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Treo 270 Review

Sun Jun 23, 2002 - 12:10 AM EDT - By James Hromadka

The Color Screen

As for the other oft-talked about feature of the Treo 270, the color screen is a welcome addition to the Treo, but Visor Prism owners will be somewhat dissapointed. The Treo 270 uses a passive-matrix 12-bit color screen, which means it has a palette of 4096 colors. The Visor Prism, in contrast, has a 16-bit screen for a total of 65,536 colors. You can find a good comparison of the differences on this PPC website. Full color pictures won't look as good as they should, but it won't be an issue in everyday use.

What will be noticeable is the passive matrix screen. Remember those old laptops that you couldn't see the screen from the side and made ripples when you pressed on it too hard? The screen of the Treo 270 is a descendent of those screens. There is also a color ripple that is always noticeable at the top right corner of the screen. It is not a big distraction, but it is still a flaw that Handspring should have addressed.

As I sit here typing, if I glance at the screens of the Treo 270 and Visor Prism, the Prism with its active matrix screen is clear and vibrant; the Treo 270's screen begins to washout unless your eyes are perpendicular to it. As you change the angle of its screen, it becomes impossible to read if you change the angle more than about 45 degrees. For some, this is a privacy feature that prevents passersby from looking at the screen. For others, it could be annoying.

Taking the Treo outside is an even bigger disappointment. By now, Handspring should have had tons of feedback complaining about taking the Prism outsdide, so Handspring promised that the Treo 270 would be usable outside. And it is, but just barely. Under direct sunlight, the Treo 270's screen is washed out and is barely usable. It is still an improvement over the Prism, but still disappointing. In the shade or under cloud cover, the 270 is much more usable. These statements apply when the cover is open; if the lid is closed, the glare from the sun can make it too difficult to read the screen properly.

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Product Info
> Name Treo 270
> Company Handspring
> Screen 12-bit passive matrix color
> Battery Life 3 hrs talk, 150 hrs standby
> Color Steel Gray
> Processor 33 MHz Motorola Dragonball VZ
> OS Palm OS 3.5.2H
> Weight 5.4 oz.
> Other Features Jog rocker, Ringer switch with vibrate option, Headset jack, Personal speakerphone, Protective flip lid, GPRS upgradeable upon availability, Microphone, Backlit keyboard
> Size 4.2" x 2.8" x 0.82"
> Memory 16 MB
> Fact Sheet & User Opinions
> Available
> $699

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