PalmOne Treo 650 smart phone

7 Jun 2006

If there’s one thing I’m certain about it’s that the Palm-user community is a loyal but almost exclusive group of individuals in this part of the world.

With the original Palm PDA’s beginnings in the Nineties, the first users were very switched on and immediately seized upon the practicality of the Palm device and astute users fell in love with its operating system. Simply put, it was ahead of its time.

Fast-forward to 2006 and you can go anywhere in America and it seems that every second man or woman on the street is sporting a Palm smart phone. Despite the growing prevalence of the BlackBerry email and phone device, the Palm-loyal group will be a hard market to crack. The one thing both device families have in common is an emphasis on practicality — ease of synching with your contacts and email back in the office as well as constant email on the move.

In terms of the Palm family, I know people who will use nothing else. It’s easy to see why.

Sometimes people can see through glitz and ‘added functionality’. A good device is like a favourite pair of old shoes that fit comfortably. A productivity device like a PDA or smartphone is meant to make your life easy, keep you organised. Truly busy people do not want to go off learning how to use new things. That’s what’s beautiful about Palm — the software has the same look and feel as 1996 even though they’ve managed to incorporate camera phone technology, Bluetooth, internet and so on.

The Treo 650 at first glance seemed a large device but one that fits nicely in the hand. It’s actually lighter than it looks too. The phone, which is quadband, is immediately intuitive and because the phone can synch with your Microsoft Outlook device, making calls through your database is simple.

The device, which works with both Windows XP and 2000 as well as Mac OS X, is also quite a nifty multimedia device as well as being a businessperson’s workhorse. It sports multimedia messaging, a VGA digital camera, a RealPlayer MP3 player and a DataViz document reader.

Overall I found the Treo 650 an impressive example of where Palm has evolved to while keeping in mind its solid, loyal user group who want to keep the magic formula. My only gripe with the product was the camera function. While the camera undoubtedly took some very crisp images, there wasn’t much room in terms of functionality and as far as I could make out it only had two zoom settings. But for focused, uncomplicated business people, whether in the small home office, the small to medium-sized enterprise or the corporate sector, the PalmOne Treo is just the ticket.

The device sells for €699 (incl VAT) and people can buy them at selected retailers in Ireland or at the Euro Palm store at

Handling ***
Features ***
Performance ****
Value for money **

By John Kennedy