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  1.    #1  
    Got my Treo 650 delivered today. Popped in the battery and the screen came alive (had some charge on it, apparently). IMO, the screen is the big reason for upgrading. If you don't need or care about the 320x320 screen, wait a bit for the Treo 600 prices to fall farther and grab one of them. But man that screen is gorgeous. Back it went to the wall for a full charge. But while I was playing around for a bit, I made note of several steps backwards in terms of usability (in no particular order)...

    -1) Whether this first one is a "usability" problem or just a problem, I'll let you decide...The thumbboard backlight is insane. Way too bright. What on earth were they thinking? This will really screw up your night vision. With one of the free light sensor apps out there, if you use it in a super-dark environment, the screen will dim appropriately, but the keyboard will blind you and annoy others. A keyboard backlight should add just enough light for you to see the letters when you need to. I can appreciate that the old one may have been a bit dim, but I'd gladly take too dim over too bright.

    -2) D-Pad is smaller. I've only had the Treo 600 for a couple of weeks and was really liking the feel of the 600's D-Pad. It wasn't obvious with the images that have floated around that the 650's D-Pad was smaller. This is really noticeable. Can I live with it? Sure. But there seems to be some "dead space" above the D-Pad, so you'd think they could have provided a bigger D-Pad. Possibly even bigger than the 600's. Sigh.

    -3) Press and hold the red phone button to turn on the phone functionality. Ohhhkay...Jeff Hawkins must be rolling in his grave over this one.

    -4) Press the green phone button and I see they've changed the quick-launch app launcher. On the 600 there was a simplified spoke system. Sure, you could only launch four apps, but it was nice to push the phone button to turn on the unit, press the middle D-Pad button to unlock the phone, then push the D-Pad to the left to launch the web browser. Three steps. On the 650, I push the green phone button, press the middle D-Pad button to unlock the phone, then push the D-Pad once to the right, then once down, then push the center D-Pad button. Five steps now. Don't get caught up on the fact that I'm talking about the web browser. Sure, I could move my favorites around so that the web browser was on the top left (and so was the default highlighted app), but with the 600 I could launch any of the four in just three steps.

    -5) New type of memory apparently stores less than the 600. I haven't tested this out yet, but others are making a big deal about it, so I figured I should add it to this list.

    -6) Bundled RealPlayer doesn't seem to be fully Treo optimized. I can't navigate down to the on-screen buttons with the D-Pad. IMO, any and all bundled apps should be Treo-optimized. As if that wasn't bad enough, RealPlayer wasn't smart enough to find the MP3s I had in my SD card's MP3 folder. I'm guessing I need to put them in a folder with a specific name. Lame.

    I'll probably come across some more problems. Until then, I'll give credit where it's due and mention some usability improvements as well (again, in no particular order)...

    +1) Improved low-light capability of camera.

    +2) The improved screen adds real value for a variety of things. Among them, the camera. The problem with the 600's camera wasn't simply the fact that the low-light quality was bad, the low-res screen was bad at displaying even decent quality pictures taken with the camera.

    +3) Moving the Home and Menu buttons up to the top within easy thumb-reach. No more bizarre hand contortions required to reach these.

    +4) New extra button on the side will come in handy.

    +5) New type of memory will (apparently) keep data safe even when the battery dies.

    Scott
    Last edited by Scott R; 11/28/2004 at 06:37 PM.
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  2.    #2  
    FWIW, the jury's still out for me on the thumbboard key shape changes. On the one hand, the larger flatter keys are definitely an improvement. On the other hand, the keys are now closer together and I think I'm pressing the nearby keys more often than I do with the 600. More real-world testing needed on this.

    Scott
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  3.    #3  
    +6) Press-and-hold the center button to bring up the alerts. Having to physically tap on the asterisk in the top-left corner of the screen on the Treo 600 was a major oversight and one of the few (only?) cases with the core OS/apps where you couldn't do what you needed to do with just the D-Pad and thumbboard. Glad that this has been fixed.
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R
    +6) Press-and-hold the center button to bring up the alerts. Having to physically tap on the asterisk in the top-left corner of the screen on the Treo 600 was a major oversight and one of the few (only?) cases with the core OS/apps where you couldn't do what you needed to do with just the D-Pad and thumbboard. Glad that this has been fixed.
    Someone wrote a small program called Alerts that I used on the Treo 600 (It had the same function as the press and hold center button, except that you had to launch it).. I guess I can delete it from my 650. ( i can't seem to find the link right now)
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R
    -2) D-Pad is smaller. I've only had the Treo 600 for a couple of weeks and was really liking the feel of the 600's D-Pad. It wasn't obvious with the images that have floated around that the 650's D-Pad was smaller. This is really noticeable. Can I live with it? Sure. But there seems to be some "dead space" above the D-Pad, so you'd think they could have provided a bigger D-Pad. Possibly even bigger than the 600's. Sigh.
    Scott, first of all I'm soooo jealous that you already have your 650!

    Also, I wonder what your thoughts are in regards to Brighthands comments regarding the 5-way D-pad?

    Another thing that gets my praise is the slightly higher center button of the 5-way navigator. Something as simple as this makes using the 5-way navigator a more accurate experience because I find myself accidentally pressing one of the directional buttons (the outer ring of the 5-way navigator) much less often than I did with the 600. It's enough of a difference to make navigating more accurate without being so raised as to get in the way.
    http://www.brighthand.com/article/pa...ite=SmartPhone

    Thus perhaps they designed it in such a way for those with bigger thumbs to reduce accidental presses?
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  6.    #6  
    Yes, the center button is raised slightly higher, and that makes pressing it more accurate. However, the overall D-Pad size is slightly smaller and when combined with the now "easier to press" center button, you now have the opposite problem: when you want to move the D-Pad, you might accidently press the center button. Again, it seems to me that there should be enough room for them to have made the D-Pad larger than the 600's and make the center button raised slightly higher, giving us the best of both worlds.

    FWIW, are any of these issues I've raised deal-killers for me? I don't think so. They all add up to being annoyances, especially since I've been playing with a Treo 600 (free replacement for my wife's broken Treo 300) for about a month now and so I know how some of these things operated better on that device. In the end, the 320x320 (and overall better looking) screen and improved camera are probably reason enough for me to prefer the 650 over the 600.

    Scott
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  7.    #7  
    Neutral item:
    ~1) What's better? Having to unscrew your stylus to reset the Treo 600 or having to remove the battery cover to reset your Treo 650? Answer: Neither, they both suck.
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  8. #8  
    I think unscrewing the stylus was better. You could easily do it without danger of dropping the phone. Now it's very cumbersome to hold all the pieces in your hands.
  9. #9  
    BTW, I couldn't agree more with your observations, but unfortunately there's a LOT more that's very wrong with this phone. I am still keeping it because of BT, the gorgeous screen and the camera... but I HATE the way they actually ruined good things about the 600 and missed so many opportunities to do GREAT things. The 650 is 1 step forward, 3 backwards and 2 sideways.

    Number 1 problem for me right now is the memory. It's absolutely ridiculous. I only have 5 MB free and I that's only my bare minimum of utilities I used to have on my 600. No games and no frivolous apps, that was a luxury I had with the 600 (and all my previous Palms) that is simply not there with the 650. And I can't use ALL the RAM or the 650 will start having fits when viewing web pages and such. It's like having a jumbo jet that only has 3 seats: It flies, but there's a lot of wasted hardware.

    And I just want to add than in addition to needlessly complicating what used to be a great, simple phone interface, they made it sluggish, as I posted elsewhere on these boards. That is just inexcusable. Even if I feel VERY strongly about how the new phone app is a step backwards, we all may have different opinions on what contitutes usability, but the fact that it's so slow it actually eats keypresses when cycling favorites and takes 2 seconds to dial a number is unacceptable, especially since the 600, a slower PDA, was so much snappier.
  10. #10  
    One more quick note on a step backward -- has anyone else noticed that when you go to the call log the cancel button is highlighted? With the 600, two quick presses of the center button allowed you to call the last number dialed or received. Can't do that anymore -- the first press takes you to the call log, where you have to use the up arrow to highlight the call log listings.

    While I'm complaining, the size of my call log went from 395K to 5MB. That's just ridiculous.
  11. #11  
    I heard that PalmOne built in the functionality of dimming the keyboard backlight. Maybe we just need to wait for a hack to be released. I also miss the 4 quick launch options using the D-Pad on the T600. Maybe another hack (more memory needed)? What about VersaMail? It looks nicer but it lost some functionality. And, I still can't get ActiveSync to work.
  12. wahili's Avatar
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    #12  
    what is up with me not being able to scroll the call log with my d pad. this cant be right! WHAT!?
  13. #13  
    "-3) Press and hold the red phone button to turn on the phone functionality. Ohhhkay...Jeff Hawkins must be rolling in his grave over this one."

    It's also the power on/off so that makes perfect sense. It doesn't turn on phone functionality necessarily because it doesn't switch you to the phone app. This is exactly how it should work in my opinion.

    "~1) What's better? Having to unscrew your stylus to reset the Treo 600 or having to remove the battery cover to reset your Treo 650? Answer: Neither, they both suck."

    They both suck significantly less than accidentally resetting your Treo which is what would happen if it were "easy" to do.

    "I think unscrewing the stylus was better. You could easily do it without danger of dropping the phone. Now it's very cumbersome to hold all the pieces in your hands."

    Perhaps, but that made it difficult to make stylus pens for the Treo 600. Without a reset pin it's now easier and they are already out there. That's a big win in my opinion.

    "Sure, I could move my favorites around so that the web browser was on the top left (and so was the default highlighted app), but with the 600 I could launch any of the four in just three steps."

    That's true, but I like that I can launch some 50 apps fairly quickly. Also with the feature of being able to remap your letters you can still get your 3 step nirvana -- if you don't mind searching for the exact keyboard key and holding it a second. For instance, I mapped "C" to camera so now I just hit phone, center and C. I've got camera. Web will probably be "W" for me. In any event, I think it reduces the negativity you might have.

    "One more quick note on a step backward -- has anyone else noticed that when you go to the call log the cancel button is highlighted? With the 600, two quick presses of the center button allowed you to call the last number dialed or received. Can't do that anymore -- the first press takes you to the call log, where you have to use the up arrow to highlight the call log listings."

    I think it's a step forward as now I won't accidentally call people when looking at my call log as I did numerous times previously. Thus I think you might want to reconsider a step backward and more of a step sideways.
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by wahili
    what is up with me not being able to scroll the call log with my d pad. this cant be right! WHAT!?
    You're right it's not right. The D-pad works fine once you realize that you default to the cancel at the bottom. Pressing up will take you to the first item and pressing left will take you Details
  15.    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by bmacfarland
    It's also the power on/off so that makes perfect sense. It doesn't turn on phone functionality necessarily because it doesn't switch you to the phone app. This is exactly how it should work in my opinion.
    From a usability perspective, I don't think that a hangup button should turn on/off the phone. My problem is not with the on/off functionality, but that the button is labeled with a big red hangup icon. FWIW, my Sony-Ericsson T608 has a power button on top, no dedicated green/red phone icons at all, and would never be mistaken for anything but a phone. I think this is a case of p1 wasting time trying to make the Treo 650 "look" like a phone unnecessarily. In the end, though, it is a minor quibble. The owner of the phone will get used to how it works in short order.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmacfarland
    They both suck significantly less than accidentally resetting your Treo which is what would happen if it were "easy" to do.
    Has this ever happened to you or anyone you know with another PDA? I own both a Tapwave Zodiac and an HP iPaq h4155, both of which allow for resetting with the stylus tip. I've never had these accidentally reset.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmacfarland
    That's true, but I like that I can launch some 50 apps fairly quickly.
    One of the five-way choices on the Treo 600 was "Favorites". With the 650, I push down to bring up the full list, with the 600 I could push down (or wherever) to bring up the full Favorites list. No 650 advantage there as far as I can tell.

    I'll just add that I think that the 600 already suffered from schizophrenia and this has only gotten worse with the 650. What is or should be the "home" screen on a smartphone like the Treo? We have the green phone button which brings you to the phone screen but also allows fairly quick access to launching favorite apps, etc. and can show upcoming appointments. We have the "Calendar" button which can bring you to a view of your daily appointments and to-do list. We have the "Home" button which brings you to another type of screen for launching apps. IMO, these should all be consolidated into one screen. Yes, screen real estate is an issue and some creativity is needed, but I have several ideas (I've been thinking up something for the Treo/Zodiac for a while). I would have made the green phone button a Home button which would bring you to a single view for launching apps, dialing phone numbers, and viewing your upcoming appointments. You could drill down into any of those categories for more detail/options. But that's a discussion for another thread.

    Scott
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R
    From a usability perspective, I don't think that a hangup button should turn on/off the phone. My problem is not with the on/off functionality, but that the button is labeled with a big red hangup icon.
    I do agree it's a little weird, but I consider it a bonus function. I'd rather not deal with a button on top. And if we are to interpet the thread as usability from a Treo 600 to Treo 650 then that button would have to be a power on for the people like me that have trained themselves to press it for that purpose. An arguement could be made that the very button shouldn't have the "end function", but I don't see how it hurts anything. If I give a phone to friend, I think they'll "get it", which is something they didn't on my Treo 600. That's why I think this is actually a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R
    Has this ever happened to you or anyone you know with another PDA? I own both a Tapwave Zodiac and an HP iPaq h4155, both of which allow for resetting with the stylus tip. I've never had these accidentally reset.
    I haven't used either device, but I could see how a woman's fingernail might do it, if the reset button wasn't designed exactly right. Maybe what I'm thinking isn't very likely to happen, but then again I haven't had to reset my Treo 650 and Treo 600 a combined twice in the last 8 months. So, for me, that's not very likely either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R
    One of the five-way choices on the Treo 600 was "Favorites". With the 650, I push down to bring up the full list, with the 600 I could push down (or wherever) to bring up the full Favorites list. No 650 advantage there as far as I can tell.
    You got me here, good point. However did you set up a shortcut in your Favorites so you can jump to anything in 3 steps? I think that's pretty much just as useful. One thing does come out of this. I usually dial from contacts. Since they took out the wonderful Treo 300 smart dial feature, you've had to go into your contacts or set your Treo 600 to automatically assume you are dialing a contact. I had set my Treo 600 for that automatic assumption which works great except it's then very tough to dial numbers. You have to tap them out on the screen because the keys just search contacts. With the Treo 650, my contacts are already selected, so I simply press the center 5-way a second time (one to unlock, one for contacts) and then type away. If I want a number I just hit the screen. On the Treo 600, you'd have to hit the center to unlock and then a different direction (think it was down) to get to contacts. I don't know if that difference is worth typing the paragraph I just did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R
    I'll just add that I think that the 600 already suffered from schizophrenia and this has only gotten worse with the 650. What is or should be the "home" screen on a smartphone like the Treo? We have the green phone button which brings you to the phone screen but also allows fairly quick access to launching favorite apps, etc. and can show upcoming appointments. We have the "Calendar" button which can bring you to a view of your daily appointments and to-do list. We have the "Home" button which brings you to another type of screen for launching apps. IMO, these should all be consolidated into one screen. Yes, screen real estate is an issue and some creativity is needed, but I have several ideas (I've been thinking up something for the Treo/Zodiac for a while). I would have made the green phone button a Home button which would bring you to a single view for launching apps, dialing phone numbers, and viewing your upcoming appointments. You could drill down into any of those categories for more detail/options. But that's a discussion for another thread.

    Scott
    I think making one screen do all that would be confusing to a lot of people. You have to remember a lot of your customers would be coming from the Palm world, and you have to make things relatively similar to what they are used to. Thus you need that "other type of screen for launching apps". I think you also need to make it very easy to use the phone, i.e. not require any more key presses than you currently do. I dont see how you can consolidate all those things on one screen and still require the same amount of key presses, though you've surprised me before.

    I'd be interested in such an idea though. When you create that thread, maybe you could link to it here. I wouldn't want to miss it.
  17. #17  
    http://www.aximsite.com/boards/archi...p/t-44649.html

    Link above is a discussion on the same processor pxa270 312 Mhz used in the 650. I wonder if the slowness is a result of the SpeedStep technology. When the phone is off it is at the lowest speed, you hit the phone button, it needs to wake first, rub it's eyes a few times, yawn, take a leak and then dial the freakin number. Hey, can some developers come out with a app to overclock it to 512 Mhz?

    Quote Originally Posted by NSiNSiNSi
    .........
    And I just want to add than in addition to needlessly complicating what used to be a great, simple phone interface, they made it sluggish, as I posted elsewhere on these boards. That is just inexcusable. Even if I feel VERY strongly about how the new phone app is a step backwards, we all may have different opinions on what contitutes usability, but the fact that it's so slow it actually eats keypresses when cycling favorites and takes 2 seconds to dial a number is unacceptable, especially since the 600, a slower PDA, was so much snappier.
  18.    #18  
    bmacfarland, one of the first things I noticed with the Treo 600 was the change in the way the phone app worked. I loved being able to type all numbers or the first initial and last name and have it be smart enough to know what I was doing.

    Last night I was showing off my Treo 650 and later on I was doing some surfing in the bed. The keyboard backlight is probably my number one complaint right now. It's causing me major eye fatigue. I anxiously await an update to Brightcam (or some other hack) to shut this off. But that will be bad, too, since in the darkest conditions we'll have a choice of having the backlight on causing eye fatigue and drawing attention from others in situations where you might want to be discreet and having the backlight off and not being able to see the letters.

    On a similar note, am I the only one who finds the green signal indicator to be too bright as well? It flashes at me in a strobe-like manner which is irritating.

    Scott
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  19.    #19  
    More probs:

    -7) New Blazer. Pressing space bar to get quick access to back button now requires 5 clicks to get to it. And it looks like the back button now refetches the page from the server.
    Now THIS is the future of smartphones.
  20. #20  
    Also, did you notice they took away the ability to sort your contact list [first name, second name]? They replaced it with [company name, last name]. We only have two options to order the contact list: [last name, first name] and [Company, Last name].

    Now I can't even sort the contact list the way I want it, and I'm not asking for any exotic sorting procedures. Just the simplest of them all: first name first.
    I guess having a third sorting option was far too demanding on engineering resources? Even my wife's dumb digital rolodex directory can sort by several criteria. They've got to be kidding me. What kind of user experience Q&A are they running over there?
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