The Verizon network (CDMA) is working quite well in San Francisco. As I mentioned in Day #7, it did pass the San Francisco test already, and performed well in spots where my previous GSM smartphone failed consistently. So now after my workout at the local gym, not only I can quickly check my e-mail and get updated on things, but I can also reply and make phone calls while I have my coffee at the local coffee shop.
The more I use the Treo 700w, the more I am getting used to the interface (the Windows Mobile interface), and even though it is taking longer than expected, it seems that the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place.
Today was a light-use day, but I still managed to receive and send some e-mails, and schedule some reminders on my calendar, and here are some of my observations relating to usability.
More about the Ok button
The ok button (which is the button next to the power/end button) seems to be quite helpful in allowing me to close windows and return to the previous screen. It seems to play the traditional role of an okay button in a window (something we are used to on our computers) and also the role of the close or cancel button.
Ideally, I would have liked to have a different close or cancel button so that if I open a new screen and I decide to back off (i.e. close it without saving any changes or taking any actions), I can press the close or cancel button, and be sure that no information is changed and no other actions are taken.
I am continuing to minimize the use of the stylus. If you use the stylus, the interface is much easier (it would be similar to using the mouse on your computer). However, the stylus means using both hands, and it also means having an extra “object” that you need to manage—either by being disciplined about putting it back into its slot as soon as you finish using it, or remembering where you put it on your desk or wherever you are when you finished using it.
Either way, the idea here is to see if the Treo 700w can be used as a single-handed device, and so far, it seems to be doing well in this regard.
Some shortcuts with the 5-way navigation key
Continuing the theme of no stylus, how do you scroll through a long list of e-mail messages efficiently without the stylus. Well you could use your thumb to tap the arrow keys on the scroll bar or to drag the scroll bar. However, the 5-way navigation button offers yet another set of shortcuts.
Pressing the option key, and keeping it pressed, while pressing the Arrow Up or Arrow Down keys on the 5-way navigation button, function like page-up and page-down. And pressing the option key, and keeping it pressed, while pressing the Arrow Right and Arrow Left keys on the 5-way navigation button, function like the Home and End keys (taking you to the bottom of the list and top of the list respectively).
Windows versus Windows
Windows Mobile on the Treo 700w and the Windows you are used to on your computer (if you are a Windows user) do have the same “soul” but at the same time have many differences when it comes to the nuances of the navigation and other user interface elements--just something to be aware of if you are headed towards Windows Mobile.
Windows versus Macintosh
Just in case you missed Linda’s observation from Day #1 when I was asking about the differences between the Treo 700p and 700w, here is a recap of what she said. The Treo 700p would be recommended for someone who is familiar with the Palm OS, and it works well with both Windows computers and Macs. She then pointed out that the Treo 700w would be recommended for Windows users who want to have their office applications and their documents on the go, but not ideal for Macs users.
The lesson here is that before you go too far in exploring a handheld device, it is recommended that you start with the issue of hardware and software compatibility. Does it work with your computer? And will it synchronize well with the applications that you currently use?
CDMA versus GSM
Back to the network, and along the line of exploring the key issues before you go too far and potentially “fall in love” with the “wrong” device, it is important to determine whether you will need to use the device overseas and where exactly. Providers who use the CDMA network are not likely to support your international needs. Better to find that out sooner than later.
A small and final tip from the Verizon technical support team
It seems to be recommended to press *22899 every so often—every month or so, to update coverage, roaming, and programs on the device.