Laptop replacement

The San Francisco vacation was the first real test of the Treo 650 since I bought it back in March earlier this year. Initially I had my doubt as to its effectiveness as a communication device due to the buggy VersaMail application. The app, when it is working, is a competent enough of an email application. It handles POP3 and IMAP accounts well. But the problem is that it doesn’t work most of the time! In no apparent pattern VersaMail will reset itself. Sometimes that’s all that is, a reset; but a lot of the time it will either lost all the accounts and mails, or just refuse to work (i.e. reset upon starting) due to corruption of its database.

Then I found Chatter Email while trolling TreoCentral‘s forum. Initially Chatter only supports IMAP account so I didn’t pay much attention to it and persevered with VersaMail. Then a beta version of Chatter was released with POP3 support as well as saving mailbox to SD card, so I started using it in place of VersaMail.

The real test came at the beginning of last week when I arrived in San Francisco with my Treo as the only connection to the internet (stealing bandwidth at Apple Store doesn’t count, really). Chatter outperforms VersaMail in every aspect but one. Chatter doesn’t reset randomly for a start and its rich feature list make emailing on Treo almost feeling like I was using a desktop application. The only two missing features that I would like to see is an ‘active’ outbox and spellchecking.

‘Active’ outbox is where I can ‘send’ an email offline (perhaps I am out of coverage, for example) and Chatter will automatically connect and sends the pending email either on scheduled connection or when coverage is resumed.

Treo’s SMS app does this outbox feature really well. It allows me to reply to text message while in the subway without worrying about sending the message proper when I get out of the station and have coverage again.

As for web browsing, Blazer is good enough (that ‘e’ word again) for the small screen size. I was getting resets on the first day until I switched off JavaScript. Why that causes resets in Blazer, I have no idea.

For moblogging, I have two options: via email to TypePad, or u*Blog via XML-RPC. I prefer u*Blog because it allows me to set post category which I can’t do with email. The only feature lacking is the ability to retrieve existing posts from the server and allow editing of them. But, u*Blog serves my purpose last week well enough.

I also used Chatter Email to send photos I took with the Treo’s camera to Flickr which as you can see, works perfectly.

I didn’t try out any RSS readers simply because I didn’t find a free reader that appears to me and I was too busy to look further. In theory, if I had a competent RSS reader the Treo will definitely up to the job for my communication needs during short trips away from my laptops.

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