Treo 700w Review Windows Today

Treo 700w Review continued:

Windows Today

January 11, 2006
By: Christopher Meinck

Everything Starts With Windows Today

On the Treo 700w, you’re greeted by the Windows Today screen. The Windows Today screen of the Treo 700w has a genuine “desktop feel“.On the Treo 650, the main screen is the dialer with includes “favorite” buttons that can be used for speed dial or to launch your favorite applications.

Treo 700w vs Treo 650

The familiar Windows Start menu appears at the top left and is accessible by pressing the Windows button. The ensuing menu has three groups:

  • Highlighted Recent Apps: This will display icons of your previously launched applications.
  • Applications: Here you will find some of the main applications for the 700w Today, Calendar, Contacts, Internet Explorer, Messaging, Pictures and Video and Windows Media. You can add/remove programs, but you can have only seven in total.
  • Files: The next category includes a Programs folder, Settings and Help.

Windows Start menu on Treo 700w

Windows Today Is Central To Everything On The Treo 700w

The Windows Today screen is central to the Treo 700w and very well executed. When looking to dial a contact there is a form field that asks you to “type a name or number,” Unlike the Treo 650, you do not have separate fields for first name and last name. Windows Mobile 5.0 will automatically format last name and first name. I was very impressed by the Windows Mobile “find. If I type Michael, it will automatically bring up associated contacts whether the first, last or company name is Michael. You can tehn select the correct contact by using the 5-way navigator. Central to getting around the Treo 700w is the OK button and the two menu buttons. The OK button is used to acknowledge a change or to “X” out of an application. This may take a bit of getting used to as the OK button is in the top right of the Treo 700w’s screen.

Treo 700w Menus

At the bottom of the screen there will always be menu options for the particular application you are using. For instance, from Windows Today, you can select Messaging, which will open Outlook or Menu, which opens preference menus specific to the Phone. From the phone menu, you can access Contacts, the Dial Pad, Call Log, Edit Speed Dial or modify Phone or Today preferences. While I like these menus, I’m not sure if it’s the best use of “screen real estate“. On the Treo 650, the menu options appear after hitting Menu,saving real estate, but it’s not necessarily intuitive. A new Palm OS user might not know there are menus. When navigating the menus, I was able to get to the “last option” simply by depressing UP on the 5-way navigator. This is a big plus allowing you to quickly access the last menu item quickly in any screen.

Treo 700w Speed Dial

Similar to favorites on the Treo 650, setting up speed dial buttons was very easy. If you have photos, there is an option to select a Photo Speed Dial, which it creates a small row of favorites across the Treo screen (picture Instant Messenger or iChat). Not only is this a very cool looking feature, but it still manages to maximize the real estate of the Windows Today screen. And, even with a full row of contacts, the screen doesn’t feel cluttered or busy.

Treo 700w Photo Speed Dial

Selecting contacts can be done by touching the screen or using the 5-way navigator. You can add more than 5 contacts and that will put an arrow allowing you to scroll right to the additional contacts. Similar to the Treo 650, you can assign a “hot key” allowing you to dial with one key. All in all, the Speed Dial on the Treo 700w is well executed. If you press the spacebar while on a favorite on the Treo 650, you can access all of the other phone numbers for that particular favorite. If you’re calling a friend, but want to dial their cell phone, the Treo 650 will allow you to select any number in the contact. This is a drawback on the Treo 700w speed dial and I’m surprised Palm didn’t ask Microsoft to add this feature.

Accessing contact numbers on Treo 650

Appointments and Emails

Windows Today also displays the calendar function allowing you to easily see appointments or access your calendar. If multiple appointments show on the screen, a scroll bar appears allowing you to scroll down to see the rest of the Windows Today information. Once again, a nice feature of Windows Today is having all of your key information on Treo 700w desktop.

Instant Access to Email Accounts

As with the Treo 650, the Treo 700w can be set to automatically check for email at particular intervals. If you step away from your Treo, the Windows Today screen will inform you if you have any unread messages. Additionally, there is a tab that pops up alerting you to new messages. If you dismiss the alert, Windows Today will still keep a list of unread messages for your accounts. I set up mulitples accounts and the account name was displayed for each on the Windows Today screen when messages were unread. You can scroll down to each account using the 5-way navigator allowing for one-handed use. If you don’t have any unread messages, that particular account will not display. This makes sense, because once again, it’s making the most of the Windows Today screen.

Treo 700w email notification

Screen Real Estate

During my evaluation of the Windows Today screen, I’ve made several references to the “real estate” of the screen. The Treo 700w screen is 240×240, which is smaller than the Treo 650’s 320×240 screen. This makes it vitally important to make the most of the “real estate” on the screens. With the fonts at their default size, the layout of the Windows Today screen is well done, but not without it’s faults. As I used my Treo 700w, I noticed a reliance on the menu buttons. Along with the OK and Windows button, these two buttons are central to editing preferences or navigating to a particular function for that application or screen. I personally like the menu buttons, but I wish they were smaller and less obtrusive.

Treo 700w Review continued: Windows Today continued

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