Comparison: Palm Treo 700w vs. 700p
|Treo 700w||Treo 700p|
|Ease of Use||B||A|
Both units scored a "B" as their final grade. Inconclusive, you say? Well, as you can tell by the chart, both units scored differently in the various categories. Where one had a shortfall, the other excelled. Read on to find out why.
Below, we’ll go through the justification for each score. Note that the score is based purely on the out-of-box experience, before the installation of any third party software, or major change to system settings. Note that the Palm screenshots are larger because of the higher resolution over the 700w (320×320 vs. 240×240 respectively).
: The 700w requires one more screen tap than the 700p to enter an appointment. You select Menu, then New Appointment, and enter a subject. From there, you can select a category, day, time, etc. The 700p takes a much more simple approach that I found to be more practical and satisfying: simply scroll to the day and time that you want, tap on the dotted line, and begin to type. It’s simple! Then, to change the category, you can tap on the color dot and change it. Or, if you want to change other parameters, you select the item, and click Details at the bottom.
Palm seems to know that scheduling should be as easy as it was when we used a pencil and paper (remember those days – back in 1998?), and they’ve succeeded at doing so remarkably. I think Microsoft assumes that there are advanced parameters you’d like to enter more often than not (such as Sensitivity, Status, Attendees, etc), when for most, scheduling is simple a matter of making a note to be somewhere at a specific time.
: I don’t like how either platform treats contacts, but if I had my preference, I would favor the 700w because it looks cleaner (but how about some color-coding per category?). For about half my contacts, I’ve got only emails listed, while the other half have phone numbers only. That makes for an ugly list sequence in the Palm, as seen above. I couldn’t find a way to list contacts by Category in the Palm.
The 700w uses Pocket Internet Explorer (PIE), so the interface is very familiar to Windows users. PIE allows for a good amount of control in how a web page appears: you can adjust the text size and layout. The 700p internet application, Blazer, is a bit more simple (are you surprised?), allowing for less control over visual elements. I also found that some webpages that had a mobile version (such as pocketnow.com) didn’t render properly in Blazer, while it did in PIE.
: The 700w cannot be used as a USB EV-DO modem out of the box, while the 700p can. As a modem, the 700p performs generally well, and feels a bit slower than DSL. Not bad if you’re in a remote location without internet access.
: If you’ve followed my blog series about the 700p, you know that I had little luck in getting the device to sync with my Exchange account. One of our readers alerted me to the fact that included in the software CD that came with the 700p is a program called VersaMail that can sync with Exchange. Following his advice, I installed the program, and was elated to have my contacts and calendar synced. Yes, it did sync my email, but only the Inbox folder. And because I use sub folders in Outlook, I could not "see" any email on the Palm, and therefore couldn’t use the device to receive email.
For those who don’t use Exchange, Verizon includes other email programs such as WirelessSync which will provide push email for POP3/IMAP accounts, but as mentioned in a post at Smartphone Thoughts, WirelessSync requires your data to pass through Verizon’s servers between its trip from your computer to your Palm (rather than from an email server to your device, as with Microsoft Exchange Push Email), so security may be an issue.
: Both devices provide you with basic applications. The software offering of the 700w is a bit more compelling though, with mobile versions of PowerPoint, Excel, and Word, along with two games to keep you busy. Of note, the 700p packs an interesting program called Documents, which provides much of the functionality of the Microsoft productivity suit, under one program.
Once again, Palm requires fewer taps to access the programs list – the home screen IS the program list, which is accessible via the Home hardware button. To access the program list on the 700w, you must click Start, then Programs.
: The 700w lists new SMS and MMS just as it would with email (not pictured). There’s nothing wrong to this approach, but compared to the way that Palm handles messaging, it’s inferior. The 700p lists messages as an actual conversation, so you feel as if you’re writing an instant message. Pretty neat!
: You dial phone numbers in the 700w from the Home Screen. The most rapid way to call someone is by typing their contact name at the Home Screen, and the phone will search for the nearest match. To access the dial pad, you must click Menu from the Home Screen, and click Dial Pad.
The Palm takes a more traditional approach to telephony. It puts the dial pad first when you press the hard key with a phone icon. From there, you can click contact, and begin typing in a contacts name.
Ease of Use
: There’s no doubt that the Palm is one of the most easy to use mobile operating systems ever devised. I’d feel confident giving the device to my grandmother and having her find the calculator application. It’s not just about the software – it’s the whole experience that Palm has put together, including the hardware button and their placement.
The acclaimed Today Screen of the Palm 700w wouldn’t have come to fruition had it not been for Palm. They wanted to put some simplicity into the already "more-complex-than-it-has-to-be" Windows Mobile platform.
It seems that the common theme that distinguishes these two devices is ease of use. What takes 2 taps to access on the 700p, takes 2-4 taps to access in Windows Mobile. The Palm’s simplicity comes at a cost, though – it’s not as advanced, doesn’t allow for much customization in the way of settings and how things appear on the screen, and isn’t as Microsoft-Product-Friendly as Windows Mobile (surprising, I know). At the end of the day, if you’re still torn between these two devices, ask yourself what’s important: if it’s simplicity, then choose the 700p, if it’s more functionality, then choose the 700w.