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Palm Treo 650 - Review

By Howard Friedman

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 I used the Palm Treo 650 for one month. I read the manual and it said that in about that amount of time I should have a handle on things. Within one day I was able to complete simple calls. In two days I was able to screw it all up. The next day I figured out what I did and was able to correct it. My forte is knowing enough to get into trouble, but this time I was not only able to get out, but know why I got into it in the first place. I found it easy to figure out the basic functions of the Treo 650.

         

All in all the learning curve involved with using the Treo has been a constant good one. Just like my computer, I still do not know all that this phone/pda/still camera/movie camera/internet browser can do but after a month I can do bunches. I love checking my email while standing in line or waiting somewhere. The Treo 650 was a breeze to log into my AOL account. The built in EDGE technology and 312 MHz processor was fast enough for me not to notice any lag time at all. There were no graphics or pictures, just text. I did not find that to be a big minus.  Nor did it wipe things out from my computer. So I could see the full versions with the pictures when I was at the office or home.  The camera was able to produce pictures that were easy to show off.  The mini movies or 'video capture' I took of my six month old were a hoot to show friends and family. The Treo 650 has 23MB memory held my entire address book and pictures. The expandable card slot can allow for even more.

         

I like the big bright 320 x 320 16 bit color display. The touch screen is a great feature. To answer a call while driving is easy, all you have to do is press a button on the screen. The speaker option means the phone does not have to be pressed to the head or the shoulder to the ear pose. Perfect.  I never got to the bluetooth power of this 4.4' x 2.3' x .9' compact all in one smartphone. Nor I did not have the time to enjoy the MP3 ability of this little wonder. I found less drooped calls than my cell phone due to their new quad-band technology.

         

I know how to work a cell phone and my bottom of the line Palm Zire 21. But it still took time, effort and fiddling with to become familiar with the Treo 650. I had a hard time trying to sync up my palm with the Treo. I called tech support, and what a nightmare. That was an hour of 'for this option press that number' and going round and around in circles. It took another hour trying to reach a live body. When I finally got an operator they were of no help. This is probably a problem with Cingular not Palm.  It took another few days and almost losing my address book to finally download successfully. Once completed there were still problems in basic navigation. For some reason it does not show me all options when I try to look people up by their last name.  I find I'm spending more time scrolling than I would like.

         

My overall rating of the Treo 650 is very good. I have to write off the negative features to my personal clumsiness and unfamiliarity. At times I found it difficult to navigate some of the onscreen buttons. But I know there are customizable buttons that should make that easer. For a change from other units I have played with, I found the Treo QWERTY keyboard a little too sensitive for my fingers.  People have had trouble hearing me both on the regular and speaker phone. I like having only one thin thing to carry around instead of two. With anything like this I want to know everything now and to do everything now.  The manual was very correct in saying to give it a month.  I did, but now I'm looking forward to see what changes Palm has done to the 700w. Would I own the Palm Treo 650?  In a heartbeat.  All the positives far outweigh the negatives.  Given more time and knowledge I'm sure that there is more to this amazing all in one personal device.

Palm Treo 650

Published on Dec 31, 1969

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