Treo vs. BlackBerry - An In-Depth Analysis - Part I

By Kevin Michaluk on 12 Mar 2008 11:24 am EDT

Treo v. BlackBerry

Over the past few months I have noticed an increasing number of our site members are actually ex-Treo Users who have made the switch to BlackBerry. The article that follows details one man's experiences of making the switch from a Palm Treo 755p to a BlackBerry 8830 and his battles and observations along the way. The analysis is in-depth so we've split the article into two parts. Part II is be published at our sibling site I'd like to welcome to the Blogs Matthew Streger...ding ding ding, let the match begin!  

Treo v. BlackBerry - An In-Depth Analysis - Part I
by Matthew R. Streger, Esq


From 1997 to last month, I carried a Palm OS device exclusively, virtually every day of my life.  I upgraded almost every year to add additional features until I finally got an integrated organizer and cellular telephone, my personal Holy Grail. Unfortunately, over time, my needs have changed and I have finally come full-circle, back to the point where I no longer need extensive shareware, and instead primary application functionality and stability are paramount for me.

Last year, I upgraded my Treo 700p on Sprint to a 755p.  This was because my 700p was simply unusable.  I had issues with the hardware lagging, the phone randomly crashing, often in the middle of critical telephone calls.  I had issues with the Bluetooth dropping connections or refusing to reconnect. I couldn’t get Versamail to operate properly through my new job’s Exchange Active Sync, so I ended up registering ChatterEmail, a wonderful program that Palm purchased and immediately ceased supporting.  After about seven months, every one of these symptoms had appeared on a brand new Treo 755p.  So after eleven years, I decided to abandon the Palm platform completely and switch to a BlackBerry 8830.

This article is my comparison of the two platforms after a little over a month of use.  In the end, I think I made the right choice personally.  I require my handheld to be absolutely reliable, and after a month of use, my BlackBerry has not crashed once.  There are certainly things about my Treo that I miss, and things that the BlackBerry does (or does not do) that annoys me, or are more difficult than they would have been on my Treo.  But for my needs, the BlackBerry is the superior device.


Form Factor – The Treo 755p is essentially the exact same size and weight as the first modern Treo, the Treo 600.  That means that the primary device form has not changed from mid-2003 to today.  Yes, some of the internals have changed, and the antenna is gone, but the basic device isn’t any different than it was almost 5 years ago.  This bothers me – I cannot count the innovations that have come along since 2003 in handset technology, and how handsets have shrunk over that time.  In comparison to the Treo, the BlackBerry 8830 is about the same height (and weight), and a few millimeters wider, but it’s about half the thickness.

That’s a huge difference.  It sticks out about half the distance when carrying it on your belt, or in your pocket.  I truly would prefer a flip phone to protect the screen, and to conform to your face better, but nobody has made a Smartphone with a flip form since the Kyocera 7135, and I doubt anyone will again anytime soon.  That being said, if you demand a full keyboard (and I do) then you are stuck with a wide device, and the difference between the Treo and the BlackBerry for width is minor, but the difference in thickness is huge.

Treo v. BlackBerry
BlackBerry 8830 and Treo 755p Side by Side

 Thickness from Side
Comparing Length and Thickness

Comparison from Above
And Looking at it from the Top

Screen – Once you get past the external form, the biggest hardware difference between these devices is the Treo’s touch screen.  This is one of those things I thought I would really miss about my Treo.  I think what made the original Palm successful was the natural, effortless navigation that comes with a touch screen.

The truth is, I really don’t miss the touch screen that much.  Sure, there are times I do miss it, and occasionally I still find myself tapping the screen with my fingernail.  But there were disadvantages of the touch screen as well, such as when the Treo spontaneously turned itself on in my pocket (about once a day) and spontaneously started, say, dialing the phone.  I hated the extra steps you have to go through with the keyguard on the Treo, so I kept it disabled.  My decision, granted, but I also expect things like “on” and “off” to work properly.

Screen Comparisons
The Treo has a touchscreen while the BlackBerry does not

The BlackBerry’s trackball navigation is almost effortless once you get used to it.  Now, coming from a Treo, it does take some getting used to, but it is not nearly as bad as you might think.  It took me a few weeks to get it down, but to be honest, at this point I’m fine without my touch screen.  I do think, however, that the BlackBerry’s screen is much nicer to look at.  I have not compared the actual screen resolution, but to the eye, the BlackBerry is much brighter and sharper, and it has a sensor that automatically dims the screen when necessary (a feature notably absent from the Treo).  I think the Treo’s screen lacks sharpness as a trade-off for having the touch screen.  In the end, I consider this one a draw.

Keyboard – While there are some minor differences, overall the keyboards on both devices are pretty similar.  The layout of some of the secondary keys is a little different, but they are close enough that you can probably go seamlessly between them.  Both keyboards are backlit as well, making low-light operation much easier.  I give a slight edge in the keyboard department to the Treo – the keys are a little more responsive, and they have a separation that makes the keys easier to distinguish.  I have big hands, and I would have thought that the wider BlackBerry might make my life easier, but the difference here is really negligible.

Keyboards Side by Side
Keyboards Compared

Both devices also have hard keys for starting and ending calls, as well as for volume and an extra “side button.”  Of course, the Treo has the four main programmable keys for the main applications while the BlackBerry only has the “menu” and “escape” keys.  Again, for the ability to program hard keys to bring you right to frequently-used applications, I give the edge here to the Treo as well.

Battery Life – I cannot emphasize how much better the battery life is on the BlackBerry compared to the Treo.  On my Treo, I would not make it through the day on a 2100 mAh aftermarket battery with normal usage.  I attribute this in no small part to using ChatterEmail for push e-mail on the Treo.  In fact, ChatterEmail used so much battery just in the background that I would not make it 24 hours on my Treo with usage at all.  In comparison, heavy usage on my BlackBerry leaves me at about 50% battery at the end of the day on a 1600 mAh battery.  Here’s another place where the BlackBerry, being newer technology, leaves the Treo in the proverbial dust.

Other Features – The Treo uses a proprietary connector (or two, if you consider Hotsync and charging to be different).  In fact, the Treo 600 has a different connector than the rest of the Treo series, none of which are compatible with any other devices.  Instead, the BlackBerry uses a mini-USB connector for both charging and data exchange.  I have countless extra mini-USB cables floating around, and it makes mobility much easier.  Advantage, BlackBerry.

On the other hand, the mini-SD card slot on the Treo is accessible via a side door, where the BlackBerry’s micro-SD card is underneath the battery door and difficult to access.  There is a tiny metal clip that holds the SD card in place almost beneath the battery.  Not the brightest design in my opinion, but certainly not a deal-breaker.  The Treo also offers the IR port, which used to be a wonderful, if underused feature, for sharing personal information and small applications.  Today, the IR feature is of limited usefulness as few devices have them, so I don’t consider this much of an advantage for the Treo.

The BlackBerry does offer a new feature that countless other cell phones have, but for some reason the Treo has continued to omit it.  The BlackBerry has integrated GPS, and I cannot tell you how useful I find this feature.  Luckily, I have a Sprint handset, so the GPS is not disabled as it is on the Verizon handsets.  This means I can use my BlackBerry as a poor-man’s navigation device if I don’t have my TomTom with me, but it also means that I can use the GPS to tell me what the closest, say, pizza place is to where I’m located.  I love Google Maps for this feature, and for the new technology that allows the handset to place me within 1,700 meters if I can’t see GPS satellites.  Of course, not only does the Treo not have a GPS, but it isn’t capable of using the cell towers in this manner because the Palm OS isn’t set up for that functionality.

The BlackBerry 8830 has a GPS, where the BlackBerry Curve (more consumer-oriented) has a camera like the Treo does.  I cannot compare the cameras of these two devices as I have never even held a Curve, but the camera of the Treo is functional at best.  It’s about as good as the average camera phone, which is to say not very good.  Oddly enough, the BlackBerry 8830 does not have MMS functionality because it lacks a camera, a decision I consider odd.  I’d like to see this changed in the future, as people tend to get picture mail messages even if they don’t have a camera to send pictures or video with.

I do love the case that the BlackBerry came with, and the fact that it has a little magnet inside that puts the device to “sleep” automatically when it goes into the case.  That’s another trick the Treo could stand to learn.  Palm devices used to come with a nice cradle to keep on your desk, but in a cost-savings measure they only have the charge-sync cable now (with the aforementioned proprietary connector).  In the end, the mini-USB connector and GPS are much more useful than the minor annoyance of having the SD card under the battery, so I give the edge to the BlackBerry.

Overall – In what will become a recurring theme, I think I give the BlackBerry the edge in hardware over the Treo for what is important to me.  If you can’t live without the touch screen, or you pop your SD card in and out a dozen times a day, or you don’t do much wireless e-mail, then maybe you should stick with the Treo.  Personally, the thinner form-factor, better battery life, and GPS give the edge to the BlackBerry.


Stability – When comparing the Palm OS to the BlackBerry OS, the biggest difference is stability.  There’s really just no contest here.  I’ve always been a demanding Palm user, so I expected some crashes on my device – that’s what you get for loading on extra software.  Over time, my tolerance for crashes has diminished, so I removed the majority of my aftermarket software.  Unfortunately, the crashes continued to increase, and in the end, this was the major factor that pushed me away from the Treo.  I experienced random crashes up to ten times per day, often at the most inopportune times.  Like when I was starting a conference call with my boss.  By comparison, I’ve had my BlackBerry for over a month now, and I do have a number of small aftermarket programs loaded.  Despite this, it has not crashed once.  Let me say that again – not once.  I attribute this to the BlackBerry’s enterprise roots – corporate users simply will not tolerate crashing devices and it shows.  The Treo’s open-source OS roots, once an enormous benefit, are now its biggest detriment.  And in the end, this was my personal number-one consideration when deciding to abandon the Palm OS.

Synchronization – The Palm OS definitely has a better synchronization system (other than BlackBerry Enterprise Server).  First, it has a proprietary program you can synchronize to if you do not use Outlook.  The BlackBerry is pretty much designed to synchronize to Outlook, period.  I do know that there is a way to use Google Calendar with your BlackBerry, but it’s not out-of-the-box seamless, so it’s not good enough.  That being said, if you do synchronize your BlackBerry with Outlook, it’s not much different than synchronizing your Treo with Outlook or Palm Desktop.  The one-button HotSync is still a little easier than the BlackBerry system, which either requires you to always synchronize when you plug in the device, or you have to hit a series of software buttons to sync.  Not horrible, but not quite as elegant as the Palm system.  The BlackBerry does have a built-in backup program that’s more robust than the Treo.  I give the edge to the Treo here, but only by a nose, and really only because of the Palm Desktop option.

Third-Party Software – I will touch on some third-party software options in Part II of this article, but I wanted to note here the variety of software available on both platforms.  A few years back, the Palm OS had a decided advantage here.  There are literally thousands of programs available for the Palm that can do virtually every conceivable function.  This has been the biggest draw of the Palm OS over the years, and as I noted above, remains an Achilles’ heel of sorts.  While there is not as much of a variety of software for the BlackBerry, it seems to be catching up, and it is much more stable.  Again, unless there is some killer application that you simply must have on either platform, I think this area is a draw.

However, I do want to note one of the better features of the BlackBerry here, and one of the petty annoyances as well.  Blackberries operate on “themes” of colors, backgrounds and icons that can be easily downloaded and installed.  They can change the entire operating experience of your BlackBerry, and truly personalize the device for the user.  That is, provided you don’t want to personalize it too much.  For example, I use a theme that approximates the iPhone interface (I like the black background and simple icons) with a “today” home screen.  I love being able to see my critical information at one glance.  For me, critical information is today’s calendar entries and tasks and my messages.  Unfortunately, it seems to be a BlackBerry OS limitation that tasks cannot be visible on a theme “today” screen.  My home screen shows 2 unread messages, 2 calendar entries, and buttons for the browser and applications screen.  Again, a nice feature with a little annoyance, but certainly not a deal-breaker.

Customization – The Palm OS offers some customization options, such as colors and fonts, and this is put to good use with the information management programs discussed in Part II.  The BlackBerry, though, offers many more options for customization.  Besides the themes noted above, it offers almost limitless options for how to customize alerts.  You can have different alerts for almost every function, from the calendar to each individual e-mail account, to instant messaging and more.  In fact, the BlackBerry comes with numerous “profiles” already set up, such as normal, vibrate, phone-only, quiet, and loud.  You can set up each of these custom alerts in each profile, and go further to set them up for “in holster” and “out-of-holster.”  This operating system was designed to give the user as much flexibility as possible.  The Treo offers the “silent” switch on top, which is easier to use when quickly switching to vibrate.  Unfortunately, this limits you to two options, on or off, and other software is required to provide the Treo with other alert profiles.


On the hardware and operating system side, there really isn’t much of a contest – the BlackBerry is a much newer platform and wins going away.  While there are a few design issues on the BlackBerry that are annoying, it seems a much better thought-out device.  The Treo seems tired, with a traditional but clunky interface, few hardware benefits, and a marginal operating system.  For me, the biggest difference here is the stability of the operating system, and that makes the BlackBerry a winner.

In Part II of this article, I will review the primary functions of the Treo and BlackBerry, including information management, e-mail access, telephony and internet access. Read it Here.

Matthew R. Streger, Esq., is an attorney/paramedic based in New Jersey specializing in health care litigation. You can leave questions/comments for him on this blog post, or reach him directly via email at

Topics: Device Reviews

Reader comments

Treo vs. BlackBerry - An In-Depth Analysis - Part I


On the Blackberry, you can remove & insert the memory card without removing the battery. All you have to do is remove the back cover and use the little metal piece which holds the card in place.

Yes, you can access the SD card by removing the battery door without pulling the battery out. But the metal clip is flimsy and in an inconvenient location, especially compared with the easy "pop-in, pop-out" on the 755p.

I had troubles with the pop in pop out feature on my Treo 700w - such as it popping out when I didn't want it to. I like having my nice little cover over the SD slot on my pearl ;-)

I'd like to see one with the Treo 750 and the BB 8310

In fact I have both (and an iPhone). I don't mind doing one

"if you do synchronize your BlackBerry with Outlook, it’s not much different than synchronizing your Treo with Outlook or Palm Desktop."

I left my Treo 650 primarily due to synchronization issues I experienced between the Treo 650 and Outlook. As like Matthew,

"Over time, my tolerance for crashes has diminished, so I removed the majority of my aftermarket software. Unfortunately, the crashes continued to increase, and in the end, this was the major factor that pushed me away from the Treo"

The deal-breaker for me was that roughly once a month, I had an inexplicable crash that would corrupt data on my Palm. This included the synchronization data. When I next synced my Palm with Outlook, I would end up with a big mess of duplicated items and deleted items that would reappear again. This caused serious inconvenience with my PIM data, and havoc in the case of deleted items/rescheduled items that I didn't remember to modify. Having this occur to me once a month was the final nail in the coffin for my 5+ year run with Palm organisers.

I am still fond of Palm, probably because of sentimental reasons more than anything else, however their problems with trying to get the company back on track over the past four years (I personally believe the Treo 650 was the last major upgrade they've made to the product line, items such as the Treo 500 are years too late) is disappointing and I doubt they will ever be able to recover from an industry that moved light years ahead of where they are now.

I had a treo and i hated it. That thing would always crash and was heavy as hell. I have a 8320 now and i love it. berry for life.

Excellent article and echos my sentiments almost perfectly as a 10 year Palm/Handspring user (first smartphone was the Treo300). I still carry my Treo700p but after 6 months of having the Curve, I can't wait to dump the Treo for good once the Sprint Curve comes out Any Day Now.

The keyboard design on the Curve is much more like the Treo than the 8800 series in terms of separation. I would dare say they are very slightly more responsive as well. I do miss the addt'l hard keys from the Treo, but on balance I'd call them pretty close to equal.

I look forward to seeing part II. Thanks for doing the writeup.

I agree with this article completely, though not the exact phone that I used use the Q it basically touches problems I used to see. I would see many crashes freezing the OS leaving me no option but to yank the battery out. Typing messages would be a drag and take for ever. Even with the smaller keyboard the Pearl offers, I love how I am able to write a message with no problems finding the necessary keys with no problems as well. Another issue I had was the slowness of the Q leaving me frustrated when trying to perform a simple task on the phone, after the switch the Peal left the Q in the dust. When my 2 year was up at Verizon I was going back and forth between the Pearl and the Q9 but when I saw what they had done with the Q9 I got very disappointed and went with the Pearl instead. The Q9 was made for consumers looking to have an MP3 player not an Enterprise phone, another draw was the slowness even with Mobile 6 on it they really aimed at saving money and gave it a very slow processor that barely handles Mobile 6. Even though The Pearl offers both worlds the media world and the enterprise world it still caters the Enterprise population.

Thanks for the article, I will send this to fellow Palm users in my enterprise so they can weigh their options when buying a new phone.

On the 8830, it has two options for locating you. Either it uses the built-in GPS (if it's active), or the new "my location" technology that guesses your location to within 1700 meters based on the cell tower signal strength.

Once you're located (it will usually default to the most accurate method), you can just search for what you want. It will center the search around the map center. If you want to search for something near a location you are not currently at, you have to get the map centered around the location first.

I hope this helps.


I think the problem with most users when it comes to smartphones is that they expect too much out of it. Especially with Treos, users install too many third party applications expecting their phones to do their laundry. However, if you think of your smartphone as a supplement to your PC rather than a replacement, I think any device will do just fine.

In terms of stability, however, I definitely agree that BB OS is much more stable than either Windows Mobile or Palm OS. However, it's definitely not a user friendly OS and it takes a lot longer to get used to and understand the functionality.

I was deciding between a Palm Centro and the BB Pearl and went with the Pearl. The decision was quite easy to make when I walked into a Sprint store and asked the sales rep (who I think was under 20 years old) if I could see a demo phone and she stated that they didn't have any demo phones but I could play around with her personal Centro, which was covered with glitter and Hello Kitty stickers. At that point, I said thank you, walked out next door to Verizon and just upgraded my phone with a PearlBerry.

i was looking for a small smartphone also for my business line. centro and pearl are the only choices right now. the obvious decision would be pearl.

In December I switched to Sprint to try the Palm Centro. After a month of use I found it not stable enough. I switched to an 8830 and have been very pleased with the overall prouct. The only thing that I do miss, is how the Centro (not sure about the treo but I would guess would be the same) is when the backlight turns off the unit locks. You then just have the hit any key to engage the unit again, then the center button to unlock it. This worked very well and I found very convenient. Seeing how the trackball sticks out I could see how it could lead to accidental unlocking under this method.

I am a former Treo user and recently switched to Blackberry. This is my first BB and I will never go back. The treo was always a headache and it wasn't any model in particular but all of them. I had several. As a PDA there is no comparison and I continue to find new reasons that validate my switch everyday.

Perhaps it'll be covered in Part II, but the other hardware differences between POS Treos and the Curve/8800 series are BT 2.0/A2DP/AVCRP, the 2.5mm headset jack and the camera flash.

With 3rd-party sw, you can get BT 2.0 functionality on POS Treos, but the fact the hardware is still BT 1.2 is a shame.

You need a special (from Palm) adapter to plug a regular 3.5mm headset jack into the Treo. I hate extra wires and especially extra pigtails for something low-tech like a headset jack.

Ok, no one expects too much from most smartphone cameras, but sometimes the flash can make a useful difference.

do you use the smartphone for business or to marvel at the technical aspect of it. maybee you should try an iphone that has a nice chip too. but not practical to use try entering a customers order in on a touch keyboard.

function is paramount when it comes to smartphones.

GM still uses pushrod engines on thier corvette those date back over 30 years yet the corvette is the fastest and best handling car in its price range. i preffer bmw myself but you get the point.

i have had the moto q and hated it. i switched to 755p and i love it. i have a pearl for my business line only because its small and i find the centro to be a cheap looking and feeling piece of crap. the BB pearl is nice and it works well but its just not as intuitive as the 755p. one thing that really annoys me about the BB is the fact that it does not have the ability to show the state that a caller is calling from on the caller ID, and for me thats just a basic feature that all phones have (atleast on sprint network) i like the fact that i can switch my phone to vibrate without taking it out of my pocket on the treo (very useful if you forget to do so before you enter a meeting) its a major pain in the ass to sync the pearl with my PC where i can plug my treo in and press a single button. for me a smart phone should me smart and easy to use. the BB pearl is a nice phone and the build quality is definately better and the technical aspect it is better then the treo but its just not as intuitive. i find my self having to go through 3 or 4 menus or screens on the BB to do some things where as the treo its typically just a 1 2 punch and i am there. The treos OS as outdated as it is. is simular in operation to a PC. you can copy and paste with ease, you can dial a number from your email (maybee BB can do this also but its not as easy) i can go on and on about how much time this 755p treo saves me everyday. maybee i would feel diffrently if i have BB with full keyboard to try out. and i am having a very difficult time installing 3rd party apps on my BB pearl. i also like the countoured fit of my 755p it kind of hugs the hand as heavy as it is it just feels right. i do not have email problems, my battery lasts 1.5 days on stock battery but i don't have a bunch of third party apps it came with everything i need to keep up with my business. GPS is a nice touch on the pearl but i find the screen to small for it to really be of use while im driving. sorry for the long post but i give the 755p a slight lead because its easy to use and has everything i need out of the box.

As with anything, there's always pros and cons for any smart phone. It's also a personal preference as well. I know a lot of people that stick strictly with the Palm OS mainly because of the abundant amount of third party applications that have been developed over the years.

I definitely agree that the Palm OS is much easier to learn and it took me a while to understand the BB OS. But now that I'm used to it, it fits my needs perfectly because I only need a phone and email client while I'm on the road. VZ Navigator on the Pearl has been amazing and it's definitely a plus on business trips. My attitude has always been that a smart phone should be a supplment to the PC rather than a replacement. That's just my opinion but I'm sure there are a ton of people out there who feel otherwise.

If you like the 755p, then good for you. It's definitely a great smart phone and the Palm OS, although outdated, is a great OS.

I am a recently converted addict of BlackBerry. I owned both a Treo 650P and 700P for the last several years. In the last year of owning my Treo, I performed seventeen hard resets due to crashes, program conflicts and simply poor design.

I considered a BlackBerry before, but the third party software developers for Palm OS won me over. As a result, I kept hoping that Palm would get their act together and reclaim their lead in the smart phone market.

The final straw was approximately six weeks ago. I woke up and turned on my Treo. It cycled through the Palm screen and the Access Powered screen for forty-five minutes. That same day I went out and purchased a BlackBerry Pearl.

I have not looked back since. The BlackBerry is reliable and RIM has put a lot of thought into the design and functionality of the device. I was pleasantly surprised that the device would allow me to dial a work number and include the extension with ease. (Btw, this is not possible with a Treo unless you assign a specific work phone with a dedicated button that you must program first.)

And if you are paying attention, all of those third party developers for Palm are developing software for the BlackBerry OS. That's right, increased market share means many of the favorite Palm programs will become our favorite BlackBerry programs.

The Treo will probably go the way of the Apple Newton. Five years from now it will be a question of Jeopardy.

Finally, I would like to say that their is no contest between the Treo and the BlackBerry. The BlackBerry is a superior product hands down.

A few thoughts on your article:
(1) You should really try an Exchange Server Mailbox with Blackberry Enterprise Server which allows for wireless synchronization. It is totally seamless. There are many hosted exchange servers (I use Mailstreet) which charge a very reasonable monthly fee for a mailbox (about $10-15) and allow you to download a licensed copy of Outlook free. You will never go back. Without a BES, you are simply not getting the full experience. Trust me on this.
(2) The 88xx series keyboard is often criticized. The keys are slightly depressed. Other Blackberrys, the Curve in particular, have superior keyboards. The Curve is also smaller, has a camera, and, on some models (depending on the carrier) GPS and/or WiFi.
(3) Try installing Pocketday from cross river systems. It will provide all the information you want on your home screen and more.


I looked at some hosted Exchange servers, but my work e-mail is through my law firm's server, so there's no way for me to do that without the whole firm switching over, and that's not an option. I did see one company ( that used to do a "solo sync" for circumstances like mine, but they seem to have discontinued that product.

I did try Pocketday, but the asesthetic didn't suit me for some reason. Good product, easily customizable, but for some reason I couldn't take a shine to it. Maybe I'll try it again after some time passes.



I think it is possible for you to get your own hosted mailbox for your personal email, and continue to receive all your other email on the BB using imap, or whatever protocol you currently use. While you cannot have the BB synch with two separate BESs, I am almost certain you can have it connect with one BES and still get email from the work exchange server using imap. I also believe there are third-party programs available that will separate your work and personal email, but I have never tried them. Look in, which is currently down. Of course, the most compelling reason for the BES is instant email, and instant wireless synch of Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes. I am not sure where you keep these, but the BES is not worth doing unless you can put all this information on the "personal" hosted exchange server.

You know I have both of these phones right now as I type this. One personal, the other business. I have had a Palm based phone for a little over 3 years now, and this is my first experience with the BB. For the most part I do agree with the review to this point. I use the Versamail on my 755P, and the phone is always on and in use. The only difference I see is that my phone/battery lasts longer on my 755P over the 8830 WE. I like the simple "switch" at the top of the 755P to silence everything (phone calls, alarms, mms, sms, etc). I do miss the camera on the 8830 though.

I have a 8130 pearl from Verizon (and I love it, even though the GPS is turned off) and with Bluetooth sync-ing to my PC is super easy. Just leave the bluetooth turned on on my blackberry, three clicks on my computer and its done. I don't even have to take it out of my pocket. Although sometimes I do since it is so pretty to look at.

One feature the most people miss in DESKTOP MANAGER is you can sync with yahoo address book, calender, memopad and task.

I just bought a Pearl 8130 and love it, after having two Treos - the 655 and the 700wx. Even with the Windows Mobile OS as opposed to the Palm OS, I still had trouble and performed a lot of hard resets with the 655. Once my VZW contract was up with the 655 I upgraded to the 700wx and it seemed to be ok...until it started making phantom phone calls and then, a week and a half ago, did a hard reset on its own, effectively wiping out over 300 contacts and every item in my calendar. PS - I never downloaded aftermarket software, except Yahoo Mail onto the 700. A close friend raved about her Pearl so I went with it, deciding not to wait for VZW to come out with the Centro. After reading the posts on the Centro, I'm REALLY glad I went with this device instead!!

A really well done article! I left the Palm platform after using it for quite a long time (~10 years) only 8 months ago. The Treo line is terribly unstable to invest on it. I was reluctant to do the switch but now I'm convinced it was for the best.

Every day I find a new BlackBerry usage tip. This OS and hardware is marvelously done. It has a lot of shortcuts and features to speed up usage, like using initials to navigate your contacts fast. The 3.5 plug for the headphones and the miniUSB connector are also wonderful choices.

I expect also good things from the software update to 4.5 that is coming, thing that never happened on the Palm platform.

In any case, the only drawback is the small software base, but I was able to switch my main uses to the BB without any problem and also added more uses (maps, chat, etc).

A satisfied user.

I am trying to decide which will work best for me. I have never used either but really need to invest in on very quickly. The one thing I would really like is a camera though any experience with the curve?

i've been looking for a product comparison between a palm and blackberry. thank you for posting this. fyi, as soon my contract expires i will be getting myself a blackberry.

Thank you for such a thorough comparison. It's really difficult to find reviews that tell you the stuff you *really* want to know, and you've covered it.

Thank you!

I smashed my treo 650 and am now deciding between the treo 700wx and the 8830 bb. I've heard others that have switched from treo to bb complain about the calendar/memo sections.

Can anyone share some opinions or incites?

I use treo 680. With custom rom 1.12. It's been months since last reset. Very durable, very stable. Installed +/- 130 programs. Just avoid any hack and be careful of hede or "resident" program (you can check it via RLOCK), then you will have rock-solid stability in palm!

I'm a long time Treo 650 user (Sprint) and am constantly frustrated with the phone/call quality - the speaker volume is generally poor and I sometimes have a hard time understanding people on the other end. The people I call often complain that if I talk too quickly, my voice gets choppy.

Any thoughts on the differences in call quality between the two phones?

Thanks much for the review. I'm almost sold...

I recently purchased a Blackberry 8330 Curve from Sprint and I love it! I came from the Treo 650 which is like a child's toy compared to the sophistication of the Blackberry. Frustration is the only word that comes to mind when I think about my 650. The Palm OS never really improved, they just kept adding features to an already outdated platform. The Bluetooth feature on the Treo is slow and choppy at best. When I speak use the Bluetooth feature on the Curve, people rarely know I'm even using it! The speakerphone on the Treo is only good for instances when you need to be on hold for an extended period of time (like when you call the IRS!) because it's impossible to have a conversation on it. Blackberry seemed to have solved this problem a long time ago because I never seemed to have problems on the Curve's speakerphone. It's quick, responsive and helps you attain that professional conversation you dreaded to have on the Treo.

The comparisons are endless but these two features alone triggered my switch and I've been happy ever since!

If you're sitting on the fence, don't hesitate! Grab a Blackberry and see what you've been missing out on!

To me, and I surely don't mean to be inflammatory, but my impression is that the Blackberry is kind of like the iPod or ESPECIALLY the Motorola Razr--that is, purchased out of ignorance because people don't realize that there are other options out there that can be just as appealing. That, or they're more concerned with getting a phone that's in keeping with the latest trend or comes in their favorite color rather than focusing on practical matters that are actually relevant.

If you don't believe me, just watch and observe the numbers of people that see my Palm Treo and go "I love your Blackberry," or see my SanDisk Sansa e280 MP3 player after I had just purchased it and they go "I like that new iPod you just got."

I am not saying that there aren't those who chose one vs the other for logical reasons, but there's plenty of people that choose one vs the other for the silliest things.

I am say this with some authenticity, having worked previously for AT&T in the cellular phone department. I can't tell you how many people would, say, spend $150 on a Motorola Razr instead of getting a free (say) Samsung Sync for no reason other than they like the styling or the color better. Not because of clearer reception, or abilities with Bluetooth or compactness, but simply because the Razr is the latest fad. So retarded if you ask me.

And I can't tell you how many people would reject the Palm Centro in favor of the Blackberry Pearl--a model without a full QWERTY keyboard--just because, these were those exact words, "I don't like those pencil thingies, I'd look silly using those nerdy things."

To each his (or her) own, but that would drive me completely crazy hearing such illogical reasons for choosing one phone vs the other. It's not a painting or a woman in a sleek black dress, who CARES what the thing LOOKS like or whether you'd look "nerdy" using it? Sorry, I'm just too practical to care about those things (and I was that way even as a teenager, thank you).

I have the ancient Treo 650, and my #1 reason for going with Palm instead of Blackberry is simple--the touchscreen. Blackberry and Apple, to me, make you commit to either touch-screen with no physical feedback, or keyboard-only with no advantages of touchscreen. Palm gets it right--they use a combination of both. I do not for one minute vote for a Blackberry with touch-screen only, but it sure would be nice to have touch-sensitivity to go along with a physical keyboard (with the scrollwheel retained and the option for turning the screen off if that's your preference).

I cannot tell you how convenient it is to be able to simply tap on a selection really quickly with the stylus rather than having to scroll to it and press down, it is so much quicker and more intuitive. Also unlike the iPhone you don't find yourself tapping the wrong thing by accident, the iPhone doesn't let you use a stylus to click those tiny boxes--totally ludicrous.

That was one of the main things that persuaded me to Palm instead of Blackberry. I appreciate that Blackberry isn't following the iPhone trend of ditching tactical feedback altogether, that would be wrong, but they're being just as close-minded to me by refusing to add touch-sensitivity as a supplement to the keyboard, as Palm (and the HTC 8925) do. I will never consider a Blackberry until they do.

I used to get irritated when those "trendy teenagers" would mistakenly see my Palm and go "wow, is that a Blackberry, I so want one of those." Now I am glad they do, it gives me a chance to enlighten them--Blackberry is fine, but they are not the only game in town, expand your vision beyond colors and ringtones and learn about something that MATTERS for a chance. Naturally I do the same with my iPod--pardon me, MP3 player, telling them that I prefer it to the iPod since I can replace the battery myself and don't have to use any software at all for uploading the songs.

i have an 8830 on sprint (with the bPhone theme, which it looks like you have)and i agree with a lot of this. however, there is MMS in a way: maybe they've changed it since your review, but now i get a text alerting me when there's picture mail waiting for me.

It's interesting that you didn't mention the cost of each in this comparison. The cost of synchronizing a Blackberry is significant enough to be a deal breaker because you have to buy proprietary software.

I have just made the upgrade from a Palm Treo 650 (I dropped it) to a Blackberry Curve 8330. I just had to comment because my experience has been entirely opposite!I do agree with you that the form factor is nicer and it does have a nicer looking screen. My experience with reliability however is quite different. My Blackberry crashes ALL THE TIME! At least once a day. My personal preference is for the Palm touchscreen, but this is a niggle. I find that the interface is poor compared to the Palm. Many more keystrokes/cursor movements are required to do everything. And the screen/fonts/icons are far too small for someone who wears bifocals like myself. The keyboard on the Palm is also far more legible than the Curve. Worst of all, the help is terrible! Poorly written. And in too many places to count it is just wrong! It obviously refers to earlier devices & has not been properly updated.