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


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


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 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.


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

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