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  1.    #1  
    I've had my T650 for almost a week now, and have used it enough to form my own opinions.

    Like many of the folks here, I've been a Palm user since the Pilot 1000. I lived with the idiosyncracies because they were worth it for a device which quickly became indispensable to my daily life.

    When the first Palm-based smartphones began to surface, I was intrigued. The chance to remove one device from the Bat-utility-belt, plus the whole idea of convergence (dial straight from the Contacts screen? Wow!) was enough to capture my interest. The first entry out of the gate, the Qualcomm Q-phone, was bigger than my Palm III, had lousy battery life and was uncomfortably warm when held up to the side of the head. I didn't buy one.

    The Treo line looked like an interesting offering, but again their first few models showed potential unfulfilled, and I figured it would be worth looking in again after some of the design issues were worked out.

    Samsung's initial entry, the I-300, was far more promising, and I quickly became just as dependent on that as all of my earlier PDAs. When the rigor of business travel and hard daily use finally took its toll, I upgraded to the I-330 via the Best Buy plan. (Which is the subject of another unpleasant screed. Suffice to say that Best Buy wins on prices and selection, but continues to fail on service.)

    I continued to keep an eye out for the "next best thing", and the long-rumored I-500 from Samsung looked like my next upgrade. The interminable delay, coupled with the first rumbles of press and user coverage for the Treo 600, caused me to wait. Besides, the 330 was more than sufficient at the time.

    About this time I started to notice that Bluetooth was finally catching on as a standard, but more importantly it was sparking the consumer imagination as well. The tech can be cool, but if no one buys it then it will still go nowhere. I bought my first Bluetooth headset, the Jabra BT200 with the adapter, and used it daily until it too died from travel stress and overuse. The adapter was bulky and inelegant, and added another item to the Bat-belt, so I started looking around for Bluetooth phones. (Again, a different tale for another time. I now know more about Sprint's marketing and politics than I ever cared to.)

    So the T650 looked like the way to go. Built-in Bluetooth, more memory than the I-330, better business capabilities. I couldn't wait.

    I've been lurking around the various gadget forums for a long time, but never found the time or inclination to contribute anything of substance. Now that I've used my T650 in real-world conditions for a few days, I feel like I have something to say.

    I'm a small business owner, and I travel to client sites all over the country. One of my own personal opinions regarding smartphone convergence is this: first and foremost, it has to be a good phone. If it doesn't send and receive calls reliably, my work suffers and my customers complain. All the "smart" in the world doesn't help me if I'm not there when my clients call. In that regard the T650 is a fine handset. It seems to have better clarity than the I-330, and I'll put it to a range test next week when I travel to a client site where coverage is notoriously spotty.

    The most-anticipated feature--built in Bluetooth--works very well. My headset of choice, the Jabra BT250 ended up not working very well, so I exchanged it for the Motorola HS810 which, while being less comfortable to wear for extended periods, is working as well as can be expected. (I have a very busy wireless network in my home, and there are at least three other wireless nodes within a block of my house, so the 2.4GHz radio range is quite cluttered in my vicinity. The Motorola headset shows far less susceptibility to interference than the Jabra did.)

    Installation and activation was reasonably seamless, as I've come to expect from Palm. I used to design installers for a living, and I've got some user-interface gripes with the Flash-based installation screen's poor navigation, but it gets the basic functionality across without too much difficulty. My first HotSync went faster than I expected, and had only one bobble. My Outlook calendar failed to sync, showing several "OLERR" messages. A little research on various forums led me to the solution--I have several recurring events that were imported into my local Outlook calendar from a client's Exchange Server. These were causing HotSync to fail. I deleted the "foreign" appointments and recreated them as local events, and everything went smoothly.

    Comparing the basic day-to-day work functions between the I-330 and T650, there are only a few things which stand out. I miss voice dialing. Having to haul out the phone and dial, then tap the hook switch on my Bluetooth headset seems a step backwards. I'm still waiting for a good solution to this, and I'm sure the development community won't let me down.

    I did install the full version of VoiceSignal's software, but it seems to be unable to run on my handset. If that ends up working, then hopefully that will fix it for me.

    Battery life seems less on the T650. I had two batteries for the I-330, and the extended battery would often last me two or three days of normal use between charges. The T650 battery doesn't last two full work days. I understand that in order to fit under the sliding cover they can't give me an extended life battery that would fit, but it is something of a disappointment for someone who is used to being able to go longer without plugging it back in. (And while we're on the subject of disappointment, the lack of accessories included in the package is something of a letdown. The last four phones I bought for my business, two Palm-based and two "regular" cell phones, all came with at minimum an extra battery and a carrying case. It seems a step backwards to me not to have at least that much included with a $600+ handset.)

    The built-in VersaMail client is easy to set up and use, and I had my business account and Gmail account up and running on the first try. Now it remains to be seen whether having my email with me 24/7 is a good thing or not...

    There has been a lot of discussion about what wasn't included. WiFi, additional memory, this or that application. My perspective, both as a long-time power user and as a business owner, is that while nice, they weren't dealbreakers for me. As I mentioned, it is perfectly fine as a phone, and the PIM features work seamlessly as I've come to expect. The additional functionality would be a nice bonus, but for day-to-day use I find it a huge improvement over my old handset, and will enjoy using it for a long time.
    Last edited by hysmith; 11/24/2004 at 12:07 PM.
    Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced. --Greg Bear
  2. #2  
    On my other phone, the Sanyo 4900, before I got the Treo 650, I had excellent reception.

    It seems that the reception on the 650 is kind of spotty. Did you encounter or anyone else encounter this on their 650?
  3. #3  
    I think it's interesting that you got extra batteries in your previous 4 phones. I've almost never seen extra batteries offered in the box itself.

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