after yesterday's Treo 650 ROM update 1.05 fiasco.

    If you can possibly wait for the 680, I suggest you wait. The 650 is a fine phone, but the 680 will offer more than double the available user memory and will probably cost less than the 650. So let's assume for a minute that you simply can't wait.

    Most carriers will activate any phone you happen to have if it is compatible with their network. If you pick up a cingular 650 on ebay, you should be able to activate it and use it until the 680 comes out. Then you should be able to pop out your sim card and pop it in the 680 start using it instead. You wouldn't even have to call cingular about it.

    Notice my use of the word should in a couple of places. This indicates a certain amount of risk. Wait for a cingular 680, which will probably cost a mere $200 and the only risk is that you don't get a phone before January. Grab a 650 off ebay and you have to rely on the seller to provide a working phone and a working sim card. Then you have to assume the card is readily transferable.

    This is the way gsm is supposed to work. Everything is on the sim card. Pop it out of your phone and pop it into your friend's phone and you are using your friend's phone with your minutes. If you are in a hurry and don't mind a little risk, go for the used 650 now combined with a contract-subsidized 680 later.

    I'm on CDMA, so I don't even get a chance to consider the 680. I would definitely want the antennaless phone with more storage and normal size sd card slot. Definitely. It would make a better TX replacement than the 650. And without the antenna sticking out, it might even edge out the 700p.
     
  5. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    Ok. It's time for an update.

    A few days back I reached for my TX only to find it dead. I loaned it my Treo's charging cable so it could come back and thanks to nvfs it came back just fine. I will need to either sell it or establish a charging schedule for the thing. It's a good thing I had it all charged as I had a close brush with going back to my TX yesterday.

    My Treo 650 just went through a zero out reset (ZOR) yesterday. And the procedure is silly. It just plain sucks eggs. I had to bend a paper clip so that I could rest the Treo on the paper clip while holding hotsync, UP and Power. Then release first reset, then simultaneously release hotsync, UP and Power. What a joke. I got into bootloader several times. I got several hard resets and about 12 soft resets before I finally got the coveted zero out reset "black screen" I have been thinking about doing a ZOR ever since a hard reset failed to solve the bluetooth car kit reset loop that started some weeks back. I walk around with bluetooth off out of fear my car will once again put my trusty 650 into a reset loop just for being in proximity of the car kit. Sure I could solve it by deleting the pairing with the car kit, but I'd rather solve the issue and use the car kit.

    This brings me to why I downloaded Verizon update 1.04 a few weeks back. I decided I didn't want to risk frying my phone and that I would live without my nice car kit a little longer. Yesterday, I noticed DT's post that a new Verizon update (1.05) was available so I went and grabbed it. I saw several entries in the description about features I felt were important so I dove in. I followed the directions assuming I would have no problem.

    Bad idea.

    I ran palm's installshield and let it do its thing.

    Bad idea.

    My phone ended up fried. For details, see the other thread. To summarize, the phone software in ROM was fried by a failed upgrade attempt on step 1: E911 update.

    The bottom line is that I was faced with a choice of walking around with my TX or with my Treo 650 without it's phone feature. I decided to stick with the 650. This means 2 things. 1) I'm so enamored with the keyboard, I'm willing to carry a z22 class device just so I can have the keyboard. 2) I didn't want to go through another meticulous cross-grade procedure where I have to enter all my shareware codes and reinstall everything again. The reason I'm bringing this up in this thread is that I think it sheds light on whether a Treo 650 can cut it as a pda. Yes it can. I was willing to walk around until this Thursday, about 3 business days, with an Treo 650 PDA edition. I was already digging through boxes of orphan electronics for one of my old motorola v series cell phones so I could activate it to get through the 3 days until my new phone arrives.

    Then I thought about digging out the now older 1.04 upgrade. What did I have to lose now?

    I ran the 1.04 upgrade and it finished flawlessly and it restored my phone. :newpalm: :newpalm: The 1.04 upgrade seemed to use a more conservative approach and I wish the 1.05 upgrade had been set up the same way :(

    Now that once again had a working phone, I never got to find out how I would like the Treo 650 as a pda. I don't mind one bit. I didn't look forward to being poked in the stomach by a cell phone appendage on my belt so that my 650 could keep its place in my shirt pocket.

    Now I need to test the freshly upgraded 1.04 Treo with my car kit. I will wait until I receive the replacement phone. If the replacement phone already has 1.05, I will send my phone back. If the replacement has 1.0x, but older than 1.05, I will try the upgrade until I get one of the two phones to run 1.05 and send the other phone back. I think 1.05 will be worth it after reading all the enhancements and also reading several posts that users had no troubles with the upgrade that weren't covered by palm's online help.

    My Treo has averaged one reset every 60 days if you don't count the plethora of resets caused by the car kit issue and the 1.05 upgrade issue. I expect I will be ditching the TX once and for all later this week. I will probably go out and buy the enfora sled so I don't have to live without wifi. That will be sweet. I will be able to surf the web via wifi with the sled (I hope). The ability to use wifi will actually keep me on verizon a bit longer. If I can't get wifi working on my Treo, I will bail on Verizon and switch to Sprint or Cingular. I don't need a phone in the corn fields ("the network") as much as I need an affordable data plan.
     
  6. maceyr

    maceyr Palm Explorer

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    My question is why do you need to get a phone when the TC is still working, even if the reception isn't the greatest? If you can wait for the 680, wait for it, rather than spending money on a temporary cell phone and then again on the 680. It doesn't make sense to me. You should still be able to use the service even when the contract ends. That's what a contract is, you are tied to paying a plan for the term. Once it ends, you can go to T-Mobile or whoever without penalty but of course, you can stay with Cingular. I've not been on a cellular contract for years and it's great to have the freedom.

    If you are still using it on Cingular, you should easily swap the SIM card out of your TC or whatever Cingular phone for that matter and put it in the new 680. To use the 680 as a modem for your laptop, you'll need something like PDAnet or something similar.

    Most likely if you get the 680 via another contract, it will be cheaper, but rumor has it that it won't be the colorful ones you see but more of the graphite or gray color instead if you get it via the carriers. If you want the colorful ones, you have to purchase it from Palm and it will be unlocked.
     
  7. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    More on the 1.04 update...

    Well, since my replacement phone comes tomorrow, I braved the possible reset loop and switched on my bluetooth. My phone forgot it's pairing with my car kit. Darn. So I went to re-pair it and had to dig for the owner's manual. I had to say a pin code. But I was surprised by what I saw on the Treo 650. I don't remember a special screen just for handsfree car kits, but there it was. There was a link I could click to pair with a handsfree kit, so I did. The phone went into discovery mode but the car wasn't ready so it timed out. Even with voice recognition, it takes a while to get the car into pairing mode. Once the car was ready, I hit scan on the phone and it asked me for the code. Now everybody who has paired bluetooth devices knows the codes are numeric. The Treo didn't switch to numeric mode and I found myself typing letters instead of 1's and I had to backspace, switch to numeric and type the 1's. It paired just fine and I called the wife to test the connection.

    Woohoo! I've got my bt car kit back with no reset loops. This was solved either by 1) the 1.04 upgrade I performed after the 1.05 failed or 2) the zero out reset I had to do when the 1.05 upgrade failed. I have much less incentive to use the new phone now. If it's already got 1.05, I will activate and test it thoroughly before sending mine back. Looks like I might finally need that second clarivue I bought back in March.
     
  8. koshki

    koshki Mobile Evangelist

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    r0k and maceyr---
    I think I've decided to hold on to the T|C and just get a Bluetooth enabled phone for now, and wait to see how much the 680 will cost direct from Palm. Christmas is coming, after all! I need to get a new phone now because our contract is about up, and the one I have doesn't support Bluetooth (need the hands-free). So I'll get a cheapie phone now and think about migrating to the 680 later.

    r0k, I'll be interested to hear how the WiFi sled works. I'm still not sure how much data service to sign up for from Cingular, but that isn't locked in to the contract...I can change that if I discover I need more, and the unlimited data service seems reasonable.

    Thanks for your help, guys!
     
  9. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    Wait a minute koshki. There's no bluetooth on a T|C right? What good would a bluetooth phone do you with a T|C?

    I'm slowly moving forward on the Treo issues. I just got bluetooth working again after my 1.04 ROM update. My next priority is to get 1.05 onto either my phone or the replacement phone that arrives tomorrow.

    I might elect to forget about wifi sled entirely if I go with a bundled minutes/data plan. I will try using the phone for data with the 1.05 update and if it's quicker than the performance I saw with 1.03 I might decide it's not worth bailing on verizon nor is it worth dealing with a bulky wifi sled. When I tried Verizon's data plan with 1.03 software on my Treo, it was painful. I was getting millibaud performance rather than kilobaud performance. I finally stopped using the data plan, but always intended to try it again with new firmware when it became available.

    If I find that the data performance is still to slow for my purposes, it might be a few more weeks before I get around to actually trying the enfora sled. Since the enfora only works on Treos, before I shell out over $100 for it I gotta know if it works with 700's or only the 650 and older models.
     
  10. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    Well my new Treo 650 arrived about 1/2 hour ago. It has a camera. It is version 1.04.

    Darn.

    Nothing's ever simple is it?

    I've got 10 days to figure this out and send one back to avoid being charged LIST for a second phone. I wish I'd remembered to tell 'em mine has no camera. But then again, I purchased it from Verizon and one would think their records about my equipment would include that rather important fact. If I keep the camera phone, it's only a matter of time before some security guard tells me I gotta leave it in the car.

    Darn.

    If I go through with trying to get 1.05 on my old phone and fry it again, I could be forced to keep the camera version just to have a working smartphone. Decisions. Decisions.
     
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