Before I start, I have to admit I’m a long-time Treo user. My wife had a Treo 300 5 years ago or so, and I knew the 600 was coming out, so I refused to trade in my trusty Palm Vx for a 300, but held out for the 600. It was, in my opinion, the perfect device for which I had been waiting a long time. I was tired of carrying both a cell phone and a planner (the Palm Vx), of having to update phone numbers on my computer at work, my planner, my cell phone, etc., and of needing yet more devices if I wanted to do anything with music, pictures (the Palm Vx had pictures on it, but gray-scale screen didn’t impress much), and other media, besides the fact that I had long since used up the 8 Mb of memory on the Palm Vx.

My Treo 600 lasted about four years (my wife is using a replacement 600 now – had an issue with it a while back and got it replaced through the equipment protection program). It was a great phone, so I am a little biased. I haven’t been willing to try the HPs (too big and clunky) or the Blackberrys (don’t need mobile email). But after my Treo 600 started getting long in the tooth (I’d been watching the new products for a couple of years, but couldn’t justify the price/features tradeoff), I decided recently that it was time to upgrade.

After an abortive attempt with a 680 (love the design, hated the network/technical problems I kept having – daily crashes, lost SMS messages, etc.), I got a 700p. It’s a good, solid phone, and honestly is an upgrade from my 600, but frankly, I wouldn’t have upgraded had I had a 650

Why? It isn’t much of an improvement over the 650, and it’s a really expensive piece of equipment ($400 after a $100 rebate.) The camera is good, but there are much better cell phone cameras out there – I doubt there are Treo users buying a Treo for the camera anyway - and it’s not all that much better than the 650’s. The music/sound is good, but it was on my Treo 600 as well, and I’m not enough of an audiophile to be able to tell the difference. The Palm operating system is pretty much the same, with a few enhancements that are more window dressing than anything. The syncing with Outlook used to be better, but as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, now that I have Outlook 2007, it doesn’t sync at all, with no estimate for when it will. The third party applications that I have purchased still work, which is a relief I don’t know I would have had with a Windows machine (one of the reasons I didn’t switch.), but they obviously worked on my old phone as well, so not really an issue. It still doesn’t have WiFi access (a serious point of contention for many Palm and potential Palm users), and although it has better internet access speeds, I can’t tell because I can’t afford (nor will my employer pay for) the data plan, so that’s not really an issue either.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “you idiot, why did you shell out $400 to switch?” Two things, really. Better screen (much better screen) and bluetooth.

Now, after using it for a little over a month, I love the screen, but I’m not too impressed with bluetooth. I’m happy to have hi-res in my phone now (wonderful improvement and beautiful pictures). It is great, and almost worth the cost of upgrading.

Bluetooth, however, is another issue. When I saw the capabilities of the bluetooth headsets (and other people using them), I’ll admit I was a little jealous. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to hold the phone to my head to talk? To say nothing of safety or wireless music. So when I got the 700p, I also got a bluetooth headset (the Jabra BT150). Perhaps it’s my fault for not wanting to spend 1/4 of the cost of the phone on a nice bluetooth headset that I don’t really know whether I’ll like or not, but the pairing I have now (cheap headset) isn’t all that impressive. For one, I don’t really use the phone enough to justify wearing the headset around all the time – I doubt most people do. Even if they do, the one I have isn’t really comfortable enough to wear that much. So I only use it occasionally. Apparently, there is some sort of a problem with the pairing I have and occasional use, in that, if I turn them both off and then on again later, I can’t get the bluetooth headset to pick up, so I end up having a headset in one ear and a phone to the other. (And people wonder why there is an echo when I call them…) Fixing it requires a reset of both the phone and the headset, which makes it not very useful in my opinion.  Leaving bluetooth enabled on the phone really wears down the battery, even if you aren’t using it, so that’s not much of an option either.

Final conclusion – I don’t know that the better screen on the Treo 700p is compelling enough for me to say I would upgrade again, given the chance. Perhaps one day, I’ll have the ability to use bluetooth in a car (that’s an expensive upgrade if there ever was one), but for now, I don’t have a lot of use for it. (Haven’t found a good bluetooth music headset match, although I’ve heard there are some out there.)  Since my Treo 600 could do everything else, at an admittedly lower level, it’s tough for me to say that it was worth it. It’s still the same size (by the by, I tried the 680 first because, although it was a little less functional in terms of features, it doesn’t have the antenna, which was a big selling point to me, until I found out how hard it was to grab quickly without that antenna “handle”) and same form factor, and in my mind, there has to be some pretty major changes for me to upgrade. Maybe I’m just too cheap.

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