>> Stories >> Commentary
Treo 800w Review Roundup

Tue Jul 15, 2008 - 7:24 PM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell


Update: Scroll down for even more *newly added reviews.

Palm's latest WM Treo smartphone is here and reviews are going up. Some are saying that the Treo 800w is the best Treo to date. Let's take a look at some of the reviews and hands-on articles circulating. These are just the first ones that I've come upon. There are many more out there, and I'll update when I have time. I just put them in the order in which I found them online.

I always enjoy reading several reviews on a device because I want to know the differing opinions. You need to know the positives and negatives and every little thing you can find out about a device when you're looking to buy one. There are almost always some negative points to every device, and it's good to know if the positives outweighs the negatives. So let's dig in and see what the consensus is on the Treo 800w.

First up, if you haven't read Dieter's review, be sure to check it out here or at our sister site WMExperts.

Although Dieter isn't too crazy about the looks of the 800w, and even refers to the its looks as "underwhelming", he says:

It's a very straightforward device that matches the classic Treo form-factor (minus the antenna) -- though I will say right now that it very nearly perfects it. I am now and may always be a believer in the core design idea of the Treo: a great, front-facing QWERTY keyboard that can be used one-handed combined with a touch screen. There's nothing available (at the present moment, in the US) to match it, but Palm still manages to improve on that basic design idea with every iteration.

Dieter really likes the ringer switch and definitely had an opinion on that part of the 800w:

And finally we have the top of the device featuring the silence switch. I'll point out to my iPhone using friends (and, yes, my own alter ego) that this is a proper ringer switch, not the bollocks that you'll find on the iPhone. When you enable the ringer switch on a Treo, the external speaker is silent, period, whether you're getting an SMS or playing a game or having an alarm go off. That's how it's supposed to be, folks, and that's how it works on the 800w.

Dieter mentions that there's a cool new feature that he's never seen before; a screen saver mode that leaves the backlight off and leaves the screen itself nearly dark except for a time and date that floats around on the screen. That is pretty cool! Above is a pic (cropped here) that Dieter took of the screen saver.

Be sure to read Dieter's full review and watch his hands-on video too while you're at it!


Bonnie Cha over at C/Net gave the Treo 800w a 7.7 (very good) out of 10 rating.

The world may still be all abuzz with iPhone 3G talk, but believe it or not, there are other smartphones out there and Sprint has just landed a pretty darn good one. Today, Palm and Sprint unveiled the Palm Treo 800w, a Windows Mobile 6.1 smartphone targeted at business users. Now, we'll admit we've given Palm its fair share of criticism over the years for being behind the times and lacking innovation, and while the Treo 800w doesn't offer anything earth-shattering, it offers enough to shut us up for a little while.

Cha said that the smaller size and attractive slate blue color really adds much to the appeal of the device. But Cha later says that she didn't find the QWERTY keyboard particularly roomy or easy to use even though it's larger than the Centro's.

There isn't a whole lot of spacing between the keys, so users with larger thumbs may experience some mispresses. We thought they also felt a bit stiff. With time, though, we think you should be able to click away easily.

Cha and the C/Net staff found positive and negative points with the 800w. They said that it could be sluggish at times and that the call quality could be better.

The bottom line:

With the addition of Wi-Fi and GPS, the Palm Treo 800w finally catches up to some of its competition and even offers a better design. The Windows Mobile smartphone will be a good fit for Sprint's business customers, if the battery life can keep up.

You can read C/Net's full review here. Bonnie Cha also has a short hands-on video!

Palm Infocenter

Palm Infocenter's Ryan Kairer wrote up his first impressions on the 800w. He says that the overall design of the Treo 800w is pretty classy, but if he had one complaint, it would be the thickness:

The reduced weight and curved back do a lot to make it more pocket friendly, however the thickness at .7" inches is still quite stodgy, even by last years standards. This may not be as big of an issue for everyone, but if size and style are your primary deciding factors you may likely want to hold off. For most professionals who are used to larger devices and alternative business communicators, the extra functionality and combination of features packed in will make it worth the tradeoff.

Ryan likes the Wi-Fi and says that it works well. He feels that the Wi-Fi button is a nicely thought out feature that greatly simplifies and eliminates the complexity of connecting and managing the typical Wi-Fi process.

Ryan was disappointed with the processing speed:

Overall performance is acceptable, however certain functions clearly push the limits of the device and it struggles at times to keep up. The 800w is running a Qualcomm MSM6800A chipset clocked at 333 MHz. While we all know that MHz isn't the only measure of performance, this is just a scant 21 MHz faster than than smartphones that Palm released over four years ago.

Ryan says that he's been enjoying the 800w so far. He says that there's a lot to like yet also a good amount to nitpick, but when looking at the overall package, it's a nice, yet overdue addition to Palm's smartphone lineup.Ryan will be writing up a fully detailed review in the coming days. Until then, you can read his first impressions.


Adama D. Brown over at Brighthand starts out by saying that he hasn't had the 800w but a few days and that his review is based on somewhat shorter term testing that he normally prefers. I can sure understand that as I only had the Treo 750 for one day when I wrote up the review on it.

Regarding design and construction, Brown says:

All the application buttons feel pretty good, and the only placement I had trouble with was of the two soft-keys. Right up on the bottom part of the screen's bezel, they're easily missed, particularly in a dark environment: unlike all the other buttons, they have no backlighting.

Brown found the keyboard to be acceptable but missed the "deep click" that makes it easy to know when you've actually pushed the button. He isn't wild about the 800w's thickness:

At a hair under three quarters of an inch, it's 50% thicker than, say, the Samsung i780 which has nearly the same feature set. And that extra size isn't being put into the battery: the 800w has the same 1150 mAh cell that was barely adequate on the Centro, a smaller device that didn't have Wi-Fi or GPS.

That's a great point about the battery size. I would have thought that Palm would put a bigger battery into this device. I was really surprised that it's the same as the Centro takes.

Brown also mentions being very unhappy with the Treo's battery life:

I'm not at all happy with the Treo's battery life. It's just barely adequate for use as a phone -- add Direct Push, or a little Wi-Fi use, and you're sucking down battery power like it's icewater in the Gobi Desert.

Brown's Bottome Line:

Palm has significantly improved its Windows-based Treo line, but a small battery and poor GPS implementation keep it from achieving its full potential.

The Gadgeteer

Julie Strietelmeier of The Gadgeteer has done a nice hands-on review of the Treo 800w. Julie said that as soon as she took the 800w out of the box, she was struck by its small size:

It's shape and size is similar to the Centro which I like quite a bit more than the previous design of past Treos.

Julie likes the 800w's keyboard better than the Centro's because the 800w's keys don't have shiny clear bubble tops which are sometimes hard to see. I actually like those keys on the Centro and think they're neat looking, but I do see what Julie is talking about. Those keys reflect light and do make it hard to see them at times.

Julie doesn't seem too crazy about the Micro-USB connector though:

I'm a little disappointed that the Mini USB wasn't used as most people have several extra Mini cables hanging around that they could use to sync and charge. This special connector is also used for the included headset. That's right, the 800w does not have a 3.5 or 2.5mm earphone jack. Bummer.

Regarding performance, Julie says that the 800w feels very responsive even when there are quite a few apps loaded. She says that it helps that the 800w has more memory than previous models. She mentions that there's a slight lag when an app loads, but that once it's loaded, switching between them is very quick.Julie says that in the very short time that she's had the 800w, she's really liking it so far. Like me, she wishes that there was a GSM version.

You can read Julie's full hands-on review here.

Laptop Magazine

Kenneth Butler of Laptop Magazine likes the 800w's rubber grip texture on the back and the Wi-Fi on/off button at the top. He also likes that the device slides easily into a pocket like the Centro.

Regarding web browsing, Butler said:

Browsing the web with both the Treo�s 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi support and its EV-DO 3G data connections was comfortably fast. Switching back and forth between mobile sites for the NY Times, CNN, the LA Times, and The Washington Post took an average of about 4 seconds on both our home 802.11g Wi-Fi network and local cell phone towers. Loading full HTML sites like took longer though, usually between 30 seconds and a minute.
When we tried to stream YouTube video, the Windows Media Player Mobile program launched and attempted to play the video file, but we received an error message instead of our Katy Perry video.

That wasn't very surprising since I've read on our TreoCentral forums that those who'd gotten their hands on the Treo 800w early mentioned that YouTube wouldn't work on the device. There is a thread in the forums that forum member Ehsan started where members are listing which apps are working/not working on the Treo 800w, so be sure to check that out.

Butler said that so far, Laptop Magazine enjoys Palm's snazzy update to its classic formula. Plus:The Treo 800w has a streamlined design and is full of features that both business and recreational users will find useful. Windows Mobile 6.1 is a bit too technical for smart phone newcomers, but gaining familiarity with the software might be worth the time thanks to the included suite of Microsoft Office software and all the features only a Windows OS can afford.

One thing that would make the Treo an even better buy is software to make VoIP calls using its Wi-Fi capability. We�re going to look into that and let you know in our full review, which will also include more info on included programs, GPS functionality, and multimedia capabilities. So check back soon!

Until then, you can read the Laptop Magazine full hands-on here.

The Mobile Gadgeteer

Matthew Miller wrote up his first impressions yesterday. He seems too like the micro USB port:

When you look at the bottom of the Treo 800w, you will find something not seen before on a Palm device and that is a micro USB port that is used for syncing, charging, and for the wired headset. I am pleased to see a more standard port being used by Palm and hope that other Windows Mobile devices that currently use mini USB move to the micro USB standard for syncing and charging as well. I still prefer a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio since I do not like having to buy adapters for the different connection ports. The Treo 800w package comes with a micro USB stereo headset, but I am unaware of what can be added as far as an adapter goes that may allow you to use your current headphones.

Hmmm, I guess that headphone jack situation doesn't sit too well though. Other reviews also mentioned that you can't use your current headphones because of the micro USB port.

Matthew said that the Treo 800w is super fast and responsive when switching applications, opening applications, and just moving around the device. He says that you almost forget that the 800w is a touch screen device since you're able to use the navigational pad and hardware buttons so well to navigate and manipulate the device. I recall Dieter mentioning that as well.

You can read Matthew's full first impressions here Matthew also has a great hands-on video!

..... and here are More...

Adam Z Lein, Senior Editor over at pocketnow has done an extensive review of the Treo 800w. He starts out with a nice introduction:

It's been a year and a half since Palm released the Treo 750. The landscape of mobile phones has changed quite a bit since then. Everyone is clamoring for touch screen devices with animated flashy finger-friendly interfaces. Luckily Palm is immune to the popular reality distortion field of the time and has released a new Windows Mobile device that actually implements some useful innovations that build on Windows Mobile's strengths without sacrificing usability and efficiency. I was honestly and unexpectedly surprised to see how genuinely impressive Palm's Treo 800w turned out to be. Read on to find out exactly what's so great about Palm's latest Windows Mobile smartphone!

Adam says that the best thing about owning a wM Palm Treo as opposed to any other WM device is the software customizations that Palm has integrated with the operating system and adds that Palm has done some major optimizations to Windows Mobile itself with the Treo 800w.

Next Adam has a video in which he demonstrates the neat shortcuts to apps using button combinations and you don't even have to touch the screen. He also demonstrates the very fast speed of the 800w. He compares it to the Touch Diamond and the TyTN II. I loved the part where he shows how much faster the 800w scrolls compared to the TyTN II. The 800w was lightning fast and was able to scroll down and back up the entire page before the TyTN even finished scrolling to the bottom the first time. LOL! Sweet!

On Page 2 of Adam's review, he talks more about the integrated software and the alterations that were made, and has lots of nice screenshots with explanations for each one.

On Page 3, Adam shows the benchmark speeds on the Treo 800w compared to other Windows Mobile devices. He notes that even though the 800w doesn't fare too well in the benchmark tests, it's actually much faster in real life.

Overall, Adam seemed pretty impressed with the Treo 800w. He did conclude with some bugs and wishes though:


  • I wish it was thinner, but wider in order to accommodate a larger keyboard.
  • I wish Microsoft Voice Command could interface with the GPS Navigation software instead of having to use a separate voice recognition engine in order to enter addresses.
  • I wish the GPS software and traffic information could integrate with the Calendar appointments.
  • I wish Option + Letter keyboard combinations could be assigned to launching programs, calling contacts, etc.
  • I wish there was a rest button or an easier way to power off completely.
  • The keyboard could be more comfortable (like the Motorola Q9).


  • Speakerphone quality is loud but muffled and difficult to understand.
  • One dead pixel on the bottom of my screen (probably an early production model problem).
  • Sometimes when choosing Find/Map (address) from context sensitive menus, the map does not appear. This could be due to the fact that the device is not officially released yet.
  • Sprint's Navigation software maps seem to be incomplete (missing streets). Could this be because I'm using the 3 day trial version?
  • Windows Mobile's predictive text typing has been shut off.

You can read Adam's full review here.


Vincent Nguyen and Chris Davies of SlashGear team up and do a review of the Treo 800w on Sprint. They note that the 800w is relatively speedy, and that it flicks between WM6.1 apps quickly and handles reasonable multitasking without unduly slowing. They mention the recessed screen of the 800w:

However the touchscreen, being inset somewhat, can be difficult and a little uncomfortable to use. Coming from a full-touchscreen device such as Sprint�s own Instinct, the 800w seems happier used primarily with its hardware keys.

Nguyen and Davies talk about the MicroUSB port and how the Treo can be used as a cellular modem with a laptop by using the MicroUSB cable provided by Sprint. They say that connectivity is pretty much unfettered, unlike some smartphones, and that there is a broad range of Bluetooth profiles supporting everything from A2DP stereo audio through object exchange to wireless printing.

But then they go on to say:

In the end, though, �reasonable� is a word all too readily applied to the Treo 800w. With an external design that has perhaps moved one step beyond �classic� and into �dated�, the upgraded hardware has trouble capturing the attention it - in parts - deserves. WiFi and EvDO Rev.A performance are good, with pages loading quickly and push email working exactly as expected, but they�re let down by a touchscreen that pales in comparison to rivals, and a camera that is surpassed by that in most mainstream handsets. With the exception of a neat home-page app that allows for instant navigation, Palm has left the 800w in pretty much the standard WM6.1 setup, at a time when rivals such as HTC are spending significantly on gentrifying the interface.

And they conclude with this:

If it had launched closer to the first suggestions of its existence, the Treo might have stood a chance. There�s still loyalty to the Palm brand out there and, as the success of the Centro has shown, a market for easy to use and reliable smartphones. Faced with the iPhone 3G, though, and it�s tough to make a decent case in favor of the 800w. If you�re devoted to Sprint, need the latest version of Windows Mobile and a touchscreen, the 800w is your choice. Sadly that�s a choice forced by lack of options, rather than anything else.

So, they obviously weren't very impressed overall with the Treo 800w. You can read SlashGear's full review here. And be sure to watch Vincent's unboxing video too!


Andrew over at Treonauts has now put up Part One of two part review of the Treo 800w. I had previously linked to his first impressions.

Regarding the external hardware, which Andrews rates 8.5/10, he says:

Overall, although the Treo 800w is not necessarily the prettiest thing that you�ll ever look at there is nonetheless no doubt that the lighter weight and much slimmer form-factor combined with a soft touch rubberized paint make this smartphone feel extremely good in both your hands and pocket.

Andrew is pleased with the keyboard even though he would have liked to see the Treo 800w sporting a large version of the terrific Centro keyboard. He feels that the 800w's keyboard is one of the best ones to be found on any smartphone today and in his opinion is always a _much_ better choice that any "on-screen" keyboard out there (read iPhone...).

Andrew is impressed with the high-resolution touchscreen and gives it a rating of 8/10. He notes that the level of detail that the screen renders is stunning. He, like some other reviewers, wished that the touchscreen wasn't recessed:

The only reason that my rating of the touchscreen doesn�t get a 10/10 is simply that I�m tired of the recessed look. It�s true that most people have absolutely no issue with this and actually consider it to be an advantage (as they feel it offers better protection for their screen) but for me the recessed screen feels antiquated. With nearly all modern touchscreen smartphones sporting a flush screen I feel that it�s time for the Treo to have one as well.

Although Andrew finds the flimsy stylus to be "the most disappointing (albeit quite minor) component", he likes that the housing of the stylus has been moved from the back to the side which provides a more discreet access and a cleaner, more elegant and uncluttered overall look for the device.

Andrew gives most everything a high rating and seems to be impressed with the Treo 800w so far. He'll be putting up Part Two of his review in the days to come, so be on the lookout.

Newly Added Reviews:

  • *Engadget Mobile Full Review
  • *Laptop Magazine Full Review
  • *Palm Infocenter Full Review
  • *Everything Treo Review + unboxing video and Sprint TV demo video

  • Unboxing/Hands-On Videos & Short Hands-On Reviews

    Listed below are some of the unboxing and hands-on videos I've come upon so far, plus some short hands-on reviews. So read on and don't forget to pull up your drool buckets for the videos!:

    Well, that's a peek at some of the Treo 800w reviews. I'll update with more soon. Don't forget to check out the TreoCentral Treo 800w forum threads where you can read the 800w experiences of our own forum members. It's very possible that many of our forum members actually beta tested the 800w, so there are probably some Treo 800w experts on the boards. ;-)

    I could have gotten my hands on a Treo 800w today to at least look at when I was near a Sprint store, but I just didn't have time to stop because I had soooooooooo many errands to run! Darn it! Maybe next time!

    Copyright 1999-2016 TreoCentral. All rights reserved : Terms of Use : Privacy Policy

    TREO and TreoCentral are trademarks or registered trademarks of palm, Inc. in the United States and other countries;
    the TreoCentral mark and domain name are used under license from palm, Inc.
    The views expressed on this website are solely those of the proprietor, or
    contributors to the site, and do not necessarily reflect the views of palm, Inc.
    Read Merciful by Casey Adolfsson