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Summary:

Hey TAB readers, I need your help. I need a PDA Cell Phone for my job, but I want to get one that will still work well with my [at-home] MacBook. I’m tied-in to Cingular, and have narrowed the field down to either the Treo 650, […]

Hey TAB readers, I need your help.

I need a PDA Cell Phone for my job, but I want to get one that will still work well with my [at-home] MacBook. I’m tied-in to Cingular, and have narrowed the field down to either the Treo 650, or the BlackBerry 7130. I’d like to know – from your own experiences – which is more OS X friendly.

Here are some of the things I’m looking for:
- Ability to easily stay up to date on Work email (exchange server)
- Good tie-in with my Outlook Calendar from work
- Ability to easily check my Gmail – probably through POP
- Bluetooth for syncing with my MacBook, as well as headset
- A good Speakerphone
- Decent web browsing.
- And obviously, happy integration with my Mac/OS X

I’ll of course, also be using the contacts a lot, but anything’s gotta be better than my Razr’s software…

Having a camera is occasionally useful in my job, so for nothing more than that reason, the Treo is slightly in the lead at this point. But let me hear what you’ve got. If there’s another contender I should consider (The Audiovox smart phone seems pretty nice), I’m open to suggestions, as long as I can use it with Cingular.

Thanks in advance for all your valuable input!

  1. My dad has a BlackBerry. Battery life is so-so. It works well with his email (they use Outlook/Exchange/M$ email systems). BlackBerry also supports POP. However, he’s a very Windows-centric user, so he couldn’t care less about Bluetooth.

    I use a Palm T|X, and am planning to get a Treo 650, after using my buddy’s Treo. Very nice phone. There are only limited complaints about it, which are fixed with the latest versions (check out the 700p or 700w to see what you think – more expensive, however). The features are the same between the two models you’ve named for the most part. The thing that is unfortunate about the Treo is the lack of Wi-Fi, from what I can tell. Does the BlackBerry have Wi-Fi? Maybe this isn’t all that important to you.

    The one thing that’s different between the devices that I’ve used is the stylus/touchscreen on the Palm, and the “thumbwheel” on the BlackBerry. As it will be your primary mode of navigation on the device, you’ll want to pick the one that is the easiest for you. Everyone has their preference. Personally, the thumbwheel reminds me of the whacko interfaces of the iPod knockoffs.

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  2. Zach McDowell Friday, August 4, 2006

    I’m not familiar whether the 7130 will pair with your macbook via bluetooth. I for one love my blackberry, and use it with my macbook pro. Its now OSX friendly (free download of pocketmac coutesy of RIM ), the speakerphone is fantastic, the push email is super fast for POP and I sync it with both my mac at home and PC at work. Actually, I don’t even bother with my mac syncing lately because I use Plaxo which automatically updates my address books. If you’re mostly concerned about your outlook calendar, its very easy to sync with a PC, I haven’t quite gotten the hang of pocketmac (haven’t used it much) so I can’t comment about that. Also, the thumbwheel is an excellent nav tool. I hate pulling a pen out to operate my phone. Waste of time!

    I’ve heard nasty things about the 650… but if you can get a 700 I might check that out if I were you, I’ve heard some great things.

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  3. I’m in the same spot, trying to find the perfect communications device that will do what I need to do well, but also plays nice with Mac OS X. I’m on T-Mobile, though.

    I’m currently trying out the Treo 650 (I picked one up on eBay) and ChatterEmail with the EX plugin. Unfortunately T-Mobile doesn’t allow the push mechanism to function so I have to set my email to sync/check every 5 minutes. Cingular does allow push this way, though, but you have to call customer care and get them to add some weird coded feature to your account ( http://www.chatteremail.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=68&Itemid=57 ).

    I think if your priority is Mac compatibility then your better option (for now) is Palm. Both the Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms come with their own slew of problems in terms of synchronization. MarkSpace is attempting to solve some of that (especially with their most recent release), but Missing Sync still leaves a lot to be desires.

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  4. Depends what you really need. If the highest on your list is email/contacts/calendar then blackberry is your ticket, especially with exchange. Browsing is ok. With a Blackeberry exchange server, you never need to synchronize. It is done automatically through the wireless link.
    If you want lots of other apps, then Treo is a better choice.
    I don’t think you can synchronize with more than one machine though, so you are going to have to chose whether it is your work or home machine. To get the same level of synchronization than Blackberry, you can use Goodlink from good.com.
    I use a BB 7290 (no speakerphone), but more recent models have one, and better/faster browsing.

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  5. I’ve had a Treo 650 until my company gave me a BlackBerry 8170. If I had to purchase a new phone I would go with the Treo, but the 700 as Jason mentioned above.

    I do like the BlackBerry for it’s very fast browsing (the 8170 uses Cingular’s EDGE network. The 7250 doesn’t), bright screen and push-email.

    However, the Treo’s software is much better, you have several applications, it syncs easier with my MacBook, your can use the Bluetooth for everything (my BlackBerry is locked for anything other than headsets), not to mention the camera.

    I even heard that you know can have push-email on the BlackBerry, but I haven’t tested that myself.

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  6. check out http://www.blackberryforums.com for info on the blackberry. They have a section just for mac users. It appears that the blackberry is not very OS X friendly. And one of the great features of the blackberry is that you can use the data package to connect to thier evdo high speed network for an internet connection and that does not seem to be supported in OS X unless you switch over to parallels to launch the windows app and use IE to connect to the internet… anyways, http://www.blackberryforums.com is the place to go for blackberry information.

    check out treocentral.com for info ont he treo. they also have a dedicated section for mac users.

    both sites are the authority on thier topics…. good luck!

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  7. I have had a 700w for about 2 months now, and was very excited about it when I got it. After this amount of time, I have to say that I am not at all pleased with it. The unit will lock up about once every third day with no real warning that it is frozen – the only way I know is it’s not notifying me anymore when mail arrives. The battery, at best, will last a day on a full charge. Finally, the web browser is quite slow in rendering pages – even using Verizon’s EVDO network.

    I’ve never tried a CrackBerry, so I cannot comment on them. if I had the chance to switch now, I’d do it – I don’t think I’d be worse off than I am now.

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  8. I’d recommend the Treo over a Blackberry 8000 times. Reason? You can’t use the Blackberry as a modem on your Mac.

    If you must have a BB, look for the 8700 series, not the 7xxx series. They’re vastly improved devices if they’re offered. Battery life / screen and reception.

    I actually ended up using a T-Mobile MDA (with the recent ROM update applied). It works as an EDGE modem over Bluetooth with little to no effort and does everything I need it to do very well, plus there’s so much software out there that if it doesn’t do something, I can easily add the functionality I’m missing.

    Not a fan of the BB for MacOS, even though I am a HUGE fan of the BB overall…

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  9. I would strongly recommend the Treo over the Blackberry. I have had two different Blackberry devices, and went back to a Palm Treo after a couple days on each.

    There are several things that the Treo has over the Blackberry:

    - Tons and tons of software available
    - Effortless synching with MarkSpace Missing Sync
    - Easy and fast email with ChatterEmail
    - Games
    - Touchscreen (you don’t know how often this comes in handy!)

    I use my Treo (now 700p) for everything. I even tether it to my mac (wirelessly via bluetooth) and can get online using it as a modem. I have an SSH program on my Treo for remote administration of my server, have SplashWallet for keeping all my data organized, etc.

    Get the Treo.

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  10. Thanks everyone for the great feedback. I appreciate all the insights and experiences. So far it looks like Treo’s ahead 4-2, which is the way I feel like I’m leaning anyway. But I’m not decided yet.

    I’ll be checking out the informational links posted too – thank you!

    In the meantime, keep the comments coming. and thanks again.

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