I received a completely unexpected present from a good friend of mine a couple of months ago, a new Palm Treo 750 running Windows Mobile 6.
I am quite fond of the design of the Palm Treo’s as they manage to incorporate an (almost) full keyboard along with a reasonable sized screen (240px * 240px) without the need to use a sliding keyboard. Sliding keyboards are prone to getting broken much easier in my experience, especially when I’m using them.
Unlike it’s predecessors and most other Palm phones, the Treo 750 runs Windows Mobile instead of Palm OS, and there have been some interesting things implemented in Windows Mobile by Palm. To my understanding, Palm have an exclusive license with Microsoft, allowing them to actually modify Windows Mobile 6.
One of the things I find the most useful is how it displays SMS and other messages in the form of a conversation, similar to how Gmail displays emails, and how Palm OS displays messages received. The addition of a search box on the Today screen is also extremely useful. Simply start to type a number or name and it will search your contacts and make suggestions as you type.
As far as actual features go, the Treo 750 is quite generous.
- Windows Mobile® 6 Professional
- GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA radio
- GSM bands: 850/900/1800/1900 Mhz
- UMTS bands: 850/1900/2100 Mhz
- Personal speakerphone
- Hands-free headset jack
- Microphone mute option
- TTY/TDD compatibility
- multi-party calling
- 300MHz Samsung processor
- MiniSD card slot
- Up to 4GB card supported
- Also supports wi-fi via MiniSD adaptor
- Removable 1200 mAH Lithium-ion
- Talk time: up to 4 hours
- Standby time: Up to 250 hours
- Data preserved by persistent file system
- 240 x 240 colour TFT touchscreen display
- 16-bit colour displays over 65,000 colours
- Bluetooth® 1.2 wireless technology
- Support for Bluetooth stereo headsets
- Infrared (IR)
- Wi-Fi via MiniSD adaptor (not included)
- 1.3 megapixel with 2x digital zoom
- Automatic light balance
- Integrated self-portrait mirror
- Video capture support
- 2.5mm headset jack is stereo headset compatible (stereo headset included) Requires a stereo headset adapter, sold separately, for use with standard 3.5mm stereo headphones
- Polyphonic MIDI, MP3, WAV & video ringtones
- External ringer on/off switch with vibrate mode
- Full QWERTY key layout with backlighting
- Integrated number dial pad
- Keyguard feature
- Multi-connector on device
- USB sync cable
- International adapter (EU, UK, AU And NA plugs included)
- 4.44″ H x 2.3″ W x 0.8″ D
- 111mm x 58mm x 22mm
- 5.4 ounces / 154 grams
The built in memory is unfortunately very low at only 128mb. It does support MiniSD cards up to 4gb though which does save it as far as performance goes.
In my experience thus far, you need to keep programs and data on the miniSD card as much as possible as the 128mb of built in memory is shared with the RAM. So the more that you have in the built in memory, the slower the Treo gets.
I have seen a few reviews where the Treo 750 has been criticised for using a slow processor, a 300mhz Samsung CPU. In general though, I have found the Treo 750 is quite fast. The only time it seems to slow down is when browsing an image intensive website as it scales all of the images down for viewing on the 240px * 240px screen to make it easier to browse. It also understandably slows down significantly when the built-in memory is near full.
The biggest down-side I’ve come across is the battery life. When using the internet relatively consistently with Windows Live Messenger and Internet Explorer it will last between 2 and 3 hours. If you don’t use it at all it lasts for about 36 hours. It doesn’t get anywhere near the 250 hours on standby that the specs suggest. I’ve found that with my general usage of it, the battery needs to be charged on a nightly basis and is generally sitting on around 10% of battery life by the time I get home at the end of the day and put it on to charge.
Another negative for some is the lack of built in wi-fi, though it is available via a Mini-SD wi-fi card. Personally, I don’t have a problem with this since it has cell coverage almost everywhere I would be using it on a wireless network anyway, the majority of this is in a 3G or HSDPA area as well so speed is not an issue.
As I mentioned earlier, the screen is square at 240px by 240px, which makes it smaller than a lot of other PDA’s like the iPhone, the HTC P3600i and the HTC Touch (among many others). This could be seen as a negative. After all, a small touch screen should be more difficult to use than a larger one right? Personally though, I don’t find this to be a problem. The screen can be rotated depending on which way you are using the PDA, but since its a square it makes it kind of pointless. The screen is easy enough to use with your fingers if you don’t feel like taking out the stylus, however the stylus does make it even easier. Alternatively, the phone can be used entirely via the keypad if need be, though it is much quicker to use the touch screen.
The built-in camera is only 1.3 megapixel’s, so it is very low resolution compared to the 5 megapixel camera’s you get in some phone’s now, but the quality is quite good compared to other phone’s with similar resolution camera’s.
Video playback is good. It does sometimes have a small delay opening video’s, but it has no problem running most video’s in MP4 format in full screen mode. The audio playback that compliments it is even better. The audio quality is a little on the tinny side, but it is definitely not bad, it is fairly decent and it gets about as loud as the built-in speaker volume on my Macbook Pro.
Similarly, when you use the loudspeaker function on a call, the speaker is loud and the mic is very sensitive. It is probably one of the best loudspeaker/mic combinations I have used. It’s usually fairly obvious to the person on the other end when you are using the loudspeaker as you sound more distant. On the Treo 750 though, this doesn’t seem to happen at all.
In a 3G or HSDPA area, the internet is very quick, as you would expect. What surprised me though is how well it handles the internet when you are in a GPRS area. The net still feels relatively fast compared to on other phones I have used in GPRS area’s.
When loading websites in Internet Explorer Mobile, it seems to render similarly to Internet Explorer 6, however, it scales images down on the fly to fit the screen which makes browsing on the smaller screen much easier. It also squashes text and other content down to fit the screen size. The only real problem I have had with this is with forms. I am planning on installing Opera 9.5 Mobile Beta soon as the Opera Mobile browser should be a far superior browser to Internet Explorer Mobile.
The Webkit rendering engine used by Opera is a better engine than Internet Explorer and it also powers Safari and Safari Mobile as used on the iPhone. So I am hoping that Opera Mobile will only make my internet usage on the Treo even easier.
Thats it from me for now, I’ll let you know how I go with Opera Mobile as soon as I’ve had time to install it and test it out properly.
Got one? What do you think of it?