Tech brief: PalmOne Treo 600

Quick look

PDA/Cell Phone

Price: $450

Phone: 800-881-7256

Online: web.palmone.com

PalmOne Treo 600

One of the toughest combinations to pull off is the melding of cell phone and handheld technologies. The PalmOne Treo 600 from PalmOne Inc. of Milpitas, Calif., manages to successfully merge them with a surprisingly clear digital camera.

Unlike many other camera phones, which often place the camera lens close to the natural resting place of the index finger, the Treo 600 places the lens high up on the phone.

The biggest advantage the Treo 600 has over its competitors, particularly the Research in Motion Ltd. BlackBerry counterpart, is that its 4.4- by 2.4- by 0.9-inch frame and 5.9-ounce weight make it the smallest cell phone/PDA equipped with a digital camera and a QWERTY keyboard.

Likewise, its 144-MHz ARM processor delivers enough speed to handle the phone's numerous applications.

The Treo's SD Memory Card slot, which permits expansion of its 24M of storage to more than 500M, is another advantage, particularly when you consider that the Treo is also $50 less than the BlackBerry 7780.

The only problem I found with the Treo is that at times I did not get cellular signals in a location where I always do with a lower-quality cell phone. Since I used the same GSM chip running off a T-Mobile service in both phones, I deduce that the degradation in performance comes from the difference in antennas.

Regardless of the Treo's shortcomings, the fact that it's loaded with features such as the ability, with third-party support, to play MP3 files makes it well worth the $450 price tag.

My final impression of the Treo 600 is that it has a good battery life, considering all the services it supports. I listened to music and took pictures for about an hour and a half before the battery died.

PalmOne says the Treo 600 offers 10-day battery life and four hours talk time. We got more like five-day standby and three hours talk time.

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