Treo 680 Review

3 of 5

Great Entry Level Smartphone But No Easy Upgrade Decision For Treo 650 Owners

The Palm Treo 680 is the latest smartphone from Palm and the first to be priced at under $200 (after rebate with a 2-year contract and data plan committment). Announced in October, the new Treo 680 is available through Cingular Wireless or by ordering an unlocked version through Palm. The new Treo is not your typical new Palm Treo. With previous releases, the latest smartphone always offered significant features than the previous generation. This new 680 finds itself nestled in-between the previous GSM based Treo 650 and Treo 700p released in June of this year. Given the price point, its clear that Palm has high hopes for this new Treo as they hope its a “smart” upgrade for feature phone users. For GSM Treo 650 owners who have spent the previous year watching Palm release feature rich CDMA based models (Treo 700w, Treo 700p, Treo 700wx), the decision to upgrade isnt as clear as it might have been with previous generation models. When considering features for the Treo 680, Palm finds itself juggling features in order to keep the price point at below $200 while finding a happy medium making it attractive to new smartphone owners and those considering an upgrade. For those considering an upgrade from a Treo 650, Ive highlighted changes or features of the new Treo 680 that will weigh on your decision. At any time, you can select a particular section of this 6-part review by using the table of contents to your right.

Treo 680 review

What’s In The Box

The Palm Treo 680 used for evaluation is through Cingular Wireless. The Cingular Treo 680 shipped with the following:

  • Palm Treo 680 smart device (do not read too much into the change from smartphone to smart device. This request was made to Palm by Cingular. Apparently, the data pricing plans for smart phone and smart device are different and this was done to avoid confusion amongst their sales staff)
  • Treo 680 Software Installation Guide
  • Travel Charger *not shown in photo
  • USB Sync Cable
  • Wired Headset
  • Getting Started Guide

Note: For a limited time, Palms unlocked Treo 680 comes with a free Mobile Music Pack that includes Yahoo Music Bundle is valued at $135.

Treo 680 unboxed

The Cingular Treo 680, used in this review, comes with the following software preinstalled.

  • Blazer web browser version 4.5
  • Bluetooth Manager version 1.2(W)
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Camcorder
  • Camera
  • Contacts
  • Documents To Go
  • HotSync Manager
  • Memos
  • Messaging
  • MyTreo
  • Phone
  • Pics and Video
  • PocketTunes
  • Quick Tour
  • Security
  • Tasks
  • VersaMail version 3.5.1
  • Voice Memo
  • World Clock


The Treo 680 comes bundled with Palm Blazer and VersaMail or Web and Email. When it comes to rendering pages on a mobile device, Palms Blazer is excellent. Unfortunately, the device only supports EDGE. With the Treo 700w/p/wx support of EVDO, many were hopeful this new Treo would bring a support for UTMS (GSM version of broadband-like internet connection for mobile users). Apparently, the Palm OS could not support UTMS, providing yet another reason why this OS desperately needs to be upgraded. When the Windows Mobile powered Treo 750 arrives, it’s expected it will support the UTMS. Palm has promised faster browsing on the Treo 680 compared to the Treo 650 due to

smart caching

. When compared to the EVDO based Treo 700p, the Treo 680 is significantly slower in accessing web pages and downloading email messages.

Treo 680 vs Treo 700p speed test

In this chart, shorter is better and indicates a faster download time. The Treo 680 exceed the time limit of the 1mb test and therefore were not included. Tests were done using DSLReports mobile test. While not extensive, it clearly shows the vast difference in speed of an EVDO capable Treo vs Cingular’s EDGE network.

Treo 680 speed test

Streaming Media

 

The Treo 680 comes with Kinoma Player in the ROM. While its not listed in the applications, Kinoma Player will assist with streaming media. I tested the Treo 680s streaming capabilities on http://xstreamxm.com/mobile and had only one buffering issue during a 10 minute listening session of the Bone Yard. The Treo 680 proved its metal while listening to metal.

Email and Messaging

 

The Palm Treo 680 is the perfect companion to a person who is an active text messenger. If moving from a feature phone, youll rejoice at finding the chat-style discussions in Palms text messaging application. Lets say you are having a discussion with a friend that spans 20 messages. Later that day, you have exchange 10 messages with a different friend. Palm encapsulates this into what looks like an AOL IM chat session. When you select a particular friend, youll see the conversation. This chat-style or whats also know as threaded SMS cannot be found in the Treo 700w/wx, much to the chagrin of those who have upgraded from a Treo 650. For text messaging, it doesnt get better than Palms Messaging application that comes standard with the Treo 680.

Text messaging on Treo 680

Palm has made it easier to address recipients when text messaging. When you type the first few letters, the Treo 680 will bring up a list from your contacts. This of course adds to the ease of use when typing a message to a friend. Its much easier to type a message to Tricia, then have to remember the related phone number.

Email Using VersaMail

 

VersaMail has been upgraded to version 3.5. As Ive noted in my Treo 700p Review, Ive been using SnapperMail for the past 4 years so it was difficult for me to discern any major changes to VersaMail outside of a new Alerts feature allowing you to select ringtones for your alerts. VersaMail has also changed its name to simply Email. Email aka VersaMail is sufficient for most users. Those looking for more extensive features can look to either SnapperMail or Chatteremail.

 

SplashPhoto Review

Ratings: 3.5 of 5

SplashPhoto is an application that helps manage photos both on your Treo and your desktop. Available for both Palm OS and PocketPC, SplashPhoto is a great option for organizing your Treo photos.

SplashPhoto

Introduction

If youre the type of Treo user who loves using the built-in camera, you
have no doubt run into the headache of trying to organize and edit all your
photos. SplashPhoto by SplashData offers a convenient way to organize,
synchronize, edit, view, and share photos. When paired up with the desktop
(PC) software, it really doesnt get much easier to keep your growing gallery
in check.

User Interface

When you first open up SplashPhoto, youll notice familiar options at the
top to organize the photos by location on your device (i.e. internal or
storage card) and by category. The action keys on the Treo 700w will allow you to
quickly toggle views and pull up the ‘Tools’ menu. While using SplashPhoto,
you have 4 main views you can choose from:

SplashPhoto on Treo 700w

  • List View: Lists the files in order (much like Windows) and displays the
    file information you choose. This view makes maximum use of the screen space,
    but doesnt show a preview of the photo.
  • SplashPhoto list view

  • Detail View: Displays a thumbnail of the photo, allows you to change the
    storage and category, shows the image size, file size, date, photo notes, and
    time the photo was taken. This view is very handy if you need to move files
    back and forth between a storage card, and if youre looking to categorize a
    couple of photos.
  • SplashPhoto Detail view

  • Thumbnail View: Displays a thumbnail of the photo and the file name. This
    view makes very good use of screen space while still displaying a thumbnail.
  • SplashPhoto Thumbnail view

  • Gallery View: Displays only a thumbnail of the photo. This view is handy
    if youve got a lot of photos and are looking for a particular one.

The ‘Tools’ menu allows you to set the program as the default viewer for JPG
photos, show specific columns in the list view, arrange the photo list, display
a slideshow, manage categories, set photo security, refresh the view, and exit
the program.

Features & Options

Perhaps the most convenient feature of the program is the ability to quickly
and easily categorize your photos. SplashPhoto lets you create customized
categories, and quickly assign photos to a given category. Along with
categorizing the photo, you can add notes to your photo that will display in the
“Detail View”. This is definitely convenient when you need to make a specific
photo easy to find, or if you just need a quick reminder where the photo was
taken.

The most intriguing feature of the categories is the ability to set a photo
as private, which will require a password before being able to view them. This
feature can be helpful if youre taking photos that you dont want someone who
picks up or steals your phone to be able to see such as company prototypes.
You can quickly toggle the ability to view private images by going to Tools
>> Security >> Show/Hide Private Images. If you choose to show
them, youll be greeted with a password prompt. Unfortunately, if you were to
go into the default Camera application, you could view these photos without a
password being required thus making this security only effective within the
program itself.

Much like the default Camera application, SplashPhoto allows you to send
photos via email, MMS, or beaming. The only addition wed like to see here
would be the ability to highlight multiple photos and send them all via email,
MMS, or beaming.

SplashPhoto Desktop

Along with the device version of SplashPhoto, you also get the SplashPhoto
Desktop which installs on your PC (see notes for compatibility information) and
allows you to easily synchronize between your device and desktop. This feature
is much more convenient than synching photos using ActiveSync, and it allows
you to keep your photos separate from the rest of your data.

Just like the application for your device, the desktop version gives you the
option of viewing your photos with the same four views. It also adds the
functionality of being able to quick edits including: brightness and contrast
adjustments, zooming, cropping, and image rotating.

Another welcome addition to the SplashPhoto Desktop software is the ability
to quickly and easily send any of your photos via email. Simply highlight the
photos youd like to send, right-click and choose the “Send via Email” option.

Send photo via email on Treo

Issues and Notes

During testing, I did not encounter any issues with the installation
process, registration, or with the program hanging. The memory footprint of
the program is quite small and unobtrusive.

SplashPhoto Desktop requires Windows 98, ME, NT4, 2000, or XP.

Conclusion

SplashPhoto is a great tool to help you keep your ever-growing photo gallery
organized and synchronized. The ability to categorize photos has proven to be
a priceless feature, and is certainly a welcome improvement over the default
Camera application.

SplashPhoto retails for $29.95 and is also available as a 30-day free trial.

Treo 700p Review

Treo 700p Review

July 31, 2006
Ratings: 4 of 5

By: Christopher Meinck

New Palm OS Based Smartphone Improves Upon Treo 650

The Palm Treo 700p is the latest smartphone from Palm featuring the Palm operating system. I’ve been using the Palm Treo 700w since it’s release six months ago, but was anxious to see what improvements the Palm Treo 700p had over it’s predecessor, the Palm Treo 650. As a Mac user, there was the obvious joy of going back to a smartphone that officially supports the Mac platform, although Mark/Space just recently announced Missing Sync for Windows Mobile, offering support for the Mac users considering the 700w.

The Treo 700p offers a nice collection of enchancements over its predecessor, the Palm Treo 650.

Palm Treo 700p

What’s In The Box

The Palm Treo 700p is currently available through both Sprint and Verizon Wireless. Despite the differences in packaging, as we noted in our First Look at the 700p, both smartphones ship with the following:

  • Palm Treo 700p smartphone
  • Palm Software Install CD
  • Travel Charger
  • USB Sync Cable
  • Wired Headset
  • Quick Start Guide (refered to as Read Me First
  • Quick Reference Guide
  • Verizon or Sprint Welcome CD

700p accessories

The Verizon Treo 700p, used in this review, comes with the following software preinstalled. There are few version changes as noted and the bundled
software package is better than on previous models. I’ll touch on the changes and improvements in the Software and Applications section of the review.

  • Blazer web browser version 4.5
  • Bluetooth Manager version 1.2(W)
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Camcorder
  • Camera
  • Contacts
  • Documents To Go
  • HotSync Manager
  • Memos
  • Messaging
  • MyTreo*new
  • Phone
  • Pics and Video*new
  • PocketTunes *new
  • Quick Tour
  • Security
  • Tasks
  • VersaMail version 3.5.1
  • Voice Memo*new
  • World Clock

Continue Treo 700p Review: Hardware

Treo 700p Review: Hardware

July 31, 2006
Ratings: 4 of 5 

/>

By: Christopher Meinck

The Palm Treo 700p uses the exact same form factor and casing as the Palm Treo 700w. In fact, Verizon uses similar packaging for both models. The similarities are sure to cause confusion among potential first time Treo owners shopping for a new smartphone. While the physical dimensions are the same, the hard buttons of the Treo 700p have different graphics and are mapped to different buttons relative to the Palm OS. What’s more interesting are the differences between the Palm Treo 650 and Palm Treo 700p. The Home button that brings up your applications (also known as the Application launcher) has graduated to a main button on the 700p. Palm has also moved the menu button into the QWERTY keyboard and provided dedicated Send/End Call buttons.

Treo 700p keyboard

On the previous generation Treo 650, simply pressing the Phone button twice brought up recently dialed numbers and access to your call log. To access this same list on the 700p requires you simply press the Send button. The new button is not terribly intuitive when compared with the previous method. Moving the Applications Launcher into the main buttons was a great move, since it provides access to your applications which is central to using the Treo. The only downside that I see with the new layout is the new location of the Menu button (located next to ALT button). With the Palm OS, menus are hidden until you press the menu button. Accessing the menu button is a very common and the current location doesn’t feel as comfortable using one-handed operation.

New Menu Button

Screen

The Palm Treo 700p uses a 320×320 resolution screen. I found the screen to be more vivid and sharper when placed side by side with a Cingular Treo 650. My complaint with previous Palm OS offerings has been the use of the screen. The Palm Treo 700w features a 240×240 resolution screen, but you don’t immediately notice the difference in resolution compared to the 320×320 resolution of both the 650 and 700p. From the Phone application to the Application launcher, the added pixels found in the Treo 700p aren’t being effectively put to good use, whereas the Treo 700w makes great use of it’s 240×240 resolution screen with the Today screen. With it’s use of blue gradients, photo speed dials and attractive icons, at first glance the Treo 700w provides a more welcoming experience than the Treo 700p. Using the Treo 700p as a multimedia device is where the screen really shines. Viewing photos on the Palm Treo 700p revealed amazing details in photos.

Treo 700p screen

Keyboard

The Treo 700p features a QWERTY keyboard and there are some minor changes over the Treo 650. The keys are now larger and more of a rectangular shape versus the oval shaped keys found on the Treo 650. The newer 700p keyboard has a more tactile feel and I felt more confirmation from the keyboard while typing. On the Treo 650, I felt the keys were just a touch closer and felt more cramped than on the 700p. The improvements weren’t drastic, but I appreciated the changes. Both 700p and 700w are utilizing the same QWERTY keyboard and subsequently, I felt no difference when typing on either.

Treo 700p vs Treo 650

Processor and Memory

The newest Palm features a boost in user memory. The 700p features 128mb of memory and 60mb is user accessible – meaning it can be used for third party applications, ringtones, music, photos and documents. If you are not a heavy multimedia user, a secure digital memory card is not a necessary accessory. This increase is substantial considering the previous Treo 650 shipped with 32mb of memory, leaving only 23mb of user memory. This made an SD card almost a required Treo accessory. The processor has also been upgraded from a Intel PXA270 312MHz processor to the Intel XScale 312MHz processor. The 700p is zippy, but I didn’t notice any drastic improvements over the 650. This processor is also the same processor used in the Treo 700w. In the case of the 700w, memory issues could be attributed to the operating system. This is certainly not the case with the 700p. This is a fast smartphone. At no time did I feel the system or applications become sluggish.

Continue Treo 700p Review: Phone Functions

Treo 700p Review: Internet and Communications Applications

July 31, 2006
Ratings: 4 of 5

By: Christopher Meinck

The 700p comes bundled with the familiar web applications Email and Web – known to many Palm Treo users as VersaMail and Blazer. Blazer has been upgraded from 4.3.2 to version 4.5 on the 700p. One nice feature that was added is the “Find Text On Page” feature. I use this often when using Firefox and this is a nice addition to mobile browsing. Stuck in the preferences tab on the Treo 650 was the option to Disable Images. This obviously makes downloading sites with a lot of large graphics much faster. In a small, but positive interface change, the 700p now has a lightning bolt icon at the top of the browser enabling “Fast mode”. Not a major change in feature set, but again bringing popular features where end users can get the most from their Treo smartphones.

Find text on page

Although not listed among the software bundle, the new 700p also includes KinomaPlayer installed in the ROM. The player reveals itself when accessing a streaming media feed. A quick visit to xstreamxm.com/mobile allowed me to start streaming XM radio* to my Treo without any buffering issues. (*requires XM Radio account and online account access enabled)

Stream XM Radio using 700p and Kinoma

VersaMail also gets a version bump from 3.1 to version 3.5.1. I have used SnapperMail for the previous 4 years, so it was tough for me to discern of any major changes to VersaMail outside a new Alerts feature. The 700p will alert you of new mail or of email failures with a ringtone you select.

VersaMail alerts

In the new VersaMail, there are icons to check your connection status. Like previous versions, Contacts are integrated making it easy to access an email address by simply typing the first few letters of a contact. They’ve also moved the Sort button out of ‘Display’ making it easier to sort through your messages. VersaMail is a good, stable email application and will serve the needs of most Treo users. It’s nice to see Palm making improvements to such a critical application, but nothing here makes me consider changing from SnapperMail. For corporate users, the new version also features built-in Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, allowing you to wirelessly sync Calendar, Contacts, and email with your company’s Microsoft Exchange Server. VersaMail also includes what Palm calls ‘Smarter Addressing’ which auto-fills email addresses you’ve previously sent but are not among your contacts. I found this to be a great feature and one you don’t even find on third party applications like Snappermail.

Support for EvDO

One of the major improvements from previous Palm based Treo smartphones is support for EvDO, which Palm has correctly termed ‘broadband-like’ internet access. Email fetching is fast – I mean very fast. There was a noticable improvement when grabbing emails and EvDO really shines when you’re downloading a attachments or email from multiple accounts. Having experienced EvDO on the Treo 700w, it was nice to see a Palm OS based phone with EvDO support. The entire web surfing experience from your Treo is still very much dependant on whether the site or page you’re trying to access is properly coded. Sites that are optimized for smartphones will reproduce a broadband-like result. When compared with the renderings of the Palm Treo 700w, the Treo 700p and the Palm based Blazer product did a much better job with mobile rendering of web pages that are not coded for smartphones.

Messaging

Returning is Palm’s popular SMS program Messaging. They’ve made some nice improvements here in the addressing portion of the application. On the Treo 650, you could bring up a contextual menu that would allow you to move into Contacts to select a recipient. This isn’t necessary on the Treo 700p. Type a few letters of a contact and Messaging brings up a list of contacts making it easy to address your text message. They have also moved the ‘quote’ and ‘emoticon’ features inside of the messaging component. Add has also been changed to Add Media. You can add Attach image, Take new picture or Take new video. All these features were the previous version of messaging, but this new version has simplified the process to one contextual menu. The other MMS component that has changed is the sound option. The previous version you could choose to record a sound or attach a sound. This new version allows you record a new sound, attach a voice memo (new to the 700p with Voice Memo) or attach a ringtone. People love to share ringtones and I see this as a nice addition. Messaging allows allows you to add slides. Rather than send multiple messages to a friend, you can add a slide to send multiple photos, sounds or ringtones during one MMS session as shown below.

Messaging on 700p

Continue Treo 700p Review: User Interface Improvements

Treo 700p Review: Interface Improvements, Missing Features

July 31, 2006
Ratings: 4 of 5

By: Christopher Meinck

Graphical User Interface Improvements

What I noticed most about the new Treo 700p have been the subtle changes to the GUI (graphical user interface). In the multimedia applications, I’ve found that Palm has simplified the interface on their suite of applications. Even the newly bundled PocketTunes shares the common look and feel of Voice Memo, Pics & Video along with the Camera/Camcorder applications. By utilizing the same improved interface, this helps breed familiarity for the end user. Unfortunately, outside a few minor cosmetic changes, the look and feel of the Treo 700p’s interface is not much different than the Treo 650. While I understand the importance of familiarity for the end user, it would be nice to see more graphical changes to commonly used apps such as Phone. Retain the same functionality and interface, but offer something distinct to the 700p.

What’s Missing

For months and probably weeks after the Treo 650 was released, Palm Treo users have been asking for new features in future Treo smartphones. Here are some of features that did not make it into the Treo 700p:

  • WiFi: Available on the 700w using the SDIO Memory slot and compatible WiFi card, this feature is not included in the Treo 700p and the SDIO card that works in the Treo 700w does not work on the Treo 700p.
  • Bluetooth 2.0: Voice dialing, advanced features, stereo bluetooth headset.

These are all features that hopefully will make it into the next Treo. I would have like to have seen support for Bluetooth 2.0 and in particular voice dialing.

Continue Treo 700p Review: Conclusion

Treo 700p Review: Phone Functions

July 31, 2006
Ratings: 4 of 5

By: Christopher Meinck

I didn’t notice any major changes in call quality while using the Treo 700p compared with previous models. There are some subtle usability issues. Accessing the call log requires depressing the dedicated call button whereas the phone button on the Treo 650 produced the same result. The dialer screen remains virtually the same from the Treo 650. The Voicemail speed dial has swapped spots with the Contacts speed dial – with the Voicemail being on the left now on the 700p. This seems like a small change, but it actually produces a very major change in usability. I originally thought this was a problem, since the button is not editable. However, one of our readers has correctly pointed out that you can move the location with Contacts by simply dragging the favorite to a different position.

Treo 700p bluetooth option

Interestingly, they’ve also modified a few other speed dials including one for Call Log and Bluetooth. Both can be changed, but it offers Treo 700p owners another alternative to access the Call Log and an easy way to get to their Bluetooth set-up. As with the Treo 650, you can easily edit your Favorites buttons for the following:

  • Call Log: This brings up a call log. Very handy if you’re looking to access a phone number from a previous caller or tracking your previous calls. Palm sets this up the 4th position, but you can edit that speed dial and add this to another button if you desire.
  • Dial Pad: For quick access to, you guessed it, the dial pad. If you use a wallpaper background instead of your dial pad, you can use a Speed Dial button to access the dial pad.
  • Contacts: As mentioned above, this is a commonly used application and you can set up additional favorite buttons.
  • Application: Call any application with a favorites button.
  • Speed Dial: This is where you set buttons for favorite callers. There is a lookup which allows you to easily grab the information from Contacts. Oddly enough, the 700p removes the option to set a ringtone when setting up the Speed Dial. As with the Treo 650, you can set a "hot-key". When in the Phone application, holding the hot-key will result in that particular favorite being dialed. Voicemail is automatically set to ‘1’, so holding one will dial Voicemail.
  • Message: This is similar to the Speed Dial favorite, but apply it to text messaging.
  • Email: Similar to Speed Dial, but with launches VersaMail or your preferred email application and inserts the email address associated with the Email favorite.
  • Web Link: Quick access to your favorite destinations on the web. The Treo allows you to enter the URL and actually prefills the http://www prefix.

There are a total of 14 Favorites buttons on each page and there are five pages. The 5-way navigator allows you easily access any of the pages and favorites buttons. The favorites buttons remind me of the dock found in Mac OS X or the Start button in Windows. It allows fast and easy access to all your apps. With the Treo, it offers more with access to Speed Dial, Messaging and more. One carryover from the Treo 650 is the ability to access the rest of a contacts numbers by navigating to the a specific Speed Dial favorite and pressing the space bar. This brings up a contextual menu offering the ability to dial any number for that particular contact.

During my testing, I have been using a Jabra JX10 Bluetooth headset and sound quality was crystal clear. There have been some reports of Treo 650 compatible headsets having performance issues on the Treo 700p. It’s expected Palm will release a firmware update to troubleshoot these issues, yet something you should be aware if considering the 700p.

Managing Incoming Calls

When the Windows based Palm Treo 700w was first introduced, a Microsoft VP proudly proclaimed the 700w offered a feature that allowed you to "ignore a call" with a text message. This feature is helpful if you’re in a meeting, but don’t want to let call go to voicemail without a response. On the 700w, you could select an option to ignore the call and send a text message to the caller. For example, you could send something along the lines of, “In a meeting, will call you in a few minutes.” Very shortly thereafter, Ludas Technologies released SharkMSG, a freeware software application that added this feature to the Treo 650. Palm has added this feature with the Treo 700p. The ignore feature sends the caller to voicemail and moves you to our text messaging application. The Treo 700p features QuickText and this allows you to choose from the preset entries or customize your own entries.

Quick Text

The Palm Treo 700p does a great job of helping even the unorganized get organized. After you finish calls, the Treo asks if you’d like to Create a new contact or Add to an existing contact. Selecting the latter brings up the familiar lookup and the Treo will paste the number into a field. For someone on the go, this feature allows you to easily update your Contacts database while on the road. When you return to your PC or Mac, a HotSync will bring this data over to your desktop.

Add new contact

Continue Treo 700p Review: Software and Applications

Code Wallet Pro Review

Review: Code Wallet Pro

June 14, 2006
Ratings: 4.5 of 5
By: Kevin Muller

Code Wallet Pro is a PocketPC based program for the Treo 700w that helps store and secure almost any type of information.

Code Wallet Pro

Introduction

CodeWallet Pro 2006 by DeveloperOne is a robust solution for storing private information securely on your Windows Mobile device. CodeWallet Pro makes use of password protection and strong encryption to ensure your information stays out of the hands of other people. It also features the ability to store almost any type of information you can think of including: text, attachments, graphics, sound files, and more.

Code Wallet Pro desktop

User Interface

The first thing you are greeted with when you open CodeWallet Pro 2006 is a password prompt which should make you feel good that your information is being protected. If you dont enter in the proper password youre not getting in! If youre looking to get access to the raw wallet file, enjoy youll find that youre dealing with a strongly encrypted file.

After you successfully enter your password, youre taken to the main tree view of the wallet. Worried about organizing your entries? CodeWallet Pro 2006 allows you to create new folders and wallets to help keep everything sorted. If you need to quickly see the contents of all the folders, a simple click of the tree in the upper right will toggle expanding all the folders and hiding the contents.

Code Wallet Pro Screenshot

A quick click of the Menu will allow you to create a new card. The program comes with 40 built-in form layouts to store almost every type of information you can think of without having to spend time creating a new template. If youre not happy with the fields in the form, you can quickly edit and change the options of the template to have it suite your needs. With form fields specifically for passwords, dates, checkboxes, email, urls, phone, time, and more CWP makes it quick and easy to store almost any type of information.

If youre swamped with data youre trying to save, youll be happy to know that Code Wallet Pro 2006 has its own search and favorites feature allowing you to quickly access and find the entries you use most. In our testing, the search results came up quickly and accurately. The search field can be quickly brought up by tapping the magnifying glass in the upper left corner.

Like to have your information on your PC too? DeveloperOne offers the CodeWallet Pro 2006 Desktop Edition, which offers an almost identical interface as its PPC counterpart. Perhaps the most convenient feature of the Desktop Edition is the ability to seamlessly synchronize wallets between your PC and device.

Code Wallet Sync Process pic

Features and Options

Along with the ability to customize forms, you can also quickly import and export cards to and from text files.
In case youre a fanatic about the way your programs look, youll be happy to know that you can change the colors used in the program including folder, card, background, field names, and field data colors.

Issues and Notes

During our testing, we did not encounter any issues with the installation process, registration, or with the program hanging.

Conclusion

If youre sick of carrying around notes to remember your bank account number or pin or would just like to secure this information CodeWallet Pro 2006 is a great solution. At the beginning of our testing, it seemed like a cool program but by the end of the testing, it had become a necessity! On top of great security and functionality, the program itself is stable and reliable.

Code Wallet Pro is available as a free trial and retails for $29.95.

Facer Pro Review

Ratings: 4 of 5

Facer is a launcher program that enhances the user interface and functionality of your Treo adding a Today screen reminiscent of the 700w.

Facer

If you’ve hit the home button on your Treo, then you are familiar with the applications launcher that is part of the standard Palm OS. From here, you can access your applications, modify your preferences and neatly organize your applications into categories such as Games, System, Applications, etc. Pressing the Home button rotates through these various categories. Facer is a replacement launcher that looks to upgrade your user interface and make it easier to access frequently used utilities and applications on your Treo.

Treo Application Launcher

Set-up and Installation

Installation of Facer is very easy. You simply download the prc file and hotsync to your Treo. When you first launch Facer, it will install the proper files for use with your Treo. Since Facer is meant to act as a replacement launcher for the standard Palm OS, my first inclination was to map the "Home" button to Facer. However, with the new Treo 700p, this cannot be done without the third party software utility Ludas P.

Upon launching Facer Pro, you immediately notice a drastic and positive change from the Palm Application Launcher. You are introduced to a "Today" screen reminiscent of the Treo 700w. There are a list of upcoming appointments, uncompleted tasks, date and time along with a bevy of icons. This is all set against a very pleasing blue background. With both the Treo 650 and Treo 700p boasting high resolution screens, it was always surprising to me that Palm doesn’t take advantage of this within their Application Launcher interface. Luckily, developers like Pocket Craft are up to the task. Underneath your tasks are mini-icons that allow you to easy access your main applications:

  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Calculator
  • Memos
  • Tasks
  • Preferences

If there is a note associated with a task, it’s denote with a small yellow icon. Clicking on this provides a snippet of the note. While this feature looks very cool, I only wished there was more of the note contents. As you’ll see by the screenshot, there is only a few words of the note included in the pop-up which dimishes the usefulness of this feature. The Today screen also allows you to add a File Browser gadget allowing access to your files direct from Facer Pro.

Facer Task Not Snippet

The bottom dock of Facer is split into two sections. The right section shows your battery time and memory usage. Facer allows you to customize the dock allowing you to add a variety of icons or "dock gadgets" to further increase your ability to quickly access certain Treo utilities from the dock.

Treo dock pic

There are ten different dock gadgets:

  • Power
  • Refresh Application
  • Beam/Send
  • Lock and shutdown
  • Popup menu
  • Phne Signal
  • HotSync
  • Trash Bin
  • File Browser
  • PocketTunes

The program allows you to add them all, but in reality you can only use five dock gadgets in addition to the battery and memory gadgets. Adding dock gadgets was easily accessible from the preferences menu.

Customize Dock Gadgets

Back to the Launcher

When you first launch Facer Pro, the default is set to the "Today" screen. For most, this is probably the most logical setup. Unlike the Palm Application Launcher, the Today screen doesn’t allow you access to all of your applications. Thankfully, switching to a pure Application Launcher is like most features in Facer is quite easy. Looking at the dock again, the right hand section of the dock allows you to easily toggle between the Today screen and a pure application launcher. Selecting the Application icon displays all of your applications. If you toggle between the Today and Launcher screens, the dock always remains. You can easily rotate through your application categories (ie. Games, System,etc) by pressing the applications icon over and over.

Facer Launcher

Improvements to the Application Launcher

Like other screens in Facer Pro, you can customize the Facer Pro Application Launcher using Launcher gadgets. This icons again allow for easy access to frequently used utilities on your Treo. One of the best features I found was the copy feature. This allows you to easily copy files form your Treo’s internal memory to an external secure digital card. The default installation also provided an information icon and an icon to perform changes to my preferences for Facer Pro.

Copy applications in Facer Pro

Customize the User Interface of Your Treo

Facer Pro comes with only two themes. There are a few themes on their site that are Facer 2.0 compatible, so I’d suspect Pocket Craft will be
updating these to support the latest version of their software. Within Facer’s preferences, you can customize various color settings and use your personal photos as wallpaper. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the quality of icons used in Facer Pro. Beyond a productivity tool, the graphics and icons within Facer Pro are very well designed.

Facer Pro and Treo 700p

There are some issues that exist with version 3.1.1 of Facer Pro and the latest Palm Treo 700p. As I mentioned above, the most effective use for Facer Pro is to map your Home button to Facer Pro. You’ll need an additional software utility, Ludas P, in order to do this with the new 700p. Additionally, I noticed a few things that did not work properly:

  • Dock Gadgets: Some dock gadgets, including the PocketTunes and HotSync dock gadgets did not launch the corresponding application
  • Selecting a hard button on my Treo while within Facer caused a series of sound alerts before launching the particular application.

With the Treo 700p recently shipping, I fully expect Pocket Craft will address these issues and offer a maintenance relase. At that time, I’ll ammend this portion of the review.

Overall

Facer Pro allows you an endless amount of options for customizing the look of your Treo, but most importantly the user interface. The integrated Today screen, customizable gadgets and graphic interface makes it a worthy upgrade for Treo 650 owners. For Treo 700p owners, it’s recommended that you wait until some minor quirks are fixed.

Facer Pro retails for $20.95 and a fully functional 7-day free trial is available.

Smartphone Experts s700 Skin Case Review

Review: Smartphone Experts S700 Skin Case

May 24, 2006
Ratings: 3 of 5
By: Kevin Muller

Introduction

There are few things more unsightly than a badly nicked and scratched Treo especially if its your new Treo 700.
The S700 Skin Case by Smartphone Experts offers great protection from accidental cosmetic damage, while still letting you
enjoy all the great features of the phone.

Treo 700 case

Usability

The S700 Skin Case is perhaps one of the best options for power users who often find themselves in
environments that arent phone-friendly. Who among us hasnt ever dropped their phone? If youre like most
people, youve dropped your phone several times and have scratches and nicks on the corners of the plastic.
The S700 does a great job in not only protecting the plastic case of the Treo, but also in providing a Unlike a lot of cases for the 700w,
the Skin Case completely covers the call, windows start, ok, action, sound, programmable side, and nav buttons. The case instead of leaving
these buttons uncovered has the button patterns molded into it, allowing for complete control of the buttons without a loss of usability.non-slip
surface that will help you avoid you bumping your phone off slippery surfaces such as desktops and car dashes.

Unlike a lot of cases for the 700w, the Skin Case completely covers the call, windows start, ok, action, sound, programmable side, and nav buttons.
The case instead of leaving these buttons uncovered has the button patterns molded into it, allowing for complete control of the buttons without a
loss of usability.

The Skin Case does leave the keyboard uncovered for easy access and typing. The only thing we could suggest to be slightly improved here is the amount
of space between the bottom of the keyboard cut-out and the space bar. At times, the lack of space can cause it to become difficult to press the space bar
although after getting used to the case, it became easier.

All the features on the top of the phone are conveniently left wide open for easy access. Unlike some snap cases, the IR port is not blocked by this case
a definite plus if youre doing a lot of beaming. The SD card slot is also easily accessible, as is the ringer switch.

The back of the case leaves a perfectly placed opening for the camera, so you wont have to remove the phone from the case in order to snap a few photos.
It also includes a cut-out for the speaker and stylus. We found that the stylus cut-out took a little getting used to, as the additional thickness of the case
made it slightly tougher to get your fingers in to dig out the stylus.

The case also features a lanyard hole which allows you to use the case to hold tight around your neck or wrist.

Conclusion

The Smartphone Experts S700 Skin Case is an affordable and effective way to protect your phone from the every day wear-and-tear.
A clear added bonus is the non-slip material this case is made from we think you will find this really helps prevent a good deal of accidental drops. Overall, the S700 is a very nice looking and functional case. It is available in four different colors – frosted clear, future blue, lady pink, and executive grey.

The Smartphone Experts S700 Skin Case for Treo 700 retails for $19.95.

Smartphone Experts LH650 Leather Hard Case for Treo Review

Reviews: Smartphone Experts LH650 Leather Hard Case for Treo

Treo Form Fit Case LH650

The LH650 Leather Hard Case from Smartphone Experts is compatible with both the Treo 700w or Treo 650. It features precision cut-outs allowing for easy access to your Treo.

Features:

  • Keyboard, navigation keys, and screen are fully accessible
  • Cut-outs for headset and sync jack, camera, speakerphone, and volume keys
  • Fully open top for SD card slot, ring silencer and IR port

CoPilot Live Pocket PC 6 GPS Bundle for Treo 700w

CoPilot Live Pocket PC 6 GPS Bundle for Treo 700w

CoPilot GPS for Treo

CoPilot Live for Pocket PC turns the Treo 700w into a GPS guidance system. It features spoken directions to any street address in the US and wireless remote vehicle tracking. It includes a SiRFstarIII GPS receiver.

Cardo Scala 500 Review

Review: Cardo Scala 500 Bluetooth Headset

March 7, 2006
Ratings: 4 of 5
By: Jeff Velten

With many Bluetooth headsets eclipsing the $100 mark, the Cardo Scala 500 is moderately priced, compatible with both
the Treo 650/700w and supports the Bluetooth 1.2 standard.

Scala 500 Treo Bluetooth Headset

Out of the box

The Scala 500 comes packaged with the following:

  • Ear hook
  • Carry sleeve
  • Lanyard for carry sleeve
  • Plastic post (for lanyard) to plug into charger port
  • Universal travel charger
  • Multi language manual on mini-CD
  • VersaClip for attaching to glasses/sunglasses
  • Quick start guide

Cardo Scala 500

Set-up

Set-up for the Scala 500 is fairly simple. You can choose from a standard ear
hook, or the VersaClip, which allows attachment to eyeglasses or sunglasses. The
VersaClip gives a solid enough attachment for normal use, but I would be
concerned about it coming unclipped with a lot of head movement. Both attachments
have a post which pushes through a channel in the body of the headset. I found
that the headset can be easily be slipped on one-handed using the ear hook, but
the VersaClip requires a bit more planning.

The Scala 500 also comes with two options for carrying the headset when not in
use. The carry sleeve is a nice feature. It can be clipped to the belt or a
pocket, or attached to the lanyard. The headset snaps securely into the sleeve.
There is also a plastic post, which can be attached to the lanyard and plugged
into the headset’s charger port for carry. This seems a less secure way to carry
the headset, especially after a bit of wear.
Cardo claims 9 hours of talk time, and 7 days of standby time on a full charge.
It took about 4 hours to fully charge the headset initially. I consider myself an
average cell phone user in terms of talk time, and I have only had to charge the
unit once in the first week.

Controls

The Scala 500 has two controls. There is a large button on the face of the
headset, which is used for answering calls, redial, and call rejection. There is
also a Multi-function Wheel on the end of the headset opposite the
microphone. This is used for volume adjustment, mute, call waiting, and to put
the headset in pairing mode.

Pairing

As with most Bluetooth headsets, pairing of the Scala 500 is fairly simple. You
press and hold the MFW until the red and blue LEDs on the face of the unit begin
flashing alternately. The pairing process on the Treo 650 has been described in
detail elsewhere so I won’t go into it, but once I entered the Handsfree Setup
wizard on my Treo, it found the Scala 500 within about 5 seconds. The Scala 500
uses the standard passkey of four zeroes.

Treo Headset

Making and Receiving Calls

Once paired, I found that on outbound calls, the call gets transferred to the
Scala 500 either on the first or second ring. On inbound calls, the headset
usually picks up the call in the middle of the first ring. Rather than the
standard beep of many other headsets, the Scala 500 plays a series of tones that
reminds me of the theme from The Twilight Zone.

Inbound calls are answered by tapping the button on the face of the headset.
Alternately, you can press and hold the button to reject a call. The mic can be
muted by tapping the Multi-function Wheel, but I found that in practice, it can be tricky to push
the Multi-function Wheel straight in rather than up or down (which adjusts the volume).

Sound Quality

Sound quality is very good, both inbound and outbound. Most people didn’t realize
that I was using a headset until I told them. The earpiece rests against the
outside of the ear canal, so sound was good, without being overpowering. Some may
prefer an in-ear solution, they tend to become uncomfortable for me after a short
while.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Carry sleeve included
  • Good sound quality

Cons:

  • Multi-function wheel can be difficult to use

Overview

The Scala 500 offers very good sound quality, comfortable fit and calls transferred quickly to the headset on the Treo. The Multi-function Wheel, used to mute the mic, can be tricky to use. As a mid-priced headset, the Cardo Scala performed well and the included accessories (carry case and lanyard) which come standard were a nice bonus.

The Cardo Scala 500 retails for $49.95.

Treo 700w Review

Review: Treo 700w

January 12, 2006

Read our comprehensive review of the Palm Treo 700w.

700w