I’ve been a Palm Treo junkie since March of 2005 when I began my odyssey into the world of smartphones. It was a strange journey that began with a Sprint Treo 650 that had been hacked to work on the Verizon network. Then I switched carriers from Verizon to Cingular and purchased an unlocked 650, which I’ve been using as my main device ever since. In the past year, I have seen Palm release the 700p and 700w for non-GSM carriers. No joy for me! But, finally Palm has released a new GSM phone. The 750v is a quad band (850, 900, 1800, 1900) phone for the Vodafone network. Right now it is only available outside the US, but will eventually be available here. Of course you didn’t think that I would be patient enough to wait around for that day did you? Ummmm…. NO! A little googling turned me on to PhoneSource-USA.com and one day later I had an unlocked 750v in my hands.
Operating System: Windows Mobile 5.2
Memory: 128MB / 60MB nonvolatile flash memory available to user
Processor: 300MHz Samsung processor
Display: 240 x 240 16-bit color (65,000+) TFT touchscreen display
Radio: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS radio, GSM bands: 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS bands: 850/1900/2100
Connectivity: Bluetooth 1.2 wireless technology, Infrared (IR)
Expansion: miniSD card slot
Camera: 1.3 megapixel with 2x digital zoom
Audio: 2.5mm headset jack is stereo headset compatible
Battery: Removable 1200 mAH Lithium-ion
Talk time: up to 4.5 hours GSM / 2.5 hours UMTS, Standby time: 10 days
Power: AC adapter (Input 100-120V ~ 50/60Hz 0.2A / Output +5.2V)
Size: 111mm x 58mm x 213mm
Weight: 5.4 ounces / 154 grams
AC charger with 4 country adapters
Stereo headset / mic
USB sync cable
Getting Started CD
Quick Start Guide
The design of the 750v hasn’t changed radically from the original Treo 600, 650 and 700 models. That said, there have been some subtle changes, so let’s take a look.
The first obvious thing that you will notice about the 750v is its lack of an external antenna on the upper left corner. You might worry that a lack of an external antenna might cause reception to suffer. I’ve actually found that the 750v gets better reception than my 650. I’ve been able to use the 750v in places where my 650 would have problems with dropped calls and bad audio.
Everything else about this phone looks very familiar, which is both good and boring. I guess Palm didn’t want to mess with a good thing considering how popular the Treo has become. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a little innovation…
Compared to the 650, the 750v has slightly larger buttons and keyboard keys. It also has more rounded corners, which makes it feel smaller in your hand. But if we compare the size of both devices, there really isn’t a big difference. The 750v is 1 ounce lighter than the 650 and feels solid. This phone passes the Gadgeteer squeeze test with nary a creak or flex.
The thumb board keys are square with rounded corners and seem to be a bit flatter than the 650 keys. The tactile feedback is good and the layout is identical to the 650, so the learning curve is nil if you’re someone that is upgrading from a previous Treo device. The 5 way navigation button and phone buttons are shaped a bit differently and the call Answer / Start button and call End / OK button are actually 2 buttons now instead of 4. Each set is a rocker button instead of an individual button. I haven’t found this to be a problem so far.
The keyboard and other keys light up when activated. You will notice that the 4 points of the nav button do not light up though like they do on the 650. Not a big deal, just pointing it out.
Let’s talk about the display… The resolution is 240 x 240, which is a step down from what I’ve been used to with the 650 (320 x 320). I was worried that this would bother me, but so far I’m not noticing a huge difference. Granted, so far I’m mainly just using the built in set of core applications. We’ll see what happens when I get to the software section of the review.
Left to Right: Treo 650, Treo 750v
Besides the resolution issue, the display itself is easy to read, the colors bright and the text crisp.
The stylus silo, camera and speaker are located on the back of the phone. You’ll also notice that the outer shell of the 750v is a deep Blue. What you can’t see, is that it is rubberized. This is a nice improvement over the 650, which I’ve always found to be a bit slippery.
The back side has ridges (hard to see in the picture) along the sides that give the phone a thinner feeling in hand.
The built in speaker on the back of the device is loud enough for demoing an MP3 to a friend and definitely loud enough to be used as an alarm clock.
The camera built into the 750v seems to be worse than the crummy camera built into the 650. Which seems odd to me because the 650 is only a .3 megapixel and the 750v is a 1.3 megapixel. I’ll let you judge for yourself though.
Left to Right: 750v, 650. Click thumbnail to view full size image
The images on the left was taken with the 750v, the ones on the right the 650. Both were taken within seconds of each other from the same distance. The only thing I did was to set the 750v to snap at 640 x 480, since that is the max resolution of the 650. As you can see, the image taken with the 750v is noticeably blurrier. Disappointing…
Hey, does anyone really use these tiny self-portrait mirrors? I mean, how can you even see yourself in these things?
The stylus included with the 750v is typical skinny stylus.
The battery cover pops off without much trouble, and reveals the battery compartment and SIM card slot. The battery included with the 750v is 1200mAH. The 650 has a 1800mAH battery. I tried my 650 battery in the 750v and it does work. But, it’s too thick to allow the battery cover to snap back on. I’ve yet to really test the battery life of this new phone, so I’m not sure how the difference in capacity really compares.
The left side of the phone has a volume adjustment rocker button, and a user definable button. I prefer the shape of the volume rocker on the 650. The ends of the 650 button are raised so that your thumb can easily find the right end to press for adjustment. Volume level through the earphone on the front of the phone seems a lot louder than the 650. I’m used to keeping the 650 set to max volume, I don’t need to do this with the 750v.
In the image above, you can see how the thickness of the 750v compares to a 650.
On the right side, you’ll notice the new location for the IR port and memory expansion slot.
The 750v doesn’t have an SD card. Instead, it has a slot for a MiniSD card. The change from SD to MiniSD isn’t a big deal, except for one issue… the ability to easily add WiFi to the 750v. MiniSD WiFi cards are coming to market, there is at least one available now: the Spectec SDW-822. But the the problem with that one is that the card sticks out of the slot, making it easy to accidentally break off the door. For me the lack of WiFi really isn’t that big of a deal. If I want to surf, I just use my mobile data plan.
It’s hard to see in the image above, but at the bottom right corner under the card slot, there is a reset switch. This location is more convenient than under the battery door like previous Treo models.
The top of the 750v has the speaker on/off switch. When you switch it to the off position, the Treo will vibrate to remind you of the setting.
Nothing much has changed along the bottom edge of the 750v. You can see the 2.5mm audio jack, sync and power connections and the microphone, which has moved to a new location to the Right of the power port.
Speaking of power, when I first pulled out the AC adapter, I was reminded that this phone is from the UK and not the US. I wasn’t too concerned due to the fact that a USB charge/sync cable was also included. But then I noticed some plastic slugs at the bottom of the box that included outlet prong configurations for power outlets of different countries. Great for world travelers!
As far as the hardware, this Treo is on par with previous models. The build quality feels rugged enough for typical day to day abuse. I do wish the camera were better and that the resolution of the display was higher. So far these are my only two gripes, but I’ve only been using this phone for a few days.
Now let’s take a look at the software side of the 750v. I’m not going to cover every application because that would make this already long review into a novel. But I will talk about the phone application and a few other things that people have asked me about.
Software Installed On Device
Internet Explorer Mobile
Microsoft Office Outlook Mobile
Microsoft Office Mobile
– Word Mobile
– Excel Mobile
– PowerPoint Mobile
Pictures and Video
Picsel PDF Viewer
Setup email for Vodafone
SMS / MMS Messaging with chat view
Sounds and Notifications Manager
Terminal Services Client
Windows Media Player 10 Mobile
Wired Car Kit Support
Software on CD
Adobe Reader (link for your desktop)
ActiveSync 4.2 (for your desktop)
Dynomite! By Astraware
Outlook 2002 (for your desktop)
Spritesoft Backup and restore
User Guide pdf
First of all, as a Mac user, I have been syncing my phone using MissingSync for Windows Mobile 5 from Mark/Space. I’ve been very happy with it. The only feature it lacks is the ability to sync notes files.
The screen that you’ll be viewing most of the time on the Treo 750v, is the Today screen.
Included with the phone are 3 or 4 themes, like the one you see above. Like all Windows Mobile devices, you can configure it to show your upcoming appointments, status of tasks, emails, etc.
There are several ways to make calls. If you press the Green Talk button, you’ll get a popup showing your most recent contacts. From there, you can initiate a call. Pressing the Menu key (button above the Red End Call button), will give you access to various settings.
If you just start typing a number or a name, a search box will display that will filter based on the numbers / letters that you type. Once you find the person you want to call, you can then press Select to dial.
Yet another way to make a phone call, is to configure the speed dial feature. With this feature, you can have text buttons, or pictures. The picture above on the left, gives you an example of both. It’s interesting to note that you can’t customize your Today screen to have no speed dial buttons. At a minimum, the Voicemail button has to be there. Hmmmmm…
There’s always the good old dial pad. Not sure why you would want to use this, when you can press the keys, but it’s there if you so desire. For reference, the Treo 650 dial pad is shown on the right.
The call log is accessible my pressing the menu button from the Today screen.
The log can be filtered by different criteria. You can also access the call timer screen, which basically tells you how many calls you’ve placed and how much time you’ve talked since the log was last reset.
For reference, I’ve included the call log screens from the Treo 650 above.
When a call comes into the 750v, a small popup with the caller’s name (if a member of your contact list) will display at the bottom of the screen. If you have a picture associated with that person, it will display along with the name.
If you don’t want to answer the call, you can ignore or ignore with a text message. A selection of messages are available from a popup list or you can create your own. Missed calls have the dialog box as shown above on the right.
Text messages display at the bottom of the Today screen. Multiple messages are threaded. Clicking on the block will show the threaded conversation.
You can even add emoticons. :o) This threaded chat feature was first available on the Treo 650. Below are screenshots of the 650 chat app.
As you can see, the 750v chat application is very similar.
Surfing the web on the 750v has been similar to what I’ve been used to with the 650. The screen is small, so the experience isn’t exactly wonderful. That said, it’s fine for reading text and sites optimized for mobile devices.
The pictures above give you an idea of how much information you’re able to view per screen. You can view in fullscreen mode, which does offer a few more viewable lines of text.
Watching movies on the 750v is doable, but not advised. I say this because the 300MHz processor isn’t really up to the task. Yes, you can watch movies, but I found that they do pause and stutter here and there. Also, the screen is just too small for comfortable viewing. In full screen mode widescreen formatted videos are stretched and look pretty fuzzy and pixelated.
Due to the size of the 750v’s display, applications made for higher resolution Pocket PCs, will not always display correctly on the Treo’s display. A lot of times you have to scroll down to see the bottom of the screen. For this fact, it’s always best to download the latest versions of your favorite apps, as they will have probably taken the smaller display into consideration and will compensate.
Comparing the 750v to the 650 isn’t quite fair, as they do run different operating systems. But, I will say that the 650 feels snappier than the 750v. Not by a huge margin, but I do notice a difference. Other than the speed issue, I’ve been surprised that I’ve easily made the transition from Palm OS to Windows Mobile. At this point, I’m not entirely sure the move is going to stick, but I’m going to give it a good try.
I have been asked a few questions concerning the 750. I thought it best to include them below:
Q. When is this freakin’ phone going to hit the Cingular market?
A. Good question. I wish I knew the answer too…
Q. Will the Cingular phone have HSDPA? Or just UMTS?
A. The 750v has UMTS, but HSDPA can be enabled through software. When the phone comes out for Cingular, it will most likely be enabled.
Q. Because you have used both (650 and 750v) Which one do you prefer when it comes to the phone app and using your Treo as a phone?
A. The 750v because it has a little better reception and many ways to make calls.
Q. I don’t think it’s fair to set the 750v to take a picture at 640×480 and compare
them that way. I understand what you were trying to do — compare apples to apples.
A. Hmmm, good point. I’ll take some more shots in the next couple of days and add them to the review.
This phone is not yet available here in the US… You can find it on some import sites if you are willing to pay a premium. I got mine from PhoneSource-USA.com. The price was an insane $759.95.