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Treo 700w Review: Part 3

Happy New Year Treonauts!!!  I hope that you had a fantastic time celebrating and my Very Best Wishes for a Fun, Healthy & Prosperous 2006!

This year promises to be one of the most exciting yet for Treonauts thanks to an amazing total of four new Treo smartphones to be released in 2006 starting with the Treo 700w running Windows Mobile whose official commercial release should be announced later today (Palm just launched two dedicated Treo 700w pages on its website) at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from where I will be writing for the next five days.

In the meantime, as promised and evidently anxiously awaited by many, below is my third installment of the Treo 700w review where I’ll be taking a closer look at the Tasks and Notes functionalities.  As before, in parentheses 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.

5. Tasks (Equal)

Playing around with the Tasks application is the first instance where you quickly come to realise how annoying it is that the Treo 700w does not have a dedicated Programs/Applications button like on the Treo 650 (found at the top left next to the 5Way).

In order to access your Tasks you need to 1) press the Windows button; 2) scroll down to Programs or press ‘P’ on the keyboard; 3) scroll down to Tasks or press ‘T’ then scroll if you have more than one application starting with the letter T.  This is one cumbersome click more than on the Treo 650 and one which ‘could’ have been avoiced by simply providing the option to ‘Press + Hold’ the Windows button to directly access the Programs list quickly but this is not the case.  Alternatively, Palm/Microsoft could have provided a Shortcuts functionality where “Press + Hold ‘T’” or “Option + ‘T’” would launch the Tasks for example but as I’ve mentioned earlier I have found the overall customization options to be very limited on the Treo 700w.

Once in Tasks though, I very much like the fact that you can immediately start typing using the Treo 700w keyboard to quickly create a plain new task (no Priority, Status, etc) followed by the Return key without having to press either New or 5Way thus making it one click faster than the Treo 650.

  

If you want to set a more complex task which includes fields such as Priority, Status, Start/Due, Occurrance(s), Reminder, Categories, Sensitivity as well as Notes then you’ll need to press the New button at the bottom left of the screen which will open the Task Detail pages below.

  

Selecting and then pressing the Center 5Way button will bring up the Task Summary page (below right) and you can press the Edit button to make changes.

  

Unfortunately, again using one wasteful click, Palm/Microsoft have not provided the Edit option using the Press + Hold functionality (below left).  Additionally, the Menu options are difficult to access and this is an area where I miss the top pull-down menus available on the Treo 650 most.  Finally, it is also rather painful to quickly view Tasks by Categories as this again requires an un-intuitive Menu access.

  

Overall I believe that if you’re a ‘power’ Tasks user you will unfortunately find the solution offered on the Treo 700w to be somewhat inadequate but it should prove OK for a light user.  However, considering that the Treo 700w is squarely targeted at the corporate market I would have liked to have more and better functionalities in place.

6. Notes (Worse)

Aside from the fact that the Notes application suffers from the same quick access drawbacks that I mentioned in Tasks, the first time that I started Notes I was left puzzled wondering “What the hell happened here?!”. 

I use Notes regularly on my Treo 650 (called Memos) and find it excellent for quickly jotting down various thoughts but unfortunately I found that what I got on the Treo 700w was next to useless in comparison.

For starters, accessing my notes was extremely slow – presumably because I have a couple of hundreds in dozens of categories.  Then, instead of a single unencumbered line per note found on the Treo 650 I was presented with an almost undecipherable list (below left) which includes the date and size of the note but _again_ does not have the customization option to not view these additional details. 

  

Also, again no option to Edit using the Press + Hold 5Way (above right) but there is nonetheless the very useful added convenience of Send via E-mail.

While I find the ‘front-end’ of Notes to be nothing short of appalling, the ‘back-end’ functionality is nevertheless quite impressive but not always easy to use.  Each note on the Treo 700w has the option to add drawings and also attach voice memos.  Alternatively, with the ‘View Recording Toolbar’ selected in the list view you can also quickly add a standalone voice memo.

  

Overall though, I find it extremely surprising that the company (Microsoft) which develops Outlook could not manage to create a program that integrates well and seamlessly with Notes on the Windows Mobile powered Treo 700w…

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 try to find the best


Posted by Andrew on January 4, 2006 at 05:30 PM

Treo Windows Mobile

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Treo 700w Review: Part 3:

» Treo 700w Part 3 from Windows Mobile News
Treonauts.com have just put up Part 3 of thier Treo 700w review. Judging by all the buzz on news sites and blogs, this must be one of the most talked about Windows Mobile phones so far. ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 4, 2006 8:38:56 PM

» Part 3 of Treonauts Treo 700w review from Bernie's ramblings...
In this part, they review the Tasks and Notes application. Some glaring usability issues were again, highlighted such as customization of views and (too many) clicks to launch programs. Treonauts | Dedicated to your Treo 700 650. The Perfect All... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 5, 2006 12:52:48 AM

» Part 3 of Palm Treo 700w review from Treo Today
Andrew of Treonauts has published the third installment of his Palm Treo 700w Review. This time around he explores Tasks (the solution offered on the Treo 700w to be somewhat inadequate but it should prove OK for a light user) and Not... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 5, 2006 5:05:57 AM



Comments

1
by justin | Jan 4, 2006 8:11:39 PM

Is there any chance that at the end of your reviews that you could just tell us whether or not you would upgrade to the 700w. As you learn more it could change, but I don't want to have to wait for all your updates to decied if I should upgrade, if your experience with the phone is already to the point where you can make an opinion. Thanks

2
by justin | Jan 4, 2006 8:19:10 PM

Do you think that the 700p will ever be available on verizon?

Also do you know what upgrades are planned for the 700p?

3
by Eufreka! | Jan 4, 2006 11:40:51 PM

Strange, I don't see any mention of AKU 2.0 or Direct Push or MSFP...you know, all those enterprise features this phone was supposedly created to target!?!?!?

So they release it early, but without the software? Now what, no telling when an update will be released...

4
by jordan | Jan 5, 2006 1:12:35 AM

yeah, thanks for the review...we do all appreciate the work going going into your site but...i dunno. You have had a working final device for a good two weeks, i don't know why you couldn't give a summary review (this device sucks, it's great, just ok, worth an upgrade, etc) and then give these little break down reviews.

You had a two week headstart (it seemed) from almost all the other sites drooling to get their hands on this phone and it seems like it was (in my opinion) a little wasted.

I don't know the full situation or if you were under nda, but i think people want to know three things:

1. worth the upgrade?
2. how is the enterprise features/data/email functionality
3. how does the treo work as a WM5 device

seems simple enough...no?

5
by Phil | Jan 5, 2006 1:24:28 AM

justin: Direct Push is Exhange SP2 server-side functionality - it is pretty much seemless and works with WM2003+ devices. No client software required.

6
by Leroy Brown | Jan 5, 2006 1:53:48 AM

It seems like for every upgrade with the 700w there is a trade-off. I'm sure 3rd party software will help out with the shortcomings, like it did on the Treo 650. So, in time, the 700W should be clearly ahead. Can't wait to get my hands on one.

7
by John Cleary | Jan 5, 2006 3:28:04 AM

NO! This is NOT TRUE!

>Direct Push is Exhange SP2 server-side functionality - it is
>pretty much seemless and works with WM2003+ devices. No
>client software required.

YOU NEED A WinMo5 device WITH the Messaging and Security Features Pack. The question is, does the treo have it?!?

Read all about it here:
http://blogs.msdn.com/jasonlan/archive/2005/08/22/454717.aspx

John

8
by Felipe | Jan 5, 2006 8:36:00 AM

This treo is squarly aimed at corp users who wouldnt be caught dead with a palm device, they are already used to how these windows devices work, so they dont have to learn anything.

if your 650 works for you, why would you upgrade. I got a feeling andrew wont be moving to it as his main device.

re: palm 700p. apparentlly sprint will have the exclusive when/if that comes out.

BTW, David Pogue reviewed the treo w:

A Marriege Not Made in Heaven: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/05/technology/circuits/05pogue.html?pagewanted=print

9
by Howard | Jan 5, 2006 9:43:18 AM

Walter Mossberg also has posted a review and gets right down to it by saying ''The Treo 700w will appeal to some Windows Mobile fans, and to some corporate IT staffs. But for everyone else, I advise sticking with the Palm-based Treos.''

Full review here:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113641914019038020.html?mod=rss_personal_technology

10
by Ryan Smith | Jan 5, 2006 10:36:26 AM

One thing you are forgetting is that it's very easy to organize your most used apps right on the start menu. So you just drop down the menu and click on them, such as note and tasks. This is actually better than the way it works on the Palm in my opinion. The huge thing that makes a WM device better is the way it installs apps to the memory card. You can put whatever you want on a card and access them just like they are installed on the device, even from the start menu. Try organizing your start menu and you will like the device much better.

11
by John Cleary | Jan 5, 2006 11:34:14 AM

Looks like a NO on the push email for now... wonder how long this ROM update will take? Given Palm's history I wouldn't be holding my breath!

http://blogs.msdn.com/jasonlan/archive/2006/01/05/509621.aspx

john

12
by Tienshiao Ma | Jan 5, 2006 12:27:59 PM

For editing notes, can't you just click the center/select button on the 5 way (instead of holding it down)?

On my WM5 device, just clicking it opens up the note in the editor.

13
by Felipe | Jan 5, 2006 1:26:44 PM

btw, you can also get the mossberg on the free http://ptech.wsj.com/ptech.html site.

14
by Damon | Jan 10, 2006 6:09:43 PM

I just purchased my Treo 700w yesterday and have had to perform a reset on the device 3 times already. For first two instances, the device was still operable but the screen "blacked out". In the 3rd instance, the entire device was locked. Has anyone else had this issue?

15
by misty | Jan 10, 2006 11:49:11 PM

I purchased a Motorola E815 on the 1st of Jan. from Verizon. The voice quailty/reception is poor and the camera takes blurry pictures so I am going to return it. I have been thinking about buying the Palm Tero 650 or the new Treo 700w. I only have a couple days to decided. After reading your reviews I still am not sure.
Would you please tell me which one I would be better off buying. Many thanks...:o)

16
by steve nelson | Jan 15, 2006 1:31:31 AM

Felipe

yes mine has locked up several times as well.seems the longer it stays on the slower it gets.
and i do not even have anything installed in the unit yet.nor do i have it set up for email,
not sure if its just my phone or a problem.

17
by flyback | Jan 19, 2006 3:20:19 PM

Felipe,

I am also having a problem with the 700W locking up. My Verizon dealer even gave me another one and it is doing the same thing. I have talked to Verizon tech support a couple of times and they have not heard anything about the problem. I have to reset mine two to three times a day. I realize that getting version "*.0" of anything is a risk but this is a real pain!

18
by petersot | Jan 20, 2006 10:13:07 AM

So, I had the lock up problem with this device, but I called Verizon (recommend from a different phone) and they walk you through adjusting a couple of settings and then the problem went away. I haven't had a lock up in 5 days. YMMV

Also, I've been playing with Battery Pack Pro and PocketPlus and they work great. If you are looking for a good TV, radio, and weather tool without subscription try PocketStreamer.

I also found a Remote Display tool that allows you to use your mouse and keyboard as if you were working directly on your 700w. That was very helpful when putting apps into folders etc. Email me with Q's if you have any. Take care.

19
by flyback | Jan 20, 2006 11:30:43 AM

I may have found a solution to the 700W not coming out of sleep mode. The link below talks about an Axim unit but the fix is the same for the Treo 700W. I tried it and so far so good!

http://www.aximsite.com/boards/showthread.php?t=112638&page=1&pp=20

20
by Diane | Jan 22, 2006 1:03:55 PM

The distinction is simple... it's all about the OS.

What always set Palm apart was the fact that it was *designed for the handheld environment* rather than being a shrunk down version of Windows crammed into a *mini-me* PC. Windows OS runs HUGE programs that eat up processor speed and gobble up hard drive space.

Fellow Treonauts...did we forget that PALM programming is the antithesis of the Win OS??

Case in point.

When I saw the 700w came with 128mb of inherent memory I was soooo jealous. Then I read the fine print... only 60mb is available for the user (56% of the overall memory is being used by the OS). And I bet every additional Windows based app that is added will gobble up more memory.

Contrast that with the elegant use of space on my sleekly programmed 650 with 32MB inherent memory. Only 29% of the 32MG is used by the Palm OS, leaving a whopping 23MB for the tiny, extremely efficent Palm apps (which happen to outnumber the pitiful selection of Windows apps, 5 to 1).

So using the KISS principle in terms of this deliemma... it's about the SOFTWARE stupid. And Palm wins handsdown for me.

Now when the 700p hits the streets, I'll be first in line...128MB on a Palm Platform will mean at least 90-100MB free for programming!!! You go PALM!!! :o)

21
by John Dunn | Jan 25, 2006 9:07:08 AM

Has anyone had experience using TREO with Amicus software?

22
by Ligaya | Jan 27, 2006 3:19:06 AM

i have an earthlink treo 650 and i need the programming sequence for it, can anyone help me?

23
by Ligaya | Jan 27, 2006 3:20:09 AM

i have an earthlink treo 650 and i need the programming sequence for it, can anyone help me?

24
by Ismael | Feb 17, 2006 1:07:19 PM

I got my Treo 700w a week ago. First, I excited with the new features. My last phone was a Samsung i600, so I'm not new to Smartphone technology. Now, I'm so disgusted with this phone. It locks up twice a day. The only software I have loaded is eWallet. I'm one lock away from returning to VerizonWireless.

I can't believe that Microsoft continues to put out the worst products on the market. MS=CRAP.

25
by Doug Z | Mar 2, 2006 1:08:21 PM

I need help sending email. I first tried one pop3 account (work), but I could not get it to work properly (we have had problems in past generally with this host), so I went with the second pop3 option I had (work also).

I was able to set it up and it receives mail without problem, but when I try to send an email, I get a message from the system administrator that says the email is not a valid one. That can not be true because I send email to them all the time.

CAN YOU HELP ME? What am I doing wrong?

Thank you in advance.

Have a great day

Doug

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