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Treo 700p Review Part 1: In Love All Over Again With The Best Smartphone In The World

You can imagine how there could be few things more frustrating for me than to have had the new Treo 700p in my hands for over two weeks without actually being able to use it…  However, this is exactly what happened as I was traveling and could use neither Sprint nor Verizon’s CDMA wireless technology in Europe’s overwhelmingly GSM market…

In contrast, picture my delight when I arrived in Florida a couple of days ago and was finally able to get a phone and EvDO connection on my Treo 700p to place and receive my first calls within minutes of landing – I felt like kissing the ground and screaming hallelujah…

With my Treo 700p now properly ‘enabled’ I was at last ready to fully discover what our latest Treo smartphone has to offer and thus able to plunge into a full review…  Today I will start by exploring the new hardware features and I will follow with the software tomorrow.

First Impressions: Form and Function

Where the Treo 600 without a doubt provided us with a truly revolutionary smartphone form factor, the Treo 650 and now Treo 700p have simply and naturally followed on an evolutionary path laid by this winning original design much like other design icons such as Porsche’s 911 has been able to do for many decades – it is the essence of the smartest product design.

First impressions are often based on ‘looks’ alone and the Treo 700p is undoubtedly a very attractive beast to hold and stare at with its darker grey colour, much more pronounced masculine lines and an even more solid feel than its older sibling the Treo 650.

A quick glance at the Treo 700p may not at first reveal that many changes compared to the Treo 650 but a closer inspection clearly shows that over 90% of its body and details have been redesigned – they have sort of ‘morphed’ into a new shape to deliver an elegant and modern looking smartphone.  Among others:

  • The keys of the keyboard have marginally increased in size and changed shape to deliver and improved – faster and more usable – typing experience which will prove ideal for those Treonauts making active use of email, SMS and other text entry.
  • Similarly, the Volume Controls and dedicated application button on the left side, 5 Way Navigator, large Phone, Calendar, Messaging and Home buttons have all been improved to deliver a more tactile and more usable experience.  Also, the change of location of the Home and Menu buttons may prove a little baffling at first for existing Treonauts but they are easy to get used to quickly.
  • Already a terrific and unique Treo feature before, the Ringer/Silent switch at the top has now been enhanced even further thanks to a silent single vibrating alert which makes it even easier to ensure that your smartphone is in silent ring mode.
  • The large high-resolution 320x320 touchscreen is as gorgeous as ever and is undoubtedly still one of the top Treo selling points as no other smartphone this size and weight has a screen to match.

Future (r)evolutionary changes to the external design of our Treo in models to come will most likely focus on a somewhat slimmer body and an internal as opposed to the current external antenna but for now you simply will not find a competing smartphone that is able to match the Treo 700p.  Your best bet would in fact be none other than the Treo 700w which shares its exact form factor…

First Impressions: The Best Hardware Features

Beyond the aesthetic changes are the significantly more important improvements relating to the Treo 700p’s new high-speed EvDO radio, Dial-Up Networking (DUN), 128MB flash memory (with 60MB user available), 1.3 megapixel camera and also Bluetooth 1.2 technology.

  • Considered by many to be the ‘killer feature’ of the Treo 700p, EvDO support now increases the speed of wireless data by a factor of up to 10 to 400–700kbps (my average was about 250kbps) – up from 30–70kbps on the Treo 650.  Thanks to the increased throughput applications such as the Blazer browser are able to load web pages significantly faster (small wireless optimized pages load in a flash), you can quickly access remote information with On Demand (also known as Express), stream live music, radio, TV and movies with SprintTV (a separate subscription to Sirius is available for $6.95 per month) or Pocket Tunes Deluxe (an upgrade from the standard bundled version).  Hopefully more developers will make intelligent use of the wireless data capabilities on the Treo and exploit it to deliver even better applications.  In the meantime, there’s no doubt that EvDO provides an absolutely amazing wireless data experience.
  • Another benefit of EvDO is the ability to use it to power your PC’s wireless internet access via Dial-Up Networking (DUN).  DUN which is enabled out-of-the-box (albeit for a fee) can be used either via USB or Bluetooth.  Incredibly it took me less than five minutes to be up and running with DUN and there’s something undeniably useful to be said about being able to dial into a high speed wireless connection with my PC whenever I feel like (within EvDO coverage).
  • After all the fuss that I had made over the comparatively low 32MB (with 22MB user available) of memory on the Treo 650 it is evident that I am absolutely delighted to now have this increased fourfold to 128MB of memory – at last this should allow Treonauts to really fill their smartphone with nearly all of my Top 100 applications.
  • The Bluetooth 1.2 technology will now allow for a somewhat improved communication between your Treo and Bluetooth devices such as a headset, GPS Navigation units or keyboard.  As before with my Treo 650, the first devices that I paired were my favourite Jabra JX10 headset and indispensable travelling companion the TomTom GPS unit.
  • The built-in camera has been upgraded to 1.3 megapixel – up from 0.3MP – but aside from delivering larger sized pictures I was quite disappointed by the lack of overall image resolution improvement over the Treo 650.  Additionally, unlike the Treo 700w there is no way to increase or decrease the brightness which results in extremely low quality pictures under low light conditions.  Overall I found the camera to be the single most disappointing new feature.
  • Finally, the Treo 700p now supports 4GB SD cards and upwards (8GB cards should be released by the end of the year) which has been one of my most anticipated features considering that the Treo is my favourite MP3 player and also portable movie player thanks to TCPMP and CloneDVD Mobile.  Now I can load over 40 full music albums or over 4 movies per single SD card – I absolutely love it.

As I have mentioned many times in the past, what makes a smartphone truly ‘smart’ is not simply about how good it looks (even though this is undeniably important) nor how much high tech gadgetry it can cram inside but all about how well the hardware and software are able to interact together to deliver a quick, simple and fun user experience.

I will cover the software part of the Treo 700p tomorrow but in the meantime there is no doubt that the Treo 700p looks and feels great – it’s slick and elegant and further refines the already winning smartphone design of previous Treo models.  Additionally, the new or improved hardware components – particularly the EvDO and additional memory – significantly further enhance the capabilities of our Treo to deliver an even better Treonauts Lifestyle.

Treonauts always have the best mobile lifestyle


Posted by Andrew on June 20, 2006 at 12:20 PM

Treo 700p

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» More Palm Treo 700p reviews from Treo Today
As we are (im)patiently waiting for the release of the GSM/UMTS version, here are some more reviews of the new Palm Treo 700p smartphone. Boston Herald : It’s a great phone. Unlike most of its competitors, it feels great in your hand. And... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 21, 2006 10:49:40 AM



Comments

26
by autobot85 | Nov 10, 2008 8:32:21 AM

I recently had to get my 700p replaced. The vibrate feature on my new 700p is horrible! I can barely notice it. Is there any way to increase it?

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
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