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  1.    #1  
    I recently purchased a Handspring Treo 300 (actually I ordered it the day they were announced) and thought I would put together some random thoughts on my experience with this new gizmo… below please see my mini-review on the Handspring Treo 300…

    Display
    I have been a PocketPC person (HP Jornada 565) for the last year or so, so I have become accustomed to a larger more crisp display. Not having used anything on the PalmOS for a while, I don’t know if this is news to anyone or not, but here it is nonetheless… I found the quality of the display on the Treo 300 to be marginal. When pressing anything against the display, you would get the “warping plasma” look you get when you stick your finger on a laptop screen. I never saw this behavior on my PocketPC machines. In addition, the backlight is uneven across the surface with a noticeable hot-spot in the upper right corner. In bright light the display is difficult to read. As I said above, this all may be nothing new for prior Treo or Visor owners…

    Keypad
    Very nice and more usable than you would think. Feel of the keys is nice. There is a little backlight behind the keys that comes on every once in a while. Doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason though. It would be nice to have more direct control of when this comes on. I really want one of the folding keyboards however (ala Stowaway). Anyone who knows of one, please let me know.

    Coverage
    I previously had a Sprint Samsung SPH-N200. Coverage is identical as far as I can tell. In some cases it seems a little better. i.e. areas that I get coverage now that I didn’t before.

    Voice Quality
    I have conducted several tests with both phones. People listening to me talking through the Treo indicate that the quality is top notch… better than my previous phone. However, the speaker in the lid of the Treo has a tinny quality to it which is accentuated when the speaker phone is on, so the reverse (listening to others) is not quite so good. It is certainly livable however.

    Speakerphone
    Works very well. A little more volume control would be nicer though as the audio can easily get drowned out in a noisy environment. Basically they are just ramping up the volume bigtime so you can hear it from a couple of feet away.

    Headset
    Uses the Nokia-style headset… i.e. the ones with 3 black rings on the plug. The generic ones don’t work. I personally do not like the ear-bud style and found that Plantronics had a good one. The plug receptacle on the side of the phone looks very odd… it almost looks like they didn’t complete it. Works fine though.

    VoiceDial
    Sprint supports VoiceDial with their PCS service. It costs an extra $5 a month to enable it, 1st three months are free. You can setup your voice-dials via the phone, web site, or operator. The ‘voice’ address book is on the Sprint servers, so you simply hit * and dial, and it replies with “Ready…”. Then you say “Call Jim at the office” and it dials appropriately.

    ScreenProtectors
    I got the WriteRight screen protectors for the Treo at BestBuy. On a color Treo, they produce an irritating moiré pattern because of the texture of the screen protector overlaying color pixels. These screen protectors really should only be used for a black & white Treo. I will look around for others.

    Graffiti
    Graffiti is not included on the machine. You will need to get a third party product such as Jot or RecoEcho to support this functionality. Both are made by CIC, Inc.

    Battery
    The Battery life seems appropriate for general usage. I would have liked to have had the availability of a replaceable battery of some sort, but that feature is not available on the Treo’s in general. In previous phones and organizers I had the opportunity to carry around spare batteries that I could swap out at a moments notice. I think it will just take a little more discipline on my part to make sure I keep the Treo charged.

    Case
    The fit and finish on the case is very good. Very professionally crafted machine. My only little gripe is that the lid is a little wobbly when it is in its open position. My friend’s 300 didn’t exhibit this behavior however, so it was just a quality control issue.

    Buttons
    The 4 principal launch buttons can be customized to launch other apps, however the device allows you to hold down the blue option key while pressing the 4 launch buttons to launch a second set of apps. For some reason though you cannot customize the apps that are launched in this configuration.

    Email
    I am using TreoMail Corporate edition with our companies exchange server. Works great. I like it a lot. Basically there is a little app that runs on your PC at work and as long as that machine is left on, any email that comes into your Exchange mailbox gets routed out your companies firewall (weeee!) and sent off to your Treo. The turn around time is pretty darn good. The machine has the ability to send you an “email waiting” notification via SMS. When this is enabled, you will get a little indicator on the Treo Mail app that tells you mail is waiting. You can choose to send/receive on command or on a schedule. The mail app semi-supports email attachments. Basically, you can see what emails have attachments, but you cannot load them on the Treo. However if you forward such an email from the Treo to someone else, the attachment follows along. This is because Treo Mail is keeping the attachment on their server.

    Browser
    The web browser included is Blazer which is a simple but very functional web browsing app. I found the speed to be more than acceptable. Some web pages of course include elements that Blazer doesn’t know what to do with so your experience will vary depending on which site you visit.

    Belt-Clip/Sports Case
    Didn’t really like the belt clip. Works well enough, but the Treo is basically out there and will be subject to any little bump or scrape, depending on how wide your hips are… I also got their sports case and liked that much better. It is padded and nicely protected as you are moving around and is easy to insert and remove. The trim/seams on the inside of the case however are bigger than they need to be and sometimes it makes the Treo sit funny inside.

    Sprint and Passwords
    As an IT Director, I am pretty sensitive to how the user community perceives a product my department produces. As such, I must say my experience with Sprint, their web interface, and their customer support has not been stellar. Let’s take the sprintpcs.com web site. The confusion level is quite high when you try to figure out who you are on their systems. You have a) your mobile number; b) a password for that number; c) an account passcode (which in my case is the password over all your companies phones on a single plan); d) a PCSVision user name; e) a PCSVision password (which I don’t know yet); f) a VoiceDial/Talk user name, and (getting tired yet?) g) a password for that user as well. Now if you sign up for their Synchronization product (resold through FusionOne) you can get your voicedial information entered via the web sync’d with your desktop and Treo… but wait… did I forget to say you need a h) Sprint Sync Services UserName and i) Password??? Oh my gosh… It is almost getting funny. I am up to 4 user names and 5 passwords and counting.

    Then of course you have the myriad ways you can send email and SMS messages to the device… You can be <phonenumber>@messaging.sprintpcs.com, or <PCSVisionID>@sprintpcs.com, or your usual email address in the case of PCSConnection or TreoMail. If I was Sprint, I would seriously try to get this mayhem under control… the user confusion is not a pleasant experience.

    Their customer support seemed a bit shaky as well… assuming you can get by their automated roadblock system designed to keep you from reaching a real person. The 2 support people I talked to both were pretty shaky on the support aspects of the account… they tried to sound very knowledgeable but being a little more with it than your standard caller, I wasn’t impressed… “Well sir, I have an application I can start up here that will help you. Hmmm… it seems to be giving me difficulty clicking on this one field… can I put you on hold, sir while I get my tech support person?” I probably could have helped her through it, but I was trying to not mess up the user-experience…

    Don’t get me wrong, the Sprint service itself is great and I have had basically no problems technically with the phone as it relates to the service… They just haven’t put much thought into the rest of the experience.

    RingTones
    Supposedly customizable. There are several ringtone managers out there (Ringo, TCRinger) but neither appears to work. I think the 300 is just different enough to make these apps not work. Hopefully the authors of both systems are working on fixes. If anyone has gotten the customizable ringtones part to work, I would be interested in hearing about it. This is one of the features that I will likely use the most, so I am eager to get it going.

    Conclusion…
    Many of the items above may look very nitpicky… they probably are. I am very pleased with my Treo and am certain it will be my new “don’t leave home without it” device. I have seen a number of people asking questions relating to the device and hopefully these few items will answer a few of them…

    Well, I will end this mini-review there. Please feel free to add any other thoughts or questions to this thread and I will be happy to share.

    Robert
    - Robert
  2. #2  
    Try Buttons-T to fix the problem of configuring the buttons (including 'option' button and lid opening) to the apps you want.
  3. veroi's Avatar
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    #3  
    Nice review Robert. I have some questions:

    1.- How did you get you e-mail without having the pcsvision password. My understanding is that you need this to get the connectivity going from the phone for the High Speed system.So you can get e-mail and Blazer working.
    2.- I see that you are succesfully getting mail as long as your desktop is ON. Have you tought of ways to get your e-mail when your desktop is OFF.Which would be good if you are on the road and do not want to keep the desktop ON.
    3.- What have you looked at for attachment viewer, once you get use to getting your e-mail, you will wanting to take more advantage by been able to see certain attachment.
    4.- Any reason you did not go for the Pocket PC Phones sold by T-Mobile,Verizon or Sprint.

  4. #4  
    Great Review!
    Keypad
    Very nice and more usable than you would think. Feel of the keys is nice. There is a little backlight behind the keys that comes on every once in a while. Doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason though. It would be nice to have more direct control of when this comes on. I really want one of the folding keyboards however (ala Stowaway). Anyone who knows of one, please let me know.
    The keypad backlight will come on when:

    - Press the Phone button at the bottom left
    - Open the Treo lid and it goes right to the phone list. This will work provided you have not modified with a third party app (TreoButtons).
    - Press the power button twice (this also dims the screen backlight.

    e
  5. #5  
    To robertv:

    Robert,

    Yours has got to be one of the most articulate, informative, and objective reports I have read to date on this Board!

    You are to be commended, and I thank you for it!

    Although I try to glean whatever I can from even the reports of the screamers and whiners (of which even I may have been guilty at times), as the subject of their complaints may be well-founded and correct, I derive a much greater level of comfort from a thorough and dispassionate review like yours.

    After reading and studying your report, I am ready to order!

    Regards,

    NateS
  6. #6  
    Great review Robert,

    Display: I guess Handspring went with 12bit to reduce cost and save battery life.

    ScreenProtectors: I use Brando http://shop.brando.com.hk/screenprotector.php.

    Buttons: another suggestion is TreoButtons.
    Felipe
    On the road to 5,000 posts
    Life is what happens between Firmware releases.
  7. #7  
    RobertV:
    Thank you for the informative review. I am still looking at getting a Treo and your review was just what I was looking for to help me decide. I do have a few question that you might be able to help with:

    Treo Mail: When working with the Exchange server, is the computer that you have to leave on the desktop that the user uses while looking at mail at work or can the program be added to the exchange server machine?

    Connection Speed: I really did not see you address this area. Is the connection speed good for the applications that you have tried out...i.e. e-mail, web browsing. *sorry reread orignial post and you did address this area - please disregard*

    Sprint PCS Vision Pricing: I am most interested in the data use of the Treo. If one was just using the phone for e-mail and recieved 20 e-mails a day would the 2mb be enough or does one need more. If you add web browsing at major sites...i.e. news sites, sports sites, and such...for say 20 minutes a day, how would this impact the data usage. I know this question may be hard to answer but thought I would try asking.

    Thanks again for the review....it was very informative!!!

    Scott Wharton
  8.    #8  
    Originally posted by veroi
    Nice review Robert. I have some questions:

    1.- How did you get you e-mail without having the pcsvision password. My understanding is that you need this to get the connectivity going from the phone for the High Speed system.So you can get e-mail and Blazer working.
    2.- I see that you are succesfully getting mail as long as your desktop is ON. Have you tought of ways to get your e-mail when your desktop is OFF.Which would be good if you are on the road and do not want to keep the desktop ON.
    3.- What have you looked at for attachment viewer, once you get use to getting your e-mail, you will wanting to take more advantage by been able to see certain attachment.
    4.- Any reason you did not go for the Pocket PC Phones sold by T-Mobile,Verizon or Sprint.

    1. Even though I purchased the 300 directly from HandSpring, it got onto email just fine when the service was established. Its default configuration must have allowed it somehow without me knowing it... I didn't enter anything into the profile on the treo (such as usernames or passwords)... my guess is that sprint populated the values on the first connection. It had all sorts of fits when I changed the password however and I had to get into the Treo to get it configured properly before it would access the service. Once I did it settled down though. I am not brave enough to change the PCSVision UserID yet though... One of the techs at Sprint said "oh... I wouldn't do that just yet... we are still ironing out issues with our servers..."

    2. PC must be on. The corporate edition has a little app that sits in the tooltray which sends and receives your email through the company firewall. They do have a product that can be installed on the exchange server itself (I imagine it isn't cheap however). I am sure your network folks would question the value of such an install unless there was lots of Treo 300's being supported.

    3. With TreoMail, you don't get the attachments sent to the Treo. The TreoMail server keeps them so they can be re-attached in the event that you forward an email to another account. They stated that they did this to keep the transmission as fast as possible... uh huh...

    4. I had planned on waiting for a HP/IPAQ Jornada 928. However, it doesn't sound like HP is going to really throw their weight behind it, and since it has a new processor, the software support might be weak for it... particularly one that is classified as the "last of the Jornada lline."
    - Robert
  9.    #9  
    Originally posted by swharton
    RobertV:
    Thank you for the informative review. I am still looking at getting a Treo and your review was just what I was looking for to help me decide. I do have a few question that you might be able to help with:

    Treo Mail: When working with the Exchange server, is the computer that you have to leave on the desktop that the user uses while looking at mail at work or can the program be added to the exchange server machine?

    Connection Speed: I really did not see you address this area. Is the connection speed good for the applications that you have tried out...i.e. e-mail, web browsing. *sorry reread orignial post and you did address this area - please disregard*

    Sprint PCS Vision Pricing: I am most interested in the data use of the Treo. If one was just using the phone for e-mail and recieved 20 e-mails a day would the 2mb be enough or does one need more. If you add web browsing at major sites...i.e. news sites, sports sites, and such...for say 20 minutes a day, how would this impact the data usage. I know this question may be hard to answer but thought I would try asking.

    Thanks again for the review....it was very informative!!!

    Scott Wharton
    TreoMail... Your PC must be left on. They have a package that you can buy (probably not cheap) that will go on the exchange server. Your company would no doubt question its value...

    PCSVision Pricing: I am not sure at this point. I have the 8 meg data option. We will see if it is enough. Their site doesn't seem to be showing your current usage yet (they are doing a lot of work tightening up the bolts) so I will comment back as soon as I know more. Of course my company pays for all this so...
    - Robert
  10. #10  
    Great review! I am on the verge of buying one but I am still looking into it vs. the xda PocketPC.

    I have a need to remotely administer network machines for my work. I maybe wrong but I feel like there are better apps to do this kind of thing for the PocketPC than the PalmOS.

    As an IT director, I was wondering if you use the Treo to remotely administer your work's network. Do you use or have you tried any ssh, telnet, VNC programs?

    Any thoughts?
  11. #11  
    Originally posted by robertv


    TreoMail... Your PC must be left on. They have a package that you can buy (probably not cheap) that will go on the exchange server. Your company would no doubt question its value...

    PCSVision Pricing: I am not sure at this point. I have the 8 meg data option. We will see if it is enough. Their site doesn't seem to be showing your current usage yet (they are doing a lot of work tightening up the bolts) so I will comment back as soon as I know more. Of course my company pays for all this so...
    Just got off the phone with sprint/hs
    they say for treo mail you dont need to keep the PC on..any thoughts? what are the key differences between treo mail and BC plan?

    WOuld you be updating your review with more recent experiences?

    Thanks!
  12.    #12  
    Originally posted by athreya


    Just got off the phone with sprint/hs
    they say for treo mail you dont need to keep the PC on..any thoughts? what are the key differences between treo mail and BC plan?

    WOuld you be updating your review with more recent experiences?

    Thanks!
    At least for now, I don't know if I would trust any one comment from a sprint rep... I have talked to 3 and have received many different answers to my questions. The truth is out there...

    As for TreoMail I believe I can speak with some authority. The applet that you download loads onto your PC. It sits in the task tray and intercepts mail messages and forwards or receives them from the Treo Servers. If this app is not running (i.e. your computer is off) this functionality will not occur. See this URL for a diagram... http://www.handspring.com/services/t..._sec=corporate


    To avoid this however, Visto Corporation has a server version of this application that (probably) resides on your exchange server. This would make it where your PC would not need to be on for your email to get routed through the company firewall.
    - Robert
  13. #13  
    Originally posted by robertv


    At least for now, I don't know if I would trust any one comment from a sprint rep... I have talked to 3 and have received many different answers to my questions. The truth is out there...

    As for TreoMail I believe I can speak with some authority. The applet that you download loads onto your PC. It sits in the task tray and intercepts mail messages and forwards or receives them from the Treo Servers. If this app is not running (i.e. your computer is off) this functionality will not occur. See this URL for a diagram... http://www.handspring.com/services/t..._sec=corporate


    To avoid this however, Visto Corporation has a server version of this application that (probably) resides on your exchange server. This would make it where your PC would not need to be on for your email to get routed through the company firewall.
    and hows that different from sprint bc bs..several tech guys at hs and sprint said that only for BC do u need to have a computer running.

    also if u delete or forward stuff from the treo does it make the same changes on the desktop as well?

    does it forward /enable you to read attachments?

    are you plg to update your review?

    lastly do you think sprint allows you to downgrade your plan after three months if need be?
  14.    #14  
    Originally posted by athreya


    and hows that different from sprint bc bs..several tech guys at hs and sprint said that only for BC do u need to have a computer running.

    also if u delete or forward stuff from the treo does it make the same changes on the desktop as well?

    does it forward /enable you to read attachments?

    are you plg to update your review?

    lastly do you think sprint allows you to downgrade your plan after three months if need be?
    Remember, I am talking about the corporate edition of TreoMail. If you delete emails from the treo, they are deleted on the desktop (and vice-versa). The read/unread status is also kept in sync the same way. You cannot read attachments on the Treo, but it will let you know that the email has them. If you forward an email with an attachment to someone else (not on a Treo of course), the attachment will go along for the ride.

    I am planning on adding more to the review. Probably by tomorrow.

    Not sure on the plan downgrade. Sprint, like any carrier, will want to lock you in for a while and penalize you if you mess with the plan. It is just a fact of life... they are trying to maintain a consistent revenue stream for the company and can't do that if people are changing their plans on a whim.
    - Robert
  15. #15  
    Originally posted by robertv


    Remember, I am talking about the corporate edition of TreoMail. If you delete emails from the treo, they are deleted on the desktop (and vice-versa). The read/unread status is also kept in sync the same way. You cannot read attachments on the Treo, but it will let you know that the email has them. If you forward an email with an attachment to someone else (not on a Treo of course), the attachment will go along for the ride.

    I am planning on adding more to the review. Probably by tomorrow.

    Not sure on the plan downgrade. Sprint, like any carrier, will want to lock you in for a while and penalize you if you mess with the plan. It is just a fact of life... they are trying to maintain a consistent revenue stream for the company and can't do that if people are changing their plans on a whim.
    THanks that was quite helpful
    Again i am not sure i know the diff between the corporate and personal editions of Treo Mail? does anything have to sit on the server? We use Outlook- will it work with that? i just cant understand why they have two things -treo mail and Sprint BC todo the same thing!!
  16.    #16  
    Originally posted by athreya


    THanks that was quite helpful
    Again i am not sure i know the diff between the corporate and personal editions of Treo Mail? does anything have to sit on the server? We use Outlook- will it work with that? i just cant understand why they have two things -treo mail and Sprint BC todo the same thing!!
    TreoMail is a Handspring product and is (or at least seems) fully supported by HandSpring. PCS Business Connection is a Sprint product. They have a partnership on this deal and each is interjecting their own option on how you want email to work. Notice on the Handspring site how TreoMail is fully integrated in with everything else there. The link for PCS Business Connection launches a Adobe Acrobat file. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. I would actually like to see a good side-by-side review of the two. Both work with Outlook.
    - Robert
  17. #17  
    Originally posted by robertv

    TreoMail is a Handspring product and is (or at least seems) fully supported by HandSpring. PCS Business Connection is a Sprint product. They have a partnership on this deal and each is interjecting their own option on how you want email to work. Notice on the Handspring site how TreoMail is fully integrated in with everything else there. The link for PCS Business Connection launches a Adobe Acrobat file. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. I would actually like to see a good side-by-side review of the two. Both work with Outlook.
    so i guess what u r saying is that theres no difference between the corporate and personal treomail? look forward to your review tom after which we will- about 15 of us- make a decision to buy/not buy!
    thanks
  18. #18  
    The difference between corporate and personal edition is:

    Corporate edition:
    - Allows you to retrieve your work email if it is behind a corporate firewall
    - Requires a small desktop application to be running on a PC behind the firewall in order for you to retrieve your email
    - Provides synchronization between the mail on your Treo and your work email, i.e. if you read an email on your Treo, it will be marked as read on your PC the next time you send/receive email.

    Personal edition:
    - Allows you to access any POP3 email account that is NOT behind a firewall (this is most email accounts from ISPs like Earthlink, etc. I think Handspring has an example list of some popular ISPs that are definitely supported, so you can check their site)
    - Will NOT allow you to access email behind a firewall
    - Does not provide email synchronization with your Treo, i.e. if you delete an email on your Treo, it will not be deleted when you read your mail from your PC. I believe this is because of a lack of functionality with the POP3 protocol, and does not have anything to do with TreoMail.

    As you can see, Corporate edition provides more functionality which is probably why Handspring charges more for it. If you are just interested in accessing your home/personal email, personal edition should be fine. If you want to access your work email, depending on how it's set up you may need corporate edition. Some small offices may not have a firewall, and so personal edition could work fine for your work email as well. Handspring offers a 30 day free trial, so once you get your Treo 300, you can always try both to see which one works with your email.
  19. #19  
    thanks..that helps...but it seems from another thread that basejet is by far the best for it allows u to handle attachments as well...
    waiting for roberts final review!
  20. #20  
    I use the preview program of DataViz' Inbox To Go, and it works GREAT for attachments. I used BaseJet, but I had a variety of ongoing issues, so that got the boot. I also used Aileron by Corsoft, and that was what I had settled on until I came across Inbox To Go. It's not perfect; it doesn't have a really good push or other alert process (not even SMS, at this time), but the handheld app is very stable, the PC re-director seems to hum along with no issues. I love it - being able to grab attachments wirelessly is truly, for me, the last link in being able to take a work trip and leave the PC at the office (yes, plugged in to the network, but that's the way it goes).
    Check it out at:
    www.dataviz.com/inboxtogo
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