Saturday, May 5, 2007

Help Evo choose a new cell phone

I think it's time to throw out the old Treo 650. I've had it for a couple of years and it's starting to fade out. Rather than go down to the Sprint store and browsing, I thought I'd throw it out to the list. Please keep in mind my feature set requirements below. I'm sure you are pleased as punch with your unit, but if you don't use it like I need to use mine, I may be less than impressed.

  • Bluetooth. I don't have one of those cool in-ear thingys, but they are getting small enough where I'm intrigued. But my car has Bluetooth speaker phone capabilities, and I really liked that on my current phone back when it worked.
  • Effective texting. I've recently discovered the magic of texting because of Twitter. Trouble is, the Treo requires me to connect to the internet and click a half dozen links before I can get the message. Yet my son sees his instantly. I want to be a cool kid again.
  • Decent keyboard. The Treo has a min-size QWERTY keyboard and I'm a pretty quick thumb-typer. I don't really relish the thought of having to replicate that on a 10-key or learning T-9. I've seen how the new Blackberrys do it, and that looks acceptable.
  • MP3 ring tones. Yes, I want Banana Phone as my ring tone. I'm a dork.
  • Ability to use as a modem. I still get in plenty of places where I can't find wifi -- free or at a cost. Was handy to plug in the Treo to get access. But it was S L O W. Hear the new ones are faster.
  • email support. I check my email a lot. I use a mixture of Exchange (for day job) and regular POP accounts for all-other-times jobs.
  • PDF support. I keep three or four ebooks loaded all the time for when I'm... indisposed.

Here's what I don't really care about:

  • Using the phone like a desktop. The Treo has a pile of applications (like Word and Excel) that I could use, but never do and simply won't.
  • Camera. Don't get me wrong, I've used the camera on many occasions. But rarely for anything important. For those times I have a real camera.
  • Paying $500 for something new.
  • Listening to music.
  • Streaming content.

So there are my needs. Help a brother out and post your suggestions right here.


  1. Well, the first and most important question is: Are you willing to leave Sprint? Hard to pick a phone without knowing the service... And the most choice is out there for GSM phones (T-Mobile & CingularAT&T.

  2. If you want to stay with Sprint, check out the Moto Q and the Blackberry 8703e, both of which I've played with and they work pretty well. I haven't played with the new Treo 700s at all, but there are Palm and Windows mobile versions.

  3. My Treo 700p lets me get my text messages right away. Are you using a Pocket PC phone? I noticed with those that you do have to click a few times to get your texts. On my Palm Treo, they pop right up. It also has everything else on your list.

  4. 700p from VZW. Did you know you can try for 30 days, don't like? You can switch elsewhere for free. I tried the Q - bad bad bad. oh, get an unlim SMS plan. Unlim data on 700 is $15, USB or Btooth to ur PC. Hope this helps.

  5. I've got a Treo 700p w/ Sprint. I purchased the software package that allows me to use the phone as a dial-up modem. I don't know how fast the 650 was, but here is my speed test results:

    The only caveat is that I'm testing it from Hawaii and I found that the connection point to the Internet is somewhere in California. Because of this, my connection experiences a bit more lag that you would get. However the throughput should be about the same or better.

    From what I've heard VZ doesn't allow their users to use smart phones as dial-up modems. You will need to buy an EVDO card and sign up for that data plan. I'm not sure of the policies of the GSM based providers, but you do need to check before signing the contract. You cannot assume they will let you do what you want on their network.

    I also use the Treo's default text messaging client for Twitter. $15/month for unlimited texting on top of $15/month for unlimited web access.

    If you get the 700wx, it has MS Mobile and therefore Outlook. I've setup a few of these for my bosses at work and they haven't complained yet. I haven't setup syncing to Exchange, but I'm sure it can be made to work. Multiple POP and IMAP accounts are supported.

    PDF reader & mp3 ringtones are supported, but I haven't tried them.


  6. re: Mad Marv "VZ doesn’t allow their users to use smart phones as dial-up modems"

    yes they do, it's $15/month and I use it in an "unlimited" fashion, but they have modified the TOU to make sure that people don't host servers, etc. in this manner. This DUN, Dial-Up-Networking, is $60/month as a separate card/account, but the secret of these smart phones is that the $15 covers web browsing, email, etc. from the phone, but also the tethered DUN stuff. And a fair amount of other phones with EVDO data capabilities also tether, sometimes via bluetooth, so no USB cable, and they do a pretty good job of it. I was in Tahoe recently on vacation, used my phone to provide the DUN "anchor" and my wireless WIFI card to provide a local wireles network to the kids and their laptops/games thru windows internet sharing. MACs can do this, too.

    I use wireless sync for corporate email exchange and the treo included POP email reader for personal accounts. All of which is included.

    Also, Evo, you say not interested in music, but use the Pocket Tunes software on the Treo to play MP3s from, oh I dunno, your podcast feeds! On windows, I use the MSFT SyncToy to sync my podcast directory directly to my SD card, plug that in the phone and go. Delete on the phone, when you sync later, it's deleted off your PC. Mac, I don't have, can't comment.

    PDF and Mobipocket readers work fine, including the stupid DRM'd content.


  7. Assuming you're willing to switch, you might look at the T-Mobile Dash. I believe it meets your needs (not 100% sure of MP3 ringtone, but 90% sure). It runs the smartphone version of Windows Mobile, not the PDA version, so no touch screen, but otherwise pretty decent, and $200 with contract after rebates. It looks a lot better in real life, if the picture throws you off like it did me.

    T-Mobile offers unlimited data for $19.99/month on top of a voice plan, although it's the slower Edge technology and won't be as fast as the others. They fully expect you to use it tethered, and will give you a public IP to make VPNs simpler if you specify you need that when you get the service (ask for VPN or "internet3"). 1000 text messages is $9.99, or unlimited for $14.99. It's a GSM phone, and comes locked to T-Mobile, although they have a fairly liberal unlock policy (3 months of good payments I think), so you'd be able to take it with you to a new GSM provider, or take it with you if you travel overseas and get a local SIM for cheap(er) local calls.

    I own a different phone by the same maker, HTC, and I like it quite a bit. My phone is the $500 phone you were looking to avoid. :-)

  8. I've recently just ditched my Treo 700p for a Moto Q and have been relatively pleased with it, even when using it with my Mac.

    I purchased The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile and have had no issues (yet) with syncing to both Entourage and the native iApps.

    It meets all the requirements you cite above and more.

    Will I keep this phone forever? Nope. It's not perfect but it's thin and pocketable and does the trick for the moment. Just make sure you get an extended battery.

    Hope that helps.


  9. "Twitter" -- sorry, one final note - I've recently discovered that the RSS feed for Twitter can be shoved into Google's reader and then from the phone "" and if you it, and action button assigned to the above URL. Works pretty much from any phone with data, although if they are using WAP behind the scenes, sometimes the URLs won't be formed properly (this is probably stuff Google needs to work on)

    Anyway, one can read the twitter entries right along with anything else in the Google feedreader...

  10. Several people recommended the Motorola Q. I've tried that one, too, and there were two things that I couldn't adjust to. One, I couldn't get the text messages to pop up as quickly as they do on the Treo 700p. Two, it is NOT a touch-screen model. That was a big one for me after using Palm PDAs for over a year. If you think the touch screen is important to you, you won't want the Q.

  11. Being a Palm snob, I'm gonna recommend the new 680. I saw one the other day at the Cingular store... and I may actually upgrade to that puppy next. Palm unleashed an integration to Crackberry software as well, so I want to test that... just to see if it works, not because I've got a hankering to be a crackberry-addict.

    I've stayed away from fully integrating my Palm and my phone, but I think the time has come... because of Twitter, mostly.

    Now, my wife likes the blackberry Pearl, and I know Aron from Parking in Bitterman Circle loves his, so maybe that's a way to go as well.

    I, though, use my Palm for PodCasts and movies and books and a remote tv control and a presentation device... so, I'm not looking to jump portable OSes yet.


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