Treo 700w Review: Part 2
As promised, following on my review of the Windows Mobile Treo 700w’s ActiveSync (1) and Today (2) functionalities below is the second installment in which I will cover the areas of Contacts and Calendar with their respective functionalities. Also, in parentheses again I add my personal opinion judging whether I consider each function to be better or worse overall than on our existing PalmOS based Treo 650.
3. Contacts (Worse)
On the Treo 700w the Contacts can be accessed either by typing the first few letters of a First or Last Name in the Today screen which brings up a pop-up in the Lookup Field (below left) of all the relevant matches with their telephone numbers. However, Palm/Microsoft have annoyingly omitted to include the email in this list which one could for example use to look up the name “John Brown” and then email him with one click instead of the four or five that it takes via the Messaging application.
Additionally, whereas on the Treo 650 you can type “jbro” (first letter of First Name + xx letters of Last Name) to quickly look for “John Brown”, the Treo 700w is limited to searching for either “John” or “Brown” but not the full name.
Using the 5Way Up/Down within the Lookup Field you can scroll through each of the contacts and individual telephone numbers. Clicking on the name will open the contact Summary (below left) while clicking on a number will automatically dial. Within the Summary you can also scroll to the Name then select Edit which will take you to the contact Details (below right) which has 39 data fields compared to 22 standard and up to 40 total data fields in our Treo 650.
Instead of using the Lookup Field, you can also access the Contacts by pressing the Windows button then either scroll down or press the letter “o” on the keyboard.
As with other Windows Mobile applications I found the ‘options’ to be extremely limited and in the case of Contacts the only two are “Show Alphabetical Index” and “Show Contact Names Only” (above right) and you can’t simultaneous search by Name and Company. You do have the option to select “View By…” either Name (above) or Company (below) but again no simultaneous search in both fields.
Using the 5Way Left/Right will scroll through the various contact details such as Work, Home, Mobile, Email and IM and pressing any name will again open the Summary (below left).
In the Contact example above you can select and press on either “Send Text Message” or “Send e-mail” to open the relevant Messaging application (above right with Outlook E-mail). As I pointed out earlier I really feel that both Messaging options should have been made available from within the Lookup Field instead of so many more clicks away. Our Treo 650 may also lack the “Email from Contacts” functionality but at least it is much better when it comes to “SMS from Contacts” which I use regularly.
4. Calendar (Worse)
The Calendar application includes five views: Agenda, Day, Week, Month and Year. My favourite view is undoubtedly Agenda which provides a simple uncluttered list view of all you appointments for the day. Although it lacks a dedicated on-screen “New” button like on the Treo 650 I found that holding the Center 5Way for a couple of seconds brings up a menu (below right) to create a new appointement but again annoying not the option to actually edit an existing one…
The remaining four Calendar views are next to useless – particularly the Day view which I found extremely difficult and annoying to use because it lists 24 hour slots instead of just 8 or 10 business hours (no Option to change this) and maddeningly scrolls across the screen in 8 hour increments. The only advantage that the Day view has over the Agenda is that you can use your thumb on-screen for your appointment start time and to automatically launch the New Appointment screen.
If some aspects of the Calendar views are somewhat frustrating then the actual New Appointment (below) creation process is no different. The main reason that I was disappointed here is because the Start and End times can only be set in half hour increments and you can’t use the keyboard to write say “3.15p” to set a time of “3:15 PM” (in fact you can’t use the keyboard at all). A little trick that I discovered is that once the cursor is on the time you need to click on the Center 5Way twice to scroll.
Overall I found both the Contacts and Calendar applications to be disappointing and was particularly annoyed at the lack of customization options available throughout. Having said this I have no doubt that corporate Treonauts will be pleased with particular aspects of the out-of-the-box integration with Outlook such as the option to set Attendees for a Calendar appointment.
As I’ve mentioned before neither the Treo 650 running PalmOS nor Treo 700w running Windows Mobile are perfect but each have unique functionalities that Treonauts may like more or less to suit their particular needs…
UPDATE: The Treo 700w is now available to purchase from the Treonauts Shop for only $299.00 (after mail-in rebate and 2 years new voice & data account).
Treonauts always look at the details…