Quick look: Treo 650 has pizzazz

The palmOne folks have done it again. The Treo 650, the latest in the company’s line of Smartphone handhelds, is a winner for many reasons.

The handheld device combines a Palm OS organizer, mobile phone, MP3 player, e-mail service and Web browser into one compact device with loads of extras, such as Bluetooth capability.

We received our review unit from Sprint, which is selling branded devices under the name Sprint PCS Vision Smart Device Treo 650 by palmOne.

Sprint officials, who offer CDMA service on their Nationwide PCS Network, sell the Treo 650 at their stores, through their business channels and online at www. sprintpcs.com for $600.

The Treo 650 is also available in a Global System for Mobile/General Packet Radio Service world phone version from Cingular Wireless Communications.

The new model boasts an improved thumb keyboard with larger, flatter keys. Users who dislike these keyboards probably won’t become converts. The keys are still tiny and close together. That’s the trade-off for the small device size. If you can’t get used to the keyboard, however, the onscreen keyboard offers a workable alternative.

Another perk is the built-in digital camera with video capability and a zoom function. We were surprised at how well photos taken in low-light conditions turned out.

For government customers concerned about security, the handheld device is also available without a camera for the same price.

The Treo 650 comes with caller ID and call log features plus useful extras such as speaker phone and voice dialing. You’ll get up to five hours of continuous digital talk time and more than two weeks of digital standby time, according to Sprint officials.

Sprint provides e-mail, calendar and messaging connectivity with the company’s PCS Business Connection service, which interfaces with Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino.

The Treo 650 comes with 23M of memory and runs on an Intel PXA270 312 MHz processor. You can store extra information and applications on a Secure Digital card, MultiMediaCard or Secure MultiMediaCard, all of which fit into the reader at the top of the device.

Finally, rounding out the perks of this jazzy handheld, the bright display is noticeably sharper and clearer than any we’ve recently seen.

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