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Sprint PPC-6700 Revisited

8 February 2006

The other day, my wife decided it was finally time to upgrade from her trusty Treo 600. Heck I was proud of her – neither of us have ever kept one phone that long without upgrading. After deciding that she really couldn’t live without a smartphone, the most appealing phone on the market was the PPC-6700. Yay a new toy to play with when she’s home. So here’s my up close and personal take on this neat little device.

Overall, the size isn’t nearly as bad as I thought. It’s about the same size as my Treo 650, but a bit thicker due to the slideout keyboard. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all in the hand. I haven’t had a Windows – powered handheld in the home since my wife had an old Compaq Ipaq PPC device… I can’t even remember which model it was. It was absolutely huge though, so I’m glad to see that they got the size right for a smartphone.

My biggest problem last time around was that the basic functions aren’t very intuitive with a PocketPC. That unfortunately hasn’t changed. You look at it and say OOOOh pretty. Now what do I do? After a few minutes of playing, it starts to become more clear. The start menu button is pretty much the key to everything on this device, which is great when it’s in portrait ( upright ) mode. It’s a tad awkward ( but not too bad ) when you’rein landscape ( sideways ) mode.

So far the best thing about this device, far and away, is multitasking. I LOVE being able to go back and forth between the browser & email app, without having to wait FOREVER for the browser to reload, like on my Treo 650. I haven’t figured out how to have multiple browser windows yet, or if it’s even possible. If I figure it out, that will be huge. I regularly have like 15 windows open when I’m using the desktop… I know that wouldn’t work out on a handheld, but 2 or 3 would be great.

The keyboard is nice, plenty of room. I type faster on my Treo, but that’s probably because I’m used to it. I can probably knock out 60+ WPM on the Treo; and maybe 30-40 WPM on the 6700. I’m sure that’ll get better over time. I wish the keys had a bit better feedback though, more like the Treo. I think that would improve it. Anyone with big oafy hands will definately appreciate the larger keys though.

I don’t want to rate battery life yet, because right now I would say it’s sub-par. I know that isn’t fair though, I’ve been using the crap out of it. I have no doubt it will be very good once the usage goes down to normal.

Internet is incredible. Wi-Fi is cake to set up, and blazing fast. Ev-DO is very fast as well when wi-fi isn’t available. It switches between the two pretty seamlessly as far as I can tell, just a little popup to let me know it’s connecting. It seems pretty smart – it uses Wi-Fi when it can, and switches over to EV-DO when Wi-Fi isn’t available.

I haven’t installed any extra programs yet, besides a graphics app to get around the camera issues. I hope there’s a fix for that soon – I have to open & re-save all pictures so that I can send them with Gmail. What a pain.

My last gripe is the fuss I have to go to so I can actually close a program. “Start menu, settings, system, memory, close programs. ” Ugh. Why not a close & minimize button? The X should close it! Keep it simple MS, not confusing. I need to find a good task manager to take care of this I suppose.

All in all, I love it. I still like the Palm OS better overall… because I’ve been using it for years. I like how simple many things are, like adding a contact, sending an SMS, using the calender, turning on speakerphone. WindowsMobile seems to complicate some things when it doesn’t need to…. they definately need to get away from that. But the great internet, multitasking, and awesome form factor make this an amazing device. Now I just need to go out and buy a mini-SD card so I can back this puppy up.

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