New Phone - Final Decision

So I've been waffling on what phone to buy for a while, and it is time to make a decision. I'm looking for a PDA/SmartPhone, so the major players are Treo 755 (Palm/Sprint), Treo 750 (WM/AT&T), Treo 700wx (WM/Sprint), Mogul (WM/Sprint), and the iPhone.

I have a Sprint Treo 650 now, which I've been very happy with.

I've had some hands on time with the iPhone, and I have to admit it is the best web browsing experience I've ever had on a phone. The zoom and scrolling is great, even if the network is S L O W (if you are not on WI-FI). However, I'm just not sold at this point. The lack of 3rd party apps, the ability to tether (use it as a modem for your laptop), and the weak syncing (no Notes, TODO) are not enough. The media features seem cool, but I'm just not the target audience for that. So while my next phone may very well be an iPhone, this one won't be.

So, that leaves a couple decisions, Palm or WM. Sprint or other.

If I stay with Palm OS, the obvious choice is the Treo 755 with Sprint. Compared to my Treo 650, it offers more memory (64 ->128), the same 320x320 screen, same processor, similar size, although the external antenna is gone, a little lighter, and a much better camera (.3 MP -> 1.3 MP). It also speeds up connectivity with EVDO (Rev 0 though, not Rev A) instead of 1xRTT. All in all, it is a pretty straight forward upgrade with very little real pop. You would certainly expect more changes for the 2.5+ years I've had the Treo 650.

I found this comparison to be very useful for comparing the current Treo models.

If I go WM, the question is really between the Mogul (Sprint), and the 750 (AT&T), or the old school 700WX.

The 700wx really appears to be the 755p with Windows Mobile and an external antenna. Same memory, smaller screen (240x240 instead of 320x320). Not really compelling.

The 750 very much appears to be identical to the 755 hardware, again with the smaller screen (is this a Windows Mobile limitation?).

The Mogul is at least interesting. It has Windows Mobile 6 (all the Treos have 5, although the 750 is upgradeable). 240x320 screen, 2.0 MP camera, Built in WIFI, and its dimensions appear to be smaller than the Treos ( 4.3" x 2.3" x 0.7" vs. 4.4" x 2.3" x .84" (755p)). It also provide EVDO Rev A (upgradeable at least), which allows voice and data access simultaneously. I had some quick hands on experience at my local Sprint store (they didn't have them stocked but one of the Sprint Employees had on). My first impressions were how less 'tuned' the OS was for quick (one handed) usability. For example, dialing contacts... on the Treo you can type the first letter of the first name and first letter of the last name (eg. ed -> Eric Daugherty) to pull up a contact quickly. WM does not work this way (out of the box at least). Other simple navigation issues seemed a little clunky, although the scroll wheel did seem to be the key for easy one handed navigation (a huge plus in my book). I've also read about some issues with the Bluetooth stack in the Mogul, although I would hope that could get cleaned up with a software update.

From a pure hardware perspective, it appears the Mogul is the best bet. So the question boils down to this, do I want to stick with Palm (an OS on its last legs, soon(?) to be replaced by a Linux version), or make the move to Windows Mobile.

The answer? I don't find any of these phones to be compelling enough to buy and lock myself into a contract for. I think the iPhone has real potential to be interesting, and I really was impressed at how useful the browser was (for everything expect speed). If Apple opens it up to real third party apps, and releases a 3G version I want to be free to jump on board. For now, I'll take the money and buy a Bluetooth GPS receiver or something that I'll be able to use on my next phone as well.