Review: palmOne Treo 650 for GSM

Review: palmOne Treo 650 for GSM

By - Posted Feb 02, 2005

Company: palmOne
Price:  $499 for New Cingular Customers; $549 for Existing Cingular (AT&T Wireless) Customers; $599 with No Service
Available: Now


Pros: Great Display; Improved Keyboard and Button Layout; palmOne Enhancements to Palm OS; Strong Battery Life; Quad-Band World Phone
Cons: Limited Memory

When palmOne launched the Treo 650 with only Sprint PCS, the rest of us were left in quite a dilemma. Is it worth switching carriers just for the Treo 650? I'd never recommend such a drastic move if you're happy with your service. However, the wait is over for the rest of us with the availability of the GSM version of the Treo 650. Yes, it's just as good as the Sprint PCS version, arguably even better.

It's All Tech

How's the GSM version different? Except for the color of the outfit, this version looks the same. You'll find all the great features and the same few drawbacks found in the Sprint PCS version I reviewed a couple months ago.

Of course, the big difference is what’s under the hood. The GSM version goes global with support for the 900 and 1800 MHz frequencies, both common overseas. At home, you'll get 850 and 1900 MHz for better coverage in Cingular's mixed frequency network.

On the data side, the Treo 650 gets both GPRS and EDGE support. EDGE, the faster of the two technologies claims sustained speeds of 135 kbps with bursts up to 200 kbps. Sprint PCS and their 1xRTT technology manages 60-80 kbps sustained with bursts up to 144 kbps.

Why Upgrade?

Unfortunately, I bought my Treo 600 weeks before the 650 debuted in November. After testing the Treo 650, the 600 went in a drawer. It wasn't just the display, keyboard, camera, or Bluetooth that tumbled the 600 from grace. It was Microsoft Outlook that gave the final push.  PalmOne makes the integration with Outlook significantly better with the Treo 650. 

I've discovered over the years that many people do in fact have a home address, a work address, and sometimes a third address. People have many different phone numbers too. And some of the people in my contact list even have birthdays and pictures that I like to use for photo caller ID. All this information synchs with the Treo 650, something that didn't happen with the Treo 600. Game, set, and match for me.

Getting One

GSM users can get their hands on the Treo 650 from Cingular for $499 with new service, $550 for existing customers. For other GSM carriers or those that don't want the carrier locked version of the Treo 650, the unlocked version will run you $599 directly from palmOne. 

For current Treo users, I highly recommend the Treo 650. You won't be disappointed with the upgrade though your wallet might be hurting for a stretch. Fundamentally, there's only one question to ask – Is anybody interested in buying my Treo 600? I need the cash for my upgrade.


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