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The Treo name has been synonymous with QWERTY keyboard equipped smartphones for years - and with good reason. The devices have long been packed full of the features that power users require, while still fitting in the palm of your hand. The new Treo 700p from Palm is no exception. Based heavily of the massively popular Treo 650, the 700p gets a few upgrades where they really count while not messing too much with the rest of the Treo recipe for success. The main upgrades are a 1.3 megapixel camera, twice as much built-in memory, and EV-DO 3G data connectivity.
A palm tree on your Palm, in your palm.
But first, the physical design of the 6.2oz Treo 700p. The Treo has long had one of the best built-in keyboards on the market, and that is still true today. The QWERTY keyboard's keys are made of a hard plastic, but still have a good feel. The 700p's keys get a new square shape, and has had its direction-pad controller and hardware buttons reworked a bit: the green and red call keys are now located directly under the display, where the home and menu keys used to reside on the Treo 650. The 700p's menu key is now on the bottom row of the keyboard, a somewhat questionable position for a key that is so important to the Palm OS.
Speaking of the Palm OS, the version used in the 700p is virtually unchanged from that found in the Treo 650. As such, the user interface appears a bit dated, even though it is being shown on a very capable 320x320 pixel, 65k color touch screen. The stylus that is to be used on the display is stored in the back of the 700p and has a very nice heft to it, making it nearly as comfortable to use as a regular pen. Thanks to some clever work on the UI, though, there are relatively few instances where you truly need to use it.
In spite of the Treo 700p's somewhat dated OS, it is still a very capable and amazingly popular system when it comes to 3rd party application support. In fact, the Treo 700p ships with a number of 3rd party apps to make up for missing pieces in the OS, such as music playback. Due to the popularity of the Palm OS over the years, if there is an application that can be written for a mobile device, chances are good that it has already been written for the Palm platform.
The 700p features one of the best keyboards on the market.
Now that the 700p has over twice the available built-in storage as the 650 (and still has an SD card slot for even more), you should be able to load it up with all sorts of programs, games, and media files without problem.
The Treo's default PIM type applications like the Calendar and Contacts manager are all very good. Through the use of the included HotSync application, information from your desktop PC can easily be synchronized with the applications on your Treo. Another bonus from the use of HotSync is the automatic backup it provides. If your Treo ever gets lost or ceases to function, you can easily restore your existing HotSync backup to a new device with an absolute minimum of effort and be back in business in no time at all.
If you are an existing Treo 650 user, the biggest reason to consider an upgrade is the new 3G EV-DO data support. When used in an EV-DO coverage area, the Treo 700p will scream along at speeds many people would only expect to get at home with their DSL service. The 700p lacks WiFi support, but for those that live and work in EV-DO coverage areas, that won't be an issue at all.
- Familiar form factor
- QWERTY keyboard
- EV-DO data
- Outdated User Interface
- Somewhat large
--Reviewed by Michael Oryl, editor in chief of www.MobileBurn.com