[Review] Palm Treo 750w

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About a week ago Damir gave me a Palm Treo 750w to try out.  I recently switched to Rogers so I'd have the freedom of switching SIM cards between devices.  I am a bit of a gadget guy and love to try new mobile devices and SIM cards make this easy.  My own personal device is an HTC Touch which I love, but as with every device it has some shortcomings, most notable the lack of a keyboard.  This is mitigated with a software based keyboard which works great for general day to day use when I triage email on the go and send short responses to the urgent messages.  When I am on the road I long for a device with a "real" keyboard so I can reply to more mail without booting my notebook.

The Treo 750w runs Windows Mobile 6 Professional Edition which offers PDA like functionality due to the touchscreen on the device.  Most devices in this form factor run the Standard Edition for smartphone (aka non-touchscreen) but I like the fact that Palm added a this feature.  I love touchscreen's because sometimes it is just faster to navigate by touching the screen.  The size of the device is much bigger than the Touch, but not overly so, it is still smaller than my wallet.

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So what else does the Treo 750w offer????

  • Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as a PDF Reader
  • Handsfree Speakerphone
  • Outlook Mobile with support for Exchange ActiveSync
  • 128MB RAM
  • Mini-SD Expansion slot
  • 300MHz Processor
  • Bluetooth
  • Camera
  • HSDPA network support

Mmmmmm, I am getting to love that last feature.  Rogers has started rolling out its HSDPA network a while ago and is available to about 60% of the Canadian population.  What is it?  HSDPA stands for High Speed Downlink Packet Access and is also known as 3G and allows for speeds between 1.8 and 14.4 Mbit/s.  In a nutshell it is roughly as fast as the average home high speed connection.  Syncing my contacts and mailbox took seconds and surfing the web from the device, or when tethered to my notebook, it is hard to tell the difference between this and my home "extreme" connection.  Now at $65 for 1GB I won't be downloading a lot but the speed is nice especially when you are sitting in the airport for a half an hour with nothing to do.

The keyboard is just right and I have no problems typing on it and I prefer it over the Moto Q I used to have.  The keys are spaced far enough apart that I don't press the wrong one.  Along with the touchscreen functionality there is also two hardware buttons which perform different tasks depending on what screen you are on.  There is also a switch on the top that makes it nice and easy to switch between ringer and silent/vibrate.  That alone gets big points from me as I hate having to unlock my device to switch it to silent when I go to bed.  The stylus is also a decent length making it easy to poke around the menus.

Battery life is decent but one thing to be aware of, HSDPA is power hungry.  I get about 8-10 hours out of the battery and I've been told by Rogers that this is due to the HSDPA network.  They are working on a resolution, most likely giving you the option of switching back to regular GSM, but Palm does supply a car charger with the kit to keep you charged on the road.

As far as software, besides the standard Office Mobile apps there are some other nice add-ons.  The device includes Live Search for Mobile, Remote Desktop Mobile,  Windows Media Player and of course Solitaire.  There are updates for the Live Search app as well as for Office Mobile which gives you support for the 2007 Office file formats.

All in all I really like this device but I'll be sticking with my HTC Touch when I am close to home.  It is just too small to give up and I have found a software keyboard I like.  That said I will definitely be taking this on the road as it will make me much more productive without having to haul out the notebook!

Over the last year I've used a Starcom PPC 6700, Motorola Q, HTC Touch, Palm Treo 700W, Palm Treo 750w and a QTek 8500 and it is very close between the 750w and the Touch as my favourite device.  It really depends on my mood, my travel plans and my needs for that day.  I love them both and love my portable SIM card!

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  • Oh thanks a LOT Rodney!  Now I have to go buy a new wireless keyboard for my supplier!  I just drooled ALL OVER it with the specs on that puppy!

    Thanks!

    Thanks a lot!

    PS.   Where can we all buy one of these and can it be unlocked to work with "other" gsm networks... :)

  • Hey Sean,

    You can buy these from Rogers for use on GSM networks in Canada (Rogers is the only one as Fido is Rogers :) )

    I believe the other wireless providers will also have the 750w if you are stuck in a contract but wanting to upgrade your device.

    Rodney Buike

    IT Pro Advisor

  • No I'm more apt to just buy one.  Never liked Contracts.   Technically although Roger's owns Fido, it is not.  As such they trip the Fido chips as a foreign entity.  

    So if you buy a Roger's GSM phone, it will unfortunately usually not work on Fido.

    Silly huh?

  • I am sure you can buy one contract free from Rogers.  Every day that I use this device I like it more.  

    Rodney

  • What did Ruth think of the HTC touch for long term?  It's a less expensive Mobile 6 device ($399 no contract) and available in GSM as well.

    Gotta watch the budget.   Need to get a 64 bit CPU with Intel Virtualization this month.

    AFTER I do Christmas.   I'm a geek, but I'm no scrooge... :)

  • I would suggest buying additional battaries. I had to give up the device because I couldn't stretch the battery life past a day. But it'a a wonderful device!

  • Hey Daniel,

    I'll agree with you on that as battery life is an issue.  I get 12 hours out of mine which isn't great but we have spoken to Palm/Rogers and there will be an update that will allow you to switch between GSM and HSDPA and you will see much longer battery life when running in GSM mode.

    No ETA on when that will be available but stay tuned!

    Rodney Buike

    IT Pro Advisor

  • Have you tried the iPhone? The touch feature is so good you will forget the Treo.. ;->).

    I saw one with a friend of mine who had cracked it to use without the iTunes and is happy with it. (8GB memory)

  • Hi Amir,

    I have seent he iPhone and the iPod Touch and they do have very nice touchscreen interfaces.  The only thing that gets me down about the iPhone is that it is not available here yet, no 3rd party apps (unless you hack the device and hope Apple doesn't brick it with an update) and the real biggie is that it doesn't work with Exchange Active Sync (yet).

    Personally I am not a big fan of iTunes either but that is more of a personal issue :)

    Rodney Buike

    IT Pro Advisor