The Vodafone Palm Treo 750v is a strange beast. Palm have always been known for their Palm handsets using Palm operating
systems. They’re successful but just recently Palm have started making Palm handsets with Windows Mobile inside. Me
being me, I’ve never touched one of the Palm phones powered by Palm, so I’m not familiar with their history. I did,
however, pick this up thinking “That’s a nice phone”.
A phone. It’s a phone. Really, for the first 30 minutes I’d bet that anyone picking this up would think that it’s a
Smartphone. Only after a bit of fiddling will you find that actually there’s a stylus hidden away at the back and this
is – in fact – a Pocket PC.
The one handed operation on this handset is simply excellent. Palm have done some brilliant tweaks and home screen
amendments to make sure that this operates quickly as a phone without you having to look for the stylus. Take something
as simple as dialing a number, if it’s a new number you’ve never called before then you should just be able to pick up
your phone and dial it without any messing shouldn’t you ? Yup, you can. Then, when you’ve finished a call it’ll pop up
“(NUMBER) is not stored in contacts. You can create a new contact with this number or copy it and add to an existing
How good is that ? This is a clever tweak to what is already a clever Operating System. There’s other tweaks too, including the texting system which I’ll mention shortly.
You can probably tell that I’m getting ahead of myself already. So, first up, let’s have a look at the device itself.
Here’s the box. It’s in Vodafone red.
Inside the box is a charger, sync cables, headphones, CD and
manuals. Pretty much all the documentation calls this a "Smartphone" and NOT a
Pocket PC. This is clever. The Treo 750v runs on Pocket PC. It’s got a stylus at
the back but I’ll bet that many people won’t use it much. This promotes itself
as a Smartphone and it operates like a Smartphone.
In the box is the Treo 750v itself, a battery, charger (with four add-ons to
convert it to various countries), a USB sync cable, getting started CD, user
manual a set of headphones. Those headphones also act as a handsfree kit. It’s a 2.5mm plug
and fits into the small socket on the bottom left of the handset like so..
You can just see on the picture above right that the sync cable
is plugged in. This cable will let you transfer files, synchronize contacts,
change ringtones and charge the battery. It’s a fairly chunky plug, and has a
button on top which seems to activate the ActiveSync software. This connection
is quite different to the miniUSB connectors we’ve seen on other Windows Mobile
devices. In comparison it’s huge, and looks out of place in a way compared to
the handset itself.
Next to the ActiveSync connection (the other end goes into your
USB port on your PC by the way) is the power port. This is a little weird. The
power plug itself looks like part of a Scalextric set and it’s almost too easy
to try and insert it incorrectly. I was slightly puzzled by this until I
realised that it’s probably in order to fit with the other Palm accessories and
the other Palm equipment out on the market. Oh, and before you ask – that’s the
microphone on the lower right.
Wait up! I’ve done it again! I’m getting ahead of myself once
more. I should show you the entire handset. Here it is. It easily passes itself
off as "a regular phone shape" and most people I’ve shown it too have literally
no idea that you can touch the screen. The buttons – the main keypad at the
bottom and the keyboard is splendid. The numeric portion is highlighted so you
can easily find your regular numeric buttons. The QWERTY / numeric buttons a
made of shiny plastic and are easy to locate when typing. They’re spaced well
and have good tactile feedback.
Pressing the white button on the lower left acts like a shift
key and gives you access into the numeric buttons when they’re not active plus
it’ll let you access things like the question mark (?) and other special
characters as shown below.
At the top there’s the start / end call buttons. The red "call
end" button also acts as the power button and the phone on / off button too.
There’s also two soft-keys for accessing on-screen menus, "Windows" and OK
buttons for accessing the menu system and closing / accepting programs plus the
centre direction pad. The centre pad works extremely well and sits proud of the
At the top of the Treo 750v is a screen (durr).. however this is
a shift in design for Pocket PC’s (remember, this is a Pocket PC……. I know
you don’t believe me yet, but wait..) in that the screen is square. There’s a
brightness control setting too, so you can adjust the screen depending on where
you are. The resolution of the screen could be higher, however it does the job.
On the left side of the Palm Treo 750v is the volume up /down
buttons and a separate button which sends you into Windows Media Player,
although this can be changed in Settings->Buttons.
On the top is a switch to change to vibrate (silent) mode. What
a bloody fantastic idea. Yeah sure, we all know that Windows Mobile will
automatically switch to silent mode when you’re in a meeting, however people
don’t always set their meetings properly in the phone so this… this simple
switch is a fantastic idea.
On the right side is the MiniSD car slot and IR window. To
access and insert a MiniSD card you’ll just need to pull the flap ..
On the rear of the unit there’s a camera (1.3 megapixel) with a mirror so you
can take some lovely snaps of yourself. The external speaker is also present.
If we slide open the battery flap you can see the battery and Vodafone SIM card.
That’s pretty much it for the phone .. wait.. no. I’m sure I’m
missing something here. Ah yes, the stylus. This is actually tucked away at the
back. Although it’s not inaccessible by any means, I doubt many will try and use
the stylus. The Treo 750v is heavily geared towards keyboard operation and a
large amount of Palm tweaks have been performed to ensure that the stylus only
rarely appears in your hand.
I took the obligatory comparison shots so that you can get a
good idea of the size.
The Palm Treo 750v handset is well built with a slightly
rubberised rear and side panel. The unit feels structurally solid and wouldn’t
look out of place in either an office or a builders tool box.
Operating System: Windows Mobile 5.2
Memory: 128MB / 60MB nonvolatile flash memory available to user
Processor: 300MHz Samsung processor
Display: 240 x 240 16-bit color (65,000+) TFT touchscreen display
Radio: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS radio, GSM bands: 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS
Connectivity: Bluetooth 1.2 wireless technology, Infrared (IR)
Storage: miniSD card slot
Camera: 1.3 megapixel with 2x digital zoom
Audio: 2.5mm headset jack and speaker
Battery: Removable 1200 mAH Lithium-ion
Talk time: up to 4.5 hours GSM / 2.5 hours UMTS, Standby time: 10 days
As previously mentioned the Vodafone Palm Treo 750v has a square touch-sensitive
screen. Many, though, will find themselves rarely tapping the screen itself. The
integration of the phone with the Pocket PC operating system (Windows Mobile
5.0) is one of the smoothest and neatest I’ve seen in years. Many Palm extras
and homescreen additions have been added to this device and they work well.
The homescreen gives you quick access into the most used aspects of the phone.
The first field, which is highlighted above, is the dial field. You can simply
enter a number here or start spelling out a contact name. For example I could
start typing "Bri" and contacts like "Brian" or "Bridget" would appear.
As we scroll down the screen you’ll see the Voicemail notification with the
amount of messages you have – clicking it will take you to your voicemail.
Following that there’s access into messages (this is the email messages
function), text messages (more on that in a moment) and your calendar
appointments. At the bottom is a web search function followed by a list of the
programs currently running.
Pressing the right soft key brings up a menu allowing access into many more
heavily used options as you can see below. Accessing the wireless manager will
show up the lack of WiFi in the handset. You can also create speed dial, check
the call history, bring up the dial pad or look at your contacts.
Whilst we’re talking about the contacts let’s go through adding one in.
Here’s my contacts list. Pretty empty I’m sure you’ll agree. There’s a few ways
to enter contacts. You can beam them, grab them off an old SIM card, enter them
off the phone or I could simply just sync the phone with Outlook and add my
contacts in that way (see
here to learn how). Here I’ll show you how to add a contact in via the
Above I could have just pressed "New", however I wanted to show
you the menu content first. Now I can move on to adding my contact and all the
information about them. I can enter stacks of data – from regular stuff like
their fax number, mobile number and address all the way down to their husband or
wife’s name – even the names of their children (this could add a competitive
edge for salesmen etc – "Hiya Bob, long time no speak! How are Jack and Sarah
doing ? I bet they’re growing up fast now eh?" etc etc.
You can also add notes too, so you can keep track of why you
called them and – with the aid of the call history – when you called last.
You can add pictures too, which helps greatly when you’re
meeting new people. Adding this sort of contact detail will help co-workers
recognise the customer quicker so beaming it or finding it quickly are important
– all this can be done by the menu within contacts. You can even copy the
contact and create a new contact with similar details. This is useful if, for
example, a new person has started at a company you already deal with.
Let’s jump into something we’re really interested in. We review a lot of Windows
Mobile handsets here at coolsmartphone.com. Many, apart from logos and a few
homescreen tweaks, will be fairly similar internally. The operating system is
either Windows Mobile for Smartphone or Windows Mobile for Pocket PC and most
parts of the OS are the same from handset to handset. The text messaging
application on the Treo 750v however is something we’ve never seen before. It
not only integrates both MMS and SMS messaging but also has a chat-style
system too. It is, simply, brilliant. I scratched my head at one point and
thought, "Why the heck hasn’t someone ever thought of this before?!"
Let’s have a look at the messaging application. First I’ll send
a text message to my new contact – Kylie Minogue (she loves me she does).
Regular readers will have seen this or something like it before.
You can either use the left soft key and create a new message or, as shown, use
the right soft key for other options. So I tap in my messgae with the nifty
QWERTY keyboard and off it goes. Notice that smiley face and speech bubble at
the bottom? We’ll cover that shortly. There’s also a good clear indication of
how many messages you’ll be using up and how many characters it is.
Here’s her reply. As you can see, Kylie looks a lot like our
cat. 🙂 This notification message will pop up in whatever application your
doing. It happened to appear as I was using the Messaging tool.. doah… Anyhow,
if I click on the reply I get this….
The screen contains the message I sent, when I sent it and a
little arrow to indicating that it was sent. Below is the reply along
with the date, time and a small arrow to indicate that it was received.
This "chat style" keeps conversations grouped together meaning that you can keep
track of what you’re saying to who. This is a smart touch and, if nothing else,
it means you’ll never send sexy text messages to your mom by mistake! 🙂
Now for my reply. If you click on the smiley face (which is easy
enough by just moving the navigation pad around and hitting the action button)
you’ll get a choice of faces to use in your message. Some phones will
re-interpret this at the other end and will show a similar smiley face. You can
also you "My Text Messages" to add or edit in your own quick messages. I could
add one in saying, "The pub? Oh yes, will be there in 5 minutes, get me a pint
in !" … I’d use that a lot.. a lot.
Kylie has replied again, and – once more – it’s still showing as
one conversation in the Messaging application. This is fantastic – no more huge
lists of text messages from the same people all jumbled up. This is clear,
concise and simple. As previously mentioned the smiley face from Kylie has been
converted into the appropriate graphic and gets displayed in the message window
But wait – it gets better. I can even add in MMS (Multimedia
Messaging) bits too. Pictures, videos, even a little voice recoding of me
saying, "OI! Kylie! Get the beers in!". The Palm even reminds you that it’ll
cost more. Hoho, this is good.
I decide to tell Kylie where I am, so I quickly choose a recent
picture and add it in. Again the handset will help me out by squashing the
picture down automatically so it’ll fit within an MMS. Brilliant, just
brilliant. So many phones we’ve reviewed before have stumbled here and just say,
"The picture is too big, sort it out yourself"
The picture then flies off to Kylie automatically and it’s shown
within the conversation window with an envelope and picture.
The Messaging application has proved incredibly successful and
many people are trying to imitate it as we speak. This is how messaging on a
phone should be.
The homescreen has an interface into "Text Messages" and just
"Messages". The latter is email and it’s integrated well.
I thought I’d cover all the options and send Kylie an email too.
You can use the regular Outlook email synchronization Vodafone have pulled in a
company called Visto to provide you with instant email via "Vodafone Business
Email". To access this you need to click on the "Email Setup" option in the
Programs menu. The push email service offers real-time, secure and remote access
to email, contacts and calendar. It wasn’t enabled on the loan handset I had,
however it looked easy enough to setup.
The push-email setup needs to be easy. People want and
need the "easy" Blackberry-style email system. A lot of people don’t
want to have to mess about with their Exchange Server etc. They just want an
easy setup system which works quickly. If the Visto system does this then I’m
This will sync up with the calendar on your PC and will keep you
up-to-date with all your meetings and appointments. You can choose from a
variety of views – month, week, day, year or agenda view. You can then beam,
delete, edit or move appointments around. An alarm will sound just before your
appointment, or not at all if you don’t want – it’s all user configrable.
OK, so we don’t have WiFi, however we do have a good 3G coverage on Vodafone
and provided you get the right data plan it’s a smooth and quick experience.
Here’s me using Internet Explorer to browse a damned good website. You can tweak
various things like the font size, view type and of course you can add
favourites etc. They’ve spelt "favourites" incorrectly though, but hey, you
can’t have everything 🙂
As with most of the phones we review the user manual is possibly
the last thing to be looked at. I was puzzled though. After browsing I couldn’t
seem to drop the data connection. Usually, to stop the open data connection you
simply press and hold the "End Call" button. Unfortunately on the Treo it
actually turns the phone into "Flight Mode" and disables all the radio aspects
of the phone.
This appears when you press and hold the "End Call" button to activate or
de-activate the phone functionality. Sure, it’ll stop your internet connection
too but the "proper" way is in fact to press the screen. At the top you have to
tap the antenna or "U" symbol and choose "Disconnect". Damn. I’ve been foiled.
I’ve actually had to get the stylus out to get something done at this
Although we’ve covered most things on the home screen I wanted
to quickly cover the user configurable side button. We can change it with the
"Settings" menu to load things like the camera, which I preferred.
Pressing the Windows key will send you into the "regular" Pocket
Pictures and Videos
The 1.3 megapixel camera on the Treo 750 performs well and most
of the shots I took were in the dark. Normally the Pocket PC / Smartphone
cameras we test don’t perform all that well in the dark but this produced some
The Pictures & Videos application has a camera / video switch,
zoom, resolution settings and the option to flick between normal, burst or timer
modes. You can see all this in action below..
Pictures and movies are stored in the "My Pictures" folder on
either the internal phone storage or data card. You can easily switch to a
folder view of these to play move / delete or edit these shots. You can also
start the Slide Show here too which will go through each shot in turn. You can
play about with the settings for this bit later.
The highest resolution is 1280×1024 and I’ve included some
photos from the camera below. A lot of these were taken at the local illuminations
at night time. It seems to handle low-light conditions very well indeed. The
shot below of me sat by the traffic lights surprised me, because it was almost
dark however the pictures has shown up quite brightly.
Click each image for the original.
That’s our new cat by the way. I took that snap at the local RSPCA after we
adopted her 🙂 We also took a video using the Treo 750v of that big wheel. I’ve
uploaded the actual
3gp file here, however you can watch it courtesy of YouTube
Here’s some of the settings you can play with. Ideally, if you’re going to be
snapping lots of shots / video you’ll want to change the storage to the MiniSD
card. You can also play around with the slide show settings, which is useful for
showing your mates those precious holiday shots when you get back to the office
Because, deep down, the Treo 750v is running on the Windows Mobile 5.0 for
Pocket PC, it means you’re given Word Mobile, Excel Mobile and other
Office applications like Powerpoint Mobile. Although these won’t have quite the
mammoth capability of your desktop versions they will let you edit and create
documents on the move.
You’ll find that Powerpoint is ideal for checking out those slideshows before
you do a big presentation or meeting.
Word Mobile is excellent for noting things down. I use it for writing blog posts
and news items – I even did part of this review on Word Mobile! I prefer to have
a smaller font so that I can see more on the screen. This is easily done through
the "Zoom" setting. You can save your document onto either the MiniSD card and
then use a card reader on your PC to grab it, or save it to the internal memory
(or MiniSD) and copy it across over ActiveSync, or you could email it, bluetooth
it or send it over infrared! 🙂 So don’t for a minute think that the document
will be tricky to move on or off the phone because it won’t.
This is well worth mentioning because it lets you view PDF files on the move –
another valuable addition to the Treo 750v. A PDF viewer should be an integral
part of any Windows Mobile phone in my opinion.
This will give you the ability to move around your phone and edit, delete or
change files. You can also create new folders – useful if you’re trying to keep
your work organised.
It’s also the place to go if you want to beam things around. Here you can see me
sending a video (077.3gp) via Bluetooth, although I could use IR too.
For those quiet times when not much is going on you could always fool your boss
into thinking that you’re working whilst playing one of these games. They’re
standard Windows games so you shouldn’t expect 3D graphics here… 🙂
You can access your MSN Hotmail or log into MSN Messenger and keep in touch with
your mates or work colleagues. A lot of companies tend to frown on MSN use,
however I believe a lot of Treo 750v owners will also love the fact that they
can keep in touch with influential contacts via MSN.
Some people call it "RDP" (Remote Desktop Protocol), some call it "Terminal
Services". Whatever you may call it this will let you control regular PC’s and
servers. To use you’ll need to allow it in your Contol Panel on Windows XP and
then, using the Treo 750v, bash in the IP address of your Windows desktop PC.
Although the window is quite small it’ll let you move around the screen and it’s
great for getting small jobs done.
This software will let you write down quick notes with the sytlus. You can also
type them out or record them. Great if you wake up in the middle of the night
with a bright idea. 🙂
Windows Media Player
As usual Windows Media Player is present to fulfil all of your music and video
needs. You can watch camera footage that you’ve filmed yourself or, if you’d
like, you can copy a cut-down movie onto your data card and watch that while
you’re on a long train journey. Windows Media Player sorts the media into
appropriate sections within your library and you can choose to watch films or
video in full-screen too.
There’s a barrage of options to tweak about plus you’ve got a decent set of
headphones supplied with the Treo 750v to let you enjoy your favourite music.
If you ever get lost, or you’ve just had one of these phones for your job and
you don’t know what to do you can always use the Quick Tour which is built into
the phone. Great idea.
There’s almost nothing you can’t change or alter in the settings menu. On this
first "Personal" screen you can alter how the buttons work (that user definable
button on the side can be set to start the camera etc), you can tweak the
keyguard, alter your owner information and change how the home or "Today" screen
looks. Let’s have a look at some of the other options…
Sounds and Notifications.. we love this section on any handset. You can
beam a sound, record one straight from the microphone or choose one from
somewhere on your handset. There’s bags of options here. I love how simple it is
to just hit "New Sound" and then record myself saying, "Message, there’s a text
message", and save that as my SMS notification.
The Keyguard can be altered to be automatically on or off, plus there’s a
Wired Car Kit option giving you access into the settings for the many kits and
accessories already on the market for Treo handsets. Lets’ not forget that this
handset hasn’t changed in style or build much from the other Palm OS-powered
devices. This is intentional and means that previous owners can still use their
car kit with this new handset.
You can change your Voice Command options here and check or un-check
items that you’d like voice-enabled.
The second tab on the settings menu takes you into system settings and gives
information about the handset, power and regional settings plus the ability to
remove programs that you’ve installed previously.
Brightness / Backlight – I like the fact that the screen brightness can
be increased or decreased. It’s something that isn’t always included in every
Windows Mobile phone but.. it should be. For bright sunny days or those who use
their Treo 750v outside more than anywhere else this is ideal.
Changing the time, or rather setting it, is one of the first things you’ll be
doing when you un-box this. This is easily done and a calendar-type screen will
pop up when you alter the date making it painless to find the appropriate
setting. It’s also easy to switch time zones for travellers and you have
more than enough alarm settings to choose from. I really, really wish they
("they" being Microsoft) had used this alarm system in the Windows Mobile
Smartphone because it’s fantastic.
If you’ve got a Bluetooth GPS unit or intend to use satellite navigation
software like TomTom then you’ll be happy to see that Palm have enabled the GPS
settings on this device for you to play with.
The screen, as we may have mentioned earlier, will go off and
the fairly quickly as a way of saving the battery. You can alter this and you
can check the battery level plus some other advanced options in the Power
settings. The memory option will let you see whether you’re running low on
available RAM and will let you stop programs that could be potentially hogging
the memory allowance..
The third tab takes you into the connections area. Here you can
turn on / off bluetooth, set up a modem link for your laptop to use or turn the
infrared beam on / off. There’s no Wifi unfortunately, which is a shame.
I’ve read many reviews of the Palm Treo 750v and to be honest they’re not all
that positive. Sure, it doesn’t charge when it’s sync’d to your PC, sure the non-standard (at least for us Windows Mobile users) connectors are a turn off and it’s got no WiFi.. yes, we know.. but let’s get over that shall
we. The 3G coverage supplied by Vodafone is spot on and, although WiFi isn’t
built in, it shouldn’t be ignored. Many, many devices we’ve reviewed don’t have
WiFi. Many Smartphones don’t have WiFi and, interestingly, this is how the 750v
is marketed – as a Smartphone. For this reason I think the Palm Treo 750v is an
extremely important handset. It’s one of the first handsets that has
successfully married the functionality and speed of a Smartphone with the
flexibility of a Pocket PC. I’ve repeated myself several times on this point
during this review but it’s worth duplicating – this is a device which looks
like a phone, operates like a phone and is as easy to use as a phone. This is
not a PDA in the traditional sense and I think it’s a success on many levels.
The build quality is excellent, the Palm tweaks are excellent, the integration
of the Pocket PC platform with a usable, quality keyboard is excellent. Oh, and
you can even tap the screen if you feel like it too.
So ignore the other reviews. They’re talking absolute horse droppings. This is a
great Smartphone. It’s a great Pocket PC. It’s a great phone. It’s a great PDA.
In fact, whatever you call it, the Palm Treo 750v is, simply, great. Buy one.
Link – Treo 750v @ Vodafone.co.uk