3G to Go – Palm Treo 750Gadgets, Reviews — By Ira Jeffry Strumpf, MD
I wanted to like the Treo 750, really I did. Let me first explain that I have used the Palm operating system since its introduction and have been a devoted fan. My Treo 650 uses the Palm operating system. But a chance to use the Treo 750 with all its lights and whistles plus the additional opportunity to try Windows Mobile was more than I could resist.
I have divided my review into two parts. Part one reviews the actual physical Treo 750 device itself. Part two reviews the operating system, which in this case was Windows Mobile 5.1.195.
Physically, the Treo 750 is a very utilitarian and practical tool. Its 300MHz Samsung processor is fast and responds quickly. Its size, screen clarity (240 x 240 color TFT touchscreen) and audio functions are excellent. The 750 supports a mini-SD card for supplemental memory and the battery is replaceable.
Even with my clumsy fingers, I can manage the keys with one hand. I found myself using the stylus when I needed to navigate through endless Windows interfaces or if I want to use the writing option or keypad on the screen face rather than on the devices QWERTY keys.
The phone quality and ease of use are excellent. As a phone, it functions very well as a GSM quad band world phone. The phone can identify contacts by address book, pictures or speed key dialing. If I just wanted an excellent phone, this would be great.
The 1.3 megapixel camera with 2x digital zoom, automatic light balance takes clear but unremarkable pictures and brief videos with sound.
My opinion about the Treo 750 becomes jaded when I work with the Windows operating system. Reading the owner’s manual and all the advertised hype, the device appears to offer endless opportunities-BUT.
One buys a PDA/Smartphone for all the other things. Here is where the Windows interface and operating system is difficult to embrace for either a novice user or a Palm OS lover. First, the operating system is a memory hound. After loading the programs that came on a CD with the 750, I found myself using up the 64 mg memory that came with the device. I did not have an available mini-SD card when I started, but that should not have been an issue. To be expected to supply extra external memory just to perform simple basic functions seems wrong. Obtaining a mini-SD card should not be a necessity to be able to use the 750. I had real difficulties trying to free enough memory to run programs even though I eventually deleted programs and content (pictures and e-books). Operations continue to run in the background and Internet sites accumulate memory. Clearing these functions is inconvenient and still did not resolve the problem. On a PC with Windows, that does not bother me because I have enough memory. On the 750, this is a problem, especially for unsophisticated users. A knowledgeable PC user who is technically savvy may be content with this operation, but most of the folks using this device will not be so knowledgeable or willing to put up with this inconvenience.
When I could not free my memory, I contacted Palm. We could not identify the cause for this memory problem and had to resort to a “hard reset” to finally retrieve 50 MB of memory.
Proponents of Windows Mobile suggest you can work in Windows Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in their “native tongue” to edit, write and develop material. In reality, for me this device is just too small to do any real work. For example, I would never undertake to write this review on the 750 – I have enough difficulties on a PC. Frankly, I could do all my stuff on my Palm OS based device using Documents to Go™ that comes with the Palm. In fact, there are some limitations using Microsoft functions that are not mentioned until you read the manual – for example you can not edit PowerPoint slides. A new Windows Mobile OS is due to be released soon that may improve these functions but Palm representative was not clear if the upgrade could be loaded onto previously purchased versions of the Treo 750.
Power management for all PDA phones is a concern and the 750 was not an exception. When I tried to do several things over time, I found myself concerned with battery reserve to make phone calls when I arrived at my destination. As a result, I had to limit my use, especially of the Internet. This is further complicated by the fact that even after turning off the unit; the programs appear to continue to run in the background because my battery was depleted faster than expected.
The Internet via 3G speed is one of the main points for the 750. Of course you have to be in an area with 3G services. Service for 3G will be expanding but I could not determine what areas support 3G at this time. Another issue is a scaled down browser interface. This limits some of the internet activities that can be performed. Arguably, other newer devices like the iPhone may have more robust browsers.
The 750 can be can be used for DUN (dial up networking). At this time it does not work with VISTA but I assume this should be corrected soon. This connection can be accomplished using USB or Bluetooth. I did not go through downloading the supplemental software and the setup process to confirm this function in my area. I suggest you also check your service provider for any usage charges.
I could not figure out how to get streaming video to work where I wanted it to work. I went to my favorite TV site with streaming video and could not make a connection to watch a video. Apparently the streaming video runs using only with Windows Media. On a separate trial, I went to a Microsoft site and downloaded a film trailer. The trailer ran but the screen window was so small I could not see it even with my glasses on.
I find the Palm Treo 750 a functional and practical device. The Windows Mobile operating system was disappointing and I hope a Treo with the Palm OS and 3G comes out for people like me.
Windows® XP or 2000
USB port (USB ActiveSync® cable included)
*Images provided by Manufacturer