Palm Treo Pro review

£391
Price when reviewed

We’re not sure if we should feel sorry for Palm or not, but there’s no getting away from the fact that, over the past few years, its star has fallen.

Once, every launch of a Palm device was awaited with bated breath, but times have changed since the days when the Handspring Visor, the Palm Titanium V and its compatriots ruled the roost, and Palm has fallen behind in the new era of connected smartphone PDAs.

Palm’s Treo Pro is the firm’s latest valiant attempt to claw back lost ground and it owes much of its appearance to a certain phone from Apple. That’s surprising, perhaps, given that Windows Mobile phones (6.1 Professional in this instance) are usually targeted firmly at the business fraternity. As the iPhone has proved, however, even suit-clad office workers like a bit of gloss in their lives from time to time.

We can’t say the Treo is as desirable as an iPhone 3G, a Nokia E71 or a Touch Pro, but it is a very nice-feeling and good-looking device, nonetheless. Its all-gloss black finish with the Palm logo embossed on the rear in glittering chrome is smart. Its 2.5in 320 x 320 resolution touchscreen is flush to the edges of the device and bright, clear and sensitive, plus it is transflective, so readable in bright sunshine.

It’s also narrow enough to fit comfortably in a trouser or jacket pocket. In fact, in the latter respect, it compares favourably with its rivals. It’s not quite as narrow or slim as our current favourite, the A-Listed Nokia E71 – but both the BlackBerry Bold and iPhone are wider and taller than the Treo Pro, and the HTC Touch Pro is much thicker. It’s a good compromise.

Elsewhere, the phone boasts a smattering of thoughtful features that lift it above other Windows Mobile Qwerty candy bar phones – Toshiba’s awful G710, for example. In standby mode, instead of a blank screen you get the time and your missed call/message status displayed in monochrome, which saves having to turn the phone on and off all the time. On the top edge is a dedicated silencer switch – a boon as muting everything in Windows Mobile is a fiddly job. And the Treo’s power switch doubles as a quick comms on/off switch. Again, this saves having to delve into the menus.

On the right edge, there’s another convenient touch – a dedicated button for switching Wi-Fi on and off – and the keyboard is also sprinkled with handy shortcuts. The screen brightness settings, device search and symbols, for instance, can all be accessed with quick key combinations. And on the bottom edge you’ll find a 3.5mm audio jack for the use of standard headphones – a feature that neither the Nokia E71, nor HTC Touch Pro can offer.

Hook up the Treo Pro to a PC and there are more surprises. For those XP users who don’t already have ActiveSync installed, the phone sets itself up in mass storage mode initially and then points users at the Microsoft ActiveSync website to download the latest version.

And the phone has every feature box ticked, too. It offers quad band GSM, tri-band HSDPA, GPRS, EDGE and 802.11bg Wi-Fi connectivity, plus Bluetooth 2.0 and integrated GPS. The phone comes with Google Maps, to take advantage of the latter, and a 14-day trial of turn-by-turn navigation software, Webraska 7.5. The GPS works well, too, latching on to a signal quickly and holding on to it reliably, but we’re not too keen on the Webraska software – there are better packages than this on the market.

Details

Cheapest price on contract
Contract monthly charge
Contract period 18 months
Contract provider T-Mobile

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 5hrs
Standby, quoted 250 days

Physical

Dimensions 60 x 13.5 x 114mm (WDH)
Weight 133g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard Physical

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 128MB
ROM size 256MB
Camera megapixel rating 2.0mp
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 2.5in
Resolution 320 x 320

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Windows Mobile

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