Palm Treo 750 Review

Wed 25 Feb 2009

Filed Under: Mobile Phone Reviews, Palm, Smartphone 

Welcome to our review of the Palm Treo 750.  It’s a Windows Mobile OS based phone that’s been around for a few years now.  Due to various corporate issues with Palm other factors its hasn’t been very popular outside the business world.

Palm has introduced a few benchmark products over the years and the qwerty Palm OS based phones where one of the first.  Palm then decided to introduce Windows Mobile based phones as a means to attract the business user.  The Treo 750 was the top of the range phone until the release of the Palm Pro in late 2008.

We’ve actually bought the Treo as a run out special well below RRP. The Treo 750 originally ran Windows Mobile 5 which is not a very good OS.  It had crashes, data sync issues power drains and all sorts of things you would expect from anything with a Microsoft OS but you’d also expect Palm to have sorted out the mess but didn’t.

The initial release was a shocker – it crashed all the time – simply did not work properly on a new and clean installed phone!

Thus in Windows 5 form the Treo 750 like every other Windows based phone was not reliable.  Other than that – simple things like MP3 ringtones where beyond the capabilities of this version.

THANKFULLY Palm released a free Windows Mobile 6 OS update for almost every user of the Treo 750 and I must say the change is dramatic. We did the upgrade and was finally happy with the phone.  So if you see a Treo 750 on special only buy if it has Windows 6 installed.

With WM6 the Treo finally had all the features (except for Wi-Fi) ou’d expect from a decent smartphone.  Moreover it was actually stable and has so far failed to crash since it’s new OS upgrade.  Even more important  is that it could now play MP3 ringtones!

The construction is certainly old tech – large and plastic but it was well made. No creaks could be heard.  The back has a rubberised cover so it feels good to hold.  There are plenty of buttons but it is well designed keypad so easy to use.  The buttons may feel hard to touch but the spring action is excellent so it cheapness is only in appearance.  Of note is the dedicated Windows Start Menu button and a OK/Close button.  We are utterly serious when we say that these two buttons make the Treo superior to most WM6 based phones.  Overall a sturdy and well made phone if a little on the large side.

The camera lens is set into the back along with a mirror! and the main speaker.  Very tidy arrangement and again well made but the speaker is blocked when you set the phone down – which is unfortunate. More so because it’s for some reasons we could not get the volume of the ring tones to make themselves heard.

The picture quality from the camera is poor likewise the video quality.  At least it has something…

The keypad back light is very bright, the white number keys an excellent idea!  If you don’t like the keypad you can always use the touch screen.   The ability to dual input makes the phone great to use.  However we found using the keypad superior to using the stylus or touch screen.  Phones should be capable of one handed operation.  Speaking of which the sensitivity of the screen is very good even if you have a stick on screen protector.

The screen is very large by 2006 standards but now only average size for Qwerty based phone in 2009.  Nevertheless screen resolution is also perfectly acceptable.

Functionality is WM6 OS standard and there aren’t any noticeable Palm specific apps like the more popular HTC models.  However the the usual applications like Word, Excel and Powerpoint are available.  The Web browser is still very poor.

The most useful feature in WM6 is the ability to connect to MS Exchange for push email services.  So if your company runs Exchange email, the Treo 750 can receive push email messages (just like the Blackberry).  This basically means when you get normal email it is also sent to the Treo.  It can also Sync calender items notes etc.. Just like the regular Activesync.

In terms of operating speed – the phone is sluggish compared to the latest 2009 mobiles with similar CPUs but its not too slow either.  Faster than the HTC Touch and even the latest Sony Ericsson Experia on first impression.

Standard battery life was good lasting 3 days with full 3G and Exchange running all the time but no calls.  With the phone functions switch off it lasted 5-6 days.  You can still get the extended battery option if you want longer operating time.

The speaker sound quality is excellent but its ability to get the best signal could probably be improved.  It is 1000 times better than the iPhone 3G – but then which phone isn’t in terms of keeping a signal?  It also has a external antenna plug!

The worst feature of the phone is the propriety PC connector.  It is bulky and odd just like the separate power cable. Also the use of the largely defunct mini SD card…  You can use adapters if you can’t find appropriate cards.

One final oddity is that the Treo does not have an OFF button.  It stays on – so if you travel you’ll have to manually turn the phone functionality off rather than turn off the whole phone.

Conclusion: Despite a very bad start we have come to like the Treo 750.  WM6 update made all the difference.  Sure the physical design is dated but it is well made.  It is NOT better than say the arguably market leader, the Nokia E71.  But it is just as good as the 2008 HTC models.  However it is a cheaper option to the Treo Pro.

Specifications

* Palm Treo 750
* Network
Tri-band 3G HSDPA 3.6 / 850 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
Quad-band GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 /1900 MHz
* Design
Mini keyboard
L111 x W58 x D22 mm
Weight 154 grams
* Display/s
TFT 240 x 240
16-bit colour 65,000
* Camera
1.3MP main camera
* Connectivity
USB
Bluetooth V1.2
Infrared
* CPU
300MHz Processor
* Memory
128MB available to user
45MB available to user
Up to 4Gig MiniSD
* Ring tones
MP3, MIDI, WAV, Vibration
* Features
Word/Excel/Powerpoint
SMS, MMS, WAP, EMAIL
Speaker Phone/Hands free
Customizable backgrounds
Picture Viewer
Calender and organizer
PDF viewer
Internet Explorer (Mobile)
200Hrs Standby, 4 Hours Talk Time
* Package contents
XP/Vista Compatible Activesync
Personal hands free kit
Travel charger
USB cable
* Price history
Between $650-900 AUS 2009

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