Archive for January, 2005

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Treo 650 User Review

January 27, 2005

I have been using the Treo 650 on and off for quite a while now, but
have seriously started using the device for the past few days.
Following are my impressions:

1. Excellent Screen! The screen of this device is the best I have ever
seen on a PDA-Phone, hands down. If you put the 650 beside the 600, the
600 looks, well, just kawawa! It is very bright and the resolution is
excellent! The best way to demonstrate this, however, is using the
camera. Unlike the 600, the 650 display in camera mode is extremely
sharp. Both devices have the same camera resolution so it is definitely
the screen that significantly enchnces the image.

2. The 650 is an EDGE device, and using Blazer you can really notice
the speed increase. Downloads are quick, and there is really nothing
like looking at the top portion of the screen while downloading the
page and watching the kb meter just zoom along. Watch out for your GPRS
bills! The screen resolution further enhances the image and makes
browsing a plain joy.

3. Keyboard layout and key size have improved significantly. While the
keys are still a tad cramped, the layout and the actual shape of the
keys make it much easier to type. In the 600, I had the problem of my
thumbs starting to get sore because of the size and shape of the keys.
No such issue with the 650. The white translucent keys are also great
since it is easier to work with especially at night.

4. Bluetooth is pretty good. I paired it with my Bluespoon AX (which I
reviewed in http://www.racingsailor.org) and it was quick, painless, and works
great. Audio is loud and clear. Unlike my BlackBerry 7290, the
Bluetooth connection to the headset terminates after some period of
inactivity so I can actually use both the 650 and my K700i on one
headset quite seamlessly. Its good for battery life of the headset too.

5. The OS was pretty snappy and seemed al lot quicker and more
responsive than the 600 as well. I havent used a Palm in a while so I
dont quite know if there were a lot of application level enhancements
but usability is pretty good.

6. As in the 600, the 650 makes one handed operation quick and easy.
Unlike the 600, the 650’s keyboard makes one handed texting much easier
as well.

7. Battery life is pretty comparable to the 600, which is pretty good
already. There may have been an improvement in battery life but I am
not quite sure.

8. I havent used the later Palms so I dont know if this is now an old
feature, but the Palm Desktop seemed to have gone through a rehash. It
looks much better now, particularly for installing new apps. You can
also install apps directly to an SD card. PocketMirror was also
integrated better so there is no need to setup that third party app to
sync to outlook.

9. I dont know how to sync a Palm to my Mac. I was able to
successfully pair the 650 with my Powerbook but when I fired up iSync,
I couldnt really do anything. However, that was a pre-production ROM so
I dont really know.

10. The handset is similar in weight to the 600 and, in my view, is
just a bit too heavy for comfort. But is generally acceptable.

11. My office PC doesnt have Bluetooth so I couldnt try out Bluetooth
hotsync. But there is a wizard on the device to set it up.

12. The 650 comes with a cool anodized aluminum looking stylus, which
looks and feels really cool. However, I hardly get to use it because of
the great one-handed usability.

13. Voice quality was great. No more buzzing and other related sounds
found on the 600. Speaker phone seemed to be a limitation, because it
almost seemed to sound like it was half duplex! But I havent tested
this on the new ROM since I use my Bluespoon AX with it all the time.

14. Dock connector is now totally different from the old 600. Charger
connector is also totally different.

Overall Rating: Highly Recommended bordering on Must Have!

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The Treo 650!

January 25, 2005

The new Treo 650!

The new Treo 650!

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Bluespoon AX

January 25, 2005

Bluespoon AX

This is a picture of my Bluespoon AX. Arguably one of the the best Bluetooth headsets in the world.

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Bluespoon AX Review

January 23, 2005

I have been using a Nextlink Bluespoon AX (http://www.blue-spoon.com)
for almost two weeks now. The AX is arguably the smallest Bluetooth
headset available today, and in my book is the lowest priced quality
headset available.

Setup

The AX supports pairing with about seven simultaneous devices but is
currently paired with three of mine– a BlackBerry 7290 Handheld, a
Sony Ericsson K700i, and an Apple PowerBook G4. Pairing the headset was
no issue at all on any of the devices and proved to be a quick and
painless experience which consists of holding the power of the headset
on for a few seconds until the blue and red LEDs flash intermittently.
The other device is then set to pairing mode and quickly discovers the
unit. After the passcode is entered, the process is complete.

Battery Life

In my experience, the headset lasts less then 48 hours after a full
charge. While the documentation states that the unit should have 300
hours of standby time, I suspect the reason for my below spec battery
life is due to the BlackBerry device, which maintains connectivity to
the headset all the time, instead of when a call is triggered or
received. The constant connectivity between the two devices will
definitely shorten battery life on the headset. Effect of the
continuous connection to the battery life of the BlackBerry seems to me
to be negligible.

Fit and Usability

The fit of the headset in my ear is excellent. Unlike the older
Bluespoon Chameleon, the actual earpiece is made up of rubber this time
and is selectable between two included “soft springs”. I opted for the
deeper but narrower softspring as it was more comfortable in my ear.
One of the main complaints about the Chameleon was that the hard
plastic piece that goes into the actual ear canal was too hard and
actually hurt the ear after a while. I had no issues at all with the
AX. The longest I actually used the AX in a call was a conference call
that lasted 1.5 hours. The ear was not fatigued at all and the headset
was very comfortable to wear.

The headset was likewise very usable. The unit has three buttons, two
for volume control and one “command” button. The volume buttons were
pretty good, not that loud, but perfect on the second to loudest
setting on the headset and loudest setting on the phone. The command
button is used for all other functions such as answering and dropping a
call, voice commands, etc. I have only used this for receiving and
dropping a call, and it works fine. I have never used and dont really
see a major need for voice commands at this time.

Voice quality back and forth is fine in general. Voices sound pretty
natural, but not exactly as it would sound using the earpiece of the
phone itself. Wind noise is not that good on the AX, and I did run into
a couple of issues with the other party not hearing me due to wind
noise. The other potential issue with the headset is that you need to
speak in a “normal” volume when using it. I have had to take a call in
a meeting using the AX, and the person I was talking to could not hear
me if I was speaking in a hushed tone.

The other issue I found when using the headset with multiple devices,
particularly my BlackBerry, is that the continuous connection between
the BlackBerry and the AX pretty much blocks out all other connections.
This makes using the headset for multiple devices seamlessly not quite
what I was hoping for. I am still experimenting with the best way to
make this work but it is a minor annoyance considering the benefits I
get from using the AX.

Price

Pricing is truly the device’s strong point. At a retail price of about
USD80, it just blows the competition away! I was seriously considering
the Motorola headsets prior to purchasing the AX. Both Motorola
headsets received pretty good reviews. However when it all came down to
it, the AX was a way better deal since I was getting a more compact
headset with a much better form factor and similar performance at a
lower price.

Conclusion

I highly recommend this headset to anyone that is even remotely
considering to buy one. It is small, easy to use, has great sound
quality, and wont break the bank account. For me, it is definitely the
best.

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The View from Kalaw Place in Puerto Galera

January 5, 2005

The view from kalaw place in puerto gal

The view from kalaw place in puerto galera