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  1.    #1  
    The factor that is the single most mentioned distinction between the Treo and most other smartphones is the keyboard.

    As a gadget junkie, I've had just about every smartphone form factor ever produced (except for the new clamshell pocketpc phones just coming out). Presently, I have a Treo 600, a Sony Ericsson P900 and an XDA I. I retired the XDA and handed it off to a collegue last week.

    One cannot over estimate the value of a good thumboard in data entry activities, especially email.

    Far and away, the most data entry friendly form factor I ever had was the Treo 270. The Blackberry phone is perhaps friendlier, but apart from email, it's not PDAish enough for me to be a true smartphone. I consider it to be an emailer with phone capablities.

    In these threads, when comparing the Treo 600 to any other phone, the single most significant factor is the absence of a thumboard. This is particularly the case for the P900, but it also relates to the XDA I and II. Also other Palm based smartphones that have normal phone key configurations rather than a qwerty keyboard.

    But having spent the last two weeks with the Treo 600, I have come to conclude that its keyboard is extremely flawed and ought not to be considered a decisive factor.

    The 270 and Blackberry keyboards were very comparable. The keys were well spaced and rapid data entry with minimal errors was achievable with moderate experience.

    The Treo 600 form factor changed drastically and as a result, the real estate available for the keyboard was pinched considerably. HS tried to compensate for this by raising the keys, but the truth is, they feel very similar to a Braille panel that you see on the wall in elevators.

    My hand is not small, but it's not huge. I can't for example palm a basketball. I don't have a "murder's thumb".

    Yet try as I may, I can't seem to enter emails or text messages of moderate length without recurring errors and corrections. I'm not a klutz and I have had as much experience with thumboards as anyone else.

    I have run tests comparing all of the three devices noted above. And the Treo is tied for last.

    Using T9 data entry on my P900, I can enter text faster than with my Treo 600 and I've had the P900 only for a week or so longer and, before the P900 had ZERO experience with T9.

    Using T9 with a predictive data entry program, I can enter text on the P900 MUCH faster than the Treo 600.

    Using my XDA I, I find that the two are comparable timewise. That's only because I include the time to take the stylus out of the XDA silo in measuring the two devices. (My test has each device in its case and the clock starts when I pull the device out). The XDA has predictive text built in, which is what saves a bunch of time. I give the nod to the Treo 600 over the XDA in the comparison solely because there are times when one handed data entry is all you can do, and that's just not doable on a virtual keyboard.

    The bottom line, guys, is that the Treo 600's strongest point is really not as strong as some people would like to believe.

    I know you love the idea of the Treo and it's gee whiz appearance. But the practical reality of the situation is that the compressed keyboard is a major step backwards.
  2. #2  
    the t600 has predictive text as well
  3.    #3  
    Originally posted by HumP
    the t600 has predictive text as well
    I know it does. But the problem is when you hit two keys at once, or the wrong key because of the extremely cramped layout, you find that predictive text is not necessarily as helpful as it would otherwise be.
  4. #4  
    (replying via the Treo, to reiterate my point) - I think that HS probably had a very hard time with this as well. While I agree that the 600 keyboard is <slightly> more difficult than the prior generation, I think that the designers were willing to make that tradeoff to achieve a smaller overall form factor. And I as a user am also willing to take that. Given the size of the BerryPhone (width, mainly), I doubt those will ever see even minimal adoption, even to the level of the 600.
    So - what then is the bottom line? For what I use my 600 for - SMSing and nominal email and such - I think the smaller thumbboard tradeoff is worth the overall gain in form factor and ergonomics. Others may not. It works great for me tho....
  5.    #5  
    Originally posted by nrosser
    (replying via the Treo, to reiterate my point) - I think that HS probably had a very hard time with this as well. While I agree that the 600 keyboard is <slightly> more difficult than the prior generation, I think that the designers were willing to make that tradeoff to achieve a smaller overall form factor. And I as a user am also willing to take that. Given the size of the BerryPhone (width, mainly), I doubt those will ever see even minimal adoption, even to the level of the 600.
    So - what then is the bottom line? For what I use my 600 for - SMSing and nominal email and such - I think the smaller thumbboard tradeoff is worth the overall gain in form factor and ergonomics. Others may not. It works great for me tho....
    You should see the P900. If you are a light emailer and SMSer, you would see it blows the doors off the Treo. When my return period is up, this Treo goes back. Or I may sell it to some drooling guy waiting for an unlocked GSM model.
  6. #6  
    how do you use the T9 if you have to entry words in different languages in the same document (email, note, etc.)?
    do you have to leave the application you are writing in, go to the preferences, change the T9 language settings, go back to the initial application, write the word, and do everything once again to restore the first language?

    just wondering
  7. willp2's Avatar
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    #7  
    I jumped from a Blackberry as well. And must say that I had a real problem with the KB for quite sometime. There is enough to like about the 600 that I thought I'd live with the trade off, but every time I'd have to write a message I was struggling.

    Now however, with practice and the addition of KeyCaps, I'm having virtually no problems and am no longer frustrated my the KB. While still not as good as the BB, its not bad for me.

    And by the way I do have thumbs the size of Stonehenge.
  8. #8  
    How do I run all of my Palm apps and Palm -Windows conduits on the P900?

    It can't be done.

    Also, how can you get an unlocked (or even locked) P900 for the T600 upgrade price of $399?

    It can't be done.
  9.    #9  
    Originally posted by nrosser
    (replying via the Treo, to reiterate my point) - I think that HS probably had a very hard time with this as well. While I agree that the 600 keyboard is <slightly> more difficult than the prior generation, I think that the designers were willing to make that tradeoff to achieve a smaller overall form factor. And I as a user am also willing to take that. Given the size of the BerryPhone (width, mainly), I doubt those will ever see even minimal adoption, even to the level of the 600.
    So - what then is the bottom line? For what I use my 600 for - SMSing and nominal email and such - I think the smaller thumbboard tradeoff is worth the overall gain in form factor and ergonomics. Others may not. It works great for me tho....
    I don't believe it's a fair characterization to say that it is only "slightly" more difficult.

    I am a guy who was IN LOVE with the idea of what the Treo was. I was aggravated to no end when the delays came and came and came. I was almost like a thirsty man in the desert when it came.

    And boy was I disappointed. Fast. That keyboard is simply a problem. Even with domes, they run together and it's just not accurate to say otherwise.

    I don't say it's unusable. Sure it is usable. So you posted a message with it - great. But that does NOT prove the point, because I never said it was UN usable. It's just a terrible compromise.

    And here is the point - the shorter your messages, the more you should feel comfortable with other input methods. Indeed, most people say that the keyboard's importance is directly proportional to the heavy-ness of your keyput activities.
  10.    #10  
    Originally posted by giuppi
    how do you use the T9 if you have to entry words in different languages in the same document (email, note, etc.)?
    do you have to leave the application you are writing in, go to the preferences, change the T9 language settings, go back to the initial application, write the word, and do everything once again to restore the first language?

    just wondering
    Not at all.

    You just push the star button to toggle between multi-tap and T9. One button, one push. Back and forth. Simple. Same for toggling between numbers and letters.
  11.    #11  
    Originally posted by heberman
    How do I run all of my Palm apps and Palm -Windows conduits on the P900?

    It can't be done.

    Also, how can you get an unlocked (or even locked) P900 for the T600 upgrade price of $399?

    It can't be done.
    Firstly, the point that I was making was the issue of keyboard versus no keyboard, since that is generally the razor's edge for most people.

    I didn't raise the issue of non-PIM software. If you have custom software written for the PalmOS, you have a dealbreaking point.

    However, PIM for PIM, the P900 and the Treo 600 are not very different. And as to commercial software, most PalmOS software that has a wide base of subscribers have EPOC cousins.

    As to price, again, it wasn't the point. You have a special price and it gives you the right to wait and wait and wait - and I am not talking about you, per se, but GSMers in general.

    The P900 will soon be available in the US and when it is, it will sell in commercial outlets at comparable prices, with the P900 perhaps a tad more expensive because it is better made and more fully featured.
  12. #12  
    I heard that the Treo 600 has code that figures out which character you meant to press when you accidentally press multiple buttons. Did that help at all?

    My current phone does T9 and while it's good for short SMS's I can't imagine that it can compare to the versatility of qwerty thumbpad
  13. #13  
    I have to respectfully disagree with the keyboard complaints. I went back and tried my Treo 300 again after using the 600 for about a week, and I actually prefer the 600. The raised nature of the keys make it easier for my big thumbs (I'm 6'4, 300 lbs, with mitts that CAN palm a rock) to find the keys.

    It's all gonna be a matter of personal choice, anyway. I was REALLY concerned about the size of the keyboard, since I ordered it without ever testing the form factor out. Now, after a week of using it, my 300 seems quaint by comparison. Case closed. Keeping the 600.
  14. #14  
    I have to say that as a Danger Sidekick user, I find its keyboard vastly superior.

    I like almost everything else about the Treo better, but I was very displeased with the keyboard in my initial try out.

    Still wavering....
  15. omoanya's Avatar
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    #15  
    how do you get predictive text on the 600?
  16. #16  
    Originally posted by omoanya
    how do you get predictive text on the 600?
    Read this...
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  17. #17  
    Originally posted by omoanya
    how do you get predictive text on the 600?
    Guess.

    Edit: so beaten.
  18.    #18  
    Originally posted by Raschied
    I have to respectfully disagree with the keyboard complaints. I went back and tried my Treo 300 again after using the 600 for about a week, and I actually prefer the 600. The raised nature of the keys make it easier for my big thumbs (I'm 6'4, 300 lbs, with mitts that CAN palm a rock) to find the keys.

    It's all gonna be a matter of personal choice, anyway. I was REALLY concerned about the size of the keyboard, since I ordered it without ever testing the form factor out. Now, after a week of using it, my 300 seems quaint by comparison. Case closed. Keeping the 600.
    The biggest problem I have with the keyboard is one handed operation.

    I find that when I use BOTH hands, it's not as user friendly as the 270 or Blackberry. But it's pretty manageable.

    The problem with one handed entry is that you have to more specifically peck at the key and it seems to make controlling the unit in your hand more unstable. To me, it's almost like holding a bar of soap in the shower.
  19. willp2's Avatar
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    #19  
    Originally posted by zipmitz
    The biggest problem I have with the keyboard is one handed operation.
    I'll mention again that for me the thing that changed this into a two handed KB was by using KeyCaps. I went from struggling to pretty efficient in just a few minutes.
  20.    #20  
    Originally posted by willp2


    I'll mention again that for me the thing that changed this into a two handed KB was by using KeyCaps. I went from struggling to pretty efficient in just a few minutes.
    Like I said, out of the box, the 600 as a two handed KB is not nearly the best, but it's serviceable.

    The issue to me is one handed control. And THAT is a core issue. Just look at the official picture of the Treo. ONE HAND. The central navigation button - it's all about one handed ease of use.

    But truth be told, it's tremendously unstable that way.
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