I’ve finally upgraded my phone, and as promised, I’m here to deliver the good news. I decided to go with the Verizon SMT5800.
For me, this represents a convergence of technologies that I’ve been trying to achieve for quite awhile. Ever since my first PDA (a monochrome Handspring Visor running PalmOS), I’ve hoped to get everything, including phone, PDA, media player, and personal file storage, in one Windows-based device.
Overall, I’m really pleased with the phone’s quality and features. It’s a SmartPhone, which is to say it’s a phone first and a PDA second. I don’t really miss the touchscreen, as I never had much success with the stylus or handwriting recognition on my former devices. There’s the ability to view, but not to create, Office and PDF documents (why anyone would want to author spreadsheets on a 2" screen is beyond me). The e-mail, contacts, and calendar sync is sweet, but since my organization uses Lotus Notes, it takes a bit of contortion to make it work properly. Windows Media Player is great for playing tunes and videos; even recorded TV from my media center can (in theory) be converted and synched to the device. The camera obviously isn’t as sharp as my Kodak EasyShare V803, but with 2.0 MP, it’s better than most phone cameras, and I’m sure it will be great for candid photos.
I opted not to get the data plan (hey Verizon, how about a reasonable price?), so most of the wireless and web features are out of my reach, but I can still sync the device with my PC. Maybe someday…
I paired the phone with a Plantronics Voyager 855 Stereo Bluetooth Headset. For such a tiny device, I was pleasantly surprised by it’s sound quality. It’s the conventional "Uhuru-style" Bluetooth headset (the kind that make people look like they’re talking to themselves in the mall), but it provides an extender with another earbud for stereo sound. I was able to hear it clearly while mowing the yard last evening, so it’s OK in my book.
Finally, I added a 8 GB SanDisk MicroSD card for all my media. The damn thing is so small, it’s practically weightless. I’m going to sound like a crotchety old fart, but my first desktop PC only had 100 MB hard disk, so SD technology never fails to impress me.
Now for the software. Most SmartPhone software is craptastic, and I don’t want to load it up with a bunch of stuff I never use. I’d really like a tool for customizing the main screen and a voice command tool would be great. I’m open to your suggestions.