Switching From the Sidekick II to the Treo 650

After Ben Forta blogged his experiences with his new Treo 650 last week, I thought I’d share my thoughts, as well, and in general, how the Treo 650 measures up to the T-Mobile Sidekick II.

I spent about 4 hours yesterday migrating my data from my Sidekick and configuring my Treo. I have pretty complex PIM requirements, and I’m happy to report that I think I’ve achieved them all:

  1. I’m using GoodLink to sync email, appointments, and tasks with the Macromedia Exchange server.
  2. I’m syncing the Palm calendar, todo list, and address book with iCal and Mac Address Book using iSync.
  3. I’m syncing notes and some other applications with Palm Desktop.
  4. I’m doing it all over bluetooth on a Mac.

Additionally, I’m retrieving email from two POP accounts (in addition to my Macromedia email) using VersaMail, I have AIM, Yahoo!, and ICQ accounts set up with VeriChat, I have a ton of SMS alerts, and I’ve installed various other applications to give me the functionality I’m accostomed to on my Sidekick. And in general, I’m very happy with how the whole process went.

The only real data issue that I’ve experienced so far is that Mac Address Book entries don’t map very well to Palm’s concept of a contact. Most of the important data seems to be there in one form or another, but it isn’t as pretty and well organized as I would have liked. I’ve synchronized data across a lot of devices and a lot of platforms over the years, and I’ve always been amazed by how difficult it seems to be to migrate such basic and simple data across clients. The good news is that iCal seems to be very compatible with Palm’s calendar and task applications. As far as I can tell, appointments, reminders, and tasks synchronized perfectly.

In general, I think I really like the Treo. The keyboard is much smaller than the Sidekick’s (the Sidekick II has the best keyboard on a mobile device that I’ve ever used), but it is still pretty usable. I’m making fewer mistakes as I get accustomed to it, and my speed is steadily increasing.

All the applications seem to be configurable to the extent that I need them to be, and I haven’t run into any brick walls as of yet. The only issue I’m struggling with is how to universally configure sound settings. I was woken up very early this morning by people on the east coast IMing me even though I thought I had the phone configured to be completely quiet. I never had that issue with the Sidekick because all the applications are well integrated and consistent, and seem to observe universal sound profiles better than Palm applications do. Hopefully I’ll get it figured out and sleep better tonight.

I can still navigate my Sidekick much faster than I can my Treo. Hopefully it’s just a question of getting accustomed to the Treo, but I could get to any point within any application on my Sidekick with no more than two keystrokes. On the Treo, I find myself scrolling through more menus, and occasionally even wanting to reach for the stylus (a habit I will have to completely break eventually).

I’m very happy with the Treo’s data service. That’s actually one of the biggest problems with the Sidekick. The T-Mobile data service has performed so poorly for me that I found I could not depend on it for anything critical. I’ve only been using the Treo for a couple of days, but so far, I’ve found the data service to be faster and far more reliable.

I think I like the form factor of my Sidekick better as a PDA and a messaging device, but I like the Treo’s form factor better as a phone. I tend to use phones more for their data services and messaging capabilities than for talking, so hopefully I’ll adapt to the Treo’s form factor and find it as comfortable to use as the Sidekick over time.

That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll have more to post as I gain more experience with the Treo, travel a bit, and use other features like the camera. In the meantime, any Sidekick and/or Treo users out there who wish to comment? If not, what other PDAs/smart phones are people using these days?