Treo 700wx: A review

So I’ve had Treo 650 for Sprint for the longest time. It was my 2nd Smartphone (the first was a Toshiba 2032) and I enjoyed it for the most part. When the Treo 700 came out for Sprint, I thought about buying it right away, but then decided against it. The 650 would suffice for now and I could not justify a purchase of that size at that time. And than, about a month or so ago, a friend of mine decided to sell his 700wx for fairly cheap and offered it to me. I thought about it again, but decided to stick with my 650. The Palm OS was good enough and the Treo worked fine. No need for a new one yet.

And then, a few weeks later, the Treo 650 cracked. I don’t know how. I took it out of my pocket and the screen was all cracked. Now, the phone worked fine, the screen was still readable, and all the buttons were still functional. The only thing I lost was touch-screen functionality. So I decided to just stick it out. After all, I could hold out with the broken screen for a few months, save some money, and then get a new phone. Well, I tried for several weeks, but not being able to touch the screen was quite annoying, and so I caved and bought my friends 700wx (for 1/2 the price he originally asked, I might add).

There are a few things that I like and dislike about the phone:

Likes:

1. Better syncing with home PC. The 650 never really synced well with my computer. I don’t know if it was the phone or ActiveSync or something else, but it never really worked well. With this phone, since I also now have Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007, combined with the new Windows Mobile Device Center syncing software, the syncs have been much easier. Things were transferred easily back and forth.

2. Picture Speed-Dial. Yes, it’s a small little feature to Windows Mobile 5, but I really like the picture speed-dialing. And the fact that the speed-dials sit right on my Today page is a nice feature as well.

3. Windows Mobile 5 Interface (as compared to v4.0). I’m not too sold on Windows Mobile as a whole. See the Dislike list for more about that. But the 5.0 interface is a nice improvement from the one I had on my Toshiba 2032 (I can’t remember if that was 3.0 or 4.0).

4 . Office Mobile Integration. Included with the phone are the new version of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint Mobile. All nice little programs. I never really dugg Documents To Go on my Palm-based Treo and always ended up just using the generic text editor on it.

5. Internet Explorer. Yeah, Firefox for Treo would be nice, but IE is still a lot better than Palm Blazer.

Dislikes

1. Syncing. You ask, “I thought you just said you liked the syncing.” Read again, my friend. I liked that it synced better, but don’t miss the little prepositional phrase, “with PC.” As per usual, there is no support to sync with Mac OS X. I had hopes when I saw the Bluetooth built right in of a possible sync, but no such luck. I operate mostly off my MacBook Pro. Everything is on there – including my complete email setup, address book, calenders, etc. Now, I had hopes of hacking it a bit, since Vista so nicely copied just about everything from OS X, by sending all my stuff from the MBP to my Vista machine. I thought that I could update my MBP, which would push the information to Vista, which would sync to Treo. I put all my calendars and such on the web, since Windows Calendar can now sync to iCal files, and subscribed in Windows. (I haven’t been able to figure out how or if I can publish my address book for a Windows machine to see). Well, I had no such luck syncing Windows Calendar to the Treo, so I then subscribed Outlook 2007 to the calendars, since Outlook syncs very well, and to my dismay I can’t seem to figure out how to get Outlook to sync subscribed calendars to the Treo. It sure syncs the regular Outlook calendar well, though. Anyways, if anyone has any ideas on how to make this all work, I’d sure like some help.

2. Colon blockage. Where’d my colon go on the Treo’s keyboard?!? I mean, I saw it just the other day on my 650. It was right there on the “K” button. Now I look there and find a semi-colon. Now, I have nothing in particular against the semi-colon, but I find it a far less useful button to have access to… especially on an Internet-ready device. I would use the colon a great deal on my 650, but now I find that if I want to use it, I have to open up the on-screen keyboard and press the on-screen SHIFT button and, lo and behold, there my missing colon appears. Boo, Treo, for forsaking the colon.

3. Weird new buttons. Ok, so this is a Windows phone, and my 650 was a Palm phone. I understand why they needed to put the Windows button and OK button on the 700, but I really miss my Calendar button and Messaging button… and even moreso, my home button. I’m still getting used to it and frequently press the buttons where I’m used to them being.

4. GPS, but no. I love that GPS is built in. And I love even more that Google Maps made a Windows Mobile client. I downloaded it and tried to use the GPS to locate myself. It sounds like a great feature… except the GPS seems to be unavailable by Google Maps. I “Googled” for a fix to this, but have come up empty. Again, any help would be nice.

5. Text Messaging. I mean, the texting is fine, and works well. No complaints on that. It’s just that I’ve gotten used to the Chat-style texting from the Palm OS and I really, really miss it. I think it’s a better way to text.

6. It’s still Windows. It’s crashed a few times since I got it 2 weeks ago. Enough said.

7.  No support for GMail.  I can’t setup my gmail account in Outlook Mobile on the Treo.  This frustrates me a great deal.

Final conclusion: I still want an iPhone.

7 Replies to “Treo 700wx: A review”

  1. Hey William,

    Nice review. I especially like how you compare it to the 650/Palm OS. I used to have an unlocked GSM Treo 650 that I used with T-Mobile. Oh, and I loved “colon blockage” – lol.

    Anyways, regarding syncing with your MBP, have you tried The Missing Sync? They make a conduit that syncs WM devices with Mac OS X (http://www.markspace.com/missingsync_windowsmobile.php).

    There’s also PocketMac (which I’ve used with my old BlackBerry 7100) but they don’t have a WM 5.0 compatible version, yet (they say it’s coming soon)…a bit behind the eight ball since WM 6.0 was just released.

  2. Thanks for the Missing Sync recommendation. I’ma save up a bit and get it (money is a little tight currently). I’m actually fairly excited to try it out.

    And I’m glad you enjoyed the “Colon Blockage.” I was hoping someone would get a kick out of it.

  3. No problem! Let us know what you think of it when you get it.

    Speaking of MBPs, I can’t wait to replace my PowerBook G4 (my PB is sooo freakin’ slow now)…just waiting for Leopard to be released and, hopefully, LED-lit MBPs.

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