Treo at Last (and I’ll Never Go Hungry Again..!)
Some of the best things come in small packages. I’ve been looking at a number of different mobile devices over the past few months. Right now, I’ve got 5 WM PDA Phones, and 2 WM Smartphones. The PDA phones are mostly locked to specific carriers. I’ve got an HP 6945 and ETEN M700 that are both unlocked, Quad Band GSM phones that support EDGE. I’ve got a Siemens SX66 (Cingular/ATT) and Palm Treo 700wx (Sprint). I’ve got an Audiovox SMT5600 (Cingular/ATT) and Cingular 3125 that are both Smartphones. However, one of the newest additions to my PDA corral is Palm’s Treo 750, locked to the Cingular/ATT network.
Over the past year or so, I’ve been able to do a lot of work with the Windows Mobile based Palm Treos. I was able to review the 700w and 700wx on pocketnow.com. I got a good introduction on what Palm did with the operating system; and how those optimizations were able to be seen as the norm, or better yet, what the operating system should have been. In many ways, the Palm Treo version of Windows Mobile 5 is probably the best version of Pocket PC Phone Edition OS that I’ve ever seen.
The HP iPAQ 6945, Palm Treo 750, and the Palm Treo 700wx
As you can see from the picture, above, the Treo 750 is about the same size as the 6945 and the 700wx. In fact, its just a little smaller than the wx; and with the lack of the stub antenna, its pretty sweet.
Device (no cover)
Weight (grams | ounces)
Palm Treo 750
4.37″ x 2.28″ x 0.87″
154 | 5.40
Palm Treo 700w/wx
4.40″ x 2.30″ x 0.90″
180 | 6.40
|Palm Treo 650|
4.44″ x 2.32″ x 0.91″
178 | 6.28
|Palm Treo 600|
4.41″ x 2.36″ x 0.87″
168 | 5.92
HP iPAQ hw6515
4.60″ x 2.79″ x 0.82″
|165 | 5.82|
|HP iPAQ hx6945|
4.65″ x 2.80″ x 0.71″
|ETEN Glowfiish M700|
4.62″ x 2.32″ x 0.77″
E-TEN Glowfiish X500
4.44″ x 2.34″ x 0.61″
146 | 5.14
4.33″ x 2.52″ x 0.45″
115 | 4.05
4.80″ x 2.79″ x 0.86″
160 | 6.40
4.92″ x 2.81″ x 0.71″
210 | 7.40
As you can see from the chart above, the 750 is almost exactly the same size as the 700w/wx. The difference in weight can be attributed to the physical dimensions of the battery in the 700w/wx. Unfortunately, the batteries are NOT interchangeable between the 700 and 750 series. The 700w/wx has an 1800mAh battery. The 750 has a 1200mAh battery. the problem with using the w/wx battery on the 750 isn’t necessarily the difference in capacity. I had initially thought it was the size. I couldn’t get the larger battery in the 750. It appeared to be a little too wide. However, I was able to get it in the device today; and it seems to be powering the device ok, although the 750 is having trouble determining the battery capacity; AND it won’t recognize the AC adapter with the larger battery installed.
Speaking of battery life, I’ve been noticing a trend with 3G devices: Battery life really stinks. I’m not certain if its because the communications protocol constantly has the tower and the device constantly polling each other, or if the radio itself just eats more of the battery; but I’ve seen this behavior in every Treo that I’ve touched. The battery life needs a lot of work. The 3G/Battery issue with the 750 has not only power problems, but also leads to call quality problems…more on that in a sec. I’ve seen documentation on a number of different boards and it kind of has me concerned. In areas where UMTS coverage is spotty; or on the border between UMTS and EDGE coverage, the device has a bit of difficulty switching back and forth between the two, causing the battery to drain more than it should. This is a huge issue. The battery should last a while. I’ve had the thing nearly drain itself from a full charge to nearly empty in about 4-5 hours with minimal calls made or received. I would have been in trouble if I hadn’t had my car charger with me.
The list below has all of the specs on the Treo 750, directly from Palm’s web site and product page on the 750. It should be noted that in order to get decent performance (according to me…) out of the device, I installed XCPUScaler 2007 on the device and have tweaked the processor to 400mHz. Its seems to be running stable enough; and it doesn’t seem to suffer from Active Sync connectivity issues like my iPAQ 6945 does when it has XCPUScaler (any version) installed and running.
Operating System - Windows Mobile? 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition with Direct Push Technology
Radio – GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS radio, GSM bands: 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS bands: 850/1900/2100
Phone Features – Personal speakerphone, Hands-free headset jack, Microphone mute option, TTY/TDD compatibility, 6-way calling
Memory – 128MB / 60MB persistent user storage, non-volatile flash
Processor – 300MHz Samsung processor
Expansion – miniSD card slot; up to 2GB card supported
Battery – Removable 1200 mAh Lithium-ion, Talk time: up to 4 hours, Standby time: Up to 250 hours, Data preserved by persistent file system
Screen – 240 x 240 color TFT touch screen display, 16-bit color displays over 65,000 colors
Connectivity – Bluetooth? 1.2 wireless technology, Infrared (IR), Support for Bluetooth stereo headsets
Camera – 1.3 megapixel with 2x digital zoom, Automatic light balance, Integrated self-portrait mirror, Video capture support
Audio – 2.5mm headset jack is stereo headset compatible (stereo headset included), Requires a stereo headset adapter, sold separately, for use with standard 3.5mm stereo headphones, Polyphonic MIDI, MP3, WAV & video ringtones, External ringer on/off switch with vibrate mode
Keyboard – Full QWERTY key layout with backlighting, Integrated number dial pad, Keyguard feature
Power / Sync – Multi-connector on device, USB sync cable, International adapter (EU, UK, Aust. And NA plugs included)
Over that past few weeks, I’ve had a huge problem with dropped calls on the 750. The problem occurs in the car and no where else. This lends further credibility to the UMTS/EDGE tower switching issue I’ve been hearing about. The device has battery draining issues when swapping between the two different signal types. The communication/radio issues also lend to dropped calls. With an HSDPA/UMTS compatible phone, you can talk and have an active data connection at the same time. It still kinda freaks me out when I get e-mail while I’m on a call. You can’t do that with a GPRS/EDGE connection. When the UMTS/HSDPA connection is weak, the device tries to swap back to GPRS/EDGE.
When you’re on a call, and the device loses UMTS, and swaps back to GPRS/EDGE, it appears to activates the data connection and drops the call. While I’m hypothesizing, this seems to be a logical explanation of the symptoms I’m experiencing. As the Cingular/ATT 3G network grows around Chicago, I suspect this will lessen; but we’ll have to wait and see. In the mean time, I’d really like to see a ROM upgrade from either Palm or Cingular/ATT that addresses the problem.
Front View: the Siemens SX66, Treo 750, ETEN Glowfiish M700, Treo 700wx, and iPAQ 6945
Rear View: the Siemens SX66, Treo 750, ETEN Glowfiish M700, Treo 700wx, and iPAQ 6945
Left Side View (from the bottom): the Siemens SX66, iPAQ 6945, ETEN Glowfiish M700, Treo 700wx and Treo 750. On the 750, the top two buttons are the volume up and down button. the button on the bottom is the record/Voice Command button.
Bottom View (from the bottom): the Siemens SX66, iPAQ 6945, ETEN Glowfiish M700, Treo 700wx and Treo 750. On the 750, from left to right, the wired headset jack, USB/PC connector, the AC connector, and the microphone.
Right Side View (from the bottom): the Siemens SX66, iPAQ 6945, ETEN Glowfiish M700, Treo 700wx and Treo 750. On the 750, from the bottom up, the miniSD cover, and the IR port. The 750′s soft reset button has been moved from under the battery cover to under the miniSD cover. its a little easier to open and close than the battery cover. However, not as convenient as the soft reset buttons on the 6945, SX66 or the M700. None of them have a cover over the button, and they don’t accidentally get reset. I’m not certain why Palm decided to put a cover over the soft reset button. Its recessed for a reason…
Top View (from the bottom): the Siemens SX66, iPAQ 6945, ETEN Glowfiish M700, Treo 700wx and Treo 750. On the 750, the vibrate only switch sits on the top; and the absence of the stub antenna is evident. The device is so much easier to use with out the stub antenna getting in the way.
From Left to right, styli from the SX66, Treo 750, ETEN Glowfiish M700 and iPAQ 6945
Please don’t get me started about the stylus for the 750. It just stinks. The thing is completely made of plastic. The “metal” bottom isn’t metal, its metallic colored plastic. Every time I pick the thing up, I feel like I’m going to break it. Its thin, flimsy and really too light. The stylus from the SX66 and the 6945 are much sturdier. They’re thicker; and even though the 6945′s is pure plastic, its a lot easier to write with. The only thing I can hope for is a third party stylus made of studier plastic or metal…
For the most part, the 750 comes with the software you’d expect to see on a Palm Treo…not much of anything new or exciting that wasn’t carrier specific, is included on the 750, that wasn’t on the 700w. However, I’ve included the following screen shots of the Treo 750 just to refresh everyone’s memory on what is there and isn’t there. Please note that I am using on my Today Screen. I think its the best today screen plug-in around; and I’ve been using its since 2000 or so when version 1.x was released.
The Treo 750′s Today Screen with Snoopsoft Dashboard 3.x running.
Pressing the Green Phone button while in any other application brings up the Today screen. Pressing it again brings up this recently called list.
Despite using Dashboard 3.x, the Today Screen plug-in that shows the Carrier you’re using, the Bluetooth icon and the Contact Look up Field will ALWAYS show. Not good on a 240×240 screen. To get rid of it, you can use the. After its installed, press the Right Softkey, tap Preferences, and then check the Hide Lookup Field option. It hides until needed.? To reactivate the Lookup Field, all you have to do is start typing a name, and it reappears.? It will autohide again when you’re done…
You can still have Speed Dial buttons on the Treo Today Page, but I find they take up WAY too much real estate on the Treo’s 240×240 screen, so I simply don’t use this plug-in at all.
The Wireless Manager…Just phone/data and Bluetooth.
Interestingly enough, the 750 appears to have a Car Kit, as it comes with a Control Panel applet to activate it. I’d love to see what it looks like, and if possible review it for Gear Diary!
The second tab in the Car Kit applet
Windows Mobile 5 with AKU 3.2…
Real World Use
In real world use, I was able to get a lot of use from the Treo 750 as both a phone and an e-mail device. I never did do a lot of web surfing on it, however, I did do a little bit, just to test out my UMTS speeds. I was able to get the following speeds via UMTS:
1577 kilobytes downloaded in 6 seconds
2102 kilobits per second
1577 kilobytes downloaded in 9 seconds
1402 kilobits per second
1577 kilobytes downloaded in 7 seconds
1802 kilobits per second
799 kilobytes downloaded in 10 seconds
639 kilobits per second
799 kilobytes downloaded in 5 seconds
1278 kilobits per second
799 kilobytes downloaded in 5 seconds
1278 kilobits per second
The above speeds were tested using PC Pitstop. The download speeds are accurate, as I’ve used the same site and test to test my desktop and WiFi connections here at the house, and compared them to the speed test available at . I wasn’t able to use the WUGNET speed test on the Treo because that test runs through a Java applet; and the Treo doesn’t support Java. Anyway, PC Pitstop’s speed results are comparable to the results I got at WUGNET for my desktop, so I feel good about the results.
And before anyone asks, these tests were NOT done back to back. They were done hours apart, and in different locations around the Western Chicagoland Suburbs: Naperville, Oswego, Lombard, Lisle and just about everywhere in between. The fact that some of the tests were done on the same day should not bring them into question. The only thing that’s curious about them is that they ARE so high. I didn’t think that Cingular/ATT had enabled their HSDPA network around here yet, and these are really HSDPA speeds as opposed to UMTS; but you don’t hear me complaining.
Also, the implementation of 3G means that you get simultaneous data and voice connections. I love that about the 750. I get mail whether I’m on a call or not. That’s what I use my devices the most for, anyway…e-mail and voice calls. The first time that I got an e-mail notification during a phone call, I was very surprised; but very pleased. It should be noted that simultaneous data and voice is only possible with 3G (UMTS/HSDPA). It won’t happen with EDGE.
While that was great, I think the area that I live in is near a 3G/EDGE Coverage border. I’ve had a great deal of trouble with dropped calls in a strong signal coverage area. Its been really frustrating too. I’ve had a number of business and some personal calls get dropped when I’ve had a 3-4 bar signal. When you’re trying to conduct business, and the call just drops out of nowhere (without and call quality problems), its very frustrating. The call dropping problem got so bad, that I had to stop using the 750 for a while, until some important calls were completed. I am hopeful that Cingular/ATT comes out with a ROM upgrade that addresses the problem, and enables HSDPA as well.
Speaking of ROM upgrades, I’ve seen rumors of a WM6 upgrade for the 750. Microsoft has announced it, I believe Palm may have confirmed it, but I don’t know if its going to be for the Cingular/ATT 750, or the 750v, or both. We’ll have to wait and see.
The last thing that I want to touch on is the keyboard. I’ve said this about every Treo I’ve reviewed, and it really hasn’t changed. The Treo’s keyboard is very cramped. I’ve got arthritis in my hands, and thumbing out an e-mail message on it isn’t as easy as on other thumb boards I’ve used. Better keyboard implementations in the same kind of form factor were on the iPAQ 6515 and 6945. They at least had a little more space to the keys, which made for easier typing. They keyboard on the i-mate KJAM was also a bit better; but I’d expect that to be the case…There was more room for key placement.
Personally, I’d like to see a little more width in the Treo’s so that the keys could either be bigger, or a little further apart, or both. I think the keyboard would give more tactile feedback that way, and would be easier to type on…but that’s just me. I use the device mostly for mail and calls, and it WOULD be easier to dial (the Treo’s OS implementation rarely gives you access to the on screen dial pad, though its easier enough to get to) using the device’s keyboard.
The Treo 750 is an awesome device; but then again, so is every WM Treo (except for the 700w, with all of its memory issues). The biggest draw for potential Cingular/ATT 750 users is the implementation of 3G and the loss of the stub antenna. The implementation of simultaneous data and voice calls insures that no matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing, as long as you have a signal, you’re going to get all of your mail, whether you’re on a call or not, thanks to MS Direct Push. The rubberized coating makes the device easy to hold, and easy to work with. While the stylus could use a bit of work, and the keyboard is STILL a bit cramped, as an e-mail device the Treo is hard to beat, especially with the 3G implementation.
I also think that the device is a good buy as well. While the Cingular 8525, also a 3G device running WM5 is priced the same, $399 after rebates with a 2 year contract, I think the OS implementation on the Treo is a bit better than in regular PPC Phones. The 750 is awesome; and I’m glad that I’ve got one. The only things that really have to be fixed are the call dropping and battery life issues. Once those are taken care of, the Palm Cingular/ATT 750 will be one of the most solid devices on the market.
The Cingular/ATT Palm Treo 750 is available from Cingular/ATT
MSRP: $649.99USD, $499.99 with a two year contract. As of this writing, Cingular/ATT is running a $100 mail-in rebate, bringing your final cost to $399.99.
What I Like: Treo Windows Mobile Optimizations; Treo Form-Factor; rubberized Coating Makes the Device Easy to Hold and use; the Stub Antenna is Gone; simultaneous Data and Voice Connection in 3G Coverage areas; UMTS (and eventually) HSDPA
What Needs Improvement: 3G/EDGE Switching Problems cause dropped calls; battery life stinks, and often goes quickly, especially when near a 3G/EDGE coverage area border; the keyboard is still a bit cramped (as it is on all WM Treos); 240×240 Screen is STILL too small…; miniSD Slot is on the Right Side of the Device. It would have been better on the top of the device