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Treo 650 or Treo 700w?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on January 12, 2006

I’ve got to say, sometimes this coopetition thing gives me the willies.

I’ve been playing with the new Palm Treo 700w for about a week now, and am still finding the Windows Mobile operating system on a Palm device a little disconcerting. Don’t get me wrong, the new Treo is wicked-fast for downloads on Verizon’s network. But it seems to me the ease of use of the Palm operating system is lost with Windows Mobile, despite the fact that all the companies say Microsoft’s operating system becomes much more convenient to use with the one-thumb-away principle of accessing applications that you don’t get with many other Windows Mobile devices.

Palm CEO Ed Colligan has said businesses are clamoring for the Windows operating system on handhelds. That no doubt is true. After all, we all want familiarity in our lives, and Windows is certainly familiar. But is it the better OS for a handheld? I’d argue the average consumer might prefer the 650 instead.

Anybody who’s looked at both want to weigh in?

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Reader Comments


January 12, 2006 08:40 PM

I don't know how the 700w could be any more unreliable than the 650 is. My experience is typical of other 650 users I know. It reboots 2-3 times a day, ir doesn't regularly recognize numbers in speed dial, and doesn't regularly pick up a bluetooth headset.

Abe Burnett

January 13, 2006 02:17 AM

I agree. Well, it doesn't crash THAT much on me, but it crashes about once every other day or so. As far as I'm concerned that's ridiculous. Even Windows doesn't crash that much. The 650 is OK--when it's not crashing--but I'm thinking my next move will be to a separate phone, and a Windows based PDA. Palm doesn't seem to care much about its users, or about improving its products, etc. There are a lot of great things happening in this space, but not by Palm.

Christiaan Noordendorp, XI

January 15, 2006 01:30 PM

Microsoft is yesterday's news. Too many bugs in every program even for the American consumer. Stay with Palm OS. It is based, designed and enginneered for your handheld; Microsoft is not. Wake up people, the rest of the world will not tolerate telecommunication company's throwing so many restrictions and requirements on simple machines, it just takes us American's more time to catch up!


January 16, 2006 11:05 AM

I am a PALM user from way back and hence my life is on PALM. I like its ease of use and practicality. Why try and jam a desktop OS into a handheld other than to try and impress your friends?


February 6, 2006 05:32 AM

New to the PDA game, I am buying one to get a great organizer combined with a good cell phone to avoid carrying yet another gadget. I tried the 650 and the 700, and I found the 650 wasn't as simple as I'd expected, but the 700 was a few steps backward from that. I've never bothered testing the old Windows Mobile 5, and while I have read in BusinessWeek that Palm has greatly improved upon it, I believe Palm would have been wiser to overhaul it's own product rather than propping up another of Microsoft's miserable failures. I don't want to use data or email functions this year at all, so I ignored Blackberry entirely. I recognize that a multifunction product will have shortcomings -- e.g., the copier- scanner- printer -- but neither model meets my minimum expectations.

Robert Chew

February 6, 2006 03:15 PM

StyleTap Inc. now supports the Treo 700w in its latest version (0.9.108) which is now available on our website ( Users can now run thousands of programs originally written for Palm OS on their Treo 700ws.

BTW, I would recommend that anyone using it on a Treo 700w, should be sure to read the release notes

I think that it interesting to note that a lot of WM applications do not run properly or are awkward to use on square screen WM 5 devices, but Palm applications are a perfect fit.


Robert Chew
StyleTap Inc.

Lonnie P. Villermin

March 22, 2006 07:10 AM

I am in the process of reading and comparing information and specifications for both the 650 and 700. I do agree with some points that are made here - e.g. Why purchase the 700 with Micro Mobile 5.0 to impress friends or co-workers? Wouldn't the Palm OS 650 do the same? Is the Windows version more complicated and cumbersome to use versus its older sibling?


June 2, 2006 08:58 AM

I like the features of the 650, but *everyone* I have spoken to hates the device. Constant reboots, Bluetooth does not work reliably, etc etc. What I really want to know is if Palm fixed the HW problems. Until they do, there is no reason to decide which OS it should run.


June 2, 2006 05:58 PM

I love my Treo 650...I've owned it for over a year and it's been extremely reliable with none of the problems that others mention. I see that Palm has released the Treo 700p which offers the Palm OS in the 700 unit. Since I've been a Palm user for the last 10 years, I prefer the simplicity of the Palm OS over Microsoft's Portable Windows. However, I can see how the 700w can attract other users.


July 6, 2006 11:15 AM

Hated my Treo 600 (contacts erased when battery empty, even though you could restore from Palm desktop). Now I'm starting to hate my new Treo 700p. My new Treo crashes whenever I go to write an email (WTF). Has anyone else had this problem? Any known fixes?


July 15, 2006 04:34 PM

I owned a Treo 600 and generally was pleased with it. I did not use alot of the freatures, perhaps, and I am not a huge tecchie, but it was comfortable and generally reliable for calls and emails. It simply did not have the blue tooth adn other conveniences I thought it could have and I upgraded to a Treo 700w.

I have hated the Treow. I have had bluetooth issues from the beinning. I have just replaced the Treo for a new one after 7 months and I am not kidding, at least a dozen hours of time on the phone with well-meaning and polite Verizon people, but I have had more than my share of wasted time.

I have asked everyone at Verizon if I am the only one disliking the Treo 700w and I get most answers as, "some issues, but generally resolved with the upgrade..." Maybe so, but I am not convinced.

I would NOT recommend the Treo 700w. Perhaps the 700p is better, but I do not know. And this lack of a recommendation comes from a previous satisfied Treo 600 user (not even a 650!)

Marty Goodman

August 16, 2006 10:34 PM

I've used both 650P and 650W. The 650W is MUCH better at sync'ng email and things...but it is SOOOOO slow ! I can't imagine Bill Gates using this thing and not throwning it on the floor screaming 'what is wrong with you !'

I have about 2,000 contacts and while doing any type of reasonable search for a name I may as well get in line for a stabucks before it finishes.


August 31, 2006 06:42 PM

what a rushed to market PIECE OF CRAP!! I use my 700p as my primary contact for business and it keeps costing me $$!! it locks up if I get a IM msg with bluetooth on. so untill I notice and soft restart I can't receive calls. it did an 8 second call phase, where I call a # and it hangs up every 8 seconds!! then every time I open memos it does a soft restart. I hope they put out a fix soon this is my 2nd phone thinking the 1st was just defective.


September 15, 2006 11:32 AM

I am a 650p user and have had no problems other than the first week when it had to be replaced.
I use Sprint and the calls are good, no issue with Bluetooth or emails but use a 3rd party for that one. Will experiement a little with some other things over the next few months to see how they work out. I thought about going to the 700w but not sure I need to at this point in time base on what I read above.

Palm is ok i guess

September 20, 2006 09:31 AM

I started out with a 600 from Sprint years ago, and now have a 650 w/verizon. I am currently on my 4rth 650 in 8 months. I asked how many times does it take before I can change models. Verizons answer is 3 times within 60 days. Wow. My biggest problem is that I am addicted. I dont like the minimal uses of the blackberry and am not sure I am ready to take the plunge into the depths of Microsoft madness...

tina Higgins

October 7, 2006 12:55 AM

I'm looking in to getting a Treo which one you think is better?
I'm with sprint. I would like a 650?

Bryan Stone

December 7, 2006 09:01 AM

I've been a 650 user for almost 2 years now and am starting to look into upgrading to a 700 (though from what I'm reading here, it doesn't sound worth the money). I've loved my Treo 650! I browse the web and do regular phone stuff. I mainly use it for appointments and contact management and as an MP3 player. However, I have had some frustrating problems with reboots, especially with certain apps. Overall though, the 650 has exceeded my expectations and has been a worthy investment.


December 27, 2006 07:03 PM

Has anyone else noticed a serious difference in the camera? My 650 was nice and bright and took relatively nice "low light" shots and the 700 is way dark in comparison...
Is there a way of changing the f stop or lens to make the 700 more like my old 650 was or is that another difference?


January 7, 2007 10:49 PM

I have had the 650 and switched to the 700 and i think it was the worse thing I could've have done. Texting is awful on the 700 it doesn't keep it threaded like the 650. If your a ringtone person with add. software. The ringtones won't play all the way. I keep appointments a lot and I'm constantly having to click all the way to the month schedule. There is more but i like the 650 if you get a 700 get the 700p not windows unless you want a 4 to 5 inch handheld computer.

Phil Raddin

January 11, 2007 05:36 PM

My Treo 650 gets very poor phone reception...lots of dropped calls, etc. Does anyone know of a "fix" for this? I'm not interested in anything for my vehicle because I typically use the 650 in the office.

Charity Angel

January 14, 2007 09:28 AM

I asked employees at two different retail stores. Both said that the 650 is a better choice over the 700. I didn't ask for details, just a plain overall answer. And what about the 680? Nobody mentioned anything about that phone. It wasn't even sold in the two stores I went to.

abida dabida

March 21, 2007 04:29 PM

I agree with the users reporting problems with the 700p. I have found the 5-month ownership of my Palm Treo 700p to be the most frustrating experience ever with a portable device. Many of the issues are detailed in the following thread, which is being monitored by Palm executives, whom up to this point are hesitating to admit a 'real' problem with the Treo 700p even though they do admit that it hangs and performs worse than the Treo 650:


April 8, 2007 04:42 PM

I loved my 650, but decided that after a year to upgrade to the 700w. Let me just say that if you don't like change, stay away from the 700w! I myself love my new phone and after about three weeks of fumbling around trying to adapt to my new phone I found myself right at home with it! I would suggest this phone to anyone new to Palm or anyone just wanting something different. Those who are loyal to Palm OS should stay clear, you will only end up frustrated. Both phones are great and in the year and a half I've had mine it might have crashed maybe 4 times. Which is pretty darn good in my book, and about 1,000 times less than my ipod. :)


June 26, 2007 08:17 PM

On campus at microsoft, where i used to work, they really drank a lot of their own koolaid, so to speak. their products are second rate as far as interacting with humans. this concept comes very slow to this company. think control + alt + delete. This is the 21st century folks!

Joe Cameron

September 18, 2007 09:09 PM

For a few years, I had a Palm 600, and "upgraded" to a Motorola Q Phone (running windows). After several weeks of very painful adjustment, extremely short battery life, NO SEARCH CAPABILITY (that I could find), extremely slow response (internal and external), I dumped the Motorola on the internet, and I paid through the nose ($499) on the internet to get the Palm 650P (needed the high speed internet access), and have never complained again about the Palm. I use the device strictly for business, no bluetooth, no tunes, etc. For my money, the Palm software is in a class by itself. Particularly the SEARCH capability throughtout its' databases (calendar, notes, contacts, etc)which I never see mentioned, but which I cannot live without. I am now a committed and unapologetic Palm Operating System user. The Palm Treo with Palm software is a very elegant and serious device.


July 23, 2008 10:55 AM


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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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