Replacing the Treo 600 with a RIM Blackberry 7250

Treo vs. Blackberry: I've had it with Palm products. Last week, my Verizon Treo 600 froze YET AGAIN while ringing (it freezes often), and I had to (again) attempt to pull the reset tool out of the stylus and reset the device -- while driving, at night. I used the Treo 600 on Verizon's network for nearly a year, and during that time I had three catastrophic hardware failures (#1, #2, #3). The Palm Treo is the only phone I've had that has forced me to keep a second phone as a backup. I'll have to admit that I really liked the Treo when I got it. It seemed to work, and PDA integration wasn't so bad. But over time, I grew to hate it. It had unacceptable stability and hardware quality issues, and there were many other things that annoyed me:

  1. Stability problems -- crashing, freezing. Game over.
  2. Hard reset requires disassembling stylus to get to reset tool.
  3. Web browser is poor, and not responsive. Despite being on a relatively fast wireless network, I never used the browser because it wasn't responsive enough, and had problems with sites I didn't think were that complicated.
  4. Proper sync with Outlook required KeySuite, which was expensive.
  5. Low-res screen. Treo 650 fixed this.
  6. Inconsistent volume with different headsets. Some were unusable (distorted sound).
  7. No Bluetooth. Treo 650 fixed this, sort of.
  8. Big and bulky.
  9. Slow-ish interface.
  10. Nearly-useless camera.

There were, of course, some good things about the Treo. E-mail with Snappermail worked, and reading eBooks on it is easy (with integrated Oxford English Dictionary); there is a great selection of third-party applications. But all of that is meaningless when a phone can't be used as a phone.

My original plan was to switch to Cingular so I could use the Audiovox SMT5600 (and GSM appeals to me, in general). However, I'm deathly afraid of Cingular in the S.F. Bay Area because I have tried their service in the past and had horrible luck trying to actually talk on the phone (but I hear that their network is getting better). I also travel out of the country a lot, and want a phone that I can unlock and throw a prepaid international SIM card into.

Instead, I decided to give Verizon another chance, and purchased a RIM Blackberry 7250, which works as both a phone and always-connected PDA. Verizon charged me $199 for the upgrade, in exchange for renewing a 2-year contract and signing up for a $45/mo. unlimited data plan (which sits on top of a normal voice plan).

I love the thing.

RIM Blackberry 7250 - Messages

The Blackberry simply works, and I can't imagine going back to any flavor of Palm product. The browser is fast and useful (I actually use it -- no pause while the device "connects"), e-mail gets pushed to my device from multiple accounts, call quality is excellent, and my Flamingo Bluetooth Headset works well with it. The device itself is light, but feels solid.

Unfortunately, third-party application support is fair, and things like eBook readers only exist in beta. The Blackberry is not perfect, but subjectively, I've already stopped thinking about the phone -- which for me, is a sign that it's designed properly. I just want things to work.

Things I like:

  1. Light, but solid.
  2. Good SSH (MidpSSH -- free) and IM software (Verichat).
  3. Screen is great and designed to work in ambient light.
  4. Really bright backlight.
  5. Built-in GPS antenna.
  6. Network features JUST WORK (web, e-mail).
  7. Bluetooth! (how novel)
  8. Application switching (multiple apps run at same time)
  9. No camera. (hooray!)

I've used the phone for a week now, and am definitely keeping it. Some issues, so far:

  1. No speakerphone. Boo.
  2. Great screen, but poor color saturation when backlight on (not great for photos).
  3. USB sync only (no bluetooth pairing with computers -- yet).
  4. No EV-DO yet (supposedly will be released as a software update, soon), and can't be used as a modem on Verizon (but people say the 7290 on Cingular can be used as one). I suspect that this will be resolved, at some point.
  5. Battery life indicator goes from 2/5 full to empty very quickly.
  6. No external switch/button for turning off sound (requires navigation)
  7. No polyphonic ring tones, no media support
  8. Built-in alarm is lame.
  9. No off-line AvantGo.
  10. No solid eBook support (yet)

I'll update this entry after I've used the 7250 for awhile. I'm so happy to ditch the Treo. Anyone want to buy it? Maybe you can make it work better than I could. ;)