capsule review

Palm Treo 750

At a Glance
  • Palm Treo 750 (GSM, Bluetooth, 1.3MP, 128MB, miniSD)

    PCWorld Rating

    The Treo 750 offers an appealing design and impressive software selection, but its talk-time battery life is poor.

Don't let the sleek design of Palm's new Treo 750 fool you: This is a serious business device. The Windows Mobile-based phone, available for $500 with a two-year contract from AT&T's Cingular Wireless unit, includes mobile Office applications, world phone capabilities, and support for Cingular's 3G UMTS high-speed network; but business users may not tolerate its poor talk-time battery life.

Like the consumer-oriented Treo 680 (also available from Cingular), the 750 has an internal antenna and a slimmer design than earlier models exhibited. Its soft-touch, midnight-blue casing is attractive, and the device is comfortable to hold during phone calls. Call quality and volume were quite good, too. Unfortunately, the Treo 750 lasted only 3 hours, 53 minutes in our lab tests of its talk-time battery life. Though that's close to Palm's advertised talk time of 4 hours, it's the lowest among all PDA phones we've tested recently.

The 750 runs Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition. It comes with a dedicated Windows start key and a touch screen that makes navigating the device--and its sometimes tricky OS--easy. Its QWERTY thumb keyboard is easier to use than those on past Treos, but it still feels cramped, and the domed keys feel slippery and stiff compared to those on competing PDA phones.

The keyboard does let you take advantage of the 750's messaging and data capabilities. The device is the first 3G Treo for the Cingular network, offering support for its 200- to 300-kbps UMTS service. But the 750 does not come ready to support Cingular's speedier HSDPA network, which can reach speeds of 400 to 700 kbps. The company says that a free firmware upgrade, due later this year, will add HSDPA support. The 750 also lacks a Wi-Fi connection. Still, accessing e-mail and Web browsing over UMTS was reasonably fast.

Because it's a Windows Mobile device, the 750 carries a mobile version of Microsoft Outlook, so you can access POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts; it also includes Cingular's Xpress Mail application, which permits easy access to most standard corporate e-mail accounts. Among the cool messaging features on the phone is Palm's threaded chat application, which lets you view text and MMS messages in context. It displays a new message with previous messages sent to and from the same person, so you can view the messages as a conversation. The result looks like an IM chat, and makes keeping up with a conversation easy.

The 750 comes with the Microsoft Office Mobile Suite for viewing and editing office documents and spreadsheets. Navigating through long files can be tricky on the 1.8-inch screen, but using the included stylus makes it easier. You also get a mobile version of Windows Media Player (for playing back audio and video files) and a miniSD Card slot (for storing them), as well as a 1.3-megapixel camera with a 2X digital zoom that took surprisingly good snapshots.

Overall, the Treo 750 is a good-looking device with impressive business features--and it will be even better once it includes support for the HSDPA network. But you'd better to keep your battery charger nearby, because you'll need to use it often.

Liane Cassavoy

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The Treo 750 offers an appealing design and impressive software selection, but its talk-time battery life is poor.

    Pros

    • Impressive software selection
    • Camera takes great snapshots

    Cons

    • Lacks Wi-Fi or HSDPA support
    • Talk-time battery life is poor
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