The Palm Treo 700p, the announcement of which we covered earlier this week, is the latest in Palm’s long Treo line of smartphones. Available by the end of this month, the Treo 700p is Palm’s fastest PalmOS-based Treo yet, and brings a number of new features and benefits to the table. The Treo 700p joins it’s Windows Mobile-based cousin, the Treo 700w, the Treo 700p will be available from either Verizon Wireless or Sprint, and we here at Digital Lifestyle Magazine have been given the opportunity to take Palm’s new baby for a ride.
The Palm Treo 700p differs slightly from the Treo 700w. Both devices run on Intel XScale processors @ 312 MHz and contain 128 MB of internal memory, of which 60 MB is accessible to the user. Both devices feature the same QWERTY thumb keyboard, top row of buttons are different; the Treo 700w sports a Send and Windows key on the left side of the directional pad and an OK and End Call key to the right, while the Treo 700p sports a Send and Organizer key to the left of the D-Pad and a Mail and Home key to the right. The two Treos are encased in what appears to be very similar cases, as both measure 4.4″ x 2.3″ x 0.9″, and both devices both devices include a 1.3 megapixel digital camera with 2x zoom, 800/1900 MHz CDMA bands, 1x EV-DO capabilities, Bluetooth capabilities, and support for SDIO, SD, and MMC cards.
In addition to the differences noted in the top row of buttons, the devices differ quite a bit in other ways as well. Most obviously is the difference in operating system; the Treo 700w is running Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0, while the 700p is instead running Palm’s own PalmOS v5.4.9. The screens on the two devices are different. The Treo 700p includes a 320 x 320, 16-bit-color TFT touch screen, but because Windows Mobile 5.0 doesn’t support that resolution, the Treo 700w instead has a 240 x 240, 16-bit-color TFT touchscreen. Also, the Treo 700p gets slightly better talk time than the 700w (4.5 hours for the 700w vs. 4.7 hours for the 700p), but most users probably won’t notice the 12 minute difference in battery life. The standby time, however, is better on the Treo 700w, (15 days for the 700w vs. 12.5 days for the 700p).
The Treo 700p’s immediate predecessor, the Treo 650, has its own set of similarities and difference. Again, both devices run on Intel’s XScale architecture @ 312 MHz; however, the Treo 650 only contains 32 MB of internal memory, of which 23 MB is user-accessible. Both phone support Bluetooth; however, the Treo 650 uses the older 1.1 specification, which the 700p includes the 1.2 specification. The camera in the Treo 650 is much less advanced than the 700p’s, being only a 0.3 megapixel camera, and thus takes smaller images (640×480 on the 650 vs. 1280×1024 on the 700p). Finally, the biggest feature that the 650 lacks is EV-DO support, meaning that the 650 cannot access the high-bandwidth speeds that the 700p can.
There are two schools of thought I would use when making my purchasing decision. In my opinion, there’s no reason to buy the Treo 650 unless you’re on a budget; the features on the other two phones simply blows the 650 out of the water. If you’re looking for a smartphone that has a look and feel similar to what you might be used to from your home computer, or you want a phone that is compatible with Microsoft applications and formats, then your best bet would be the Treo 700w; the screen might not be as high-res and the battery might not be quite as long-lived, but you get Windows compatibility and a common interface that most people know and understand well. If you’re a PalmOS fan, or Windows-compatibility isn’t required or desired, then go with the 700p; the device packs all the hardware features of the 700w while being slightly newer and sporting a faster operating system. Also, if you’re a Mac user, then the 700p (or the 650 if you’re budget-minded) is your best best, as it will work with OS X right out of the box, while the 700w will not. So, based on this information, I would be inclined to go with the Treo 700p.
Next, we’ll take a look at the guts of the new PalmOS 5.4.9 and show you what’s new, what’s changed, and what to expect. We’ll also take a brief glimpse at Sprint’s Treo 700p offering and the services offered as part of the Treo 700p Sprint plan, such as Sprint’s EV-DO and Power Vision packages.