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Treo 700p Review Part 2: In Love All Over Again With The Best Smartphone In The World

Almost from the first day that I launched Treonauts (this month actually marks our second anniversary) I have been one of the strongest advocates of the Treo being the best example of so-called “convergence” as our smartphone beautifully combines and integrates a variety of wireless communication, business and personal productivity, information and entertainment tools in a single slick, elegant, extremely practical and functional small package.

Like me, most seasoned Treonauts have now concluded that the Treo is the smallest and smartest “portable computing” device available today and many have even learned to entirely ‘leave their laptop behind’ choosing to travel solely with their Treo for work or pleasure.

With nearly four million Treonauts worldwide our Treo smartphone has clearly shown that it is more than just a ‘cool gadget’ or ‘cute toy’.  It is in fact an agressive multi-functional beast that never ceases to amaze me and which has rapidly established itself as very much of a 21st century technology icon – one that more and more people want to own and experience.

This Treo experience which we refer to as ‘The Treonauts Lifestyle’ owes much to the terrific simplicity and usability of the PalmOS on the one hand and the additional applications developed by Palm and third-party developers (see my Top 100 software list) on the other.

The software portion of the Treo 700p is therefore what I will now focus on the next two parts of my review.  Today I will focus on the operating system and communication applications and then hopefully be able to deliver the last part of my review with the productivity, information and entertainment applications of the Treo 700p tomorrow as this part has taken me just a little while longer to write than I had anticipated…

Although the PalmOS version on the Treo 700p has changed little and the 312MHz processor is exactly the same as that found on the Treo 650 there is no doubt that from the moment I first started using my new Treo 700p it felt like it was running significantly faster and more smoothly throughout. 

The previous fractional second delays in accessing the Phone screen, other applications or even just turning the screen on for example are entirely gone.  I don’t know what tweaks Access and Palm have worked on but the Treo 700p is undoubtedly much, much, much more responsive than previous models.  This fact alone makes the Treo 700p a very worthy upgrade for me as I want my smartphone to operate as quickly as I can think.

My only real complaint about the OS at this stage is that better looking skins have not been made available built-in by Palm – I am undoubtedly growing tired of the flat look of the standard graphics.  For this reason, I use a third party application called PalmRevolt (not shown in the screenshots below).

Above all the Treo is initially a terrific communication device with advanced and innovative Phone, Messaging and Email capabilities.

As before, there are five ways that you can place a call using the Phone application:

  • You can call any of the Contacts (which are fully synchronized with Outlook, Palm Desktop or other PIM application) in your database (I have over 3000) by simply typing a few letters of the first or last name on the keyboard when you enable ‘Typing starts Contacts search’ in Phone Display Options (image below right). 
  • Alternatively, you can access the Contacts application to find the person and number that you want to dial and call them at the press of a button or
  • Simply dial by number directly with the on-screen or keyboard Dial Pad. (Please note a little tip:  With ‘Typing starts Contacts search’ enabled you will need to press the Option key + your number to bypass the Contacts search).
  • You can also access your inbound and outbound Call Log by pressing the new dedicated Send Key (top left green button) or
  • From the list of your ‘Last 10 Calls’ to quickly repeat a call which you recently placed.


Additionally, many of the extra options associated with the Phone application have either been updated or new ones added.  For example, an incoming call can now be ‘Ignored with Text’ with which you can send a short text message to the caller to notify him that you received his call but that you’re busy or unavailable (regarding this please also see my note on Sprint’s ‘Text to Landline’ further below).  I also like the new ‘Call Ended’ message showing the call duration (below right).


The Messaging application on the Treo 700p – which I previously already considered to be possibly the single most advanced and powerful SMS one in the world – has now been even further enhanced.  Among others, when creating a New message and selecting the ‘To’ recipient you can now simply type a few letters of the first or last name (image below right) which will instantly bring up a pop-up menu with a list of all the names matching those letters.  It’s very similar to the contacts search found in the Today screen of the Treo 700w and it works so well that I’m baffled as to why Palm have not yet built a similar functionality into the main Phone screen on the Treo 700p.  I can’t rave enough about the messaging functionality – it’s absolutely terrific.


Also, if you happen to have Sprint’s version of the Treo 700p you will be able to use their extremely powerful and simple to use ‘Text to Landline’ service which automatically converts any of your text messages to voice and calls the recipient to a landline to deliver it.  They can also reply to your text message with a voice message.  It works like a charm and I was extremely excited to see this in action.

Completing the trio of communication tools is naturally the all important Email which Palm has periodically updated and which continues to be refined with each new Treo launch.   Out of the box Versamail offers a vast list of preconfigured settings for the most popular email service providers from AOL and Compuserve to Gmail and Yahoo! (strangely Hotmail/MSN is not supported at all but users can get the separate GlimmerMail application to do this).


Additionally, with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync in VersaMail now fully enabled to wirelessly sync Email, Calendar and Contacts on the Treo 700p from a Microsoft Exchange server Treonauts can do everything over the air without needing to use a desktop computer.  I don’t personally use Exchange yet but having seen other Treonauts able to keep all their PIM data and Email constantly updated in this way is making me seriously consider switching to a hosted Exchange solution.

Also, since I’m sure that someone is bound to ask me about it please note that there is still no word on when BlackBerry Connect will become available…

Overall I consider the PalmOS and all three main built-in communications of Phone, Messaging and Email applications on our Treo to be among the simplest, most usable and robust standard ones available on any smartphone. 

Treonauts are always at the top of the smartphone game

Posted by Andrew on June 22, 2006 at 02:55 PM

Treo 700p

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by Rome | Jun 22, 2006 4:18:04 PM

Great read as always. Didn't know about Sprint's text to speech feature...you learn somthing new everyday.

Looking forward to Part 3.

by Bob | Jun 22, 2006 4:36:41 PM

I love the phone but its likes to reset on me randomly during excessive usage. It will just shut down and reboot without me doing anything, anyone else experienceing glitches

by Brooke | Jun 22, 2006 4:49:01 PM

I love the 700p! I use it for everything and my only complaint is that the palm hotsync cable does not work with Dell laptops Windows XP Media edition!!! I have to use my bluetooth with it. Other than that I love the phone! Would recommend it anyone...even if the price seems high.

by Evan | Jun 22, 2006 7:53:44 PM

?Does anyone still have the Treo 700w anymore????

every one is changing to the treo 700p

feel left out :(

by Bret | Jun 22, 2006 9:42:55 PM

Personally, I find the "flat look" a refreshing and simple break from all the pointless legibility-decreasing eye candy crap that seems to be invading everything else.

by Matt | Jun 23, 2006 12:26:25 AM

You got me worried Andrew. I hope those aren't your lips on the Treo graphic at the beginning of this post.

by Mark | Jun 23, 2006 4:43:10 AM

"...New message and selecting the ‘To’ recipient you can now simply type a few letters of the first or last name (image below right) which will instantly bring up a pop-up menu with a list of all the names matching those letters. ...I’m baffled as to why Palm have not yet built a similar functionality into the main Phone screen on the Treo 700p"

This function is in the Treo650p guessing its in the Treo700p, to access:-

1. go the phone section
2. press menu and select General Preferences
3. Select from the drop down, Change from "Typing Dials phone number" to "Typing starts Contacts search"

Then to dial my friend Jason Sanger, I just type JSa and it will list all the JSa's.

I love this feature.



by Andrew | Jun 23, 2006 7:33:08 AM

Matt - for some strange reason there are always women who want to kiss my Treo so... no they're not my lips...

Mark - I was referring to the Messaging (SMS) application and not the Phone... It is different on the Treo 700p compared to the 650.

Cheers, A.

by bigDee | Jun 23, 2006 3:27:44 PM

Good read.

by Bill Wood | Jun 23, 2006 5:15:43 PM

Andrew, does the Treo 700p have USB 2? The Treo 650 had USB 1 which is very slow when using PocketTunes and Media Player to transfer songs.

by ink | Jun 23, 2006 10:50:39 PM

I am shocked that you saying the 700 is faster. Many many many people at Treocentral are experiencing delays when switching apps and frequent skipping in pocket-tunes. For example, on the 650 you could play music in pocket-tunes then switch to the web browser and not have any skips, just try that on the 700, skip city.

BTW the processors are not identical. The 650 uses the PXA270 while the 700 uses the PXA272

by Patrick | Jun 24, 2006 5:18:43 AM

In the sms application of the 650 you can use a similar feature. Just type "m" and the space button and it lists all contacts beginning with "m".
At least in the german GSM version.

by Thought | Jun 24, 2006 9:35:11 PM

Verizon now also has the text to speech feature. Here is the page describing it:


by Bill Wood | Jun 26, 2006 10:22:35 AM

Andrew, does the Treo 700p have USB 2? The Treo 650 had USB 1 which is very slow when using PocketTunes and Media Player to transfer songs.

by Spencer | Jun 26, 2006 5:14:56 PM

The 700p is a nice choice, for a new user. However, a current 650 user will be spending, depending on rebates, between 275 to 600 dollars on this phone, and in essence, they are paying for bug fixes, a faster radio, and a higher res camera.

If your phone is your sole camera, then by all means upgrade. If fast data is a need, then upgrade. For me, though, I have a decent digital camera, and I use low-badwidth apps and web pages.

So it come to paying $300 for bug fixes. Not worth it. Palm could make a patch to give 650 owners the phone app "improvements" (nice word for "features that should have been there in the first place"), but won't, because they want to have folks buy the new unit.

Since 650's are still being sold, how about a software upgrade, Palm?

by John | Jul 21, 2006 7:51:00 PM

Is there no way to search the ENTIRE treo 650 for certain text? I used to be able to do that with my handspring...

by John Russo | Feb 12, 2007 4:43:47 PM

I upgraded from the 650 to the 700p and I like the improvements. However, I have to disagree that the "Call Ended" message is a nice addition. I don't need to be informed that the call ended, and I can look up the call duration. I want to remove this feature so that I start dialing my next call more quickly.

by Bob | Mar 5, 2007 12:14:14 AM

Does the 700p have bluetooth stereo capabilities?

by Jasmine | Oct 5, 2007 1:57:24 PM

Just wondering if anyone has tried the Glimmermail function and what you thought of it? I don't want to have to open up another email address just for this.

by ed | Oct 19, 2007 11:41:24 AM

John - Yes you can search the entire 700p for certain text. Hold the option button and press the up arrow (you'll see the picture of the magnifying glass) and the find form will popup. ... Search away and good luck.

by Lynn | Feb 17, 2008 9:19:14 AM

How do you download text messages and images from your 700 series phone to your Palm Desktop on the computer? I thought it would sync but it didn't. Any thoughts?

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