Cingular Palm Treo 750 Pocket PC Phone

Advertisement

INTRODUCTION

   Exactly one year ago (to the day, actually), Palm shook the mobile device world by releasing the 700w, the first Palm device ever to run Windows Mobile. The union was successful. Palm was able to port their acclaimed usability features to Windows Mobile in a great way. Complaints were abound of the 700w not having enough RAM, and Palm responded with the 700wx, a device that added an additional 32MB of RAM, enough to make the device feel quick again. Now, in 2007, Palm is coming to the table with a GSM version of the Treo, this time with UMTS and no external antenna. Has Palm created another winner, or will we send it back to the R & D labs for improvements? Read on for the review, hot off the press!  

WHAT’S HOT

     The best thing about owning a
Windows Mobile Palm Treo as opposed to any other
Windows Mobile device is the great software
customizations that Palm has integrated with the
operating system. See page 2 for more about these
enhancements. In terms of the Treo's
specifications, it’s got Bluetooth 1.2, a 300Mhz
Samsung
S3C2442 CPU, 128MB ROM, 64MB RAM, Windows Mobile 5.0 (AKU 2.3),
a 1.3MP camera, 240 x 240 64K color screen, 1200 mAh
battery, external MiniSD slot, Quadband GSM/EDGE
(850/900/1800/1900), and Triband UMTS support
(850/1900/2100). 

Device (no cover)
Size (inches)
Weight (grams |
ounces)
Palm Treo 750
4.37" x 2.28" x 0.87"
154 | 5.40
4.40" x 2.30" x 0.90"
180 | 6.40
4.44" x 2.34" x 0.61"
146 | 5.14
4.33" x 2.52" x 0.45"
115 | 4.05
4.80" x 2.79" x 0.86"
160 | 6.40
4.37" x 2.28" x 0.86"
154 | 5.40
4.18" x 2.31" x 0.68"
150 | 5.30
4.25" x
2.28"
x 0.64"
127 | 4.48
4.80" x 2.88" x 0.76"
186 | 6.56
4.60" x 2.79" x 0.82"

165 | 5.82

4.25" x 2.28" x 0.93"
160 | 5.64
4.92" x 2.81" x
0.71"
210 | 7.40
4.18" x 2.31" x 0.68"

150 | 5.30

4.70" x 2.90" x 0.70"
175 | 6.20
4.60" x 3.21" x 0.58"

138 | 4.80

5.17" x 3.03" x 0.59"
187 | 6.60
4.50" x 2.80" x 0.64"
158 | 5.57

Here’s a look at the comparison grid. The Treo 750 is quite a bit lighter than its predecessor, the 700w/wx. It’s also a tenth of an inch thinner. Click on any device listed for our review.




WHAT’S IN
THE BOX


(all images link to higher resolution)

    The Treo 750 comes with: a propietary USB sync cable,
propietary AC adapter, stereo headphones, software CD and
quick start guide. Although my version did not come
with stereo headphones, the shipping version should
include these.

THE DEVICE

    The Treo 750's hardware design is very
much the same as all the other Treo's. The internal
antenna design and soft-touch rubbery backing are
the most noticeable and welcomed differences.

    The hardware button arrangement is
quite user friendly. All of the important
navigational and action buttons are easily
accessible. Of special note is that the end call
button also acts as the power button. Holding down
this button will toggle the phone power (not the
device power). Pressing it once will bring you to
the Today Screen, pressing it again will put the
device in suspend mode. I have not found any way of
shutting the device off completely short of removing
the battery.

    The extra thickness of the device, compared to other, thinner, Windows Mobile device,
actually makes one handed usage of the small
keyboard easier. Compared to the much thinner
T-Mobile Dash, the Treo 750 actually fits in the
hand better. Granted, it's still a bit of a bulge in
the pocket.

On the left side, there are volume
up/down buttons and a customizable button that only
functions with a Press & Hold.

    At the bottom, you'll see a stereo
headphone jack, the proprietary sync plug, a
proprietary power plug, and a microphone hole.
Unlike most other HTC devices that use a single jack
for charging, syncing, and stereo audio, the Treo
750 requires separate wires for each of these
functions. I really like having a normal audio jack
on this, but it's kind of a pain to have to use a
separate AC adapter to charge the device.

The right side includes a miniSD
slot under a little flap as well as an Infrared
port. You may remember that the Treo 700w/wx had an external SD, not miniSD, slot. Under the MiniSD slot flap is also a soft
reset button.

    The top end of the Treo 750 has a
convenient mute switch that quickly switches the
device's audio off and turns on vibrate mode. Also
note the lack of a large stubby antenna for which previous
Treo's are so well known. The non-telescoping stylus also slides
out of the top of the Treo. It's certainly longer
than many of the other stylus designs you'll find
these days, but it is pretty thin.

    On the back is the 1.3 Megapixel
camera, along with the reflection mirror, the
external speaker, external antenna connector,
battery cover, and Cingular logo. All of the dark
blue areas you see on the device are made of a
rubbery "soft touch" material very similar to that
which was introduced with the HTC Prophet (i-mate
JAMin). I really like this material and I hope to
see it used more often.

The SIM card slot is
underneath the 1200mAh battery. This version of the
Treo 750 requires a Cingular UMTS SIM card.

Here’s some YouTube video that should give you a better idea of how the product looks in-hand.

Here you'll see from left to right,
the Qtek 8500 Smartphone, T-Mobile Dash, Palm Treo 750, HTC P3300,
and i-mate JAMin.
The Treo 750 is a bit longer than the JAMin, and
thicker than any of these other devices.

Here you can see a comparison of
the thickness. On top is the Treo 750,
then the HTC P3300, T-Mobile Dash, and i-mate JAMin.
At 0.8" thick, the Treo 750 is the thickest here.




INTEGRATED SOFTWARE

   As I said before, the thing
that really makes the Palm Windows Mobile devices
stand out from all the other Windows Mobile phones
is the integrated software and alterations that were
made.

On the Today screen, Palm has created some great
enhancements to the normal Windows Mobile Today
screen.

    First of all, the Today screen
actually acts as the Phone dialer no matter which
item is selected. If you start typing a person’s
name or phone number, possible matches in your
Contacts database begin to appear. Then all you have
to do is scroll to select the number you want to
dial and then press the green send button. There is
no need to access the native Windows Mobile "Phone"
application, and you can’t because it’s not there.

If you press the green phone
button without any name selected on the Today
screen, a menu appears giving you quick access to
recent phone calls.

You can also get to an on-screen
numberic dial pad from the previous menu or the
Today screen’s right soft key menu.

    In the Speed Dial options, you can
set up little speed dial buttons on the Today
screen. You can also make Picture Speed Dials and
assign them to shortcut keys. The Picture Speed
dials use the photos that are assigned to your
contacts in Outlook.

My preset Voicemail speed dial
wasn’t set up correctly. Shouldn’t this be set by
the SIM card?

When someone calls, the general
Windows Mobile incoming call notification pops up. A
useful "Ignore with text message" is available in
the Menu.

The screen that shows while making
a call is a bit different as it’s part of the Today
Screen.

The Call Log is the same as the
normal Windows Mobile one.

    One new thing in the Treo 750 is a
threaded text messaging program. This makes text
messages appear like an instant messaging
conversation. Take a look at the above animation to
see how it works. Unfortunately there’s no way to
save or back-up these text messages.

In the Inbox view, conversations
are grouped into single items by default, but can
also be arranged individually.

MMS messages are also handled by
the "Messaging" application.

It’s nice to get a preview when an
MMS is received as well. There’s a picture from Lori
at the beach in CT on January 6th!

    The "Inbox" application is
reserved for email only, and supports Exchange,
POP3, IMAP, and Hotmail accounts. It also supports
Microsoft’s Direct Push if you have an Exchange 2003
SP2 server account. That means whenever any of your
Contacts, Calendar Items, Tasks, or emails are
updated your Treo is automatically syncronized. The
Cingular Treo 750 does not support Blackberry
Connect.




I don’t know what this message
means, but it doesn’t sound good. I guess this
happens when I receive MMS messages while I’m
connected to ActiveSync.

There’s a shortcut to download
Good Mobile Messaging software.

The Picsel PDF viewer is included
in ROM for all your PDF viewing needs.

There’s even a nice "Quick Tour"
application in the Programs folder.

The Treo 750 actually includes a
full version of Microsoft Voice Command version 1.5.
This is a great feature. Most people have to pay an
extra $40 to get this software on other Windows
Mobile devices.

The "Sounds" application in the
Programs folder gives you access to a
customized Sounds control panel, including a
"Manage" tab which gives you some interesting extra
options.

    The Windows Media Player works well on the Treo 750,
but one thing that plagues the one-handed usage
usability of Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PCs is the
inability to navigate the Media Player Library with
one hand (using only the hardware buttons). However,
since the Treo 750 has a keyboard right there, you
can use the Backspace key to access the back button
in the Media Player library! Yay!

In the Settings area there are some options for
setting the Auto-Keyguard feature.

You can also turn on some features
specific to a Wired Car Kit.

    The Modem Link program lets you
use the Treo as a modem for your laptop or desktop
while connected through USB or Infrared. The AKU 2.3
update makes connecting to the Treo as a dialup
modem using Bluetooth simply a matter of creating a
bond.

    The Wireless Manager control panel
doesn’t do much. You can turn on/off the phone and
bluetooth from here. I wish there were also toggle
buttons for the Direct Push and Data Connection
properties like other HTC devices include.

    Here's a speed test video of the
UMTS download speeds. In the New York City area the
speed varied from 200Kb/s to close to 400Kb/s. The
EDGE speeds were around 88Kb/s. Rumor has it that if I
were to choose the 2mb packet I would have gotten a
speed result closer to 800Kb/s.

    The 1.3 Megapixel camera is
nothing special as you would expect. It doesn't look
like Palm did anything to customize the software
interface on this. Although, there is one
interesting bug involving paranormal activity that
Maritess Zurbano discovered as seen in the above
video. Perhaps this can be fixed with a future ROM
upgrade.



BENCHMARKS

   Spb Benchmark from Spb Software House was used to compare benchmark
speeds on the Treo 750 to other Windows Mobile 5
devices. See the below graphs to see how it
compares.

    Oddly the Treo 750 does not fair
too well in the benchmark tests even compared to the
Treo 700w with half as much memory. In real life,
the Treo 750 feels much faster than any of my
devices with a 200Mhz TI OMAP processor which can
occasionally be bogged down my excessive
multitasking.

BATTERY
    We
tested the 1200 mAh battery on maximum backlight during
normal usage with Bluetooth on. The Treo 750
lasted for about 8 hours 47 minutes.  

HELP SUPPORT

    The Treo 750 comes with a manual on the CD and a
Quick Start Guide. There's also a "Quick Tour"
application in the Treo's Programs folder, which is
good for getting to know some of the features
without having to browse through a CD. But the
really nice part about owning a Treo is that you get
90 days of free technical support for learning how
to do anything you want with the Treo. So say you're
having trouble setting up email or transferring
Office documents to your device… all you have to
do is call and they will walk you through it.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
While I haven't had enough time with the Treo 750 to
iron out every little bug, there were a couple minor
things with which I had issue. By default, the phone
arrived with its phone radio turned off. So after
charging and powering on the device, I still had to
figure out how to get the phone part turned on.

   
The lower button on the side also doesn't do
anything unless you press and hold it. I thought
that was kind of weird. Furthermore, there's no
dedicated camera button. You have to go into the
Programs folder and then open the Camera app from
there.
 

   
The Treo 750 is also missing any kind of video
calling features that are built into the UMTS
specifications. There's no front facing camera
either, so it's likely that this device will not
acquire these features should Cingular decide to
support them in the future.

    We complained about the screen in the Treo 700w review, and the complaint still remains – using some applications on a low-resolution, square screen, is a bit cumbersome at times. While Windows Mobile does have support for higher resolution square screens, it’s likely that we won’t see a Windows Mobile Treo with a 480 x 480 screen, because of cost.

    Some users may miss having WiFi on this device. The thinking was probably that since the 750 is UMTS capable, most power users will be taking advantage of quicker over the air data speeds, instead of WiFi.

PURCHASING

    The Cingular version of the Treo 750 will be available
through Cingular retailers and the Cingular website on January 8th for $399 with a
2 year service agreement (includes $100 mail-in
rebate, a $39.99 or higher voice plan and data
plan).


PROS

  • Palm Treo usability with Windows Mobile, sans exteneral antenna
  • GSM with UMTS
  • Threaded SMS/MMS application
  • Snappy performance
  • Soft touch non-slip body
  • Easy to use keyboard
  • Can tether to a laptop
  • Includes a copy of Microsoft Voice Command 1.5

  • Palm Treo usability with Windows Mobile, sans exteneral antenna
  • GSM with UMTS
  • Threaded SMS/MMS application
  • Snappy performance
  • Soft touch non-slip body
  • Easy to use keyboard
  • Can tether to a laptop
  • Includes a copy of Microsoft Voice Command 1.5
  • Palm Treo usability with Windows Mobile, sans exteneral antenna
  • GSM with UMTS
  • Threaded SMS/MMS application
  • Snappy performance
  • Soft touch non-slip body
  • Easy to use keyboard
  • Can tether to a laptop
  • Includes a copy of Microsoft Voice Command 1.5

CONS

  • Form
    factor is large compared to other Windows Mobile
    devices
  • No HSDPA
    support yet
  • Sparse
    UMTS coverage from Cingular
  • No way to
    power off completely
  • Square, low resolution
    screen makes some programs difficult to use
  • No WiFi,
    no GPS
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?

OVERALL IMPRESSION

    I love what Palm has done with the
Windows Mobile operating system
. Palm is good at listening to their customers – they took the 700w, fixed all of its major flaws, and made it better. The result is the 750.

    The
enhancements that Palm has made are really growing
on me and could very well be valuable enough to
choose a Palm Windows Mobile device over many of the
others out there. The Today Screen dialer
enhancements and the chat-like text messaging
software are wonderful and the added phone features
really make the Pocket PC Phone Edition operating
system complete. On the other hand, the Palm Treo
750 is not really very impressive in terms of
hardware and form factor. Sure it's got Quad-Band
GSM/UMTS support, but UMTS isn't exactly widely available in North America right now (to see if there is UMTS in your area, click here, and select "Show 3G" after zooming past the city level). I love the
soft touch rubberized body as well, and the keyboard
is really great, but this thing is huge compared to
my HTC P3300 which has plenty more features built
into it's tiny body (GPS, WiFi, Roller navigation
wheel). It's nice that the Treo 750 has finally lost
the large external antenna, but that should have
been taken out years ago.

    What also sets
the Treo 750 apart is the name. Especially in the
U.S., everyone knows what a Palm Treo is. 
Nobody's heard of HTC and the other Windows Mobile
devices that they make even though HTC actually
manufactures the Palm Treo as well. With it's
well-known name, excellent software enhancements,
UMTS, and stability, I think the Treo 750 will be
quite successful.  




Share This Post
Advertisement
What's your reaction?
Love It
0%
Like It
0%
Want It
0%
Had It
0%
Hated It
0%
About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!