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Treo 700w: The Treonauts Take

It seems that many Treonauts cannot wait for me to finish my detailed review of the Treo 700w and would like to know _now_ exactly how I feel about this latest addition to the Treo family so below is my take…

Aside from a few details, the hardware specifications on both the Treo 700w and Treo 650 are nearly identical.  The major difference is an enhanced 3G EVDO radio which allows the Treo 700w to access the Internet at broadband speeds (400 to 700 kbps) as well as a slightly faster processor, more user available memory, Bluetooth 1.2 and a 1.3MP camera.

There is no doubt that the broadband connectivity of the Treo 700w is a significant improvement over the 80 kbps or so capabilities of the Treo 650 and this alone may drive a lot of Treonauts to purchase the latest Treo running Windows Mobile.  However, as I have mentioned repeatedly before what makes a truly great smartphone is not merely hardware but principally great software. 

Therefore, for many the decision to purchase or upgrade to the Treo 700w will rest on the overall usability of Windows Mobile compared to the PalmOS on which I have focused in my reviews.  In this respect, even though the Treo 700w possesses some truly fantastic features and functionalities making it a superb addition to the Treo family I nonetheless repeatedly found Windows Mobile to be significantly less intuitive to use and providing a poorer user experience in comparison to the PalmOS Treo 650.  Nonetheless, even with these shortcomings the Treo 700w is an excellent smartphone in its own right.

As I wrote in the first part of my review and I’ll repeat again here today, 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 the ‘perfect’ solution combining the best of both worlds is not yet in sight.

In my opinion, the appeal of the Treo 700w will vary greatly depending on whether it is sought for use in a corporate environment (which the Treo 700w is squarely aimed at), for a small or medium enterprise or even personal use as each group will seek to fulfill different needs and preferences.  Additionally, existing Treo 650 smartphone owners as well as others with experience using PalmOS devices may be inclined to wait for the forthcoming next generation Treo 700p expected to be released within the first six months of 2006 instead of migrating to a new OS.  In the same vein, current Windows Mobile or PocketPC owners will undoubtedly feel more immediately comfortable with the Treo 700w as it delivers on an already familiar experience.

It is also worthwhile mentioning that what the Treo 700w does extremely well is enhance and diversify Palm’s smartphone portfolio so as to appeal to a completely new audience which had for one reason or another herethereto been unwilling to consider the purchase of PalmOS devices – primarily in corporate environments – thus now expanding the overall potential future growth of Treo smartphones. 

Whether you personally like the Treo 700w or not, the fact is that the incremental revenues that Palm is likely to generate will prove beneficial for all Treonauts going forward as it will provide the company with much needed additional resources to develop and refine future PalmOS and Windows Mobile devices so as to continue to make our Treo(s) the best smartphones in the world.

As it stands today, I will personally use both my Treo 650 and Treo 700w in the months ahead as I continue to explore, learn and share more about the many distinct benefits that both smartphones deliver.  Naturally, I realise that this will not be an adequate option for all but a few Treonauts and thus my suggestion is for existing ones to wait for the release of the Treo 700p in a few months time and then to compare it with the Treo 700w instead of upgrading at present.  Meanwhile, other people considering joining the Treonauts revolution today and stuck between the choice of either the Treo 650 or Treo 700w should balance the pros and cons of each to determine which unique features or functionalities best meet their needs.

Overall, I cannot categorize the Treo 700w as being better or worse than the Treo 650 – they are simply different.  Having said this, there is something to be said for the fact that the Treo 650 is one generation older than the Treo 700w and that it is nonetheless still able to firmly hold its ground in the face of a fresh new contender a full year after its release.  This alone should provide plenty of ammunition to fight those cynics who would like to claim that with the arrival of a Windows Mobile Treo the PalmOS cannot continue to strive and also build our expectations for what a Treo 700p will be able to deliver.  Each competing OS may have its fans and detractors but all will at least now have the opportunity to unite as Treonauts.

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 have what it takes

Posted by Andrew on January 6, 2006 at 06:33 PM

Treo 700w

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by Ryan | Jan 6, 2006 7:02:34 PM

I personally don't have a Treo and am considering getting a 700W.

I've heard a lot of users complaining that their 650 crashes an awful lot. Could you comment on the 700W in this regard?

Also, I have a question regarding Verizon's plans, maybe somebody knows. If you get the unlimited data plan, does that also include unlimited text messages? Or do you also need a text message plan?

by Andrew | Jan 6, 2006 7:27:52 PM

Ryan - I have personally had few situations where my Treo 650 crashes and overall have grown to accept the occasional resets as part of the compromise that I must make to use such an advanced but not yet perfect device.

Similarly, yes, I have also had the experience of having to reset my Treo 700w a couple of times but not in a manner that would distract me from its overall benefits.

Finally, Verizon's unlimited data plan does not include unlimited text messages.

I hope this helps.

Cheers, A.

by Jeff | Jan 6, 2006 10:15:49 PM

Andrew: Thanks for your great work on the 700W and comparing to the existing 650 model. I do not yet own a Treo, but have decided to buy one and am leaning to the Palm OS. Your comments above say "forthcoming next generation Treo 700p expected to be released within the first six months of 2006" and "release of the Treo 700p in a few months time" My question is: do you have any fine tuning on when the 700P will be available? Is there any chance it will be in the next month? Thanks. - Jeff

by dave | Jan 7, 2006 12:14:55 AM

Ive been playing with this 700w all day now. I love it!

EVDO rules first off. I can stream video nicely. Plus Slingbox is suppost to have a client out shortly.

It syncs with Exchange a TON better!

And the #1 reason to buy this.. you can in an active EVDO data session and your phone will RING! Damn 1X always went to Voicemail.

#2 reason.. it has memory! sheesh

But it going to take time to find applications that made me love my 650 so much.

PS I have had to reset my 700 twice now. but i was installing/deinstalling running tons of apps trying to crash it.

by Blake | Jan 7, 2006 12:44:01 AM

Next 6 months? Is there any way you can narrow it down? Every time I call Sprint or Palm, they act like I do not know what the heck I am talking about. Can you shed light?

by patrickj | Jan 7, 2006 12:46:25 AM

Bravo - very balanced and objective overview, to go nicely with the excellent detailed reviews of individual features that preceded it (and hopefully are to continue going forward). And there have been plenty of unbalanced (and just plain shoddy) reviews around the web this week, it seems to me.

I own a Treo 650 and love it, even though my background is far more as a Pocket PC and now Windows Mobile user - I still carry both the Treo and a lovely Dell Axim X51V.

I agree that the 650 is a fantastic device. Sounds like the 700w is too - and that would be great to use them side by side daily and compare - look forward to seeing the further thoughts and reviews.

by johnnyha | Jan 7, 2006 1:48:59 AM

Jeff - I have been playing with mine all night and have not gotten one video to stream! I tried to watch C-Span, I downloaded videos from Lonely Island, I tried downloading movie clips - nothing. I cannot get a single moving image to play on my Treo 700w. The videos I downloaded were hard to find on my hard drive, and when i did find them they said they needed to be opened from within an application. I tried opening from Windows Media ad it doesn't even recognize the videos, which are MPEG-4.

Any thoughts? I just want to be able to see video the same way i see it on my cable modem at home. I'm getting ZIP.

by solomon | Jan 7, 2006 1:53:42 AM

fantastic unbiased reviews, as mentioned above - i'd love to contribute, but i just got this thing out of the box and acivated. has anyone had any luck successfully transferring their contacts from a 650 to the 700w?

i would be most grateful for a pointer or two.

by cellneuron | Jan 7, 2006 2:03:20 AM


You need install beta player(now TCPMP), the ultimate PPC multimedia player. It also has a Palm OS version, so install the correct verion.


by johnnyha | Jan 7, 2006 2:12:16 AM

Thanks I will try that program but why won't the Windows Media Player 10 work on ANYTHING? I'm trying to watch the Jib Jab flash - nothing. This is ridiculous actually. It redirects me to a web page where I can BUY content. This is Bullshit pure and simple unless I am mistaken. Help me out here. I can't watch a single streaming video on this thing????

by johnnyha | Jan 7, 2006 2:46:29 AM

Downloaded that media program onto the Treo, but no luck getting it to open or install on the Treo. Does this program work on WM 5.0? Because it only says it's good thru 4.xx on the web page. Now I'm very confused.

But seriously, on my home computer Windows Media Player plays pretty much everything I encounter on the web. On my Treo it seems to be stymied. It just sends me to a webpage named "Handango".

I'm flummoxed. :(

by Eufreka! | Jan 7, 2006 2:47:04 AM

It seems *very* disingenuous to suggest that the 700w is "more targeted" to the corporate market when it doesn't offer any more exchange activesync than the 650.

The failure to include AKU 2.0/MSFP speaks of one of two possibilities: (1) Microsoft's direct push software doesn't exist or won't be released...or (2) Palm couldn't figure out how to incorporate it in the once-again "one off" platform that is the 700w...

Your inability to choose one or the other seems far more symptomatic of the "online gadget journalism" world's inability to confront manufacturers over their products, services and support.

I guess the most telling admission is that after years of development and advancements in hardware, etc., you can only say Palm's latest device is only "different." Palm's failure to produce a "better" device speaks to their failure to innovate.

by johnnyha | Jan 7, 2006 2:53:37 AM

OK sorry to beat a dead horse but this Treo will not play back simple Quicktime video from my own web page that will play over the internet on anyone's computer I have ever seen. 60,000 people have watched this video with no problems reported, but now, the Treo will not.

by johnnyha | Jan 7, 2006 4:07:16 AM

Well unless someone can convince me otherwise by tomorrow morning this puppy is going right back to Verizon where it belongs. Imagine getting a device with broadband speeds and a color screen, marketed as a media player, that WILL NOT PLAY MEDIA. It simply will not play or stream video from a normal web page. What I ask you is the purpose of broadband speeds here? This is a disaster in the making and I cannot believe in all the reviews no one has mentioned it.

by Dave Nalle | Jan 7, 2006 4:28:44 AM

I'm looking forward to the 700P so I'll have working media and Mac compatibility, but I'm not about to spend money on this white elephant. Why would anyone buy a Palm product with Windows Mobile on it? Makes no sense at all. The ease of use of PalmOS is what sets their products so far above the Handspring and Blackberry and other Windows based PDAs. Sorry, the 700P is just a retarded idea.

The other huge shortcoming is no WiFi. Broadband through my carrier is fine, but there are places where the speed just isn't there, and it's never as fast as a good WiFi connection.

I just don't see this as any real improvement over my 650.


by TazUk | Jan 7, 2006 4:54:01 AM

@Dave Nalle - Erm Handspring were PalmOS devices and became part of Palm themselves when they bought them out years ago! The original Treo's were all Handspring devices. Blackberry's run their own OS and are not Windows based either.

by Borszczuk | Jan 7, 2006 8:07:37 AM

Ryan - it's a pure gossip the Treo is unstable more than other devices and mainly crashes on daily basis. It definitely does not. Of course, lack of memory protection mechanism makes it much easier to crash the device by doing some nasty things in your app, but have you ever heard of any OS that never crashed? I do run Treo650 for quite some time, have some apps installed and the only times I saw it crashing was while debugg sessions for my own apps plus these very first days of having Treo, when I was madly installing/uninstalling a lot of various software for testing and evaluation. Then it crashed a few times for various reasons. Now, using it, I can claim Treo works very stable and reliable and I've not seen any crash for a long time.

by Dave | Jan 7, 2006 8:39:33 AM

Ryan - It is not pure gossip that the Treo crashes all the time - We have 4 in the office that reset every single time someone boots up a bluetooth laptop. Even worse - Sometimes bluetooth causes a soft crash. The phone locks up, but looks normal - You miss phone calls.

by dave | Jan 7, 2006 10:26:03 AM


worked for my 700. yea .mp4 plays now! now to find a good rss app to download the video

by Christopher Penido | Jan 7, 2006 11:44:47 AM

Apparently the new 700w is not worth the purchase. According to Walt Mossberg, unless you're coporate, stick to your Treo 650 which has better features and more reliability. Or better yet, just wait until the 700p comes out.

Here's the article on the WSJ:


Also, Windows sux and Mac's rule. :-) I can't wait until viruses start coming out for those PeeCee phones - its only a matter of time with the high speed networks and push-email systems.

I'm a Blackberry user, and it rocks, but if I HAD to choose, there wold be no competition - Palm is the next best thing.

by jm80501 | Jan 7, 2006 12:52:19 PM

What happened to WiFi? Before the release Engadget had pictures of a working 700w with a Socket WiFi card and the Treonauts store offered the card for sale. Now the card is no longer available in the store and the Socket website doesn't show a 700w model card. I know Verizon wants to sell data minutes, but is there a WiFi option or not at this time?

by dave | Jan 7, 2006 1:04:12 PM

anyone know if can use my att smartphone (audiovox 5600)sim card with the 700 and get it working on the cingular network, as that is my corporate network? thx

by John | Jan 7, 2006 1:29:41 PM

Does anyone know how effective the Treo is in getting Lotus Notes email. I work for Guardian Life Insurance, which uses lotus notes, and some coworkers haven't been able to get onto their email. Any thought?

by Patrick | Jan 7, 2006 2:07:07 PM

You did a great job giving us an unbiased oppinion. Here's my conclusion from reading this article... for people who don't have a 650... the 700w is really worth the consideration. For those who already own a 650, unless they really want the EVDO support, sticking with the 650 will not be a bad choice.

A couple of reasons for me to stick with my 650:

- Don't need EVDO so much (although I have the unlimited plan from verizon already)
- DUN (which I'm sure that someone will come out with a patch soon for the 700w)
- Investment in products, particularly software, for my 650, especially GPS Software.
- Most important... I want to get the most out of my 650. Most of us don't have the money to upgrade.

I won't get into Windows vs. PalmOS. I haven't used Window Mobile enough to form an oppinion on it. We'll have to see how I feel when the next version of Treo PalmOS devices come out.

by Felipe | Jan 7, 2006 3:58:55 PM

jm80501, no. it isnt a gm phone it is a cdma phone. it cant use your sim.

dave, unless they (your comapny) lets you check your email via pop3 or imap you are out of luck.

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