Sony CLIE PEG-T665C Review
Updated on 11/3/2002
The T665C has the same strengths--form factor, weight, memory, FlashROM, memory stick slot--as the T615C. Essentially, it is a T615C with a 66 MHz Dragonball SuperVZ CPU, the gorgeous NR-series 16-bit TFT screen (w/o virtual grafitti), and the NR-series built-in MP3 capability. So, all the great stuff I said in my T615C review here still holds, so you may want to read that first to get the details on the form factor, polyphonic speaker, and enhanced IR port.
First, the screen. WOW!!! I took my T615C to my local Circuit City and beamed Clie Paint and some comparison photos to the display model T665C. First I compared the palatte display in Clie Paint. WOW!!! The difference was dramatic--the T665C displayed vivid colors across the board. Red was really red, and green really green. Since the rest of the palette is just combinations of red, green and blue (RGB), the rest of the colors benefit greatly from the RG improvements. The improvement in the yellows are as dramatic as the reds. During the comparison, I used the example sunrise picture from Sony's CD. On the T615C, it looked like a just-prior-to-light dark image. On the T665C, the subtle reds and oranges in the sunrise were readily apparent. A great apparent difference in the purple flower w/green background surprised me, as I thought it looked fine on the T615C. I really had no idea! Overall, the color on the T665C is spectacular compared to the T615C, enhancing even the use of color in text applications like Datebk5. Although I was skeptical before the side-by-side comparison, I was convinced that the screen difference alone was worth the upgrade. OTOH, I find the T665C's screen a bit blue except at the highest lighting, and it has a distinct shadow at the bottom center of the screen. Some NR70s have the same shadow at the top of their screen from what I've heard. Word on the web is that it is due to the way the backlight LEDs are arranged. The shadow is most noticable on a pure white screen, like text reading in MyBible, but it doesn't detract from the ability to read the screen. It's more annoying than anything else. Well, I decided to exchange it for another unit. I checked it in the store (plugged it in for about 10 minutes first to get the screen to come up), and though the shadow was less dark, it was still present. I also checked the display model and saw the same thing. The third LED from the left side on the bottom of the screen appears much dimmer than the rest. Something may be blocking it. Anyway, it makes a small shadow at the bottom of the screen just left of center. Again, it's really only visible on a white background and doesn't detract from the otherwise outstanding display. It's still better than the already very nice T615C (which also had LED shadows across the bottom of the screen), and definitely a keeper.
The other big point of the screen is the 320x320 pixel high resolution display--4 times the resolution of Palm's entire OS 4.x line. Everything looks better, but it's usually the outstanding text that get's folks' attention. I use FontHack123 4.0c with Lubak's OS 5 fonts, which looks outstanding. The FineType fonts of Blue Nomad's WordSmith look awesome in hi res. Games like Bejeweled! 2.0 shine above anything on low res devices. Compare the hi res Sony screens to the low res devices side-by-side and you'll never go low res again.
Well, how about the performance increase? I ran VFSMark on the T665C:
File Create: 74%
File Delete: 49%
File Write: 25%
File Read: 133%
File Seek: 157%
DB Export: 70%
DB Import: 112%
Record Access: 135%
Resource Access: 133%
By comparison, my T615C came in at 51 when overclocked to 51 MHz w/FastCPU (fastest it would go) with the same memory stick, and 43 at its standard 33 MHz. This increased MS access speed was my major reason for upgrading, as I use my Clie extensively as a reference library reader with MBs of references on the MS.
For my T665C, Benchmark 2 comes in at 310% and Speedy 2.2 at 272%. According to the database in Speedy, the NR70V comes in at 262%, a T615C at 175%, and a Palm m515 at 157%. My overclocked T615C came in at 253%, but didn't feel as fast as the T665C. The difference in speed, even over my maximumly overclocked T615C, is most significant in memory stick access. This was important to me because I have a large number of references on the memory stick, and access times were getting frustrating. The improvement is very noticable.
The MP3 capabilities are handy and impressive. Sony Audio Player is simple to operate. The sound is excellent! The bass boost makes a big difference. I also played several movie trailers in Kinoma using the ear buds. WOW! Background MP3 play works flawlessly as well. All this led me to buy a second 128MB memory stick to store about 36 MP3s at 96 kbps. I convert music using dbPowerAmp and send it to the stick using MS Import. Works like a charm.
The CLIE sports a LithiumIon-polymer battery that Sony claims lasts 10 days under normal use without the backlight. Assuming the standard benchmark of 30 minutes/day of use, that gives 5 hours continuous operation sans backlight. Battery life didn't turn out to be an issue me. I keep the backlight at about a quarter for the best tradeoff between screen brightness and battery use. After an hour's use in reading, writing, and PIM functions, the battery is at about the level as my T615C for the same usage. Sony estimates about an hour less life for the T665C vs. the T615C w/o MP3 play. I'm using UpTime to keep track. So far, here's the best data I've gathered:
|1/2 Brightness||1/4 Brightness|
|Time||Voltage||Percentage charge||Voltage||Percentage charge|
So, I'm very happy with my T665C upgrade. Although I still think that the T615C is a fine device and could have gone for several years with it, the improvements in the T665C are enough for me to justify an early move to it.
A question keeps arising about the T665C versus the newer Sony SJ30. The SJ30 screen is very similar to the excellent T665C, so nothing lost there. However, the SJ30 is only 33 MHz, has a plastic body, and does not have enhanced IR, the polyphonic speaker, or MP3 player built in. The SJ30 battery life is rated slightly better, equivalent to the T615C. For my money, the T665C is well worth the difference in price over the SJ30 if you have the money.