Treo Returns to Palm OS Roots

Review: Treo 700P adds EvDO for broadbandlike speed

The Treo 700p marks a welcome return to Palms handheld operating system and adds EvDO network support, allowing Palm OS fans to get broadbandlike speeds on their smart phones.

In eWeek Labs tests of the previous Treo-—the Windows Mobile-based 700w—we didnt find much that would tempt users away from the popular Treo 650. The Treo 700p, however, builds on the success of Palms smart-phone technology with new features that will be sure to please mobile workers. For example, along with wireless broadband capabilities, the Treo 700p provides 128MB of storage (60MB available for end-user storage) and a 1.3-megapixel camera.

The CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) phone will work on Verizon Wireless and Sprint networks. Palm has not yet announced when a version will be available for GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks, which is more common in Europe.

The phone is available now from both Sprint and Verizon Wireless.

Without a calling plan, the Treo 700p is priced at $649. With a one-year contract from Sprint, the phone will cost $550 after discounts and promotions; with a two-year Sprint or Verizon contract, the new Treo will cost $400.

The Treo 700ps predecessor, the Treo 700w, featured Microsofts Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system. The Treo 700p, armed with Palm OS 5.4.9, was more functional than the Windows version in eWeek Labs tests when it came to one-handed operability. (However, for organizations dedicated to building a wireless platform on Windows Mobile, the Treo 700w is the better bet.)

The 6.4-ounce Treo 700p looks exactly like its Windows Mobile-powered sibling. The 700p measures 5.08 by 2.28 by 0.89 inches and, like its predecessors, has a fully functional, good-size screen.

Synchronizing the Treo 700p requires a system with a USB port running Windows 2000, Windows XP or Mac OS 10.2 to 10.4x.

Powering the Treo 700p is a 312MHz Intel XScale processor. We were pleased with the performance of the Treo 700p, which was on par with the Treo 700w, Treo 650 and other smart-phone devices weve looked at in the past.

The Treo 700p comes with a Secure Digital slot for memory card expansion and supports up to a 2GB SD card. The Treo 700ps built-in 1.3-megapixel digital camera has a 1,280-by-1,024 pixel resolution. The unit also offers Bluetooth Version 1.2, although in the future wed like to see the ability to turn Bluetooth off with the press of a button.

We were happy to see that the Treo 700p has the same crisp 320-by-320-pixel color display as the Treo 650, as we were disappointed with the Treo 700ws 240-by-240-pixel display.

We were able to perform tasks easily with the Treo 700p without using the stylus. We also liked the addition of a green "call" button on the upper-left-hand corner of the keyboard—something users are accustomed to seeing on their mobile phones.

Another feature many will appreciate is the Ignore with Text capability, which allows a busy user to forward a call to voice mail and then reply to the caller with an SMS (Short Message Service) text message so he or she knows the call was diverted.

The addition of EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) to a Palm OS-based Treo has been long sought after, and we experienced good data transfer rates while streaming movie trailers and audio. The Treo 700p also can be used for dial-up networking, allowing users to convert the phone into a modem to access the Internet from a computer via Bluetooth or the included USB sync cable. (Macintosh support is for Bluetooth only.)

Palm claims the battery life between charges is 4.5 hours of talk time and 300 hours of standby time. We werent able to completely drain the battery to test those claims for this review, but we will do so in the future. Like the Treo 700w, though, the Treo 700p has flash memory, which means data stays intact.

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at

Evaluation Shortlist

Palms Treo 700w
The Treo 700w also has EvDO connectivity, and it sports a Windows operating system; while the screen left something to be desired in our tests, the unit is a good bet for Windows shops (