Palm Treo 700wx First Impressions Review

by Reads (37,674)

Sprint PCS has recently launched the Treo 700wx, an improved version of a smartphone that debuted earlier this year.

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The most significant enhancement in the latest model is more RAM, which means that the 700wx can run more applications simultaneously. This is a nice change to what was already a good device.

I’ve only had this smartphone for a short time, but I still wanted to share my first impressions of it.

A Classic Look

Palm, Inc. has been using the same general design for its smartphones for several years now. You could argue that it’s time to break out of the mold, but it’s hard to argue with success.

A surprising number of companies offer devices using the same general form factor as the Treo for a simple reason: it works.

You can find smaller devices, and also ones with more features, but the 700wx is a good compromise between a device that is as small and portable but is also fully functional.

This smartphone’s keyboard is just large enough to be easy to use, and its screen is just big enough to display the information you need. The battery can store enough power to keep you going for days, just what you want in a smartphone.

Plenty of Power

The Treo 700wx is one of the first smartphones from Palm to use Windows Mobile. This operating system was primarily crafted for corporate users, and this smartphone can function as your office when you’re on the go.

One of its best features is support for Microsoft’s new push email system. If you’re like most people and get your business email from an Exchange Server, then you can have your messages wirelessly delivered to you the instant they arrive at your headquarters, without you having to do anything. This is something that BlackBerry users have been bragging about for years, but Windows Mobile users can have now, too.

Of course, just receiving emails is only the beginning of the process. These often have attachments. That’s why the 700wx comes with applications capable of handling the most common types of these, whether they be Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or Adobe Acrobat files.

These applications can actually do more than just display attachments. This smartphone comes with Office Mobile, which is a set of "lite" versions of Word. Excel, and PowerPoint. These are up to the job of meeting most people’s needs when they are on the road.

Plenty Of Memory, Too

If your smartphone is going to function as a mobile office, you’re often going to find yourself in situations where you’re trying to do three things at once. That’s where that additional RAM I mentioned earlier really comes in handy.

I used an original Treo 700w for a while, and this older model has about half the RAM the 700wx does. Using the previous device it wasn’t unusual for me to run into situations where I wanted to run more applications simultaneously than was possible.

Here’s a typical scenario. I’d be reading something on a web page when I’d get a notification that a new email had arrived. I’d switch over to my Inbox and read the message. When I tried to go back to Internet Explorer, I’d find that the 700w had run out of memory and closed my web browser, forcing me to load the same page again.

The reason for this is I’m often running Voice Control in the background. This is a wonderful application that lets you do all kinds of things with your Treo like call people, launch applications, play music, and more by just talking to it, but it’s a memory hog.

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So when I wanted to give the new 700wx a bit of a challenge I ran it though the same scenario I just described… and it came through without a hitch. It was easily able to keep several applications going simultaneously, even if one of them was Voice Command.

Speed Demon

A requirement for a portable office is a fast connection to the Internet, and the Treo 700wx delivers. It can connect to Sprint’s EV-DO service, which this carrier calls the Power Vision Network.

I could throw some numbers at you (a 400 to 700 kpbs transfer rate, and up to 2 Mbps in ideal conditions) but what you really want to know is that web pages open quickly. Not as fast as they do on your desktop, but quick enough that if you have a few minutes and want to do a bit of web surfing you won’t be impatiently taping your fingers the whole time.

Downloading a typical email is virtually instantaneous, especially as this will probably happen while you aren’t even looking at the device.

I wanted to give this Treo another challenge, so I tried downloading a really big file off the Web. If you don’t mind me throwing numbers at you again, I can tell you that I downloaded a 1.7 MB file in just under two minutes thirty seconds. I know that might not sound amazing to people used to broadband speeds, but that’s pretty good for a wireless device.

There have been some complaints that the 700wx doesn’t include Wi-Fi. I find EV-DO service fast enough that this isn’t an issue for me.

Take Some Setting in Time

As I said when I started, I’ve only had the Treo 700wx for a short time, so I’m still forming my thoughts about it.

However, there are a few things that I can tell you from the much longer time I spent with its predecessor, the 700w. For one, it might take you a while to get used to this device’s 240-by-240-pixel display, especially if you’re accustomed to a handheld with a larger screen. I eventually reached the point where I didn’t notice it any more.

Also, you’re going to need to practice with the keyboard before it gets easy. The keys are a bit cramped, but it’s possible to type even long messages on this smartphone — despite what you might think now. People do it every day.

And that’s all I have at this point. I’ll put together a more complete review of the Treo 700wx when I’ve spent more time with it.


Processor: 312 MHz
Operating System: Windows Mobile 5 for Pocket PC
Display: 240 x 240 LCD, touchscreen
Memory: 64 MB of RAM, 128 MB of ROM (57 MB, 63 MB user accessible)
Expansion: SD/MMC slot
Docking: Palm’s "Athena" port
Communication: CDMA, EV-DO, Bluetooth 1.2
Camera 1.3 megapixel
Audio: Microphone; speaker, 2.5-mm headset jack
Size: 2.3" W x 4.4" H (excluding antenna) x 0.9" D, 6.4 ounces
Battery: replaceable/rechargeable battery
Input: 5-way directional pad; QWERTY keyboard; hardware buttons




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