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Treo 700wx: What Rules, What Drools

Tue Dec 12, 2006 - 9:38 AM EST - By Tim Hillebrand


Overview

Before we get started, hereís a chart of the specifications for the Treo 700wx for quick reference. I suppose a perceptive reader could pick up a lot of what RULES and what DROOLS from this chart as a starting point.

Treo 700wx Specifications

Letís begin by looking at the chart above to get the obvious out of the way first. First, I want to applaud Palmís decision to embrace the Windows Mobile 5.0 platform and capture a larger market share. At the same time, Palm has brought some welcome innovations to the Pocket PC world, which weíll discuss below.

What DROOLS

The 312 MHz processor speed is ho-hum, mediocre, and disappointing compared to say Dell Aximís 624 MHz. Thank you, Palm for increasing the program memory to 64 MB. The previous iteration (700w) was so deprived of memory that I could not mulitask with many of my favorite programs.

The 240 x 240 small, square screen is another disappointment. I had hoped that Palm would have offered a higher resolution in the new 700wx, but itís the same as the 700w. I guess Palm started with a small, square screen, and it seems normal to a Palmster, but not to someone used to a 480 x 640 VGA screen. I must say that despite the low resolution, the display is certainly sharp and bright. Actually, if you think of the 700wx primarily as a phone, the screen is larger than those available on normal cell phones.

Hereís a double Drool for you: that ugly, pesky antenna that sticks up, catches on everything, and looks like the Devil himself with one horn lopped off. I have a whole stable full of Pocket PC Phone Editions and Smartphones, none of which have an antenna that sticks up making a spectacle of itself. Itís just not necessary and ruins the looks. Itís like a beautiful woman with a big mole on her nose.

While CDMA EVDO and backwards compatible 1xRTT are good if you live in the limited markets in the United States where this service is available, it is unlimited. I think it DROOLS that Palm does not offer us a GSM unlocked phone.

I would say that not offering Wi-Fi is quadruple DROOL. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of any other Pocket PC without Wi-Fi. I even have a couple of WM5 Smartphones with Wi-Fi. We probably should not blame Palm for this seeming oversight. Instead, I think the finger should be pointed at the greedy telcos that want you to use their toll-laden networks instead of Wi-Fi for free. And, now Verizon has started terminating users for abusing their unlimited usage accounts. Unlimited account indeed. I hope Sprint will not follow Verizonís example.

As a result of telcos dictating what features phones can and cannot have in the United States, we are deprived of a lot of the latest technology and the last to get it. If you donít believe me, all you have to do is attend the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas sometime. You will be staggered at all the cool stuff thatís not yet available here.

Helping Asian electronic developers get their gadgets marketed in the U.S. could be a great business for anyone with an enterprising spirit.

Anyway, Iím tired of telcos dictating my toys. Thatís why most of my communications devices are unlocked.

Hereís another drool to add to the list. The new Treo 700wx offers Bluetooth 1.2 instead of the much faster 2.0. This unfortunate choice of stacks also precludes listening to music on wireless Bluetooth headphonesóbig DROOL.

I am disappointed in the quality of the 1.3 MPX pictures. Landscape shots with the 700wx would make an Impressionist or Pointillist painter proud. It seems to work best for close-ups and mug shots. The best advice I can give is to hold the camera as still as possible, which is a challenge. I do like the user settings for zoom, lighting, and resolution. This is certainly an improvement over the Treo 0.3 MPX shooters. But, many of the new PDAs are now offering 2.0 MPX. Yes, you can program hardware buttons for different functions, but I think it would be nice if Palm had placed a camera button on the right side of the machine, which is now blank. Itís curious that a device with a square screen takes pictures in rectangular format.

At first, I would have gladly sacrificed the QWERTY external keyboard in favor of a larger display panel. I still think I can tap out text faster on an SIP than on a small thumb board. But, now that I have had some time with the thumb board, I have grown rather fond of it. So, letís change the keyboard from a drool to a cool. I like the way I can hold the device in one hand and use my thumb for inputting--it sure beats a regular phone keypad.

TenGO $24.95

If you really want to gain some inputting speed, I recommend TenGO, which is an ingenious inputting program that only uses six keys. The only problem is that the SIP takes up half the small screen on the Treo 700wx.


Iíve always favored Pocket PCs with double expansion slots, but, unfortunately, that does not seem to be a trend, which is a pity. That is especially true for devices like Treos that require that you remove your memory card to insert a Wi-Fi card or some other peripheral. What if you want to use your Treo for a PowerPoint presentation, for which you will need to insert an adapter and there goes your external memory? If you use your device for GPS, you do not have access to the programs or data on your memory card. What a bother. My ideal Pocket PC Phone of the future would have dual expansion slots; this seems so doable with miniSDs and micro mini cards.

Seido Battery Cover$9.95

I shake my head in amusement to see that the 700wx, like the 700w, does not have a reset buttonhole. You have to remove the battery cover to access the reset button. Of course, you can pay ten bucks to get a battery cover with a hole in it. I understand that if you drill a hole in the cover yourself, you will void the warranty. Palm needs a bib for this oneóbig drool.


3.5 mm Adapter$5.95

It is also amusing to me that Palm elected to use a 2.5 mm earphone jack instead of the standard 3.5 mm jack that all other Pocket PCs use and all almost all headphones, ear plugs, and external speakers use. To couple with external sound devices, you have to purchase an adapter, which is a bother and an expense. I have to give Palm another drool for this one.

The fact that you cannot charge your 700wx simply by connecting it via a USB cable to a desktop or a laptop DROOLS. Why not go with what is becoming the industry standard and use a mini-USB connector that will sync and charge at the same time. Palmís system of plugging a charging cable into the USB connector is ludicrous, cumbersome, and ill-conceived.

Retractable USB Cable$12.95


Cradle

Iím amazed that neither the 700w nor the 700wx comes with a cradle in the box. If you want a cradle, it will cost you another $25 or so, and that DROOLS. What RULES is that the cradle also charges an extra battery while charging a Treo at the same time.



What RULES >>

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