Palm Pixi Review

The Palm Pixi represents the second webOS device from Palm and what many proclaim as the successor to the companies Centro line of smartphones. It’s geared for young professionals who are shopping for their first smartphone or perhaps looking for a phone that won’t break the bank. Given it’s aging OS, the Centro was surprisingly popular. To Palm’s credit, the Centro was more capable than a feature phone, came in a variety of fun colors and was priced right. For smartphone buyers shopping the sub-$100 market, it’s gotten crowded with the iPhone 3G, Droid Eris and an assortment of BlackBerry devices. In addition, Palm’s flagship webOS powered Palm Pre can be had for $99 at Amazon. Unlike the Centro before it, the Palm Pixi enters a crowded field.


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Review: Seidio InnoCase Surface for Palm Pre

Now that the Palm Pre has been out for a few months, more and more cases are becoming available for the device. The slider form factor represents a challenge not only for case manufacturers, but for Palm Pre owners looking to protect their phone. The folks at Seidio took on the challenge with their InnoCase Surface for Palm Pre.


The InnoCase from Seidio doesn’t ship with any fancy packaging, outside an insert with directions on how to install the InnoCase Surface on the Palm Pre. Truth be told, I rarely if ever read directions first, especially when dealing with a case. However, for the purpose of this review, I glanced over the directions after using the InnoCase for some time. What I thought was simply package filler, was what Seidio terms a “spacer”. I don’t see the need for a spacer, but this is more than likely a scratch preventer. With the “spacer” in place, you should note that the Seidio InnoCase will not work with the Touchstone charger.


Installation is easy enough. Slide open the Palm Pre and the pieces will snap into place.   All major ports are accessible with the case installed. If you’ll note the sides of the case, it almost appears as if they should attach. Of course, reality sets in that if they attached, you wouldn’t be able to open your phone. Still, it does make the case appear as if it doesn’t fit correctly.


In actuality, I was very pleased with the fit of the InnoCase Surface. There aren’t any noticeable gaps between the screen the Pre itself. Additionally, the InnoCase felt secure on the Pre, with no wiggle at all. I tend to open the slider by pressing on the side of the screen and other thumb on the bottom left by the microphone. Both are pressing on the case. I didn’t experience any issues with the case becoming loose or detaching. From the point it was snapped on, the InnoCase Surface stayed in place.


This particular case comes in a variety of colors. You’ll notice Blue was used for this review. The case does not add much bulk to the Pre and definitely nothing that most would notice. The slim form factor is retained and you have the added comfort of protecting your Palm Pre. The case doesn’t include any sort of protection for the screen, something that I would recommend if moving from a case that doesn’t protect the screen.


The case has a rubberized finish that feels good in the hand. Definitely easier to get a grip on the Palm Pre with the InnoCase Surface. While I didn’t deliberately attempt to scratch the case, I would guess that it’s not very susceptible to scratches due to the rubberized nature of the material used. That being said, put this in a pocket with keys and you’re not going to be happy with the end result. The company has the logo embossed on the back, which is acceptable. The product code seems to take away from the look of the case and seems unnecessary. Couldn’t they have put this on the interior of the case?

This case comes with options. Seidio offers a holster that is sized for the Palm Pre with the InnoCase Surface. As I noted before, the case isn’t very thick, but the manufacturer’s holster accommodates for the case. While the two part equation is great for business professionals who want quick access, while protecting their investment, it would make sense to offer up a screen protector.

  • Great fit
  • Rubberized finish makes for easier grip
  • Access to all ports
  • Works with Touchstone (without spacer)
  • Variety of colors
  • Doesn’t add to bulk, at all
  • Offers option to get holster that fits case


  • Priced higher than we’d like
  • Despite great fit, the nature of the slider makes the gap on the side look as if the case doesn’t fit properly
  • With the spacer, the case will not work with the Touchstone. Concerns that without the spacer, you could possibly get scratches on back cover
  • No screen protection

Conclusion: The Seidio InnoCase is a solid option for those looking for a form fitting case that offers protection against scratches while retaining the thin design and good looks of the Palm Pre. The Seidio InnoCase retails for $29.95 and is available at the Everything Pre Store.


Palm Pre Review

Palm has become the technology feel good story of 2009. Against all odds and prognosticators, their performance at CES 2009 made them the 1980 US Hockey team of technology. Going into the event, there weren’t many giving them even a punchers chance. How could an upstart from Philadelphia Sunnyvale take on Apollo Creed Apple. For most handheld junkies, they have a soft spot for Palm, since for many a Palm Treo was their first smartphone. Others considering their first smartphone will likely consider the Pre, given the media’s obsession with calling it the “iPhone killer”, despite the fact that no phone will actually kill the machine that is Apple. It does present prospective smartphone buyers with a choice and choice is a good thing. As you read this review of the Palm Pre, or any review for that matter, remember that reviews are often based upon previous phones and usage patterns. A great phone for one person, might not be the best option for another. Before the Palm Pre, my primary phones were the iPhone 3G and BlackBerry Bold, so naturally my review is based upon my previous experiences. With a desk drawer filled with smartphones, I’m certainly not your average consumer. I’ve outlined my thoughts on the Palm Pre based upon experience and aim to present it in a format that will help you the reader become more informed, so that it might help you make a purchase decision one way or the other. I’d encourage you to read our Customer Review section, as it’s has already become a valuable centralized resource for those looking to get feedback from customers.

For those looking to skim the review (and avoid my typos), you’ll notice brightly color call-outs to key parts of the review. Let’s get started.

The Palm Pre is diminutive when compared to other smartphones. Curves line the entire phone, with the look and feel mirroring “a polished river stone”. You’d be hard pressed to find a smartphone that has a better feel to it, unless you are a fan of matte finish phones. The curves, compactness and slick finish makes it a great phone to hold in your hand or front jeans pocket. The Palm Pre is a comfort phone.

Palm Pre

The Pre is made of plastic throughout, including the screen. By itself, the Pre hardware looks and feels impressive. When compared to the materials used on RIM’s BlackBerry Bold or the iPhone 3G, I found the overall fit and finish to be a few notches below those devices. The Pre certainly feels like an expensive smartphone, but I felt there was certainly room for improvement in this area.

The Palm Pre features a 320×480 resolution screen, that is simply stunning. They include a nice selection of scenic Palm Pre wallpapers to help show off the display on the Pre. The screen on the Palm Pre also supports multi-touch, a feature that often distinguished the iPhone from the rest of the touchscreen smartphones available today. Many suspected that Apple’s patent on multi-touch could cause legal issues for Palm, but both companies appear to be taking the high road, since lawsuits would eventually trickle down to added costs for consumers somewhere down the line.

I’m not certain if it’s the lack of a glass screen or Palm’s webOS software, but I find the multi-touch display not as sensitive as the iPhone. Touching the screen creates a “virtual swell” image as if you were tapping your finger on a quiet pond. The image creates a visual confirmation that you’ve touched the screen, but there were certain instances where I would tap more than once to get the resulted action. In direct sunlight, the screen of the Pre was not as visible as I would have liked.

The Palm Pre includes an accelerometer. Flipping the Palm Pre horizontally will rotate the screen into a landscape format, if the program supports it. Flipping back will switch it back to a vertical orientation. In our tests, it works as advertised. Thankfully, Palm did not repeat the misteps of RIM’s BlackBerry Storm, a phone that suffered initially from software issues that resulted in poor accelerometer performance. Not so with the Pre. Rotate away and the screen will follow (if the application supports landscape view).

The keyboard on the Pre is one of the killer features that you will not find on an iPhone. This will cause it to be the subject of much debate. In the past, I’ve been critical of the keyboards on the Palm Centro and Palm Treo Pro. I enjoyed the feel of the “gummy” keyboard and it produced superior tactile feedback, critical for any fan of QWERTY keyboards. For the record, I’m a fan of QWERTY keyboards. My texting habits often do not include foul language, but I’ve certainly had my share of texts that include words that shouldn’t go quack. Apple’s virtual keyboard is the best of the best and most often the dictionary saves users from spelling mistakes. As noted, I’ve had my fair share of times whereby it offers up words that are not intended. Sure, you can choose not to use the selected word, but wouldn’t it be nice to simply type correctly? This is one of those times where you should foster your own opinion on what works best for you. For me, it’s a QWERTY keyboard and I’ll take control of my own spelling mistakes.


So how does the keyboard rate? A mixed bag, but overall very good. Palm introduced the “smile” layout that worked so well with the Treo and kept the “gummy” tactileness that I enjoyed so much on the Treo Pro and Centro. The spacing is wider and spelling errors were far and few between. The smallish Pre, with it’s slider format, forced the hands of the designers to create a keyboard within a small area. The tradeoff being a small compact phone, with a full albeit at times cramped keyboard. For example, try to capitalize the letter “S”, which requires using the shift key and “S”. On the other hand, the Pre brings Palm’s one-handed use in full effect. With one hand, you can easily slide open the keyboard and type a message.

Considering the Pre is smaller than both it’s predecessors, the Treo Pro and Centro, I’d say the keyboard is a success. I do think that Palm should consider future webOS devices should offer a larger keyboard, but would does Palm consider one-handed use a trait of their phones? My guess is that some hardcore typers would rejoice at a BlackBerry keyboard quality on a webOS device and likely bring a number of converts to webOS. RIM hasn’t delivered a next generation OS that offers a great QWERTY with an advanced touchscreen OS. The door is open for Palm to fill this void.

The sliding mechanism makes it effortless to access the keyboard. There is not creaking or noticeable issues I could not with the slider. With the slider open, you won’t notice unsightly parts. The Pre looks great open or closed. With the slider open, the device curves and this has several benefits. First off, it’s makes it more comfortable to talk on the Pre, since it has a more familiar phone feel to it. When using apps on the Pre, the slight curve of the screen, conveniently tilts the screen towards the end user.

The edges of the Pre are sharp, not cut yourself sharp, but there is a noticeable hard edge. Getting back to the keyboard, I didn’t find any dealbreakers when it came to the edges interfering with my typing. If anything I used the edges on the left to rest my thumb while typing.

The mirror backing is exposed when the Pre is fully-opened. It seems to be more of a style accent than a functional mirror. I suppose that you could use it if you were in a bind or checking your teeth for food during a blind date. For most, it’s nothing more than a style accent.

The mirror, black plastic casing and screen are reservoirs for finger prints. Thankfully, I’ve got a few microfiber cloths from iPhone purchases that will come in handy with the Pre. Palm should have included a microfiber cloth. Those polished stone comparisons are spot on, when you consider the amount of times you’ll need to break out a microfiber cloth.

The build quality, sliding mechanism, high quality screen, keyboard and design easily offset our issue with quality of materials not matching other premium smartphones.

webOS is Palm’s next generation operating system that has been built from the ground up. Hardware aside, the success of Palm and their devices is rests on the underpinnings of the Pre, which is webOS. The Pre represents the first in what will likely be a long line of devices that are powered by the webOS.

Palm’s webOS is by far the most innovative mobile operating system to debut since Apple’s iPhone OS in 2007.

Multi-tasking and Activity Cards
Palm’s webOS allows you to run multiple programs at once and the “Activity Cards” feature is a breath of air from using the iPhone’s OS. Like many, I’ve got lots going on and my phone reflects my everyday life. When I leave my desktop computer, which is often littered with multiple windows open, I feel right at home with webOS on the Pre. I’m able to have mutiple “cards” for websites, contacts, calendar, tasks and Twitter.

Using my finger to switch between cards showcases the elegance of the operating system and the sheer power of multi-tasking. Plain and simple, multi-tasking on the Palm Pre is addictive and a boon to productivity junkies. Of course, the more cards you open, the more processing power will be used, thus having detrimental effects on performance and battery life. Thankfully, a company allows me to decide how I’d like to use my phone. For my money, “Cards” (multi-tasking) could very well be the best overall feature.

This is one of the more interesting features of webOS. Palm has jettisoned the idea of being physically connected to your computer in order to synchronize your calendars and contacts.

There is no Palm desktop software to accompany the Pre. You are forced to used what’s termed “cloud computing”.

Definition: Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet.[1][2] Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the “cloud” that supports them. Source: Wikipedia

The Palm Pre supports Google’s Gmail, Facebook or Outlook Exchange. For this review, I used both Google’s Gmail and Facebook.

In theory, synergy is a great idea, bringing contacting information from various sources into one listing. Let’s say I have an old email address for my friend Michael in Gmail, but he’s updated his email address in Facebook. Palm’s synergy will update Michael’s email address automatically. All of my Facebook contacts synced within a minute or so and now I’ve also got photos of all my friends. If Michael calls, the profile photo he has in Facebook shows up on the Pre.

If we’re looking at this as a glass half full scenario, this is great for folks who never took the time to create and regularly update their contacts on their desktop. I personally use Address Book, which syncs nicely with the iPhone. At last count, I had roughly 120 contacts and I could probably stand to prune that list a bit more. If you were a Palm user, chances are that you probably are using Palm Desktop to manage your contacts and calendars.Palm has a migration assistant to allow users to transfer their information to a supported service.

As a Mac user, it was easy enough to get my Address Book contacts in Google’s Gmail contacts. Address Book > Preferences > Synchronize with Google. I had already done a migration to Gmail and for use with Google Sync for BlackBerry. Gmail has an extremely annoying feature of adding every person that I email to my contacts. It then proceeded to fill Address Book with addresses and names of people that I didn’t know. It forced me to turn off synchronization.

Address Book Sync with Google

On the Pre, I have no selection to sync just My Contacts. Google brings them all. Now, I can manually go in and remove a contact, but this takes away from the overall usefulness of Synergy.

I never thought of Facebook as a contact manager. In some aspects, it makes sense. Facebook being the largest social network and a place where people might think to keep updated information, most notably their email address. Profile pictures are also a big plus, as your friends do the work for you. The definition of friends on Facebook is very broad. I might be friends with someone from California who I went to high school with, but do I need his contact information in my Pre? Probably not. It shouldn’t take long for someone in our forums to complain that their better half stumbled upon a contact card from an old girlfriend that the cloud synced with your Pre, photo and all. I did find the ability to link contact information very helpful. Rather than having the ability refine and properly maintain my contacts, Pre’s synergy becomes the “all you can eat” buffet of contacts management.

Synergy linked contacts

Synergy brings information together into one contact and denotes this within Contacts by a multiple card icon and removes the confusion of duplicate contacts which often happens on other mobile platforms.

Palm’s certainly onto to something here with Synergy, but it would behoove Gmail and Facebook to improve their services. The problem is that Palm makes the Pre and end users are forced to deal with third party companies like Gmail and Facebook. I’m sure there is a reason why Google adds to your contacts with reckless abandon and maybe this is the start of Facebook getting serious about allowing users to manage their contacts within their social network.

There is hope for users looking to sync to their desktop and it comes in the form of third-party desktop applications like Mark/Space’s “The Missing Sync for Palm Pre”. The company will soon release both a Mac and PC version that will bring back the good old hotsync days.

Calendars also synced effortlessly with Google. I typically do not use Gmail to manage my calendar, but was surprised to see it had already had pulled in appointments I had created on the Pre. webOS supports layered calendars, so you can manage your work, personal and other calendars. The Pre will allow you to show them all or filter your calendars.

Calendars on Palm Pre

One of the impressive features was the accordian view. Let’s say you have an appointment at 9:00 am and another at 7:00 pm. Rather than force to you scroll, the Pre displays your first appointment and then “squeezes” your free time, allowing you to see your later appointment in the same view.

Calendar accordian view on Palm Pre

I’m ready to embrace cloud computing, but the tools aren’t there to maximize the experience. Palm’s ahead of the curve and the unfortunate result is a crowded contacts list. The Calendar application does a good job for those with multiple calendars and the accordian view is a useful feature.

Regardless of what phone you use, notifications will play a big part in managing your daily life. Since the Pre is connected in so many ways (Messaging, Calendar, Email,etc.), there are times when you’ll receive notifications, sounds simple enough. On some phones, namely the iPhone, it pops up in the middle of your screen and disrupts your current activity. It demands you act on it or dismiss it. Dismiss it and it’s gone forever. If you were to dismiss an important text message, the onus is on you to remember it. Not so with webOS and the Palm Pre.

First off, the Pre doesn’t interrupt your activity. Notifications pop-up in the bottom of the dock and you have choices. You can act on the notification or you can swipe the notification, meaning that you do not need a reminder. If you do not act on it, the Pre will line up a small icon in the bottom right of the screen, so you can revisit and act upon that important message. To date, Android was the only platform that had offered improvements on notifications, but the bar has been raised and set by Palm. webOS allows third party applications to use notifications. Now you can stay updated of tweets using Tweed, plus notifications related to messaging, email, missed calls and more.

webOS offers simply the best, most elegant handling of notifications. The graceful handling of notifications from assorted connected applications really highlights how the Pre is able to help manage your life, without disrupting it.


Universal Search

From Card view, Universal Search allows you to search within contacts and applications on the Pre. Once it exhausts options on the device, it offers up a choice between Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia and Twitter.

Switching phones so often, I often find the need to access Bluetooth. On some phones, this process can be laborious. Type b, l and you can easily locate Bluetooth settings on the Pre. If I had wanted to search the web for BluRay, just keep typing and select from the search tools provided.

  • Google
  • Google Maps
  • Wikipedia
  • Twitter


Universal Search is an extremely useful tool and the Internet search is just another reminder how webOS is tightly integrated with the web.

Applications and Palm’s App Catalog
The Palm Pre comes with a nice assortment of included applications. For PIM (Personal Information Management), you’ve got Contacts, Calendar, Tasks (To Do Lists) and Memos.

The Contacts app offers a good array of contact details. The inclusion of Birthdays is particularly helpful. To avoid awkward moments of forgetting the names of friends children, webOS offers fields for spouse and children. Certainly a nice touch. Pre will only display the fields where you’ve filled in contact information. For example, if a particular contact info ends with their birthday information, it will not display the blank fields associated with ‘spouse’, ‘children’ and ‘nickname’. I thought it would have been nice to have contacts integration within the ‘spouse’ field, but it’s not available. It also supports adding IM information for other clients including AIM, Yahoo!, Google, MSN, Jabber and ICQ. Finally, Contacts allows you to attach a ringtone to a specific contact. I can easily distinguish when my parents are calling when I hear the ‘Old Phone” ringtone.


If you are not using Exchange, then you have to use either Google’s Calendar and/or Facebook. I normally use iCal, so might opt for Mark/Space’s Missing Sync for Palm Pre when it becomes available. Not being a bigtime Facebook user, I couldn’t seem to find where I was supposed to manage my calendar within Facebook. Calendars in webOS allow you to connect to Facebook, but in my case it didn’t pull down any information. Birthdays would be at a minimum, something I’d find useful.

Google calendars works great and I had no issue syncing with the Pre. You can create ‘labels’ allowing for multiple calendars. The Pre allows you to select which calendar appointments are displayed. Again, helpful if you’d like to focus on your work schedule or just view your a schedule for your kids activities. One of the small, yet why didn’t somebody think of this before, features is the “accordion” feature. If you have an appointment or meeting at 1:00 and then something at 9:00 pm, the Pre will squeeze the time in between, allowing for display of both events without having to scroll. Like most calendar apps, you have daily, weekly and a monthly view.

The memos application is simple app to create notes. Nothing more, nothing less. You can set different colors for your notes. It’s not meant to be a replacement for a word processor app, so I was ok with the size of the font, which while easy to read does limit the amount of content within a single memo. Another drawback to Google Sync is the inability to sync your memos.


Rounding out the PIM apps are tasks. The design of the tasks app is phenomenal and replicates a leather bound organizer. You can create multiple task groups (To-Do lists) and then outline your individual tasks. You can set priorities, due dates.


You can search Tasks and Memos, by simply typing within each application. Search in not available within the Calendar app.

Other Notable Apps
Doc View | PDF View: Those familiar with Docs To Go will recognize this application by DataViz. This application is only a viewer and DataViz will release a commercial (ie. paid) product in the near future. When you first launch the app, the message “The current folder is empty” is very confusing. The Doc View menu is not accessible, despite what appears to be a drop down arrow. There needs to be a way within webOS to distinguish between an accessible menu and one that is not.

I tested Doc View using the emailing an Office document using the newer .docx format and it opened without a problem. Expect the same from Excel and Powerpoint. webOS allows you to save the document and then it’s accessible directly from Doc View.

PDF View correctly rendered a 37 page PDF that was included. I expected zooming to be as fast as the web browser, but it was a bit sluggish. Also missing was landscape view. If you absolutely have to view a PDF, this will certainly work, but the rendering could be improved up and added support for landscape view.


It would have been great to have the ability to edit Office documents out of the gate, but this is likely sufficient for many folks. If Docs To Go is priced right, it will certainly be a nice upgrade for business users.


By far one of the most popular third party apps available on mobile devices and it comes standard on the Pre. With the built-in GPS, Google Maps will find your location and enable you to search for POI’s, get directions and more. The webOS version of GoogleMaps does not support street view, but we’d suspect that will come with future updates. If you are in an unfamiliar area, GoogleMaps is ideal when searching for a nearby restaurant, allowing you to read user reviews and get directions. There is no integration with Sprint Navigation, which would have been great, but perhaps a bit confusing.


Sprint Apps
Sprint TV | Nascar Apps

The Pre version of Sprint TV, the wireless carriers streaming TV app. You’ll have access to a good number of channels and pre-recorded shows. Streaming quality is so-so at best, especially when you compare it to watching videos from your DVD’s.


My brother is a big Nascar fan. Me, not so much. I’ll wait for the NFL app that I know has to be coming sometime this fall. With the Nascar app, you can select your favorite driver and receive news related to him. There are also video clips, but they share the same so-so quality we found with Sprint TV.


Sprint Navigation
While I’m not bowled over by SprintTV or the Nascar app, Sprint Navigation more than makes up for it. It’s powered by TeleNav and it’s more than on par with a portable GPS found on a Garmin or Tom Tom.

What better way to test out Sprint Navigation, then allowing it (or me) to take a lunch break. I started typing “p” and the app located businesses that started with “P”. I selected Panera Bread and it provided a few options. It correctly selected Panera Bread in Levittown, NY. Some of the locations had reviews, but I knew what I was in for at Panera. Sprint Navigation started driving directions in a matter of seconds. I made several attempts to set it off course and re-routing was fairly quick.

As you’ll note in the screenshots, it’s a beautiful looking app. You can choose between 2D and 3D displays. One feature that I found missing was the ability to switch to Landscape mode and this was disappointing. Directions was spot on. Speakerphone was audible, but could be louder and clearer.


Overall, this is one good looking navigation app that does the job well and it’s included in the cost of your Sprint plan.

Other Apps Of Note
The Pre comes with a Calculator and a Clock. The Clock offers alarms and two different themes. The themes are a matter of personal taste, but I prefer the digital theme.


App Catalog
Okay, let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. Apple’s App Store, which singlehandedly revolutionized the distribution of mobile software, has well over 50,000 Apps. When they say, there’s an app for that, chances are there are 50 or 100 apps for that. Now, everyone take a deep breath and think about what apps you need and or want on your phone. If you own an iPhone (which I do), what are the apps that you cannot live without? For me, it’s Twitter, Facebook and I enjoy the classic arcade games. I have an app to manage my VUDU, but it’s not critical for me. That’s not to say I only have 4-5 apps on my iPhone. I’ve lost count, but there are probably 30 or so, of which I use 2-3 daily. For me, those are critical to using any phone, the Pre included.

The App Catalog started with just 18 apps, but that number is already increasing. At the time of this review, Palm’s Mojo SDK (Software Development Kit) was not available to anyone, expect a small group of developers who were allowed early access. webOS is a brand new platform and apps will come. Palm’s App Catalog won’t surpass or even come close to the 50,000 app plateau, but that’s fine. From the get-go, I was up and running with Tweed by Pivotal Labs and mobile Facebook. I didn’t skip a beat from using the iPhone. Not the same experience when I use the BlackBerry Bold, where I’d use TwitterBerry and you don’t get the “desktop computer” feel on BlackBerry apps.

App Catalog has an assortment of categories and you can also view recently added and most popular. The process of downloading, installing and using the app could not be easier. Within a two taps, you can download, install and start using an app.


It’s easy to have a sense of disappointment upon seeing a paltry selection of apps, but the framework in is place for the App Catalog. The store itself couldn’t be easier to use and the initial crop of apps are impressive and provide “desktop quality” on a handheld. Palm is of the “build it and they will come” mentality and I’m sure developers will get on board. It’s not an amazing start out of the gates, but I’m encouraged more so by the quality of apps, that the low number doesn’t bother me – if we are still under 300 apps in 6 months, then I’ll have an issue. A timely release of the SDK and perhaps a few new webOS devices in the pipeline and the App Catalog should have a completely different feel in a few months.

It syncs with iTunes. Not only does it sync with iTunes, the computer sees it as an iPod. When you connect the Pre to a computer, it offers three choices: Media Sync, USB and Just Charge. In my testing, Media Sync allowed me to easily sync music and movies within iTunes on my Mac. All the media syncing goodness that comes with an iPhone, is also packed into the Palm Pre. I converted a DVD of “A Bug’s Life” to an MPEG 4 file, dropped into iTunes and it synced with the Pre.

One caveat, it does not support DRM protected music purchased from the iTunes Store. For a fee, Apple allows you to convert your existing music to iTunes plus, allowing you to play your music on devices not made by Apple.

Amazon MP3
In lieu of iTunes Music Store, the Palm Pre allows you to purchase music through Amazon MP3. I’ve bought music from there before, so was no stranger to ordering music from them. My purchased music from Amazon is playable across all my iPods and of course it is compatable with the Pre. Amazon often has lower prices than iTunes. In fact, during my trial, they had the new Chickenfoot album for $3.99, a perfect test for the service. You need an Amazon account and you can also select “enable one-click” for purchases. The service only works over WiFi. A 13 song album took 12-15 minutes to download over a Verizon FIOS 20mps connection. The Amazon MP3 store looks and operates like the App Catalog. For an end user, this was refreshing. Some phones have third party apps that look completely different, as there was absolutely not communication between developers or standards for app design.


If you are familar with iPods, you’ll realize that music can only come down from iTunes for it to sync back. That follows with the Pre.

If you purchase music through Amazon MP3, it will not automatically sync back to iTunes. You need to mount the Palm Pre in USB mode and copy the MP3 files in the Amazon folder to iTunes. A minor inconvenience if that and music plays perfectly within iTunes.

You can easily convert your DVD’s to Palm Pre using our tutorial. We’ve used the free application Handbrake and offer our few recommended settings. There are other software applications and you can take part in forum discussions related to that topic. Converting DVD’s  is the only way to get the best quality videos on your Palm Pre. SprintTV does offer movie rentals, but I was impressed with the quality of the TV streams, that I’d be hesitant to rent a full movie. Video conversion takes around 35 minutes for a movie. The picture quality was above average on the Pre, but movies did look slightly better on the iPhone.

The Music app is not flashy, but gets the job done. There isn’t much that hasn’t been done when it comes to music player. You can access your music by Artists, Albumns, Songs, Genres and Playlists. Playlists of course being very useful given the iTunes syncing capabilities built-into the Pre.

The Pre’s Music app has it’s own version of “Cover Flow”, but it’s not very useful. The idea behind cover flow is to allow you to browse through your albums/songs using the visual imagery of the album covers and then select the song/album that sparks your interest. On the Pre, moving through covers also changes the playing song, limiting its usefulness.

We’ll get into notifications in the Usability portion of the review, but let’s touch quickly on how it affects music playback. Let’s say you put on some RATT, but want to tend to some email or browse the web. The Pre will place a small music icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Tap on it within any application and you’ll see a mini-player, allowing you to shuffle tracks forward, backward or pause the current song. Tap once more and the Music app card will pop up in the main window.


If Podcasts are your thing, clicking on a link to the a podcast within the browser will open the Music player and the podcast will be streamed.

Universal search does not work in Music, but that would be a nice feature, especially as we start to see larger capacity webOS devices. Updated “useful” coverflow with landscape mode would also be a nice improvement.

The Music app is capable, good-looking and iTunes support allows you to sync to all of your “non-DRM” music on the Palm Pre.


The Camera app, while easy to use, it’s difficult to get great results. It’s highly dependant upon the subject matter lighting and a still hand. One of the downsides to “iPhone photography” is that it requires you tap on the screen and the Pre is guilty of the same offense. A steady hand plays a key part in any good photography. Tap my tripod while I’m taking a photo and it’s going to have a detrimental affect.

The flash on the Pre did help in low light situations, especially compared to the iPhone 3G. I did not take an extensive amount of photos. While I’m certain you can achieve good quality photos on the Pre, my random shots produced so-so quality. I’ve included photos I’ve taken along with photos taken by forum member Swagger. I should note that Mark is a professional photographer, but it is a good example of the quality of photos that are possible with the camera on the Pre.


The camera app is very fast to take photos and the flash also helps with low-light areas. The quality however should be better for 3 megapixels.

The iPhone ruined the Internet for other mobile devices. Android’s browser was promising, but that hardware didn’t support multi-touch. If you wanted the best Internet experience on a mobile platform, the only game in town was the iPhone. On June 6th, that all changed. The web on the Pre is fast. Not only loading pages, but when zooming in on specific areas. Text rendered more quickly on the Pre. The glass screen on the iPhone makes it more sensitive, which is a good thing when trying to tap on links. The Pre sometimes requires you press harder than should be necessary.


With Apple selling over 40 million iPhone/iPod devices, a large number of websites have created iPhone friendly websites. These websites immediately become Pre optimized. iPhone owners have paved the road that Pre owners can drive down.

webOS does not currently support Flash, but it will in the future.


The YouTube app, while basic, offers everything you need from YouTube on your phone. You can view the most popular videos, most viewed or perform a search. Quality was much better than Sprint TV. In portrait mode, you view some spare information about the video and the rating. You can also choose to view more from this author or related videos. Pre allows you to share videos by either text message or email. Press either an it’ll paste the URL into the appropriate program in a new card. Press play and the Pre will automatically switch to landscape mode and begin playing the video.



One of the neat features of the Pre is the unified Messaging app. It brings together Text Messaging and IM within one conversation. If I exchange texts with a person earlier in the day, I can switch over to GTalk and pick up the same conversation over IM. Like previous Treo smartphones, the Palm Pre offers threaded SMS. This prevents you from having hundreds of messages clogging your up your inbox. Let’s say you chat/text with 4 friends on a regular basis, you’ll have four conversations on the Pre and not a mish mash of messages.

Messaging on Palm Pre

Palm took threaded SMS and added IM. They improved upon something they started and to this day is the most effective way to manage a discussion.

Usability | Phone
At the end of the day, the Pre is a phone. The Phone app features a touchscreen dialpad to manually enter numbers. There is a small address book icon that allows you access to your contacts without leaving the Phone app. You can also start entering numbers from the QWERTY keyboard and it actively searches your contacts. Regardless of whether it finds a contact, you simply press the return key to call.

The Pre also provides access and control of your call logs. If you need to delete a single number from your call log, you can. On the iPhone, it’s all or nothing.


The Pre allows you to add a call, offering support for 3-way calling. Nothing new to see here, but worth noting.

Unfortunately, all the web goodness that’s wrapped up into the Pre has a profound effect on battery life. I’ve always found it difficult to judge battery life, since it’s highly dependent upon individual usage. The Pre is rated at 5 hours talk time. Of course, there is so much more to the Pre than just making phone calls. I was able to get through most of day using Gmail on push, making a few calls, browsing the web and general usage as part of this review. I wouldn’t say the battery life is a dealbreaker, but I would certainly recommend you pickup a car charger and perhaps consider a backup battery when they become available. For comparison purposes, the battery life on the Pre was not as good as the iPhone or BlackBerry. I did find it to be an improvement over the G1.

Palm Pre battery

The trade-off here is less than fantastic battery life vs an extremely capable phone. Good news is that a removable battery and the purchase of a Pre charger can temper battery life concerns. Of course, this does require an additional investment, so add those numbers when considering the price/value equation.

Using a Palm Pre
Stunning visuals combined with intuitive nuances makes webOS the highlight of the Pre. Multi-tasking alone doesn’t help with usability, it’s Palm’s “cards” that really power productivity. While there is a limit to how many cards you can have open (I did run into memory issues after having too many cards open), the Pre is more than powerful enough to for a power user. Switching between apps using cards is enjoyable and it’s even more fun to “throw away” a card, effectively closing an application. If you go into Screen and Lock, you can set turn-on advanced gestures. This allows you to move between applications with a swipe of the gesture bar. If you are just getting started with the Pre, I’d encourage you check out the Help menu. They are packed with questions, but do include a short list that I often found useful while learning the intricacies of the Pre.

Advanced Gestures


  • Multi-tasking and the use of Cards
  • Stunning visuals and thoughtful designed icons offers eye candy galore
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Elegant handling of notifications
  • Push Gmail mirrors BlackBerry email, without the BlackBerry
  • App Catalog is easy to use, intial apps promising
  • Synergy makes it easy to sync contacts, calendars if you use Gmail , Facebook or Exchange
  • iTunes Syncing is so good it feels wrong
  • Universal Search
  • Turn by turn directions
  • Removable battery
  • WiFi


  • Limited apps available at launch
  • Materials slightly below quality found on other premium phones (iPhone 3G, BlackBerry Bold)
  • Synergy is reliant upon quality of third party service. Google causes cluttered contacts list. Facebook’s focus is not on contact management
  • Needs developers to fill in the gaps, no general public release of SDK so this can start happening
  • Camera produced mixed results, highly dependant upon lighting, source.
  • Inability to edit Office documents (note: this is coming, but at a fee).
  • Battery life
  • No Visual Voicemail

The Palm is the most fun you can have with a smartphone and at the same time it offers a new level of productivity tools. webOS sets an unbelievable foundation for future devices. The multi-tasking power of cards, thoughtful design of notifications and overall peppiness of the OS makes using the Palm Pre a pleasure. The build quality of the hardware is acceptable, but the materials are a cut below other premium smartphones in this price bracket. The overall package of included apps were sufficient, with the expectation that more are on the way. App Catalog’s success is not with it’s vast catalog of apps, but rather the ease of use in finding, downloading, installing and running new apps. webOS is incredibly refined considering it’s at 1.0, but expect bumps along the way. The service is exclusive through Sprint and the quality of service is subjective based upon your calling area. All in all, the Palm Pre succeeds in delivering a phone that I found to be the sweet spot between an iPhone and a BlackBerry. It’s a phone with a changing personality, based solely upon your needs. The Palm Pre is a smartphone that is the perfect mix of business and pleasure.

Treo Pro Review

The Treo Pro was released a few months back to much fanfare and despite a slight delay, I was finally able to get my hands on the latest Palm device and put it through the paces.



The Treo Pro was released in September and unlike previous models it represents a major shift in design and aesthetics.  Jon Rubenstein, the former Apple executive who ran the iPod division, is now playing a key role in the development of new Palm devices. The shift is apparent with the new Treo Pro, a vastly different device than the Treo 800w that just shipped on Sprint in July of this year.

Treo 800w

Out Of Box Experience

The packaging of the Treo Pro is by no surprise very Apple-esque. The entire package is diminutive when compared to other phones on the market, sans the iPhone 3G. Right from the get go, you have a feeling that care went into everything from the product to the packaging. Inside are the standard essentials that ship with most Treo smartphones.

  • Palm Treo Pro unlocked
  • Rechargeable battery
  • AC Phone Charger and assorted adapters
  • USB Cable
  • Stereo heasdset
  • User manual

Gone is the rather large manual in favor of the “Getting Started” guide, which is a bit more robust than a “Quick Start Guide”. The accessories also show an attention to detail, an example of which is the AC charger and USB Cable. They both have round silver circles on the topside and this makes it easier to connect your Treo Pro. These are minor touches, not always found on competing phones (T-Mobile G1), that make life easier.

Hardware and Design

Forgetting about specifications for a moment, the Treo Pro is a beautiful looking phone. It’s constructed of a high gloss black plastic and bears a resemblance to the iPhone 3G, complete with silver company logos on the back. Despite having a bevy of keys and buttons, nothing is protruding from the device, be it volume adjustment buttons or even the keyboard. If you place the Treo Pro on it’s side, it almost appears flat on both the front and back. Even the buttons on the side and top of the Treo Pro are ever so slightly higher than the casing. The silver color of the buttons get lost in the black gloss, again this gives an appearance of more minimalistic design, yet doesn’t affect the usability. The phone is very small. I compared it to the T-Mobile G1, BlackBerry Bold and iPhone 3G. While the Treo Pro is slightly thicker than the iPhone 3G, it’s also not as wide. This makes it very easy for one-handed use. You can carry your Starbuck’s and check your email without flinching. In fact, texting was easy enough using one hand. At no time did it feel uncomfortable or awkward.

On the left side of the Treo Pro, you’ve got an addressable button that can be mapped to any application along with your volume controls. On the other side, the Treo Pro has a dedicated WiFi button, for ultra-fast access when in a WiFi area. During my testing the Treo Pro found my WiFi network in seconds. Once I entered my WEP password, pressing the WiFi button would connect me immediately. Although it is on the side, I wouldn’t worry about accidentally hitting the WiFi button while it’s in your pocket or it’s case. In fact, you’ll need to use your fingernail to properly press the WiFi button.

At the top of the Treo Pro is a power button, but not in a traditional sense. It simply turns off the phone features. There is no way to turn off the Treo Pro, outside of removing the battery. Adjacent is easy access to the ringer on/off switch, which is perfect for when you have to run into a quick meeting or a situation that requires you turn off the ringer.

Like the Treo 800w, gone is the multi-connector in favor of a microUSB connector. Unfortunately for some, this means your existing Treo accessories will not work. Still, this move was a longtime coming and it is a vast improvement over the multi-connector. The Treo Pro features a 3.5mm headset jack, making it easy to use any standard stereo headset. You’d almost miss it, but the stylus is to right of the speaker jack and very accessible.

Palm is using a 320×320 “transreflective” flush touchscreen. While the screen is flush, the display is actually recessed in the Treo Pro. I found the screen to be no different than previous generations. In some ways, a bit disappointing when compared to competitors such as the BlackBerry Bold. This could simply be a limitation of Windows Mobile, so I cannot fault Palm. When the Treo Pro is in standby, the screen displays the day and time. This was a useful feature that I had not seen elsewhere.

The keyboard on the Treo Pro uses the same sheet key technology employed on the Palm Centro. The keys themselves have a “jelly” feel to them. I found the keyboard to be a bit cramped. I’m not sure if it’s the departure from the “smile” layout of traditional Treo smartphones or just the decision to make the keyboard footprint smaller. I can see the keyboard as a reason why some opting for the Treo 800w.

The camera is 2 megapixels. Pictures taken with the Treo Pro surprised me. They were very good quality. The camera application also has slick look to it and offered advanced features such as “white balance” and an 8x zoom.

Download sample photo 1 | sample photo 2

Listed at 5.0 hours of talk time and up to 250 hours of standby, I was mightily impressed by the battery life. While my testing is hardly the scientific nature, I found the Treo Pro battery to be more than sufficient. Given the diminutive size of the device, excellent battery life was a pleasant surprise.


The Treo Pro runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and has a few enhancements courtesy of Palm. Those who have used Palm’s Windows powered smartphones will recognize the familiar Today screen. From the Today screen you can view upcoming appointments, tasks and of course search Google. There are options in the Today screen settings to include Windows Live. That worked greeted and has the “sliding panels” effect that’s found it’s way to Windows Mobile Standard devices on 6.1.

The menu bar has a task manager application that pops-up within the Today screen. This is probably very easy to access with your stylus, but thumb access is a bit difficult. I find myself forgetting that Windows Mobile Professional is not entirely intended for thumbs and fingers. This is a great utility, as it allows you to clear programs from accessing memory.

With all the various supported wireless connections, a Today screen shortcut brings you to the Comm Manager. This allows quick access to the On/Off switches for the Phone, Bluetooth, WiFi, Microsoft Direct Push, Data Connection or simply activate Airplane mode to turn off all wireless connections. The right soft button allows access to settings for Phone, Bluetooth or Wireless Lan.


The Treo Pro also ships with “Zen” theme and it keeps the “back in black” theme going full tilt throughout the Treo Pro experience. All that’s left out was the AC/DC ringtone.

One of the useful commercial apps that comes pre-installed is Sprite Backup. This is consistently amongst our software best sellers. Sprite allows you to back all the data on your Treo to the microSD card. If for some reason, the hardware fails on your Treo Pro, you can easily restore using Sprite Backup.


All of the standard Windows programs come standard. Office Mobile includes Word Mobile, PowerPoint, Excel Mobile and OneNote Mobile. The Treo Pro allows you to read, create and edit documents. Documents can be attached and detached from emails. Of course, the real draw here is the interoperability between the Treo Pro and Outlook.  

Yet another feature is GPS, allowing for turn-by-turn directions using TeleNav (monthly service fees apply).  For reasons unknown, TeleNav continuously quit on me during testing. While GoogleMaps does not offer voice guidance, the maps feature worked without issue. Do a search for ‘pizza’ and the Treo Pro delivers nearby pizzerias. Tap the pizzeria of choice and you have the option to get directions. UPDATE: Just prior to sending back the Treo Pro, I performed a hard reset which brings the device back to it’s factory state. The model I received was previously used, so something must have gone awry with TeleNav. After the hard reset, I had no issues getting TeleNav started and providing driving directions. Aquiring my location took longer than I would have liked, but there are a nice array of options in TeleNav and the visuals look great. Along with this of course you get voice route guidance.





There is no CD with the Treo Pro. Connecting via USB to Vista (through Virtual PC on a Mac), the Treo Pro initiated a set-up process aptly titled PC Setup. A setup program then launches on your desktop and guides you through setup. Easy as pie. No loading software, just a very straightforward process that took minutes.

Internet Explorer Mobile is the default browser and it does not offer a very good web experience. If you are reading WAP pages, then it’s sufficient, but falls short when compared to browsers appearing on other platforms (Palm’s Blazer still does a much better job at rendering than IE). It’s not to say that Internet Explorer is un-usuable. Using this site as an example, I had not problem reading the frontpage stories and viewing images. Internet Explorer simply bunches up the navigation into one neat pile. Luckily, there are options. The Java based Opera browser offers a free alternative and there is quite a buzz surrounding the Skyfire browser that is currently in beta.



  • Beautiful design
  • Feature rich (WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 2.0)
  • Unlocked allows for use on any GSM network
  • Large selection of quality third party applications
  • Easy set up process
  • Robust software bundle includes Office Mobile and Sprite back up solution
  • Google search on today screen offers location based searches


  • Keyboard feels cramped
  • Screen not as vivid as BlackBerry Bold or iPhone
  • Windows Mobile starting to feel dated
  • Cost
  • Browser doesn’t offer great web experience


Windows Mobile 6.1 is starting to feel dated and display limitations hurt the Treo Pro’s ability to stack up against displays found on comparable devices like the BlackBerry Bold. That in mind, Windows Mobile is still a very robust OS with thousands of third party applications. Out of the box, the Treo Pro is very capable and a good match for business professionals who need the ability to read and edit Office documents on the go.

Let’s face it, the more buttons, the more difficult it is for a manufacturer to create a minimalistic design that has the “wow” factor. With the Treo Pro, Palm has managed to deliver all the usability we’ve grown accustomed to and deliver a slim, uncluttered hardware design.  There is a certain attention to detail prevalent in the Treo Pro that extends to the packaging and included accessories. The Palm Treo is by far the best-looking Palm Treo device to date and includes a nice array of features such as GPS, WiFi and software enhancements like the Today screen that we’ve come to expect from Palm. While the size of the device lends itself to one-handed use, the keyboard at time felt cramped compared to previous generations “smile” layout keyboards. For some, the Treo 800w might be a more suitable option.

Treo Pro Review Mashup

As we predicted this morning, a flurry of Treo Pro reviews hit the wire this afternoon. Here’s a breakdown of what’s being said about Palm’s latest Treo.

In terms of design, performance and non-OS features, this is the best hardware Palm has ever made.Gizmodo  found the battery impressive offering “days of moderate usage between charges“.

If you’re looking for a Windows Mobile phone, I’d strongly consider the Treo Pro, as it has a good balance of design, features and performance for the user.” 

Crunchgear finds the Treo Pro “the best in Windows Mobile“, but cautioned that the hefty price tag could deter adoption. “The Treo for you if you are a business professional forced to use Windows Mobile and you travel quite a bit and hardware price is no object.


The screen on the Treo Pro is flush, but evidently it’s the digitizer which is flush and the screen is still recessed. Antoine Wright of Brighthand found  “this arrangement can be disorienting some times.” Wright found the Treo Pro to offer the best call quality of any phones he has used. He concludes that while the Treo Pro is “a fairly solid device”, it  lacks “the specialness that makes Palm devices is missing here and it feels more like a re-brand than a true Palm product.”

WMExperts Dieter Bohn takes issue with the Centro inspired keyboard on the Treo Pro saying, “It pains me to say it, though, the Treo Pro’s keyboard is the least ‘Pro’ part of the device“, rating it behind the Treo 800w , Motorola Q 9h and BlackBerry Bold . Bohn also found the Treo 800w to outpace the Treo Pro in every day use speed comparisons. Despite the drawbacks, he concludes, “The Treo Pro is easily Palm’s best Treo yet. It finally hits all of the feature checkmarks that users have been clamoring for and does it in a way that’s well-integrated with the hardware.

Palm has yet to provide a release date for the Treo Pro, but it’s expected to be priced at $550 unlocked. 


Treo 800w Review

Treo 800w Review

It’s hard to believe that we haven’t seen a new Windows Mobile powered Treo from Palm since January of 2007. During that time, we’ve seen evolutionary changes to the Palm OS based Treo and a repackaging of the Palm OS in the “built for fun” Centro smartphone. The Treo brand has long been the flagship for Palm, but in the past year the Centro has been front and center. While the Centro is certainly a capable, value-based smartphone, it does lack the fit and finish of the higher end Treo series of smartphones. It seems that Everything Treo, along with most other tech blogs, have been talking about the Treo 800w for quite some time. So here it is, how does it stack up in this new era of smartphones and do the new features make the Treo 800w a worthwhile upgrade? Read on for our take on the new Treo 800w.

Palm Treo 800w review

Palm Treo 800w

Click to enlarge.

Palm Treo 800w

Volume buttons and side button that can be mapped to any app


Like any Windows Mobile device, the Treo 800w offers a host of features. From the Today screen, you can either dial a number directly or start typing the name of a particular contact that you’d like to call and the Treo 800w will automatically search both first and last names providing you with a convenient list of filtered contacts making it easy to place your call. You also have easy access to an old fashioned dialing pad. The dial pad is responsive and numbers will also “flash” orange when you select them. Call quality was great and volume was more than adequate. It’s not as loud as a Motorola Q, but few phones can match Motorola’s prowess when it comes to phone call quality. Pressing the green “call” button will also provide access to recently dialed numbers, or access to either the dial pad or call log. The call log offers duration of calls and the ability to filter based upon your selection (Missed, Outgoing, Incoming). Once in a call, it was easy enough to switch to speakerphone or put a call on hold. The Treo 800w does a fantastic job of integrating your contacts, managing your calls and making your phone work for you. You’d be hardpressed to find a smartphone that offers robust call management features in line with the Treo 800w.

Palm Treo 800w today

Palm’s Today screen offers a wealth of options

Click to enlarge.

Palm Treo 800w vs Treo 700

The Treo 800w is significantly slimmer than the Treo 700 series

Click to enlarge.


From a usability perspective, Windows Mobile can be a daunting operating system for some. Out of the box, the operating system does little to welcome the user. Thankfully, Palm acts as an intermediary between the OS and the end user. Palm’s software tweaks make the operating system more approachable and in general they just make things easier to use.

Treo 800w sideview

The Treo 800w features a microUSB and IR port (great for Real Estate professionals)

You’ll notice the familiar “chat-style” interface that chronicle conversations or SMS messages with colleagues or friends. This makes it easier to manage your messaging and will please Palm OS converts who are making the jump to Windows Mobile. The Today screen is where most users will spend their time and for good reason. For those familiar with previous Windows Mobile based Treo smartphones, the Today screen was developed by Palm. If for some reason you find yourself lost while navigating through Windows, pressing the red power button and you’ll be escorted to the familiar and friendly confines of the Today screen. If you break it down, here’s what you can do from the Today screen:

  1. Search contacts by first, last or company name.
  2. Search for POI’s either near your current location or enter a specific location
  3. View number of unread messages and access your email
  4. View number of unread text messages and access your messages.
  5. Search the internet using Microsoft’s Live Search.
  6. View upcoming appointments
  7. Access GPS, Internet Sharing and Bluetooth settings

GPS on Treo 800w

GPS on the Treo 800w will retreive locations near you

This is just from the Today screen and only a part of what Palm brings to a Windows Mobile device. The features alone do not make this device a Treo, it’s the tight integration of the Today screen with the OS that makes it a power users best friend.

There are also small, yet useful enhancements. For example, phone numbers that appear in web pages or an email can be dialed by tapping on the screen.

There is a small switch at the top of the Treo 800w which allows you to switch from ringing to vibrate mode. Having a physical switch is not only easier, but more efficient than devices that require you make the change in the OS. If you have to jump into an improptu meeting, you can switch the ringer to vibrate mode without removing the Treo from it’s case or holster (which unfortunately is not included).


There are two new features that debut with the Treo 800w: GPS and WiFi. First up is GPS. The Treo 800w is built for business. Having done my fair share of business travel, there is certainly a need to find local eateries, ATM’s and directions to those locations. From the Today screen, I was able to search for ‘pizza’ near my location. Within seconds, I had a very accurate list of pizzeria’s near my location. You can view the POI’s in either map view or list view. Need to call before hand for reservations, the Treo 800w provides the option to call the phone number. Need directions? Selecting Drive To… launches Sprint Navigation, a 3D turn-by-turn route guidance software that comes bundled with the Treo 800w. You won’t find it compares with a high end Garmin, but overall it’s very good and it’s built into your phone. It took sometime for Palm to build in GPS and they have done a very good job of bringing it all together. Instead of just adding a feature, Palm has taken it once step further and made the GPS an easy to use feature.

GPS search on Treo 800w

The GPS on the Treo 800w allows you to search for POI’s near your current location.
GPS on Treo 800w

3D navigation on Treo 800w

The Treo 800w offers 3D navigation and real time route guidance

Sprint Navigation on Treo 800w

Sprint Navigation on Treo 800w


Any wireless service can be spotty and at times frustrating. For many WiFi helps fill in the gaps and the Treo 800w represents the first Treo to offer WiFi. At the top of the Treo 800w is a dedicated WiFi button. Once you’ve configured the Treo 800w to a WiFi network, the once touch WiFi button turns the feature on/off. An ascending on descending tone will confirm your choice. The addition of a one-touch WiFi access is a surprisingly nice touch and one I didn’t see coming.

Ringer switch and WiFi on Treo 800w

Treo 800w has dedicated WiFi button and ringer switch


The Treo 800w takes some design cues from the Centro and merges them with the Treo 750. The overall build quality is excellent and that’s always been the mark of a Palm’s Treo series. It’s hard to put into words, but the device just feels like care when into the design and construction. Typing on the QWERTY keyboard is fast and offers responsive tactile reinforcement that resulted in error free typing. One surprising mistep was the included stylus. It’s lightweight, but that’s about it. Quite honestly, it’s not usable and you can plan on purchasing a suitable replacement once they become available. With a device that is so well constructed, I cannot understand how or why this stylus design was chosen.

Treo 800w keyboard

Keyboard on Treo 800w is reminiscent of Treo 750, but does take some design cues from the Centro

Also new with this Treo is the inclusion of a microUSB, which replaces the old Palm multiconnector. Despite the need for new Treo 800w accessories, this is a welcome change and has become a bit of a standard on smartphones including RIM’s BlackBerry devices. Palm includes a sync cable, but I’d certainly recommend a car charger. With a smaller device comes a smaller battery. I used the vast array of features on the Treo 800w and the battery lasted until early evening. Granted I used Navigation, Sprint TV and WiFi, but be prepared for less than stellar battery life when using those features. If your day to day consists of calls, productivity apps and email, the battery should be more than suitable. If you plan on taking advantage of everything the Treo 800w has to offer, you might want to consider carrying a spare battery or have access to some method of charing. Removable media on the Treo 800w changes to the smaller microSD. While a more expensive memory expansion, it no doubt contributed to Palm’s ability to slim down the Treo 800w.

Treo 800w microUSB

Treo 800w loses the old multiconnector for a microUSB connector

Software Bundle

Here you’ll find familiar programs from Office Mobile to Instant Messaging which allows you to access AIM, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. One noteworthy addition is Sprite Backup, a third party application valued at $29.95 that comes standard on the Treo 800w. Sprite allows you to easily back up all of your critical data and easily restore it should the need arise.

One great thing about Sprint carrying the Treo 800w is the inclusion of Sprint TV, a service that allows you watch live television on the Treo. The standard package offers a nice selection of programming, with premium offerings also available. In our tests, the Treo 800w accessed Sprint TV in no time and there were zero buffering issues. If you don’t currently own a Slingbox, SprintTV is the next best thing and it’s included. Thumbs up!

Sprint TV

Sprint TV offers a number of channels on the Treo 800w allowing you to watch live TV.

Sprint TV E! on Treo 800w

Sprint TV E! on Treo 800w

IM on Treo 800w

Yahoo, AIM and MSN Messenger are all included.

Click to enlarge.

With changing standards (ie. 320×320 resolution screen), comes heartache that some applications will not be compatible with the Treo 800w. When a major manufacturer such as Palm releases a new phone, you can expect developers to get on board. I certainly advise readers to contact developers if there is a particular app that you must use on the device. Expect developers to adapt to the new display, which was hardly a secret.


The Treo 800w retails for $599, but after rebates and a 2-year agreement, the price drops to $249. While it would be nice to see it fall below the $200 plateu, it’s certainly understandable given the feature set and bundled software package.


The Treo 800w represents the complete package offering WiFi, GPS, support for EVDO- REV A. and Windows Mobile 6.1. When you consider the included software bundle (Sprint Navigation, Maps, Sprite Backup, Sprint TV, Office Mobile), it’s easy enough to justify the price point. Battery life could have been better and the included stylus was not in keeping with the overall good build quality of the Treo 800w. The 320×320 resolution was a bonus when reading Office docs and you can expect major developers to provide updates that are compatible with the new device. Overall, I found the Treo 800w to be a peppy, full-featured Treo that represents an nice evolutionary move from the Treo 750. Palm has once again proved they understand how people use their phones and delivered a powerful, yet easy to use smart device in the Treo 800w.

EverythingCentro Reviews Palm Centro Smartphone

EverythingCentro Reviews Palm Centro Smartphone

October 19, 2007

By: Christopher Meinck

For a our comprehensive review of the Palm Centro, please visit our new sister site Everything Centro.

Palm’s latest offering has strong ties to the Treo, but in an entirely new pocketable form factor. Does the keyboard make the cut? Is the Centro really a value and should you consider the Centro as a replacement for your Treo? We attempt to answer all these questions in the Everything Centro Palm Centro review.

Share Your Centro Review

There is a new feature at Everything Centro. In addition to our editorial reviews, you can read

Centro Forums

In addition to launching EverythingCentro, we’ve also launched our new Centro forums. If you are an existing member of Everything Treo, you can use your existing username and password at Everything Centro. Not a member, register today!

Palm Treo 755p Review

Palm Treo 755p Review

4 of 5

The Treo 755p is the latest smartphone from Palm and is available through Sprint Wireless.

Palm Treo 755p review



Over the past year and a half , Palm has been releasing a steady stream of Treo smartphones. The different models offer a myriad of features, running different operating systems and available through various wireless carriers. Over the past year and half, we’ve seen the introduction of seven new Treo smartphones, all of which are still available for purchase.

  • Palm Treo 700w (Windows Mobile/CDMA/Verizon) – Treo 700w review
  • Palm Treo 700p (Palm OS/CDMA/Sprint and Verizon) – Treo 700p review
  • Treo 700wx (Windows Mobile/CDMA/Sprint)
  • Treo 680 (Palm OS/GSM/Cingular) – Treo 680 review
  • Treo 750v (Windows Mobile/GSM, Vodafone)
  • Treo 750 (Windows Mobile/GSM/Cingular) – Treo 750 review

Last week, Palm added the Sprint Treo 755p (CDMA) to the lineup. For consumers, the decision on which Treo to buy has become more and more confusing.

Palm Treo 755p maroon


User Interface

A quick trip to the Info menu in Application reveals the Palm Treo 755p runs Palm OS Garnet 5.4.9, also found on the Treo 700p released in June of 2006. In October of 2006, Palm introduced the Palm Treo 680 (GSM, Cingular), a Palm OS based smartphone designed for “first time smartphone users”. Understanding the hurdles that face first time smartphone owners, Palm included a revised Phone application. The new Phone application featured a tabbed interface allowing easy access to the dialer, contacts, call log and your applications. Sadly, the Treo 755p includes the older Phone app (version 2.5). According to Palm, this version caters more to “power users”. Some might debate the usefulness of the new Phone application, but I found the improved GUI (graphic user interface) and ease of use to be a great improvement. Including it on the Treo 755p would have been a plus. If Palm was concerned about power users, perhaps they could have offered an option in the application. Simple view or advanced view allowing the end user to decide.

Treo 680 Phone app

Treo 680 Phone app



Treo 755p Phone application

Treo 755p Phone application


Focus On Treo Experience Centers Around Software

Palms recent advertising campaign “Not just a cellphone, a Treo” earmarks how the focus has shifted from hardware design to software applications and improving the Treo experience. For the most part, the applications that are bundled with the Treo 755p are third party applications that are readily available to any Treo owner. GoogleMaps, Docs To Go, Bejeweled, PocketTunes and VoiceMemo are all fantastic applications in their own right, but easily added or already included on the Treo 700p. Stalwarts such as VersaMail, Blazer and PIM applications remain the same.

Treo 755p volume buttons

Treo 755p volume buttons


Treo 755p camera

Treo 755p camera sports a 1.3mp camera


Built-in IM

One welcome addition is the Instant Messaging application known simply as IM. The application is not pre-installed, but selecting the icon quickly generated a download from Sprint. I was quickly greeted by a home screen that featured icons from AOL IM, Yahoo! and Windows Live Messenger. Just prior to this, the application warns of potential data charges. I’d recommend avoiding this application unless you have an unlimited data plan. Upon selecting an icon, I was prompted to enter my login information. Setup on all three services was a breeze. Some interesting notes about the new IM application.

Data warning on Palm IM app

Palm’s IM app will offer a warning regarding data charges


  • You can be logged into all three services at the same time
  • AOL IM supports iChat users (dot mac support)
  • You can leave the application and still recieve messages
  • Includes smilie support
Palm IM supports AIM, Messenger and Yahoo!

Palm IM supports AIM, Messenger and Yahoo!


Chatting on Palm Treo 755p IM

Chatting on Palm Treo 755p IM


Palm has also included QuickText. Those familiar with the SMS program on Palm Treos, this allows users to quickly select from a preset list of messages.

Treo 755p IM message alert

IM will alert you of an incoming message


Do You Google

GoogleMaps, released last year, comes preinstalled on the Treo 755p. This application is readily available for all Treo users, but is worthy of including in the ROM of the Treo. GoogleMaps uses the data connection to generate maps and directions based upon the user input. The Treo 755p does not come with built-in GPS, but this mapping feature can be useful.

GoogleMaps for Treo 755p

GoogleMaps comes pre-installed on the Treo 755p


One of the more handy utilities is the “Find Nearby Businesses”. For business travelers, you could enter your current address and ask GoogleMaps to find “restaurants”. I tested this feature and sure enough Google provided very accurate results. It offered 9 restaurants in my area, including Runyon’s which is literally in walking distance. Nothing new here with GoogleMaps, but a worthy inclusion on the Treo 755p.

Points of interest available through GoogleMaps

GoogleMaps allows you to find restaurants nearby



Sprint ships the Treo 755p with the Sprint TV application. This allows you to stream televison from an assortment of stations. In my testing, I streamed CNN live and the NFL Network without a problem. I compared the feed to my DirecTV feed and the Sprint TV version was behind. I didn’t experience any buffering issues or choppy video with the live TV. Some of the other channels are pre-recorded specifically for mobile TV and include E!, NBC Mobile and others. The clips appear to be of a higher resolution and I had some bouts with choppy playback. Sprint offers a premium “Live” package for $9.99 a month that offers you access to over 20 channels. Sprint TV is basically a branded version of MobiTV. Overall, I was very happy with the quality and attribute this to the EvDO connection offered by Sprint. In previous reviews of MobiTV, the buffering issues were caused by the slower EDGE data connection.

Palm also packaged an application called On Demand. This allows you to enter your zip code and get a variety of news, some catered to your location. The sports section lacked the ability to find scores for the day and I think you’d probably be better off accessing a good mobile site for news.

On Demand application on Treo 755p

Good mobile sites will offer more information that On Demand


Access TV Guide through On Demand

Access TV Guide through On Demand


Useful Guides For New Owners

As with previous Treo smartphones, the Treo 755p includes a “Quick Tour”. The latest version offers a great tutorial on how use the Treo. For first time owners, Palm has done a great job in helping to educate new owners on how to use their Treo. The Treo in general can be a very easy phone to use, but does require a few lessons to get started. I recommend new Treo owners take the time to run through the Quick Tour. This will get you acclimated to using the Treo.

Outside of the IM application and GoogleMaps, the software bundle remains identical to what is found on the Treo 700p. With the QuickTour, Palm again has done a great job in helping new owners learn the basic features of their smartphone making a very complex device easy to use.

Palm Treo 755p tutorial

Palm offers a helpful tutorial on the Treo 755p

Hardware Changes Mostly Cosmetic

The Treo 755p is outfitted with an Intel XScale 312MHz processor and 128MB of memory.  The main changes to the Treo 755p are cosmetic in nature. Gone is the external antenna, replaced with an internal antenna. The Treo 755p battery is roughly two thirds the size of the Treo 700p battery. Despite being similar in size to the Treo 680/Treo 750 batteries, it is not compatible. Considering most will not be upgrading from either smartphone, this won’t affect most users.

Treo 755p vs Treo 700p

The new Treo 755p is slightly smaller and loses the external antenna


Side by side comparison of Treo 755p vs Treo 700p

Side by side comparison of Treo 755p vs Treo 700p

The form factor is similar to the Treo 750 and Treo 680. The build quality is impressive and similar (if not the same) as the Treo 750. When it comes to build quality, this Treo is more a sibling of the Treo 750, than the Treo 680. As we wrote in our Treo 750 review, the keyboard is the best I’ve seen in any device I have reviewed. Available in two colors (midnight blue and maroon), the Treo 755p also features a rubberized coating. If you’re not the type to carry your Treo in a case, this definitely will help provide a more solid grip on the Treo. In general, it’s also a nicer surface that feels good in your hand. Overall, that’s my general feeling about this new form factor. It’s not as thin as competiting smartphones flooding the market (Moto Q, Blackjack, Dash), but it’s certainly feels smaller than previous generation Treos. Using the Treo 755p felt comfortable and it is lighter than the Treo 700p. While I’d like to see Palm release a smaller form factor, the curved back and internal antenna make a big difference in everyday use. This won’t necessarily show up when looking at photos on the Internet.

Making The Move To miniSD Memory Expansion

To compensate for the changes in size, Palm had to change some things. This latest generation Treo uses miniSD cards. For those upgrading, you’ll have to upgrade your memory card(s). Prices are comparable with a 2GB miniSD priced similarly to a 2GB SD card. The Treo 755p has an enclosure on the right side of the device that will protect your card. This was introduced on the Treo 680 and Treo 750. Quite frankly, the previous design was flawed, but was something that became accepted. Having lost (and luckily retrieving one of my SD cards), this new design is a welcome change.

Treo 755p miniSD

The Treo 755p uses miniSD


Using The Treo 755p With Existing Treo Accessories

The Treo 755p uses the same connector allowing those who are upgrading to use their existing cables, car chargers and travel chargers. The IR port has shifted from the top of the device to the right. I’d venture to say most use IR to swap contacts, so the move is not a deal breaker for most. The Treo 755p uses a new battery that is roughly 33% smaller than the battery found in the Treo 700 series. Despite being similar in size to the Treo 750 and Treo 680 battery, the new battery is actually different. The Treo 755p does not share the same battery as either the Treo 750 or Treo 680. Batteries for those phones are not compatible with the Treo 755p.

Treo 755p data port

All existing chargers will work with the Treo 755p



Like its predecessor, the Treo 755p supports Bluetooth 1.2. This means no support for A2DP or Bluetooth voice dialing. You can achieve this through third party software Softick Audio Gateway, albeit at an added expense. I’m happy to report the Treo 755p performed well in my tests with both car kits and assorted headsets. Once you set up a Bluetooth device, the Treo 755p did not lose the connection. This is a problem that has plagued some Treo 700p owners. When in range, the Treo 755p immediately picked up the coordinating device. According to Palm, the Treo 755p incorporates some of the fixes in the soon to be released Treo 700p mainentance release.

Sound Quality

I had no issues with sound quality. The phone performed as well or on par with previous Treo smartphones.

Battery Life

My normal usage includes checking emails at 15 minute intervals (when away from my desktop), moderate phone usage and Bluetooth connectivity. I tried an test of what I deem a very active user. I was logged into all 3 IM accounts set SnapperMail to retrieve every 5 minutes. When I started this test, the Treo had rough 75% on the battery meter. I started at 7pm and returned at 9:30am the following morning. Battery life was at 25%. 14 hours of data connections at 5 minute intervals, while logged into IM, only took 50% of the battery life. Considering I had started with only 75% and still had 25% battery life, I’d consider battery life to be more than sufficient, even for power users.


  • Excellent build quality
  • New form factor reduces size of Treo
  • Launch price of $279* lower than previous Treo models in this range (after rebate w/ 2 year contract)
  • Best software bundle gets better with IM
  • Rubberized coating provides for easier grip
  • Works with existing Treo accessories (miniSD/Treo 750/680 battery withstanding)
  • EvDO provides fast data connections
  • Battery life suitable for power users


  • New Treo 680 Phone application not included
  • No support for SD. Those who upgrade will have to invest in miniSD.
  • Hardware specifications no different from Treo 700p released in June of 2006
  • Palm OS is dated
  • No support for A2DP
  • Although improved, form factor larger than new entries into market
  • Too little, too late?
Sprint Treo 755p

Sprint Treo 755p


The Treo product line continues to evolve, with the key word being evolve. The  Treo 755p is another evolutionary product, a virtual “best of Treo” with features found in Palm smartphones that we’ve seen before. The Treo 755p is best in class when it comes to Treos with EvDO for broadband-like data connections, excellent software bundle and an improved form factor. Despite the lack of new features, the Treo 755p is a superb smartphone. If you are a first time smartphone buyer considering a Treo, then look no further than the Treo 755p. For those Treo 650/600 owners who weren’t compelled by the feature set in the Treo 680, the Treo 755p will prove to be a worthy upgrade.
If this phone were released last June, it would be an unbridaled hit. With new innovation such as the iPhone and Palm’s forthcoming transition to Linux, consumers will ultimately decide if this “Greatest Hits” release is worthy of their dollar.


Treo 755p in midnight blue

Treo 755p in midnight blue


The Palm Treo 755p retails for $279*. *after rebates with 2-year commitment.

Discuss the new Treo in our Treo 755p forum.

IM Plus Review


The prospect of having an Instant Messaging program on the Treo without having to use text messaging entices many users. And because there are many programs out today that offer this functionality, Everything Treo offers this review from this genre of the program IM+ from Shape Services.

Setup and Layout

The overall functionality of IM+ is a lot like any other IM program you would use on your computer. I would liken IM+ to the all-in-one instant messaging solution, Trillian, made my Cerulean Studios, because the user has the option to setup their accounts with MSN, AIM, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, and Jabber. I use MSN, AIM, and Yahoo!, so thats what I used to test IM+ on my Treo 700p.


Once all accounts are set up (see picture), the program will download each accounts friends list (along with categories set up with each account) and the list is alphabetized, and arranged by account. The friends list can also be limited to just those people that are online, or all friends that are on each list. Friends can also be added to your contact list within IM+ if you know their screen name.

IM+ Contacts

The program has many user-defined preferences that allow for different sounds played upon connection, when a friend comes online, upon message receipt, etc. Other preferences include auto reconnect, saving a history of all conversations, running the program in background and many more.

IM+ general prefs


The program will connect to the Internet and sign in to all accounts upon launch. The menu allows the user to set his or her online status, add/remove users (friends) and perform a global disconnect while exiting the program. In order to begin an instant messaging session with a friend, simply click on a friend and a new window pops up. I have to say that this is where the program begins to perform poorly. The actual interface of the program isnt too bad, but the look is not customizable at all. The program is locked into a salmon-colored background with white behind the message windows.

Granted, thats a cosmetic grievance, but more important is that I had very spotty connections with the three services that I use. Sometimes they connected fine, other times I couldnt get a connection at all.

Conversations went fairly smoothly. But the biggest problem with this function was that the program doesnt wrap text to the next line. At all. In fact, a word will be broken instead of flowing to the next line. I havent had any complaints from friends on the other end, but it is a great annoyance to me.

Also, the program seemed to be extremely unstable. I could not pin down a problem with IM+ within the Palm OS by using Reset Doctor or PalmInternals, but the program caused me a fatal exception about 80 percent of the time. If the program was the first program run after a soft reset, I hardly ever had any problems. However, if I had been using other programs and then attempted to launch IM+, my Treo reset 99 percent of the time. I would also run into resets upon attempting to exit the program.


I really liked the interface of IM+ and I wanted to recommend it to you; but I cannot bring myself to give the program any more than one star. I have not used any other instant messaging program for the Treo yet, but this program resets too much to really be of any use. I will, however, give Shape Services credit for its customer service department. I contacted the company about my resets and was e-mailed within two business days, in most cases. I sent them the IM+ log about problems, but have not heard back from them in a couple of weeks. At this point, I would have to advise you to wait until the bugs are fixed from this program before taking the plunge with IM+. NOTE: I plan on continuing to work with Shape Services customer service department. Upon receiving updates or fixes, I will update this review with current information.

IM+ retails for $29.95 and is available as a free trial through the Everything Treo Software Store.

Treo 750 Review

3 of 5

The Palm Treo 750 is one the greatly anticipated Treo releases in quite some time. With the Treo 750v having been out for months in Europe, much has been written about the latest Treo model. Due to issues with FCC certification, the Treo 750 release was pushed back from early December to the first week of January. It also marks the debut of the first Windows Mobile powered Treo smartphone on a GSM network in the US (Both Sprint and Verizon use CDMA technology). The Treo 750 also marks the first Palm release to support 3G promising increased bandwidth up to 384 Kbps. The Treo 750 and all the new features come neatly bundled in a new form factor with an easy-to-grip rubberized coating. In this review, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the features of the new Treo 750. If you are interested in a particular section or feature, you can select from the table of contents on the right.


What’s In The Box

The Palm Treo 750 shipped with the following:

  • Palm Treo 750 smart device
  • Treo 750 Getting Started CD including Treo 750 User Guide, Microsoft ActiveSync 4.2 Connectivity Software, Microsoft Outlook 2002
  • Travel Charger
  • USB Sync Cable
  • Rechargeable Lithium ion 1200 mAh battery
  • Wired Headset

The Cingular Treo 750 comes with the following software preinstalled.

  • ActiveSync
  • Alarm Clock
  • Bubble Breaker
  • Calculator
  • Camera (pictures and video)
  • File Explorer
  • Good Mobile Messaging stub application
  • Internet Explorer Mobile
  • Microsoft Office Outlook Mobile: Email, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes
  • Microsoft Office Mobile Suite: Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile
  • ModemLink
  • Picsel PDF Viewer
  • Pocket MSN
  • Quick Tour
  • Search
  • SIM Manager
  • SMS / MMS Messaging with chat view
  • Solitaire
  • Sounds Manager
  • Terminal Services Client
  • Voice Command
  • Windows Media Player
  • Wired Car Kit Support
  • Xpress Mail

Form Factor

The Treo 750 features a striking resemblence to the recently released Palm Treo 680. The antenna is now internal, so gone is the chunky antenna stub that was so familiar of the Palm Treo family since the days of the Treo 600. Internalizing the antenna also gives the appearance of a smaller smartphone.



The Treo 750 shares the same curved back as the Treo 680 which has cut down on the size of the phone. When compared to a Treo 700w/p, the difference is easily noticeable both from visual perspective and when holding the Treo 750. Rather than enter the battle for the “thinnest smartphone”, Palm has delivered a small smartphone “just feels right”. The sides of the Treo 750 also curve inward and I found this offered a way to get a good grip on the phone.


Rubberized Finish

Rubberized coatings seem to be all the rage when it comes to smartphones. Gone are slippery surfaces, replaced with a rubberized coating that will hopefully result in less Treos hitting the pavement. The finish on the Treo 750 is a metallic navy blue

(one must wonder if this was intential given the color of the BlackBerry)

. If you have the opportunity to see the Treo 750 at retail, I’ve found that when you scratch the surface lightly with your fingernail, you will be more apt to recognize the coating. It is also very noticeable when you compare with a previous generation Treos (Treo 700w/wx,Treo 700p,Treo 650).

Treo 750 color

The Treo 750 sports a metallic blue finish.


The Treo 750 weighs in at 5.4 ounces versus 6.4 ounces for the 700p and 5.5 ounces for the Palm Treo 680 making it the lightest Treo to date.

miniSD Card

miniSD represents another first for the Treo 750. The Treo 750 uses miniSD which is a smaller format. For those considering upgrading, you will not be able to use your SD cards on the Treo 750. According to Palm, they officially support miniSD cards up to 2GB cards. The miniSD is accessible from the right hand side of the Treo and is protected by a door that easily snaps in and out. Although the cost of removable media has gone down, it is refereshing to know that your data card is protected against accidents. Based upon comparable memory expansion products available in the Everything Treo Store, you’ll find a slight increase in cost for the new smaller miniSD card versus standard SD cards. The

Dane-Elec 2GB Secure Digital Card retails for $39.95 compared to $44.95 for a Dane-Elec 2GB miniSD





The Palm Treo 750 features a QWERTY keyboard. I immediately sensed a very tactical feel while typing on the Treo 750. It is very responsive and the feedback generated by the keyboard was great. I have small hands, but had one trouble with one-handed operation. Those with big hands who prefer to type with both thumbs, might find the keyboard a bit cramped. Those are the trade-offs to have “true one-handed” operation versus a larger or wider keyboard. Personally, this is the best keyboard I’ve used on any mobile device.

Treo 750 keyboard

Those familiar with Windows Mobile Treos will recognize the L-R menu buttons, dedicated call/hang-up buttons, OK button and Windows Start button. The call/hang-up buttons are now wider. I found this to be a welcome change due to the frequency of their usage. In addition to the primary buttons, the left and right soft buttons also backlit. I also found an interesting feature of the Treo 750. The backlit actually times out if you do not touch the keyboard after a prescribed amount of time. I suppose this has a minimal, yet positive effect on the battery-life of the Treo 750. Select any key or touch the screen and the keyboard will once again become backlit.



The Treo 750 features a square screen with a resolution of 240×240. Whether navigating through the device or viewing the Today screen, there is little difference when intially compared to the 320×320 display of the Treo 700p. The drop-off for the Treo 750 occurs when view photos, video or even web browsing. Images that were vivid and sharp on the Palm Treo 700p looked drab on the new Treo 750. The limitations with regard to resolution on the Treo 750 lie with the Windows Mobile OS.


The Treo 750 features a 1.3 megapixel camera with a 2X zoom. You can also set an option for ‘burst’ which takes a rapid succession of pictures. Within camera, it also allows you to switch to video mode. Not sure the need, but you can also set a timer. I guess if you’re the type for self-portraits, this would be useful. Photos taken with the Treo 750 were a pleasant surprise when compared to the 700p camera.

Treo 750 photo

Treo 700p photo


Of the above photos, the first photo was taken with the Treo 750 and the other using the Palm Treo 700p which also sports a 1.3 megapixel camera. No adjustments were made to the images. As you’ll see the Treo 750 produced a vibrant image and the Treo 700p images looks dull in comparison.


According to representatives from Palm, the Treo 750 is “very close” to achieving certification for Bluetooth 2.0. Officially, it supports Bluetooth 1.2. The Treo 750 does support A2DP

(Advanced Audio Distribution File)

and allows you to listen to music and calls using a Bluetooth stereo headset. This is the first Treo to offer A2DP support.

Processor and Memory

The Treo 750 uses a Samsung 300 MHz processor. The Treo 750 is very peppy and you get an immediate response when navigating the phone. It also features 128MB of memory of which 60MB is accessible by the user. On the Treo 750 I received, there was 62.53MB free before putting any data on the phone. A little over 49MB of memory was dedicated to “program memory”, with 31.79MB available at the intial boot up.

The Familiar Reset Button

Left out on the Treo 680, there is a reset button on the Treo 750. Like your desktop PC or Mac, it is inevitable that you will come across a time when a reset is in order

(think of it as rebooting your computer)

. Palm has moved the reset button to the miniSD slot. No more removing the battery cover to reset your Treo. Pop the cover on the miniSD slot and the tip of the stylus reboots the Treo 750. Having done my fair share of Treo resets, I welcome this move to the miniSD slot.

Other Notable Features

Like the Treo 680, the stylus has changed with the Treo 750. It’s also lighter than previous styli. Ringer and vibrate switch remain on the top of the device and the Treo 750 uses the same interface for both sync cable and charger as previous Treo models. For those who still use IR, the Treo 750 comes equipped with an IR port.

It should also be noted that while the Treo 680 and Treo 750 share similarities in form factor, they do not share the same manufacturer. The Treo 680 is well built, but I felt the Treo 750 overall has a better build quality. This could be a result of materials more so than the manufacturer, but worth noting.

For most, the predominant feature used on any smartphone will be the phone itself. During my tests, callers were asked to provide feedback on the sound quality of my voice. The feedback was positive using both the phone and speakerphone. I had no issues with the quality of sound for the callers when using the handset. I did experience crackling when using the speakerphone at high volumes.


Making Calls

Being a smartphone, there are several options to make outgoing calls. Using the dailpad on the QWERTY keyboard will instantly start the dialing process. When dialing a long-distance number

(and adding a 1 at the beginning of the number)

, the Treo didn’t know to add a ‘-‘. For example, if I were to dial NY state directory information, the number would be 1-212-555-1212. When entering into the Treo 750, it starts as 121-2555. At times, I wanted to be sure I was dialing the correct number and this was difficult with the layout of numbers being dialed. A workaround would be to use the dialer. Unlike Palm OS Treos where the dialer is predominant, you have to navigate the right soft menu button to access the Dial Pad. Oddly enough, when using the dialer, the resulting number patter is correct, 1-212-555-1212. If I had to venture to guess, the reasoning behind the issue with dialing in the today screen is the “contacts lookup”. Not a major issue, but one that I felt should be noted.

Treo 750 dialer

Accessing Contacts can be done in a variety of ways. Selecting the right soft button or simply type the first few letters of either the first or last name. This worked for either individuals or companies. Accessing the Start menu is yet another path to Contacts. As you can see, in Windows Mobile there are many choices or paths to a desired function and it simply becomes a matter of preference.




When missing an incoming call, the Treo 750 will show a pop-up tab within the Today screen that shows the missed calls. After the Treo 750 goes back into sleep mode, powering up removes this reminder. In its place, I was greeted with a change in the Today screen where the left menu normally resevered for ‘email’ had changed to ‘Missed Calls’. Pressing the left soft menu button revealed the tab with a nice list of my missed calls. I would have like to have seen the list upon powering up the Treo 750, as the menu button can easily be missed. I should say there is also an icon at the top of the screen with an exclamation point as a further reminder that you’ve missed a call. The list the Treo 750 generates offers very good detail including caller name

(if available in your contacts)

, phone number, date and time. It also gives you an option to View List, which is another name for the Call Log.


Photo Speed Dial

Like the Treo 700w/wx, one of the great features of the Today screen is the ability to easily add Photo Speed Dials. I have a few contacts that I call regularly, so the built-in Photo Speed Dial really impacts my use of the phone. No shuffling through contacts or scrolling through Favorites. The ability to simply turn on the Treo 750 and touch the photo of the contact I’d like to call is a powerful and useful feature.

Treo 750 photo speed dial


Call Log

Accessible through the right soft menu, the call log allows you to sort by incoming, outgoing, missed or view all. With most of the menu options, there are shortcuts. Pressing menu followed by the letter ‘a’ provides a short cut to the call log. If you find yourself using a particular feature, these shortcuts can save you time. Selecting the menu screen also allows you to quickly add a number to Contacts.

Designed with the business user in mind, the Treo 750 come with a robust software bundle making this smartphone a very capable handheld computer. In certain situations, the Treo 750 can act as a replacement for your laptop.

Microsoft Office

Intended for business audiences, the Palm Treo 750 comes with everything you need for a mobile office. Word Mobile and Excel Mobile allows you to open existing documents, edit and create new documents. With PowerPoint Mobile, you are limited to viewing existing presentations. No conversion is necessary when opening any of the above file formats. While in Excel, using the 5-way navigator allowed for easy reading and movement within the spreadsheet.

Piscel Viewer

Picscel Viewer allows you to view full PDF files on the Treo 750. Again, no conversion is needed to view PDF documents. Piscel Viewer uses a ‘tap-and-drag’ gesture to zoom in or out of a document. I found it difficult to get an optimal setting without going back and forth. In order to initate the ‘tap-and-drag’, you must be near the middle of the screen. Once in zoom mode, dragging the stylus to the bottom results in the image getting smaller. Conversely, dragging upward causes the zoom to take place. While zooming in and out, the text gets blurry, so you have to guess when you believe you reached a suitable zoom level for reading the document. After a few minutes, I did get familiar with the process. That being said, I would have preferred to have zoom levels in percentages in the options menu.

Treo 750 PDF viewer


Pictures and Videos

Pictures and Videos encapsulates a few apps into one. The camera icon is a shortcut to access the Camera application. From within this application, you can play a slideshow, send a photo using any of the messaging options or set an image as a Today background. The slideshow feature is very limited, not allowing you to select specific photos or add music.

Other Notable Applications

Tasks are included and will sync with Outlook using ActiveSync. It features support for categories, sorting capabilities, priority levels and enables you to set reminders. You can also add notes to each task. Windows Mobile comes with Windows Media offering support for a variety of media formats

(WMV, MPEG-4, MP3, AAC, AAC+, and WMA) and streaming video. With a good set of stereo headphones (Bluetooth Stereo headphones are supported) and a miniSD card filled with MP3 files, the Treo 750 can double as a serviceable on-the-go MP3 player. Where Verizon offered a few options for streaming sites, doesn’t provide you with any preset favorites. Instead, Palm suggests third-party application, sold separately. MobiTV (requires monthly subscription) recently announced availability for Windows Mobile 5 and offers the best selection of programming. During our review of MobiTV

with the Treo 650 using EDGE, playback suffered from severe buffering. The increased speed of UTMS should be sufficient for streaming.

The Treo 750 features a robust suite of applications for Internet and communications. With support for UTMS, the Cingular Treo 750 is promoted as a 3G phone, offering speed improvements over the EDGE capable Treo 680. We tested the Treo 750 against two EVDO capable devices, the Palm Treo 700p and Moto Q smartphone. The tests were conducted using mobile speed test. Several tests were done for each file size and I took the best results for each phone. Results for individual phones varied, but comparisons between the three remained consistent.



In this chart, shorter is better and indicates a faster download time. As you’ll note, the Treo 750 struggled when compared to the EVDO capable smartphones. The Treo 750 can be upgraded to HSDPA, but at the time of the review, Palm has not indicated there will be a firmware upgrade. Should Palm release a firmware upgrade that enables HSDPA, you can expect these numbers to change for the better. At this rate, clearly this is disappointing when compared to other smartphones.

Treo 750 600k speed test

Treo 750 after 600k speed test

Instant Messaging With Pocket MSN

Included with the Treo 750 are applications that allow you to always stay in touch. Microsoft bundles Pocket MSN that includes MSN Instant Messenger and this is clearly one of the advantages to owning a Windows Mobile smartphone. With Palm OS based smartphones, you need to purchase a third party application for chat. MSN Messenger is a breeze to set up and chatting works nicely. The interface is poorly done, as you can do not have the ability to see the conversation without using up/down arrows at the top of the screen. Without using a stylus, this is less than optimal. While it is very functional, it will not win any GUI (graphical user interface) awards. It is free and does function quite well.

Threaded Chat-Style Messaging

Up until this point, little has been done by Palm to integrate some of their usablity when it comes to software. With previous releases, Palm’s thumbprint on Windows powered Treos was limited to the hardware design and the Pictures and Video application. One of the major complaints of Palm OS owners making the jump to Windows was the Messaging application. The messaging application included on the Treo 700w/wx did not “thread” the messages. Threading of messages results in a “chat-style” thread of messages allowing you to see the history or conversation that you have had with a particular contact. In contrast, non-threaded results in a extremely over-crowded and difficult to manage inbox. Luckily, the Treo 750 introduces Palm’s threaded messaging. It performs exactly like the Palm OS application and drastically improves on the ability to effectively manage SMS conversations. The application features 10 preset commonly used messages and you can add your own custom messages. For example, if you are in a meeting, you can easily select “In a Meeting”. You can send messages using a phone number or a contact name.

Threaded SMS on Treo 750


Outlook Express

Like the Treo 700w, the Treo 750 of course comes with Outlook for email. It features support for POP and IMAP accounts. Setting up email accounts was quite easy and uses the familiar Outlook interface. It will automatically insert addresses from your contacts making it easier to address your emails. For corporate users, the Treo 750 allows your Outlook corporate email automatically downloaded to the Treo 750. If you work in a business where you need to send pictures, you’ll find the Treo 750 excels at this function. It also supports attachments for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF’s. Palm has hard coded the left soft menu within the Today screen for email. While outside of the Today screen, access is through the Start menu. If there is any complaint regarding Outlook, it would be the lack of a progress bar. I would like to see the emails coming in along with a progress bar.

Pros and Cons


  • Excellent build quality
  • Thread SMS features chat-style text messaging
  • Sound quality using both microphone and speakerphone
  • New form factor combined with antenna-less design really provides for the lightest, smallest Treo to date eclipsing even the Treo 680
  • Improved QWERTY keyboard and call/hang-up buttons
  • Reset button more accessible through miniSD slot
  • Today interface still provides great overview of calendars,tasks, messages and easy calling options using photo speed dial
  • miniSD card cover protects against loss
  • Bluetooth support for A2DP allowing for Bluetooth stereo headphones
  • Camera produces vibrant images for 1.3 megapixel
  • Software bundle encompasses neccessary business applications and multimedia
  • WiFi support using third party miniSD WiFi card
  • Support for dial-up-networking


  • UTMS slow compared to EVDO
  • Speakerphone produced crackle at high volumes
  • 240×240 screen
  • Menu navigation can become cumbersome for certain tasks
  • WiFi not built-in
  • Mac support requires third party software

Treo 750 review


The Treo 750 represents the latest Windows Mobile based Treo smartphone from Palm and the first to be available on GSM networks in the US (Palm released the Treo 750vin Europe through Vodafone). In the Treo 750, Palm has delivered a smartphone that offers impressive design and build quality. The Today screen is an ideal interface for anyone managing a busy work schedule, while providing easy access to contacts. With an impressive software bundle and support for corporate email through ActiveSync, the Treo 750 is a smartphone for individuals looking for a mobile office. Overall, the Treo 750 is well designed business class smartphone, but one that still has room for improvement. Despite many new features, including support for A2DP, I was disappointed with the speed of UTMS relative to EVDO. The Treo 750 is upgradeable to HSDPA, however no update has been announced by either Palm or Cingular Wireless.

Pricing and Availability

The Palm Treo 750 is available in exclusively through Cingular Wireless. Prices start at $399 (after rebates with a 2-year contract).