Review: Palm Treo Pro

treoproabced.gif
In the increasingly competitive smartphone marketplace, Palm has bought itself a little more time by introducing the business-friendly Palm Treo Pro. This sleek powerhouse has the kind of wow factor that makes you want to pick it up and see what it can do, and it has several features that should make enterprises happy. It's not the breakthrough device we were wishing for, though, so we hope Palm has something truly eye-opening on its drawing board.

While the Treo Pro is a GSM smartphone, it's only sold unlocked in the U.S., so there are no carrier discounts. That will put it beyond the reach of some (it sells for $549 from Palm.com), but we like that users aren't tied to onerous contracts. Plus, it's targeted at the business market, anyway; consumers should look to Palm's well-reviewed and affordable Centro line).

It's a quad-band world phone with 802.11b/g WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR. The battery is rated for 5 hours of talk time or 250 hours of standby.

Beautifully designed, the Treo Pro is clearly a member of the Treo family, yet also feels trimmer, sleeker, and sexier than any previous model. It comes in one color - ebony - and measures 4.49 x 2.36 x 0.53" inches with a weight of 4.69 ounces.

It passes the pocket test, slipping easily in to a jeans pocket.

The screen sports a 320 x 320 pixel resolution and, in our testing, it was usually covered with fingerprints. We like the energy saving display, which tells you the date, time and message status when the phone is locked, so that you don't have to wake it for basic checks.

treoprorear.gif

Below the screen you'll find the standard directional pad surrounded by call start and stop buttons, as wells as four buttons for calling up the Windows Start menu, clicking OK, accessing the calendar, and opening e-mail. There's a QWERTY keyboard below that with especially small and rubbery keys. Typing on the cramped keyboard wasn't a pleasure.

The left side contains volume buttons and a camera button, while the right side holds a clever Wi-Fi button for quickly turning Wi-Fi connectivity on and off (to save battery life) and the infrared port. The top holds power and silence controls while the bottom holds the connection port and a 3.5mm headphone jack (something new for Treos, which we're grateful for).

You access the small stylus from an inconvenient location, the lower right corner. It's a problem, since the Windows Mobile Professional 6.1 operating system requires a stylus for easy tapping. Trying to tap with a finger is frustrating. We miss the days when Palms had large spring-loaded styluses in the top right corner.

Besides offering the standard Windows Mobile bundle (browser, media tools, contact and calendar applications, and a pocket version of Office), the Treo Pro offers one feature that's fast becoming an essential: GPS reception. It's loaded with TeleNav software for turn-by-turn directions.

Other extras make the Treo Pro more attractive to business users. There's support for Microsoft's Direct Push Technology for staying in contact with the office, and a generous 24-month limited warranty for qualifying business customers. The Treo Pro is also compatible with Microsoft's System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, which allows for easy IT management.

The Treo Pro is certainly the finest and sleekest Palm we've seen, but the Apple iPhone has raised the game for everyone by offering users a true desktop app experience on their smartphones. The Treo Pro just came, but we're already wondering what's next.

TAGS:

smartphone, Palm, Windows Mobile, Treo

Comment and Contribute



    (Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.