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Treo 700w Review: Part 4

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve continued to learn new things about my new Treo 700w running Windows Mobile and my latest post today relates to using WiFi.

Like the Treo 650, the Treo 700w does not come with built-in WiFi.  However, whereas the only WiFi solution available for the Treo 650 is the comparatively large (but nonetheless useful) Enfora WiFi Adapter the Treo 700w can be used with a small SD WiFi card.

There are currently two cards available – both priced at $89.95.  The first is the Palm WiFi Card (pictured below left) which has the benefit of already having all necessary drivers pre-installed on the Treo 700w so that the only thing you need to do to get started is just pop the WiFi card into the SD slot.

  

The second is the Socket Go WiFi! E300 (above right) that has the benefit of being shorter than Palm’s card (see comparison below) and which also comes with a useful free WiFi Companion application.  (Please note that the new Windows Mobile 5 driver for the Socket WiFi needs to be downloaded separately.) 

  

Both WiFi solutions allow you to access any 802.11b wireless network and they provided me with connectivity of up to some 900Kbps (as tested with dslreports.com).  However, Socket’s card tended to pick up a better signal strength of 99% while Palm’s hovered around 88% – both still excellent overall.

Additionally, my battery tests with the Palm WiFi Card provided me with some 6 hours of non-stop use streaming a radio station with the screen dimmed but not turned off.  Socket claims an even better battery life and my own tests revealed a 50% improvement or up to 9 hours.  With either card, if required, an additional battery will keep your WiFi going for an extra few hours.

As I mentioned earlier, getting started with either the Palm or Socket WiFi solutions was simply a question of popping the card into the SD slot.  Within a few seconds all ‘Available Wireless Networks’ are identified and you’re asked to connect to the one of your choice (left below).  For public networks, connecting is one click away while private networks (at work or at home) will need to be configured in Settings > Connections Tab > Network Cards then click Add New (below right) – in my case I had this done in a couple of minutes.

  

 

One of the things that you need to know when you’re using WiFi is that the connection will shut if you turn off your Treo and you’ll need to restart it (manually or automatically) when you power on again.  To avoid this, simply go to Settings > System Tab > Power and then tick off the option to ‘Turn off device if not used for…’ (image below right).

  

At the same time, you may not wish for the screen to dim while you’re using WiFi and for this you’ll need to change the ‘Backlight’ settings (above right).

Having completed all my settings I was now ready to test my connection and for this I chose the recently launched XM Radio Online whose music can be perfectly accessed on the Treo 700w by pointing Internet Explorer to www.minixm.com which launches the streaming radio in Windows Media Player 10 Mobile at 64Kbps.  I’ve been happily listening to ad-free classical music this way all day with my Seidio 2–in-1 Headphones.

  

Naturally, considering that (when and where available) Verizon’s EVDO network will already provide an excellent wireless data connectivity I did not find any noticeable speed improvements using WiFi.  However, adding a WiFi card will typically be done to access a corporate network or for use in instances where high-speed EVDO access is unavailable for one reason or another.

Overall, even though I would have much preferred to have built-in WiFi on the Treo 700w and the fact that WiFi cards take up your only SD card slot which leaves nothing for external memory or file access (Socket promises a dual WiFi + 512MB card by next quarter) I found both the Palm WiFi Card and Socket Go WiFi! E300 will prove to be terrific companions.

[Forward this post to a friend.]

Treonauts are always connected


Posted by Andrew on January 23, 2006 at 02:01 PM

Treo Windows Mobile

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» Part 4 of Treo 700w review from Treo Today
Andrew of Treonauts has posted Part 4 of his continuing review of the Palm Treo 700w smartphone. In this installment he covers Internet connectivity and streaming audio via WiFi SD cards. Palm Treo 700w Windows Mobile Smartphone ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 23, 2006 10:41:39 PM

» Treo 700w Review Part 4 from Windows Mobile News
So, part 4 of the Treonauts review of the 700w is now up. Check it out. ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 26, 2006 12:45:22 AM



Comments

1
by Matt | Jan 23, 2006 2:12:11 PM

I posted another comment in an earlier review and never saw an answer... I'm still very interested to hear if the 700w can be used to listen to LaunchCast radio on Yahoo!. Have you had a chance to try it? Thanks.

2
by Neal | Jan 23, 2006 4:05:54 PM

Will MiniXM work with any Palm media player such as pocket tunes? I currently use the Blazer browser. It appears to connect to MiniXM but I get no audio.

3
by TRE0 650 USER | Jan 23, 2006 5:29:02 PM

Is wifi on a Treo 650 via an SD wifi card a pipe dream, or is there still hope that it might be supported someday?

4
by Paul | Jan 23, 2006 7:09:47 PM

Just reiterating Neal's question... Will the 650 ever gain support for SD wifi cards? I am quite certain that I had seen wifi card support promoted by Palm as a feature of the 650, mentioning that it would be implemented soon. However, I can't find that in writing nor remember exactly where I saw it. Do others recall this being a promised feature of the 650?

Palm did implement the promised DUNS networking via an update, so I had hoped that wifi support would be coming one day too. As time goes on, however, this seems to be growing more unlikely.

5
by s.elements | Jan 24, 2006 1:50:57 AM

You know, I don't think I'd use wi-fi on my 650 all that often, but if one of those cards mentioned above was available, I'd definitely pick it up. That Enfora thing for the 650 is just too big.

6
by karterius | Jan 24, 2006 7:41:26 AM

Great review! How about you add a rating to this like you did your other reviews, so that people see that the 700w is not the piece of crap everyone is trying to make it out to be. I still think given enough time things like SD wifi cards will be the redeeming factor of this device.

7
by marco | Jan 24, 2006 11:58:20 AM

WiFi is already avail. for T.650 - though not officially supported:

www.uneasysilence.com/index.php?p=1719

Cheers,

8
by Paul | Jan 24, 2006 11:41:39 PM

Umm, thanks for the link to the WiFi hack. But did you read the user comments? It doesn't work with Treos that have applied any update patches (it sends them into endless soft reset land). For the few who did get it to work, it wrecked internet access through the phone network. So you gained unstable WiFi but lost access through your carrier.

9
by Steffen Nork | Jan 25, 2006 4:31:09 PM

Did you try if Skype works with the Windows Treo and WiFi..?

10
by Jason C. | Jan 25, 2006 5:18:29 PM

Month's ago i remember reading that palm treo 650 sold 1 million units and to celebrate palm was offering free treo's. If this is the case why hasn't someone started an online petition of treo 650/600 users to get palm to release a wifi update for treo's(my pc expertise end at adding entry's to my blog). If there are a million plus users of treo's 650/600 then there are a million plus customers who would gladly pay their $100+ price tag for a wifi sd card add on ( $100 x A millions customers = a crap load of happy customer and a crap load of money for palm)Palms loyalty to the carriers should not extend to "older" models, especially when they conform and develop more advance money makers for them. I also remember reading a qoute from palms ceo that wifi was not included on the treo because palm see's wifi as more a luxary and would serve no purpose a business tool(that's how i interpreted that quote)The thought that wifi has no business uses is just stupid. For a long time i thought that the enfora wifi sled was a so so good idea but it's not. It's to big to walk with and now that i see the 700w with it's own wifi that last up to 6 hours according to andrew I'M JUST PLAIN JEALOUS. I planned on waiting for the new model of treo's that supposed to be GSM to come out later this year and of course they are supposed to support EV-DO speeds but if they don't have something as popular as wifi on them i will no longer be buying palm products. HTC wizard here i come.

11
by Jason C. | Jan 25, 2006 5:21:53 PM

P.S. If anybody out there has already started a petition let me know. I'll sign.

12
by CazzDeluca | Jan 26, 2006 1:01:28 AM

I'm getting exhausted trying to find the best BT headset for my TREO 700 w/ Verizon.
I wanted to find one that supports voice command. Why is this so hard to find?
Does ANYONE have any suggestions???

13
by Levytator | Jan 26, 2006 5:24:05 PM

Treo 700 & WiFi & Skype - any news on if this combo will work?

14
by Howard Semmler | Feb 16, 2006 12:53:36 AM

Hello, this is my first post, and love the site. Very usefull information. I recently purchased a 700w and really like it. I am using a horizontal case and have real problems with the touch screen, to the point of having to do a soft boot on the phone when it has been "touched" too many times in the case. Can the touch screen be completely turned off? I have been through everything twice and cannot find it...
Thanks again for the help.

Howard

15
by TPryor | Feb 21, 2006 3:09:12 PM

It's sad to see that no additional information has been provided on this site regarding the 700w in a month. I hope that once the 700p is released, the 700w will not continue to be overlooked.

Incidentally, much has been said in the news regarding memory issues with the 700w. I have experienced plenty of them myself. In speaking with VZW tech support the other day, the technicion told me they had recently discovered an incorrect software setting the units have been shipped with. By default, ActiveSync on the phone is set to automatically try synchronizing every 10 minutes, even when not connected to a computer. He stepped me through fixing this (took 2 minutes) & I have had no further memory issues since. Hopefully they will publicize this fix a bit more. As a power user & 600/650/700 enthusiast... the 700 is the best phone I personally have ever used.

16
by Alan_Williford | Feb 25, 2006 10:20:47 AM

Has anyone figured out if the Treo 700w has a built-in GPS receiver? The wares mention sending the GPS data for 911, but that's all that is talked about.

17
by John Henry | May 28, 2006 9:45:28 PM


Please pass this petition around, it is asking palm to support SDIO WiFi cards on the Treos:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/treowifi/

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