Palm Treo Pro First Impressions

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Today I received a device that could really be a make-or-break product for a company that has been stagnate for quite some time. The Palm Treo Pro really needs to be successful for Palm, as their current line-up leaves a lot to be desired.

Palm Treo Pro First Impressions

First off I’ll start with the packaging. Like the box the HTC Touch Diamond comes in, the Treo Pro packaging has a corner lopped off. Why? No idea. It is quite nicely presented though, with the device on display as soon as you take the top off.

Included in the sales package is the Treo Pro, a microUSB cable (seems to becoming popular), USB AC adaptor, stereo earphones (3.5mm, woohoo!) and a few manuals and guides. Like HTC, Palm has cheaped out by including a USB AC Adaptor that you plug the USB cable into. With a miniUSB cable that’s not so bad, they are everywhere and can extras can easily be purchased, but the microUSB isn’t overly common yet, so many buyers will find themselves swapping the cable between their computer and AC adaptor. If you find yourself needing an extra one, the microUSB cables that you get for the latest Nokia’s will do the trick.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, the specs of the Treo Pro are as follows:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1
  • Tri-band HSDPA (850/1900/2100) and Quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900)
  • 320×320 Touchscreen
  • GPS
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • 256MB storage (100MB available)
  • 128MB RAM
  • 1500mAh Battery
  • Integrated thumboard
  • 2.0 megapixel Camera
  • microSDHC slot
  • microUSB (Power/Data)
  • 3.5mm headset jack

My first thought upon seeing the Treo Pro in the flesh was “uh oh, that keyboard doesn’t look too good”. It’s the same keyboard as on the Palm Centro (which I’ve never used), and straight off the bat I have a bad feeling about it. The key feel isn’t very nice, the travel is very small, they keys themselves are tiny, and they are very close together. The E71 has been my phone for about a month now, and in comparison the Treo Pro is awful. The keyboard on the Treo 750 is considerably better than it. This is a first impressions article though, so I’ll leave my final thoughts on that to the review.

The screen is flush with the front of the device, which is fantastic. Another thing that HTC has begun doing with their devices, and it really makes it a lot easier to keep clean, no gunky edges. You’ll note that I’ve mentioned HTC quite a few times already, and there is a reason for that: the Treo Pro is made by HTC, which is probably a good thing. HTC has been making Windows Mobile devices for quite some time now, and has produced some of the best.

Thankfully Palm saw the error of the WM Treo’s ways and ditched the calculator-watchesque 240×240 display for the same 320×320 display as the Palm OS Treos. It seems to be a beauty too, with rich colours, good brightness and a crispness that was lacking from the 240×240 models. It’s very touch sensitive, which is an excellent touch these days when competitors like the iPhone are around. I can see the stupidly small stylus staying in it’s slot most of the time, as navigation with a fingertip is easy, and the hardware keys help to keep it a one-handed affair most of the time.

Palm Treo Pro First Impressions

Design-wise, I’m not overly fanatical, it just looks too wide. It’s not really, only being a hair wider than the E71, but the flat face seems to accentuate the widths. The glossy black is in line with the current phone trends, and the curvy back is quite nice in the hand. Along the sides are the volume controls, a user-assignable button and a WiFi toggle, all of which are almost flush with the case. Instead of tacky silver plastic, they have a dark chrome look, which is nice. Oddly you’ll find an IR window below the WiFi toggle, someone needs to let the manufacturers in on a little secret: NOBODY USES IRDA ANYMORE.

Up top is Palm’s signature ringer toggle, allowing one to instantly silence the phone and activate vibrate alerts, without having to even look at the phone. It’s a great idea, especially if you happen to forget to do it before going into a meeting or class, shutting up the phones stupid default ringer is an easy task.

Camera on the back is typical Palm: absolute crap. No auto-focusing, no flash, no resolution. The pathetic two-megapixel shooter is sure to be a disappointment, just like all previous Treos.

I didn’t want to comment too much on this before the review, but it’s too important not to. By the looks of it, the 3G radio in the Treo Pro is EXCELLENT. As some will recall from my review, the Touch Diamond was barely able to get a signal in my bedroom (I must live in a black hole?), but the Treo Pro has not lost it once in the few hours I’ve had it. I’d go as far as to say that in my limited testing, it’s holding it’s own against my Nokias! I’m really hoping that this thing performs well as a phone, because if it doesn’t then there really is no point to it.

This is the first Treo to have built-in WiFi and GPS, a must-have feature in a smartphone these days. I don’t use WiFi a lot, but I do use GPS quite a bit on my E71, and I’m looking forward to trying it out on the Treo. The Telstra-branded model I have didn’t include mapping software, but Google Maps looks to work just fine.

Stay tuned for my review of the Treo Pro, I’m just hoping it will be a positive one!

Update: Additional photos of the Treo 800w, Treo Pro, and Centro in the gallery were provided by TT.

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About the Author

Mitchell Oke
Mitchell is a video producer and director working with Australia's leading motoring news sites and car companies. He's always on the go with a camera in hand. With a Bachelor of Creative Technology (Digital Video Production), Mitchell's worked for News Limited, and as a freelancer for many years.