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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 Doug | Jan 7, 2006 4:54:21 PM

I was wondering how this 700w would work with the wi-fi card listed for sale on the Palm website. It says it is compatible, and since the 700w is only available with Verizon, I am curious to see if anyone has tested this as well.

I have been waiting until this month because my new every 2 is now up and I have been looking at the Treo 650 (of course since it was only thing available), but now that the 700w is out, I am torn on which way to go.

I have used palm devices before, but never to their full ability because I hated having carry around phone and palm all the time and ended up putting the palm down (I always have the low end versions of Palms that I got as giveaway - so they never had all the big guns that sone have).

Thank you for the review and thank you for your comments. I am still unsure of which way to go.


by jordan | Jan 7, 2006 4:58:33 PM

been playing around with my treo 700 for the past few days and i personally love it. i don't think it's worth the upgrade but for $399 (with contract) it's a steal.

i'm having some issues with hotmail, though. it won't automatically download my mail. i have to manually do it even though i've set it to automatically check every 5 min. any ideas? anybody use a different mail client?

by Leo B. | Jan 7, 2006 8:36:27 PM

I agree with Andrew (reviewer) and the 700w and 650 are completely different beasts.
I've been using the 700w for about 48hrs now and have been impressed by a few things (namely, the EVDO speed, which is unrelated to the OS).

However, I am most UNimpressed by the following:

1- stylus-free operation: PalmOS allows you to navigate its standard apps (and the majority of 3rd party ones) WITHOUT you ever touching the screen. The same can't be said about WM5.
I haven't installed a single 3rd party app yet and many OS functions are only accessible by touching the screen.
Totally unacceptable, IMO.

2- Memory mgmt: being a new WM5 user, I was unaware that you have to manually close apps (hitting "OK" -which is an oxymoron here- just closes the window but not the app) and eventually, you'll run out of memory or the 700w will run extremely slow.

3- I've had my first crash, an error related to the shell caused a reset. Again, no 3rd party apps to blame.

4- Way, just WAY too many clicks to accomplish even simple tasks. MS should've assigned a person to count the number of clicks needed to do any one task -like Palm did.

I do love the Today screen, and hope that there's a similar app for the 650.

by Borszczuk | Jan 8, 2006 8:38:18 AM

Dave - as for Treo650 crashes on new BT machine announce - never heard of nor noticed by myself. It seems, that you by chance either forgot to install the firmware upgrade or got some software that crashes on that event. Try upgrading or running your Treo w/o any extension launched (disable at soft reset) and then remove this one that collides.

by Christopher | Jan 8, 2006 12:02:08 PM

Wow. The phone's crashing already and it just came out. No surprise given it's coming from Micro$haft .

An okay smartphone allows you to do basic PDA functions and retrieve emails and at best surf the net. A good smartphone like the 650 allowed that you to do this while still maintaining a fairly simple GUI. A great smartphone allows the simplicity of a few clicks, using only your thumb, to translate into power PDA and email functions while still delivering the power of the Net to your phone in a quick, easy fashion (ehem....Blackberry)

If you honestly have to whip out the stylus for this 700w just to do what you could do on the 650 by simply using the built-in joystick, then chuck this one in the MS "Recycling Bin" and wait for the 700p which I'm sure will blow it out of the water, hands down.

MS is desparate to get consumers to switch but they may only find that they can entice the MS Exchange users using the lateset version of their software (nothing older than Exchange 2001). Again, this is for the "power, business" users, whereas this realy is not geared for the "you and I" consumer crowd that would like to receive push-email without all the complication.

Hopefully the 700p wil have no attenae, have as easy of a GUI as the 650 if not graphically better and more intuitive with a lean toward one-handed control, and still be able to run on EV-DO, 3G, or whatever the high-speed service may be.

Does this phone even snych with a Mac? Mac users will hate it of course (like I do). Funny how we had full OS compatibility with something that was older, and somehow lost it as they "improved" the phone.

by johnnyha | Jan 8, 2006 12:48:47 PM

OK so I returned my Treo 700w yesterday, thank God. That MS interface is a disaster in the making. (This is my first Treo I should mention.) The EVDO however was fantastic, and the sole reason I did not exchange the 700w for the 650 yesterday. Once you go EVDO, you CANNOT go back. In fact I would have taken the 650 with the 1x internet service and the beautiful Palm OS, but the service charge for the 1x data was exactly the same as the EVDO. I am NOT going to pay the same $150/month as the 700w service (1350 minute/data package w/ tax) and have excruciatingly slow internet service. And I am NOT going to pay that for a device which cripples itself, which IMHO the 700w does, at the behest of Mr. Gates I'm sure.

Make no mistake, when they advertise the 700w as being bundled with Windows Media Player 10, this is NOT the WMP you are used to on your regular computer. It will ONLY play video from Handango.com. This is the QUINTESSENTIAL corporate machine in that sense - you are Bill gates' bitch.

Oh sure there will be cracks and maybe someday you can watch that streaming video on your EVDO 700w right off the web pages you are surfing- but it is a TRAVESTY of JUSTICE that they have put in a crippled version of WM10, and not been forthcoming about it.

I will wait for the p version, I will wait for Verizon to get it (Sprint sucks). It will take about six months or so. And maybe I will go back and get that 650 and put up with the slower service for two years.

by Steve Packard | Jan 8, 2006 1:17:01 PM

Question about Treonauts:

Okay, this isn't actually related to this artical, but I have a question.

I want to add treonauts to my personalized google home page, but when I add it, it uses the page title which is "Treonauts | Dedicated to your Treo 700 & 650. The Perfect All-In-One Communications, Information & Entertainment Tool." that is a little big. IS there any version of the page avaliable with just the title of "Treonauts?"


by Blake | Jan 8, 2006 4:52:44 PM

Johnnyha: Why does Sprint suck and Verizon doesn't? I would say quite the contrary. Sprint's unlimited data plan: $9.99. Verizon's unlimited data plan: $45.99. Nuff said. Oh yeah, I forgot, this is coming from a person who actually bought the 700w from Verizon and realized their mistake and took it back. So, maybe I should discredit everything else you say on the subject.

by johnnyha | Jan 9, 2006 4:07:36 AM

Just trying to help, Blake.

Sprint sucks because, although it cost less, their coverage is a joke. That's not my opinion, that's fact. Verizon is ranked best service in all independent surveys.

by Evan martin | Jan 9, 2006 9:16:52 AM

I love my treo 700w i can't put it down I am always working on it it is much better than the treo 650 and it only crashed once when I held the call button to long hotmail works great and its really fast faster than the 650 it's easy to use and for me it's my first wm device no problems yet that i am mad at :-)

by Blake | Jan 9, 2006 12:31:21 PM

True Verizon did rank better in all surveys, but are there no roaming charges on Verizon plans at no extra cost? There are on Sprint's. And roaming, if I am not mistaken, is when you leave your own network and are using another satellites. Therefore, Sprint's is just as good as Verizon's since when there is no reception on the Sprint network, it will use Verizon's. In other words, if a Sprinter doesn't have reception in a certain spot, no one will. Fair argument??

by Lindsey | Jan 9, 2006 2:00:13 PM

I have both the 650 and the 700w. I totally agree with the author about their uses defining their functionality. I've found that I like the 650 better for use as a telephone, but the 700w with the Verizon network is ULTRA fast on the internet. They're neck and neck for me until the 700p comes out.
:) Lindsey

by micr0n | Jan 9, 2006 2:22:26 PM

Hello all, I am new to the whole Treo fad... but im inlove with them... But as you guys have said in many previous post that both the 650 and 700 are great phones with both great specs.. I was wondering if anybody had any kind of comparison side by side. Im leaning towards the 650 just because it is Palm, but for some reason I like the 700. Could anybody help me with my delema???

by johnnyha | Jan 9, 2006 9:58:21 PM

Blake - fair enough. My problem with Sprint is their broadband coverage is VERY limited. Oh and this news story from today...


"Sprint goes down across the West Coast due to fiber-optics cut

Posted Jan 9th 2006 8:20PM by Paul Miller
Filed under: Misc. Gadgets, Wireless
Sprint Nextel just had a doozy of an outage out West, affecting their wireless, long-distance, and internet customers. Turns out a fiber-optic cable was cut near Phoenix, which did double damage since there were network repairs ongoing in Reno that had them routing all the regional data through Pheonix. They say they're dropping the maintenance in Reno for now so they can get online as soon as possible, but there still isn't an estimated time of when they'll get service going again. Let us know if you've been hit by this, and if you're back online yet, though of course you probably won't be reading this if you have been affected. So call before you dig, and pray for your unfortunate Sprint-served brethren in the West that they might know the ping, and that the ping would set them free."

Cheers. ;)

by Blake | Jan 10, 2006 2:17:55 AM

Okay -- Okay. I give you props. Sprint made a fool of itself today. I was affected by the crash and was steamed to say the least. However, one main thing I cannot get over is $45.99 for unlimited Internet and $9.99 for unlimited internet. In my book, if Verizon lowered their cost for data usage, they would reign supreme!!!

by s.elements | Jan 10, 2006 6:59:23 PM

Johnny: Just wait and pick up the 700P. Sure, I'd like it if Sprint's data rates were a little faster here(I live in Hawaii, and all the major telecommunication companies treat us like we're a small town or something), but one of the good things about the Palm OS browser("Blazer"), is that it loads all of the text up first. So you can still get the info you need relatively quickly.

I will be waiting for the 700P before I consider upgrading from my cherished 650. I like the Palm OS, and other than the faster data rates(which probably still aren't available in Hawaii) there haven't been enough improvements in the 700W to warrant my purchase. The processor is only slightly better, the screen has a much lower resolution, etc etc.

by Blake | Jan 10, 2006 7:02:03 PM

Is the 700P supposed to have the same resolution as the new 700W, or will it keep its current resolution settings? Anyone know?

by Chris | Jan 11, 2006 2:58:45 PM

I want to know about the Terminal Services. Have you used it yet???

by Doug Z | Jan 11, 2006 5:00:15 PM

I just picked up the 700W and I really like it.

Since you were only able to use one of the $100 off promos, I chose the new every two (which I was ready for) instead of $100 off when signing up for unlimited data plan.

I tried testing out the high speed internet on it last night, but every time it attempted to dial, it was unsucessful. Is there something I have to set up to make it work?

Any help will be great. I want to go a few months and see what my usage will be on a limited basis to see if it is worth getting the 10MB or unlimited plans, but I need to figure out how to get on first.


by Phil L | Jan 11, 2006 11:50:31 PM

Whoever keeps posting that Direct Push doesn't exist - IT DOES.

It's called EXCHANGE SP2.

Go read up. Works great.

by d | Jan 12, 2006 1:03:44 AM

yeah, had it for a couple days now. used to have the 600. miss a couple of my third party apps--there's nowhere near the selection. but i got around the DUN problem, and whoever can only download video from Handango--you're doing something wrong. i've been watching video from random websites, pretty psyched about it. and who thought it was going to be the same program they put on desktops, it's never the same anything.

as for 5way--i always used the touch screen anyway (with my thumb), and actually am a little peeved that all the buttons are kind of small. but i can actually get to a bunch of things on the windows faster. yeah, faster. by touching something on the today screen. and the ability to always have access to stuff in the startup menu with two clicks, is really nice sometimes. that said, still struggling a little with the switch.


by bernie | Jan 12, 2006 4:17:34 AM

is there a way to keepo addresses on the storage card?

my treo 700 is already warning me that i am low in memory.

i have about 6000 addresses.

waht else can i move to the storage card and how do i move it?

by johnnyha | Jan 12, 2006 7:52:18 PM

d -

How are you watching videos on random web pages? Did you do anything special? Can you watch a video on jibjab, or say watch "Chronicles of Narnia" from snal? Because I couldn't. I would have kept mine otherwise, but mine would not run a single video off ANY web site. I don't doubt your veracity, but... mine was crippled I guess. maybe I should get another. But the unit I had, DID NOT play video off the internet except on Handango. period.

by SAW | Jan 13, 2006 12:06:06 PM

Would someone please explain something to me about Verizon's Unlimited data plan?

If I sign up for the bundle of 450 minutes and unlimited data does that mean i can talk for 450 minutes and surf the web as much as I please? Or, is web browsing counted against my minutes and unlimited only refers to the amount of data i can download within those minutes??

Thank you in advance!

by ec | Jan 13, 2006 1:33:33 PM

and the bluetooth sync is a nice feature to!

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