Our Smartphone Stores.  Buy Accessories For Your... Blackberry Android Moto Q iPhone Centro Treo

Treo 700w Review: Part 1

Please visit our Treo Store to find the bestselling Treo 700w accessories and Treo 700w cases for your smartphone.

I’ve now had the opportunity to play around with my Treo 700w for a little over a week and I’m slowly getting a sense of what it can do and how well and easy (or bad and complicated) it is to use on a daily basis.

First I must state that I have no previous experience whatsoever with Windows Mobile or Pocket PC devices and so I will be unable to compare the performance of the Treo 700w to competing devices powered by this OS.  Instead I will be using my beloved Treo 650 running PalmOS as the benchmark for evaluating the forthcoming Treo 700w.

My intention is not to write about “the battle of the OS’” pitching PalmSource against Microsoft but to evaluate both pragmatically and neutrally.  It is evident that some Treonauts will categorically prefer either PalmOS or Windows Mobile without much consideration for performance and usability while others will carefully weigh the pros and cons of each to decide which Treo to purchase.  There is no doubt that both the Treo 650 and Treo 700w have unique pros and cons that will each be more or less appealing to different Treonauts and as you’ll discover in my review the ‘perfect’ solution combining the best of both worlds is still not in sight.

Below are the main areas of performance and usability of the Treo 700w that I will be taking a closer look at and review in the coming days:

  1. Synchronization (Microsoft ActiveSync 4.1)
  2. Today (Home screen)
  3. Phone (Calls, Speed Dial)
  4. Contacts
  5. Calendar
  6. Tasks
  7. Notes
  8. Email (part of Messaging)
  9. Browser (Internet Explorer)
  10. SMS and MMS (part of Messaging)
  11. Pictures & Videos
  12. Windows Media Mobile (Movies, Music, TV, Streaming Audio & Video)
  13. Word, Excel and PowerPoint Mobile
  14. Pocket MSN (Messenger, Hotmail)
  15. Verizon Wireless Sync
  16. Programs
  17. Settings
  18. Bluetooth
  19. WiFi

In this first part of my review I will be taking you through my experiences with the Synchronization and Today functions.  Additionally, in parentheses I have added my opinion of how each function compares to our Treo 650.

1. Synchronization with Microsoft ActiveSync 4.1 (Better)

Installing ActiveSync on my PC was done in a few minutes and after following the simple instructions and setting my preferences (I chose to sync my Outlook Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes leaving out the email, IE Favorites, Files and Media options) I was ready to sync my Treo for the first time using either my existing Seidio Retractable Sync & Charge cable or the standard Treo 650 cradle.

There are a number of things that I particularly liked about ActiveSync such as the fact that it syncs in the background without the annoying, distracting and even stressful Hotsync progress windows that appear on screen under PalmOS – I could easily keep working without noticing that a sync was in progress.

Additionally, the Explore button in ActiveSync easily allows me to view, add or delete files on my Treo 700w.  Similarly, you can also access the files on any SD card inserted in the Treo 700w so that it becomes a useful USB card reader – I really love this and wish that it was available out of the box in our Treo 650 instead of having to use a third party program such as Softick Card Export II

Under Tools there is also an option to quickly Add/Remove Programs and perhaps more importantly was the very cool finding that once your Treo 700w is connected to your PC it can automatically share its Internet connection saving you from having to use data minutes if you don’t happen to have an unlimited wireless data plan (it’s kind of the same setup that I use with reverse BT DUN on my Treo 650 but much, much easier).

2. Today (Better)

There is much to like about the Treo 700w’s Today screen even if it could be considered to be somewhat cluttered with too much information if you decide to add all of the options that you can have which include: Lookup Field (Type name or number), Date, Speed Dial (Text + Picture), Owner Info, Messaging, Tasks, Web Search, Pocket MSN, Calendar and Picture.  I personally chose to add everything except Owner Info and Picture (which was making my Today screen run extremely slow…).

As on the Treo 650, typing any character will automatically start a Contacts search.  However, the Treo 700w has a few minor but neat additions such as the fact that the contacts begin to appear in a pop up (see below) within the Lookup Field and that it also has a smart feature which allows it to determine whether you are trying to dial a number (below right) or search a contact.  Unfortunately, as with the Treo 650 you can only perform a First or Last Name search and not a Company which I find annoying on both devices.

Next is the Speed Dial section which offers you the option of dialing via either Picture or Text as well as a Quick Key for any existing or new contact that you want.

Below this I have added the Email and Tasks which I can access via either the 5Way button or simply with my thumb on the screen to open each respective application.

One function of the Today screen which I particularly like and which immediately makes the most of its high speed data connection is the Web Search box in which you type anything then hit the return key to see a couple of seconds later your query results from Google… very neat.

I haven’t yet properly setup my MSN account and so I will have to slightly skim this part but I can quickly tell you that the icons for the MSN butterfly, house, messenger and mail respectively open 1) an MSN jump page; 2) the MSN Mobile web page in IE Mobile; 3) MSN Messenger and 4) your Hotmail account.  Any existing MSN user will undoubtedly be absolutely delighted to see such a tight integration on the Treo 700w.

I can also tell you as a bit of a preview that I was able to follow a link here from WindowsMedia.com which allowed me to perfectly stream both TV and video on the Treo 700w…

Lastly I have my Calendar function at the very bottom of the Today screen which like the Email and Task will take me to the application with either the 5Way or my thumb on the screen.

I hope that this will have given you a good overview of how ActiveSync and Today work with the Treo 700w and how it compares to the Treo 650.  Also, even though I write that I consider both these functions to be ‘Better’ overall than the similar ones under PalmOS in our Treo 650 there are nonetheless other ones which I will review in the coming days that are definitely not so.

UPDATE: Treo 700w Review Part 2 is now available.

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 take a close look at things

Posted by Andrew on December 20, 2005 at 03:51 PM

Treo Windows Mobile

| Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Treo 700w Review: Part 1:

» 700w pre-release review! from Bernie's ramblings...
Treonauts have written a review writing about various aspects of the 700w, comparing it head-on against the Treo 650. Heres a short summary: Activsync 4.1 + (surprisingly) Today Screen + (as to be expected) The 240240 scr... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 20, 2005 8:52:09 PM

» The first Palm Treo 700w review from Treo Today
After giving us a great first look on the upcoming Palm Treo 700w powered by Windows Mobile, Andrew from Treonauts has released the first part of his full review. In this first segment, Andrew covers the Synchronization and Today functions, with h... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 21, 2005 5:21:17 PM

» First Treo 700w Review Sneaks onto the Web from Lockergnome's Mobile Lifestyle
Looks like you can get a good taste of what's to come from Verizon this January when it will reportedly release the Palm Treo 700w. Treonauts has a little write up on the first Windows Mobile Palm unit and it's... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 21, 2005 7:30:33 PM

» Treo 700w Review from MobileWhack.com
Are you one of those waiting around for the upcoming Treo 700w? Well the folks at the Treonauts have managed to scrounge one up and have some detailed information in a review of the handheld here. Of particular interest are... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 22, 2005 9:03:42 AM

» PDA Blogging Advice Needed: from The Volokh Conspiracy
I have been very happy with the service and pricing of T-Mobile over the past year, as well as with the functionality of my Treo 600. Nevertheless, I was considering moving to Verizon when Palm announced the [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 3, 2006 2:36:29 PM

» Treo 700w available through Verizon... from Outside The Cube
You've probably seen this by now... But I'm thinking this will finally be the device that makes... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 5, 2006 5:34:17 PM

» Why I Stopped Using my Smartphone from Omer Khan's BLOG
[Read More]

Tracked on Jan 12, 2006 3:47:51 AM

» Why I Stopped Using my Smartphone from Omer Khan's BLOG
[Read More]

Tracked on Jan 12, 2006 3:49:35 AM

» Why I Quit My Smartphone from Omer Khan's BLOG
[Read More]

Tracked on Jan 12, 2006 3:48:32 PM

» Treo 700w Review from MobileWhack.com
Are you one of those waiting around for the upcoming Treo 700w? Well the folks at the Treonauts have managed to scrounge one up and have some detailed information in a review of the handheld here. Of particular interest are... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 28, 2006 6:44:41 AM

» Treo 700w Review from MobileWhack.com
Get this PDA Now for the Best Price on the Internet! Are you one of those waiting around for the upcoming Treo 700w? Well the folks at the Treonauts have managed to scrounge one up and have some detailed... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 5, 2006 12:49:42 AM


by max | Dec 20, 2005 4:35:13 PM

Do you know what is the resolution on 700? I hope they did not drop the ball, and it is at least 320x320 :)

by Antoine | Dec 20, 2005 4:45:10 PM

The resolution is 240x240 (stated in the announcemtn a few days ago). If you like 320x320 then stay with the 650 (or if there is a 700p then run for that one).

Good review Andrew. I am a bit intrigued, you seem to like the Today screen a lot (I confess, I do too). I wonder what you would think of your 650 with Facer 3 (www.pocketcraft.com) as it does all except the kool dialing and Google features (asking for it to be added but I dont know if it is coming).

by jesper thirup hansen | Dec 20, 2005 6:45:51 PM

I enjoyed very much reading the preview. I have 3 questions, that I'd really like to solve.
1. Do you know if the 700w will run Skype?
2. Do you know if the phone will work in Europe?
3. Do you think I'll be able to synchronize with a Mac?
Hope to hear from you, Jesper.

by patrickj | Dec 20, 2005 6:47:39 PM

Great review. Very keen to see the further sections and topics covered. And now I am still loving my Treo 650, but really really tempted to go get this device as soon as it's available ...

by Matt | Dec 20, 2005 7:32:30 PM

I'm a big fan of Yahoo! LaunchCast...have you tried it on the 700w?


by Gg | Dec 20, 2005 7:56:23 PM

Minor note: the 650 has that contact versus number feature too. I have my phone screen set to "Typing starts contacts search" (I don't remember if that was the default or not) so when I start typing, it starts going through my contacts. If I type to the point where there are no possible contact matches, it switches to the dial pad view and interprets all my previous keystrokes as numbers.

by ppcmd | Dec 20, 2005 8:55:34 PM

jesper thirup hansen:

I can comment on what I have read so far.
1. Do you know if the 700w will run Skype?
- Check out this link http://msmobiles.com/news.php/4693.html over at MSMobiles they have some info about a new Skype version for 312mhz processors, so it would seem like a yes.

2. Do you know if the phone will work in Europe?
- The initial launch is CDMA on Verizon so not at this time. Mid 2006 (or later) Palm is launching a GSM version so you will be able to have this in Europe.

3. Do you think I'll be able to synchronize with a Mac?
- AS 4.1 works on Windows XP and currently MAC doe snot support it on OS X also both Missing Sync (MarkSpace) and PocketMAC are "working on" Windows Mobile 5 supprt but NO DATE has been announced.

If getting your contacts calender schedule etc are key then check out www.4smartphone.com it works with Entourage and you can sync all of that cruicial data and emails there. As for getting your .cab files onto your Treo. I use Filejuicer you can find it here www.filejuicer.com/filejuicer/ to extract the .cab files. Keep in mind some .exe apps will not extract and for that I have my old XP machine (I use my Powerbook G4).

Hope this helps.

by ppcmd | Dec 20, 2005 9:00:09 PM

Almost forgot, I have found the information provided here to be very helpful. As the reviewer has mentioned this is his first WindowsMobile device so he doesn't have much to compare it to. I recognize that some of upcoming items he may find bad compared to PalmOS may in fact be normal for WM users. My biggest concern really is how the processor, ROM and RAM help or hinder the device in normal to heavy daily use. I am not opposed to having if its available a RAM upgrade to 64MB (PPCTEchs does very nice work).

So Part 2 hopefully will be up soon and continue the excellent work.

by JW | Dec 20, 2005 9:22:58 PM

Nice Review. I have to admit that activsync is much better than hotsync and reduces the stress of havingto sync your data all the time. My question is what kind of wireless sync capabilities will it have? I'm tired on not having my data sync over my carriers network. Is this possible with the 650? Best regards...

by gtom | Dec 20, 2005 10:11:24 PM

Great review - keep it up!

by jl | Dec 21, 2005 12:04:26 AM

can you choose your own speed dial picture, or can you only use the stock photos they provide?

by gtom | Dec 21, 2005 12:12:01 AM

According to the manual, uou can use your own picture - either one you take with the camera or one you transfer to the phone via activesync. I presume the pic should be sized appropriately however.

by RDL18 | Dec 21, 2005 12:54:44 AM

Thanks for the review - very interested in the details of the new 700w. I just have a Treo 90 now but am looking to buy Treo pda/phone in January when my cellular contract expires. The priority for me is the ability to use my two main Palm OS apps, or Windows Mobile equivalents: Keysuite by Chapura and Pocket Quicken by Landware. Landware advised PQ will be compatible with WM5, but Chapura says it has no plans for a WM5 version of Keysuite. Keysuite is the only app I've found that allows me to sync multiple personal and Exchange folders from Outlook, not just the default folders. I used to have a Dell Axim at work and used my Palm III instead, because I couldn't get all the folders I wanted with ActiveSync. All the other cool features didn't mean much to me if I couldn't carry the folders I needed. Do you have any indication from your testing of the 700w if it will permit multiple Outlook folders to be synchronized, including Exchange and public folders? Very interested to know...thanks!

by jordan | Dec 21, 2005 2:37:01 AM

interesting first part...looks good so far. I dunno, i think it will really boil down to the OS as everybody says. I personally like the more "tinkering" Windows OS over the palm. Yes the WM5 is a little more "busy" and has many more ways to be difficult but it is also arguably more powerful and compatible with the market.

what i am REALLY curious about is if they fixed the random stalls/shut downs of the treo 650....

by gtom | Dec 21, 2005 3:26:09 AM

Out of curiousity, what happens when you press the hotsync button if you use a 650 cable with the 700w? Nothing?

by Andrew | Dec 21, 2005 5:00:02 AM

gtom - it makes a very nice chirping sounds but as you point out does little else.

RDL18 - please check Chapura's new PocketMirror Professional for Windows Mobile http://www.chapura.com/pmp_wm.php that allows you to have multiple Outlook contact files and which I will shortly install for my Treo 700w.

jl - yes, you can choose any picture you want for the speed dials.

JW - I haven't looked at a wireless sync yet but will.

ppcmd - so far I can't say that the Treo 700w works at 'turbo' speeds but it's not sluggish either. Also, thanks for the tips - I have now successfully installed and tested Skype on my Treo 700w with great results on IM but poor on voice.

Gq - I also have the "typing starts contact search" enabled on my Treo 650 but it does not automatically revert to the dial pad if no match is found...

Antoine - thanks, I haven't tried Facer on my Treo 650 yet but will do so now based on your suggestion.

Matt - no Launchcast yet but on my list of things to do...

Cheers, A.

by Gg | Dec 21, 2005 12:14:45 PM

Hmm, perhaps it was in a firmware update? I'm using Sprint 1.12, but I can't imagine you wouldn't have the latest firmware and I think the other carriers have gotten updates since then so I don't know what the difference would be.

by E Levey | Dec 21, 2005 4:19:27 PM

Will you be able to sync the tero 700w with public folders in outlook (on the exchange server). Many moons ago this was not availible but maybe it is now.

by sqr | Dec 21, 2005 7:38:38 PM

I am particularly interested in the functions of Active Sync as relates to corporate users with Exchange Server 2003. ES2003 supports a host of mobile features (that make it beat RIM) but Palm has lagged in implementing them into the 650 VersaMail. MS says they are "out there and waiting for Palm" (Palm has already paid for licensing). Anybody have experience on this with the 700?

by Man in the Middle | Dec 21, 2005 8:42:50 PM

The two comparisons I'd most like to see between the 650 and the 700 aren't mentioned in your testing plan, but I do hope you'll consider doing them: 1) processing speed, i.e. time to complete a lengthy task in a program available for both, such as searching the entire Bible for a single instance of a word in MyBible (www.laridian.com), which is available for both Palm and Pocket PC; 2) battery life (relative specs of the batteries, and how long it takes both to run down when doing the same continuous task on both. Traditionally, the Palm OS has been considered both more speed-efficient and battery-efficient than the Pocket PC, but I would be interested in knowing whether that is still true.

by BobL | Dec 21, 2005 9:59:00 PM

My question is wether the AKU2 update that enables the handheld side of push is in place in the version being initially released.

by Alex | Dec 21, 2005 11:30:06 PM

Hello Andrew (et al),

Just wanted to let you know that this site has been a great resource in evaluating which Treo (650 or 700w) I will get when I upgrade in the near future.

As a physician, I currently look at hospital images (CT/MRI) over VPNs (Aventail Connect, CiscoSecure) from my PC at home. I want to have this capability remotely from my Treo.

1) Does anyone else use their Treo for a similar purpose? I currently use a Clie NX70V (no WiFi) and the 320x480 screen with zoom. This resolution seems to be adequate for viewing images and if you square off the screen, as the Treo does, the 650 will give the same effective resolution. The 700w with 240 x 240 might be substandard. Any thoughts?

2) Are there acceptable VPN programs for both Palm OS5 and WM5? I haven't run the particulars with my IT/Radiology depts. but is the whole concept mooot given other users experience with Treos and VPN connections? I don't know how proprietary the VPN software/protocols are or whether I can put appropriate parameters into any VPN program.

Thanks, in advance, to all the Treonauts out there.

- Alex

by Paul Van der Merwe | Dec 22, 2005 1:39:54 AM

I just gave back my Treo 650 today after nearly one month. Although it can be very handy the slow internet from my service provider frustrated me and it froze a couple of times. It was also frustrating that it could not access everything on the exp. card.
Hope the 700 would be better and more stable.
The 700's resolution might scare me off to something different. I need the phone and a better camera on it. Do you know if the 700 would be compatible with the GPS navigation system of the 650? They can also consider a non-skid back for these treos!


by dave | Dec 22, 2005 9:34:47 AM

is this evdo? when your online with msn does it keep the data connection open.. so the voice calls are skipped?

by Robert Ancker | Dec 23, 2005 3:05:27 PM

Will there be a way(or is there now)to transfer contacts & calendar info from Palm 650 to 700w???

The comments to this entry are closed.

Footer graphic
©2006 Treonauts.com | Subscribe to the Treonauts Blog RSS Feed


Treo Blog
Treo Forum
Treo Accessories Store
Treo Software Store


iPhone Blog
iPhone Accessories Guide
iPhone Accessories Store
iPhone Software Store


Centro Forum
Centro Accessories Guide
Centro Accessories Store
Centro Software Store