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  1.    #1  
    Hi, Everyone,
    I really need some honest advice. I'm about to replace (augment?) my trusty and beloved T3 with a smartphone. Been agonizing over this for about a year & a half... ;-) I've been waiting for the "perfect" device, but I suspect I won't see it released until the week after I get tired of waiting & buy something "close". (Never had that happen, have you?) So here I am. The Treo 650 is available from Cingular for $179.00, Verizon for$299 (would be $199, except I'm being "penalized" for being a current subscriber...) The third possibility is the Samsung 730 from Verizon, but it's pricey
    I'm a Treo noob, but here is what I think I know so far...
    1. Verizon has better coverage, but a CDMA radio has less battery life. The 650 also can not take advantage of the faster EV-DO network, but should still turn in better data speeds than Cingular's Edge (according to verizon, 140kbs...bull****?)
    2. Cingular has, all other things equal (Plan pricing, etc.) rollover minutes, which doesn't seem to suck. Edge w/average speeds 100-ish
    3. Cingular's 650 is less crippled out of the box, but the Verizon 650 can be hacked for blutooth connectivity, etc. (I'm not sqeamish about this)

    My biggest question, however is the reliability/quality concerns about the phone itself.
    Is there any reason to believe/hope that the current production units have had most of the bugs worked out? Are the phones from either carrier "better"?
    Which carrier has a better replacement policy (in practice rather than advertised)?
    Do these things just fail randomly, or will beating the hell out of it for a week (software-wise) ferret out its defects?

    My two "bread & butter" apps are adarian money & agendus. I suppose there may be equivalent programs for the ppc. As I see application development for the palm devices tapering off & the ppc increasing, I've thought about jumping ship a few times. The one thing that has always held me back is the screen resolution on the windows devices. It (with the exeption of the 2 or 3 vga devices) blows. IMO, they look like toys compared to my T3. I looked at a Samsung 730 today. Transcriber is great, but I can't "write" neatly at 240 pixels. Maybe its just me. The thing that most pda shoppers never get a chance to see is a high res palm device running ZLauncher, etc. All they get to judge is the spartan OS5 launcher, which, frankly, pales to the PPC launcher, which, frankly, pales to _any_ of the better palm launcher replacements. But I digress.
    My T3 is a pretty good PDA, IMO. I've got it stuffed with way too much s/w, yet it remains amazingly stable. I _underclock_ it with PXA Clocker, and the battery life is much improved.
    My trusty Verizon V60i is a damn good phone.
    If I could reasonably expect the 650 to be 80% of the PDA that the T3 is, and 80% of the phone that the v60 is, I could be happy with that. Constant lockups, dropped calls, poor voice quality, resets, etc, won't cut it. I will be putting some utilities on it, like Tealscript, Zlauncher, etc.
    I'd just like to hear from both sides, especially any one in NJ with either carrier. I'm trying not to make an expensive mistake. If I go w/ verizon, I'm stuck for two years. Thanks for listening.
  2. mgauss's Avatar
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    #2  
    Sprint...what about Sprint? I'm very happy with Sprint...and it is cheap to surf!

    The Treo is great!
  3. jacobh's Avatar
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    #3  
    I think your expectations are very resonable. I have Sprint, and I can't speak for other carriers, but I think as long as you get a carrier who has the coverage in your area, you should be happy. I am... My current version of the Sprint firmware seems to have the kinks smoothed out. I'm a zLauncher user as well, and am happy with it. I use Agendus sometimes too, but it still seems to have a few bugs with the Treo. Still usable though, and hopefully they'll sort things out better soon. I mostly use the Treo's built in Calendar app though.

    Cheers,
    Jacob H.
  4. #4  
    Well, I'm in NJ, and I have a Treo 650 on Verizon. I got it in May, and I haven't had the sound volume problems that a lot of people seem to have. I don't know if it's because it's Verizon or if it's because I bought it relatively late.

    Something you should be aware of before you buy (I wasn't) - you can't receive calls when you're connected to the data network. Apparently it's a CDMA thing - so Verizon and Sprint. I'm not sure whether I would have gotten a Cingular Treo if I had known this. I chose to pay more for Verizon because of the better coverage. And I don't know whether this issue exists for EV-DO.
  5. #5  
    Not exactly true, sam. You can definitely receive calls while connected to Vision. What you can't do, however, is receive a call while an active data transfer is taking place. I think this is an important difference that the original poster should understand.

    GSM phones have the ability to suspend the data session, but isn't completely reliable.
  6. #6  
    I have a gsm treo 650, and can honestly say that it gets way better reception in than my moto v551, or or SE t637. I havn't had any problems with it yet.
    The sound quality has been really good. People I speak to have actually told me that I sound a lot more clear on their end.

    Joe
    Long live the TWIT army!

    MKast Wireless
  7. #7  
    I forgot to mention...I'm using Cingular.

    Joe
    Long live the TWIT army!

    MKast Wireless
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by mgauss
    Sprint...what about Sprint? I'm very happy with Sprint...and it is cheap to surf!

    The Treo is great!
    Agree...if Sprint has good coverage in your area, you should check them out. I was originally with Verizon for 10 years, and switched to Cingular, because of Verizon's arrogance in not providing an acceptable Bluetooth solution. Cingular's coverage in my area sucked, so I switched to Sprint and never looked back. Great pricing, great coverage, and great customer service. Sprint's firmware on the 650, in my experience, has been much more stable then it was on my unlocked GSM 650.

    Regarding receiving phone calls when a data transfer is in progress...This initially bugged me, but I actually like it now. Nothing was more annoying to me when I was with Cingular, than to be working on the web, and have an incoming phone call interrupt what I was doing.
    Last edited by Coffeeman; 09/23/2005 at 06:28 AM. Reason: spelling
  9.    #9  
    Wow, thanks for the great replies so far!
    Its very encouraging to hear that there are at least equally as many people happy w/ their 650's. I've done a lot of surfing, reviews, epinions, forums, etc., and it seems that the majority of the negative experiences are older posts. Of course that could just mean that it takes a while for the phones to break ;-)
    Also very interested in experiences of any of you in NJ

    Hadn't considered sprint because:
    a. more expensive phones
    b. anectdotal stories of poor coverage in my area

    I don't know a lot about their data plan. Do they have unlimited data for the entire internet? I seem to remember that pcs vision had an extra charge for practically anything, but that was years ago.

    Has anybody got any hard facts about cdma vs gsm battery life in the 650?
  10. #10  
    Sprint's unlimited data (internet, e-mail, Mobi-Tv, etc.) is only $10.00/month

    My experience with battery life on the CDMA & GSM Treo's was about equal. Many have reported that GSM Treos have longer battery life, but when I had my unlocked GSM 650 on Cingular, it looked for signal about 50% ot the time, which probably explains why battery life for me was about the same for GSM vs. CDMA.
  11. #11  
    One option that I didnít see mentioned is purchasing an unlocked 650 from Palm and connecting to the GSM service of your choice. I know, I know, it's a much more expensive phone. But I can honestly say that I've experienced FAR fewer problems than those reported by any of the carrier locked phones. My guess is that the carriers add/modify the device software in such a way that it introduces additional opportunities for bugs, although those seem to be dwindling down from what I can tell from these forums. I have been very happy with mine on the T-Mobile network. I pay $45 for 1000 min per month and $9.95 per month for their Unlimited T-Zones Pro (Iíve only had trouble getting into one website on this service, and itís sometimes a bear even on a PC). I did have to sign up for a year, but they gave me a nice Nokia phone that I use when doing outdoor activities that could jeopardize the health of the 650 Ė I just switch the SIM card and off I go. I believe there is a cost justification over time with the lower monthly costs compared to Verizon and Cingular, especially if you add in a factor for the portability of using any GSM carrier. (In the interest of full disclosure I will also admit that I was an ATT customer who was caught in the hell also known as the Cingular assult! They lost a 10 year customer with the extremely poor handling of that acquisition, along with the dramatic decline in the quality of their service at the time.)

    I use Z-Launcher, VolumeCare (although my volume was never much of a problem - I just like the additional boost it gives), Chatter Email (which I love!), DateBk5, DA, BackupBuddy VFS (just as a precaution, I've never needed it), HandiTrack (a golf handicap tracker), KB Lights and LEDOff (to help with battery life), and Nexius dictionary. No apps such as yours.

    T-Mobile has rolled out EDGE (at least in Detroit and many other cities from what I've read) and unless you do heavy surfacing, are a "power" user or are an IT guy needing to keep track of your systems back at the office where speed is important, the EDGE speed will probably be sufficient.

    But I couldn't agree more with some of the postings above - pick a carrier who has the best area coverage in which you most use your phone. I tried Verizon for a short time (because of their terrific customer satisfactions ratings), but had poor reception in some areas that were important to me. They were terrific, however, in canceling the account Ė I would definitely try them again in the future if they come down to earth with their costs. But the best price in the world won't make you feel any better if the coverage is inferior.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by gregb882; 09/23/2005 at 10:11 AM.
    Unlocked/Unbranded GSM Treo 650
    1.71/1.30 ENA, HW A
    T-Mobile Total Internet
  12. PSM
    PSM is offline
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    #12  
    I was in a situation similar to yours when I bought my Treo (Verizon). Overall I find I like having my phone and PDA on one device (I got real tired of the limitations of keeping my v710 working with my Clie via BT). I also use Agendus as my most common app, and the new version that came out this week has tons of enhancements for the Treo.

    The one disappointment I have is that the NVFS is completely stupid. The idea is that you will never lose data when your battery dies -- I don't know about you, but in 5 years of daily PDA use, I never let my battery die, but it sounds like a nice feature anyway. Well the way the NVFS handles the transition from RAM to flash results in lots of crashes because it tends to empty the cache at inopportune times, and suddenly a needed file isn't there, and it causes a reset.

    OK, fine. I'm sure you've dealt with crashes before. But these kind of crashes are different from the ones on any Palm I've had before -- when your Treo restarts, it will almost always have lost some important files, the most obvious one being Saved Prefs. You need to have constant backups to the SD card to guard against this, but even then you're not safe, because the backups can be corrupted more easily. So you get an app like Resco Backup that verifies the accuracy of the backup once it's done. OK. But even when you've taken every precaution, then you run a decent chance that Resco will crash during the backup, lose some of your data in the reset, and leave you without a backup. Trust me, I learned this the hard way -- backup FIRST, then delete the old one. Every time. Getting lazy "just this once" will be the one time it decides to crash during the backup.

    I don't mean to sound like I hate the Treo, I think it's a fantastic device. I was worried about going back to 320x320 after having hi-res+ devices for several years, but once I saw the screen in person I never worried about it again. The smaller screen size was a little weird for the first few hours I had it, but I adjusted to it, and the clarity you get from the pixels being closer together makes up for it.

    Overall I recommend it, but you have to be careful to protect your data, and be prepared for more resets (which are worse because you'll lose access to your phone and PDA during the time it takes to reset -- which can be embarassing in a business setting).

    As for carrier choice, I have no opinion. I had to go with Verizon because they are the only truly reliable carrier in NYC, although their plans for smartphones are a total ripoff. I find the signal on the Treo not quite as good as my old v710 (reputed to be the best RF on Verizon), but not much worse. Battery life is OK. I charge it pretty much every night, at least if I've been talking on it a lot. If you want to stick with Verizon and can afford their plans, you'll probably be satisfied.
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by ijoe13
    I forgot to mention...I'm using Cingular.

    Joe
    Put in your sig and you will never have to mention it.

    NiceGPSuperior1 is a free GPS program, now with the ability to save your map! Get more info here. It's free! If you like this app and want to encourage development, you can donate from the web page link.

    NiceDrudgeReader is a fast, simple reader for The Drudge Report. It is only $0.99, so check it out, too! More info here.

    Search for "Nice" in the app catalog to see all my apps.
  14. #14  
    I have switched from a T3 to a Treo 650, and I can say wholeheartedly that I am extremely pleased with the transition. I have had reservations, but after using my Treo with the keypad, the pda became much more useful.

    I'm with Cingular GSM and have an unlocked phone with custom ROM. The ability to switch SIM cards is awesome. I haven't had problems with multiple resets and voice quality. The data speed is consistently at 120kbps with EDGE. I have had a few resets and a few lockups, but not to the point of being bothersome.

    BTW, I have posted this entry using my Treo. Gotta love that.
  15.    #15  
    Thanx again for the help, all.
    I see that MyTreo.net (and younevercall.com, they must be the same because their phone menus are identical...) have the Cingular Treo for $179.00, free shipping. Not bad. However, you've only got 15 days to cancel if it's not working for you. I'm pretty sure one of the local guys can do it for $300. Yeah, its over a hundred bucks more, but its an extra two weeks to put it through the paces, and its usually easier to deal with local shops than the internet when there's problerms. At the rate weeks are flying by, the 2nd two weeks are worth it for me, YMMV
    In any case, from what I could gather, it seems that the Cingular Edge-enabled Treo will give me consistently better data bandwidth than Verizon's 1x version.
    Honestly, I also like the rollover minutes, because I do use the phone for work, and as an independent IT consultant, I tend to occasionally wind up taking tech support calls on the road. My monthly usage is all over the map, so the rollover thing would probably work for me.
    I thought about the unlocked palm version, but its megabucks, and I seem to remember reading that the Cingular GSM can be "unlocked" with a little hacking. I will probabably wind up hacking the ROM (NVRAM?) anyway.
    Its encouraging to see that T3 users have grown fond of the 650. One thing I love about the T3 is how it feels in the hand. The 650 feels similarly solid to me in a strange way. I like its "heft".
    The fact that the pixels are closer together (320 horiz) is immediately obvious to me when comparing it to the Samsung 730. The 730 was a very tempting choice, but I'd never be content with the display. I tend to think of the 650 as a T3 with the slider closed. Frankly, the only time I open it is for spreadsheets or AcidImage photos in landscape mode.
    Well, anyway, I'm waiting for this guy to call back to see if he can get one tonight. He assured me that it would be brand new, not refurb, 2nd, etc. I had to ask because that's just how I am, I guess.

    At this point, the biggest gripe I have is the pathetic ~28 megs of ram. I'm hoping some creative ZLaunching & my 1 gig SandiskII can go a long way there. Whatever ***** made that memory size decision ought to be castrated with a plastic picnic knife. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!!???

    All that aside, I'm totally psyched , I only hope I get lucky like dbulante & don't have any chronic crashes. That could spoil the honeymoon...
    P.S. With good earbuds (& an adapter) hows the mp3 audio quality? This is also going to be my ipod...
  16. #16  
    The audio quality is great. You will need a 3rd party app, like PTunes or AeroPlayer, cuz the built-in RealPlayer has limitations.

    Sound quality can be greatly enhanced using the popular VolumeCare.

    You can unlock the GSM phone for free by simply calling Cingular for the unlock code, or pay about $30 to have someone "hack" it. Do a search in this forum for unlocking your phone.

    With EDGE, you can use the Treo as a "high-speed" modem to access the Internet from your laptop. I have actually used my Treo to do a web-based telephone conference with six people.

    As you load more 3rd party apps, the chance of resets and lockups increase. But, for the most part, it is manageable.

    Good luck with your new smartphone. Hope it works well for your needs.
  17.    #17  
    Nice, glad to hear the sound is good. I've been using ptunes on my T3. The EQ is handy, as the T3 audio is marginal. I know I'll need to hack together a gentle adapter to 1/8", as I hear the rigid ones are tough on the delicate Treo jack...
    As you load more 3rd party apps, the chance of resets and lockups increase. But, for the most part, it is manageable
    .

    Oh, yeah. Don't I know it. I suspect it will take a couple of months to figure out which 3rd party apps will play nice together & which are the bad apples. It did on my T3. Just hoping that the Treo is not much more finicky than the T3... Thanx again for the advice & encouragement. Has anyone used any of the VNC apps w/ their 650? I use mVNC on my T3 w/ bluetooth to control winamp running on one of my xp boxes to control the house sound system. Hoping the Treo can also handle this....
  18. #18  
    I've been using my T650 for about 2 weeks now, upgraded from a T600, and I love it. I bought mine as an unlocked Cingular version from eBay, flashed it with the beta unbranded software, then flashed it with the unbranded/unlocked Treo updater...so no Cingular branding on it anywhere, and it cost 250 bucks less than from Palmone. Anyways, I use it on t-mo and could not be happier. It's a great phone, I get GREAT internet speeds (always upwards of 120 unless during lunch hour), and I'm just relatively happy with it.
    Palm Treo 680
    Unlocked GSM
  19.    #19  
    snoslicer,
    I have a maybe dumb question. Your phone started life as a Cingular branded phone, was unlocked, and now lives on t-mobile? Further up the thread, it was said that a Cingular phone is pretty easy to "unlock". So the question is, what is the difference (besides the case logo) between an generic 650 purchased from Palm, and a "neutered" cingular 650?
  20. #20  
    The Cingular 650 originally comes from Cingular, and has Cingular software built into the ROM of the phone (i.e. Cingular Mail, etc). Also, if you were to call Palm and ask them what version of the phone your IMEI was tied to, they would tell you it's a Cingular phone. Once you get a Cingular phone, all you need to do is use one of the online phone unlocking services, which work rather well, and then your phone is Subsidy Unlocked. This means you can now use it with any GSM sim card, although the phone still has Cingular software and branding on it. Now here is where it gets a little tricky: if you download the generic Treo 650 updater from the Palm website and try to run it on a Cingular branded 650, it won't run. It will tell you that you have the wrong updater, as it checks to see which phone software you have. BUT, if you first download the BETA software available on this site for an unbranded phone, which DOESN'T check which version of the phone you have, you can basically flash the memory of the phone to an unbranded version. Then, you can run the same generic updater mentioned before and have the newest version of the Treo 650 software without the Cingular branding. It now has the exact configuration that an Unbranded/Unlocked GSM 650 would have coming directly from Palm. There is one downside to this: if by chance your Treo requires service, and you send it to Palm, they will either: 1) Replace it with a different Cingular locked Treo (since you had a locked one to begin with), or 2) Replace the broken hardware and reflash the memory with Cingular locked software, requiring you to go through the whole process over again.

    If you have to send it in for service, I think it would be easier for the second scenario to happen, as your original subsidy unlock code from the service should work, provided they didn't replace any of the internal guts that communicate with the locking mechanism somehow.

    BTW, my unlocked Cingular version has no external case markings or brandings, so as of right now, I have a completely unlocked and unbranded GSM Treo...but I lucked out.
    Palm Treo 680
    Unlocked GSM
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