Palm Treo 750

A bevy of OS enhancements and access to Telstra's Next G mobile broadband network easily make the Treo 750 the best Windows Mobile device we've ever used.


9.0
CNET Rating
5.2
User Rating


Design
The Treo 750 shares its chassis with the Palm-powered Treo 680, resulting in a familiar hand-friendly shape along with the ability to share most accessories ranging from cases through to dongles which connect to Palm's slot-like cable port.

There are, however, several small improvements. The Treo 750 sports softer, almost rubberised side panels plus a similar treatment for the barrel of the stylus for a more comfortable grip.

The 680's gunmetal colour scheme is replaced by a more sombre and more professional matte finish in dark midnight blue, while even the metallic-look fascia has a less reflective "look at me" sheen.

While the five-way navigation button and keypad are also lifted straight from the 680, the four Palm application buttons are replaced by dedicated Send and End phone keys plus a Windows button (for accessing the Start menu) and OK. Above these are "soft buttons" to activate on-screen menus.

We found the Treo 750 exceptionally easy to use one-handed. That said, while keyboards (especially smaller "thumb-boards" like this one) are largely a matter of subjective preference, we felt the same about the Treo 750's keyboard as that of the Treo 680. With their close spacing and relatively deep travel, the stubby keys require precise aim and more than a dash of dexterity to hit even a steady two-finger (or, more precisely two-thumb) speed. Users with smaller and more delicate fingers wil certainly have an advantage here.

The right side of the Treo 750 contains an IR port (relocated from Palm's traditional top-mounted position) and miniSD card slot instead of the Treo 680's larger SD bay. This is the first miniSD card on a Palm device, with Palm telling us it was introduced partly to recover internal space needed by the Treo 750's 3G radio. In addition to the standard miniSD memory card (which isn't bundled with the Treo 750, alas) the slot supports IO cards with functions such as barcode scanning and Wi-Fi. The last one is notable because the Treo 750 has no Wi-Fi, so you'll want to track down a Wi-Fi miniSD card if hooking up to home or office networks or public hotspots is high on your list.

On the rear is a 1.3-megapixel digital camera with self-portrait mirror but no flash -- the camera shoots stills and low-res video clips and is no better nor worse than anything else in its range. But then, you're not going to buy the Treo 750 for its camera. There's also a speaker which fires to the front, with a top-mounted ringer/silent switch carried over from the Treo 680.

Features
The biggest change from the Treo 680, of course, is that when you turn on the Treo 750 you see the splash screen for Microsoft's Window Mobile 5 instead of the Palm OS.

But this isn't Windows Mobile like you've ever seen before. As part of the deal to bring long-time competitor Palm into the Windows fold, Microsoft opened up the Windows Mobile source code for Palm's modification. This makes Palm the only Windows Mobile licensee permitted to modify the core of the OS, so that enhancements can be built into the OS rather than bolted on as additional layers.

(We should note that both Palm and Microsoft have already indicated that an upgrade to the just-launched Windows Mobile 6 is in the pipeline, and demonstrations of a Treo 750 running a beta of Windows Mobile 6 under its pre-release codename of Crossbow have already been held behind closed doors).

Palm's enhancements to the Windows Mobile OS are superb. The main Today screen has been overhauled to include a fast search capability to hone in on contacts in your address book.

The hitlist narrows as you type each successive letter, and you're presented with the option to dial the primary number or tap the centre of the d-nav control to call other numbers, send an SMS or an email based on what contact details are listed for that person.

Any number from your address book (or any new number) can be made accessible as a speed dial button on the Today screen, with similar flexibility in how to contact that person. For added cuteness, Palm allows users to include a photo for each contact on the screen -- although it could be argued that if you call someone frequently enough to earn them a place on the Today screen, you probably remember what they look like.

The Today screen also sports two tie-ins to the Treo 750's launch partner Telstra. At the foot of the screen is a Search field which points to Telstra's Sensis Mobile site for online searching. There's no obvious way to redirect this to, say, Google Mobile, but we're sure a little hacking under the covers will fix that.

More impressive is the set of icons that appear when you dial your Next G voicemail box. Styled like the controls on a VCR or CD player they make fast work on playing, deleting, skipping over and saving messages with a tap of the stylus, instead of having to remember numbers on the keypad.

For all that, the interface is littered with some confusing references. The Today screen itself has a Messages field for accessing email and Text Messages for SMS and MMS, while the Start menu lists the Inbox for email (handled via the standard Outlook Mobile client) and Messaging for running the SMS/MMS client.

Other Treo tweaks include the ability to ignore an incoming call but send an SMS in response (pick a message from the supplied list or roll your own in advance), and listing all contacts numbers for a missed call made by someone in your address book rather than just the number they dialled in on.

Everything else on the Treo 750's checklist is largely par for the Windows Mobile PDA/smartphone course, including edit capabilities for Office documents due to its use of the Pocket PC Phone Edition of Windows Mobile 5. This includes out of the box support for push email via Exchange through Microsoft's Messaging and Feature Pack.

Extra applications include the Picsel PDF viewer (pre-loaded in ROM), a full version of Microsoft's surprisingly effective Voice Command software (which usually sells for US$40) and a chat-style SMS application which shows successive messages in an SMS session as if they were a chat or IM conversation rather than a series of stand-alone messages.

Performance
With so many capabilities on tap and such an impressive array of tech crammed under the hood, the Treo 750 has been shortchanged in the CPU department.

The powerplant is a 300MHz Samsung processor, which allegedly consumes less power than the closest Intel equivalent due to Samsung's use of separate memory chips. But 300MHz just isn't enough to do a decent job on a Windows Mobile smartphone, not when competitors are in the 400MHz weight class.

The Treo 680 used Intel's 312MHz PXA270 XScale chip to decent effect, but that was for an OS which remains almost unchanged after several years compared to the heavyweight Windows Mobile 5. Toss in the processing demands of mobile broadband and streaming video and there's no avoiding the fact that while the Treo 750 isn't a slow awkward stumbler, it needs (and deserves) more muscle under the hood.

Memory gets a better deal, with 64MB in RAM and 128MB of Flash ROM, 60MB of which is available to the user.

For heading online the Treo 750 can choose between the Next G (which it lists as 3G) and the EDGE-enhanced GSM networks, with users able to set which network is given first shot at connecting.

Online performance is as you'd expect from a device of this type. The HSDPA 1.8Mbps radio works in its favour to deliver true mobile broadband, although the bundled bonsai version of Internet Explorer is outclassed by Opera Mobile 3.

You can use the Treo 750 a wireless modem for your notebook over a Bluetooth 1.2, USB or infrared connection -- although this version of Bluetooth is limits the data speed to about 720kbps. We were able to pull a consistent 1.2Mbps signal via USB around the CBD and North Sydney.

Directly available on the Treo 750 is Next G's portfolio of Foxtel Mobile channels. These include Sky News Headlines, Sky News Business, CNN and Fox Sports plus a selection of entertainment and children's channels.

When at their peak the media streams flowed fast and smooth, with quick buffering to begin playback. During our tests the video performance proved quite sporadic and journeyed from super-fast streams to stuttervision and near total breakup, especially when attempting to watch music video clips on the BigPond Music service.

As thin as the audio sounded, volume levels were sufficient for personal use (either for streaming content or playing music or video on the inbuilt Windows Media Player 10 Mobile) but bring the headphones if you want to step outdoors.

Palm rates the Treo 750's 1200mAH battery as being good for 4.5 hours of talk time and 10 days on standby. We'd tend towards the skinny side of those numbers if you get hooked on HSDPA, and suggest it'd be wise to keep the Treo topped up with a nightly recharge.

Editor's note: The Palm Treo 750 is expected to be available through networks other than Telstra mid-March.

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weslochan
10
Rating
 

weslochan posted a review   

The Good:easy to setup and easy to customize

The Bad:no wifi n could use faster processor, but thats why I have netbook lol

So, far I have been able to add on Quickstart menu which gives you easy access to all functions of the Treo. I also added a Facebook, Pocket Twit and Quick Shutdown/Power off app and phone works good as long as extra apps are loaded onto memory. Most smart phones/even android to Apple phones sometimes require reboot if you are running to many apps at once. Again, I have a net book for the major stuff and as for the wifi lacking, that's why I have a data plan.......
Treo 750 is a awesome phone. Will upgrade soon to Palm Pro..........

Stevo
9
Rating
 

Stevo posted a review   

The Good:Has been reliable and has done everything I asked of it

The Bad:Nothing really

I have had mine for two years now and there is really not much I don't like about this phone. Sure, it has 'crashed' a few times and needed resetting, but what other smartphone doesn't? The depth of press for the keys took a bit of getting used to, but no big deal really. It provides everything I need in a phone.
From reading previous comments; it seems that other people have been unlucky with unrelaiable or poorly constructed models but I have not had any trouble with mine.

Dr Dan
1
Rating
 

Dr Dan posted a review   

The Good:Very little

The Bad:Everything!

There is nothing smart about this phone. It is rubbish! Poor reception, poor button placement, long button press delay - the list is endless! My daughter can take a better picture than the Palm camera with her $15 digital keyring and forget video (It would be quicker to sketch 15 frames a second.) **DON'T BUY THIS PHONE**. Even worse I was sucked in by a so-called friend to sign up with ACN. When my phone contract expires, I will be able to escape from this creepy cult!

 

Jeremy West posted a comment   

The Good:Bluetooth easily configurable, reliable

The Bad:Construction, Start button opening Telstra biz website instead of programs menu, keyboard is tiring to use.

My contract with Telstra on the Treo 750 has just been paid off after 2 years and exactly on the payoff date the battery stopped charging. Seems it's been dated to get one more payment in the form of a battery. The piece at the end where the sync cable plugs in worked itself free after about 6 months and just pulled right out. Poorly assembled with glue it appears. I called Palm but they would not replace the phone without $350 fee so I modeled a piece of foil as a spacer and slid it back together and have babied it like that the last 18 months careful only to plug in the charger which the jack of which isn't part of that sync cable piece. Another quirk that I just for the life cannot work out is that when first using the Treo 750 here in Australia the Windows Start button would open drop down programs list which was great not having to use the stylus to get to that menu but out of the blue that Start button then started opening the browser to a Telstra business site which I never use and have had to use the stylus for the Start menu ever since. THAT is the one reason I will not buy another Palm, there is no rhyme or reason to the quirkiness and the construction where it needs the most rugged assembly is crap. And the backscreen and volume buttons on the side are constantly getting nuged and opening those adjustment dialogs which is annoying and the "P" key has to be depressed just right or it never prints to screen. The Treo 750 has several okay things, Blue Tooth has worked well for both laptops, easily configurable and I've enjoyed Windows Media Player when walking or jogging.

Shamsta
1
Rating
 

Shamsta posted a review   

The Good:first year

The Bad:after the first year

first year i had the phone everything worked very well, after the first year the part you talk into stopped working and i had to always talk on speaker, the phone was constantly freezing when receiving text messages or if had not been touched for awhile.

i suggest not to by this phone there are many problems.

phone_reviewer
10
Rating
 

phone_reviewer posted a review   

The Good:QWERTY, fast HSDPA connectivity, sexy

The Bad:no Wifi

phone's been good to me. im happy.

 

Hammy!! (Hammer) posted a comment   

I have had this fone for at least 1 yr. The first 2 monthes or so, the fone was awesome at speed, touchscreen and mostly everything. But, as the fone got older the speed slowed down tremendously! i could not do anythimg! it took the fone a long time to get texts. sometimes, the fone reset by itself and the stylus easily falls out. the silver dulls and the whole fone ends up looking very crappy. i recommend everyone not to get this fone cuz there r a lot better fones out there!! Over all, this fone sucked!!

 

SydneyTech posted a comment   

The Good:i love this mobile

The Bad:no WIFI

i love this mobile. very useful and easy to use. if ur having hard time using it, UR DUMB!! the only thing missed by palm with this smartphone is WIFI.

treo suck
1
Rating
 

treo suck posted a review   

The Good:Its plastic so it breaks when you throw it.

The Bad:Everything the phone just does not make any god damn sense.

Throw it at the wall.

Russ
1
Rating
 

Russ posted a review   

The Good:Syncs well with outlook

The Bad:Everything

The worst phone and is severly defective. At first things seem good, syncs well with outlook. But its slow, inconsistent from one app to the next, too "windows" like, and blue-tooth is temperamental. Absolutely hands down the most frustrating piece I have ever encountered.


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User Reviews / Comments  Palm Treo 750

  • weslochan

    weslochan

    Rating10

    "So, far I have been able to add on Quickstart menu which gives you easy access to all functions of the Treo. I also added a Facebook, Pocket Twit and Quick Shutdown/Power off app and phone works g..."

  • Stevo

    Stevo

    Rating9

    "I have had mine for two years now and there is really not much I don't like about this phone. Sure, it has 'crashed' a few times and needed resetting, but what other smartphone doesn't? The depth..."

  • Dr Dan

    Dr Dan

    Rating1

    "There is nothing smart about this phone. It is rubbish! Poor reception, poor button placement, long button press delay - the list is endless! My daughter can take a better picture than the Palm cam..."

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