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       #1  
    Fom Info Week:
    Second Thoughts: Palm Treo 700w

    After living with a shiny new Treo 700w for three months, we now have the wisdom of a grizzled veteran.

    By James Turner
    Personal Tech Pipeline

    Mar 29, 2006 01:59 PM

    One of the dangers of reviewing hot new products is that you may not have time to really settling in and learn all the quirks of a new technology before being required to formulate a very public opinion. What may seem like a cool feature after a day or two of playing around may turn out to be more trouble than itís worth, while real warts may not become apparent until weeks later.

    Such, unfortunately, is the case with the Palm Treo 700w. I received my evaluation unit on the first evening of the Consumer Electronics Show, and after some limited messing around with it at the show, had to have my review in the following Monday (the original review is here). I was impressed enough with the unit to actually buy one from Verizon a week or so later. Now, three months later, Iíve compiled a list of issues that would have probably kept me from buying one had known about them.

    Before we look at the Treo 700w "bad" and "ugly," letís talk about the one truly "good" feature that keeps me relatively happy with it. That would be Wireless Sync, the service that lets you keep your contacts, calendar and e-mail in sync with your home desktop. Itís worked pretty much flawlessly for me, and lets me read my mail or schedule a meeting pretty much anywhere I have cell service, and not have to worry about the last time I hotsynced the unit. In fact, I donít hotsync my Treo at all except to install new software or Audible content. The battery life has also been awesome. I never run out of power.

    Now for the "bad" and "ugly." Letís start with the ďwhat-was-Palm-thinkingĒ items. The unit may have 60 MB of memory available to the user, but only 24MB of that is available to run software (the rest is storage.) Iíve found that typically, with nothing run, I only really have around 4-6MB of available memory, and both I and other users have reported memory leak issues that require you to reset the phone occasionally to get even that. At least under Windows Mobile 2003 you could set how much memory you wanted to assign to programs and how much to storage, under WM5 youíre stuck with the division Palm chose.

    The 240x240 screen is also too small, especially since both the Treo 650 and rumored 700p have 320x320 screens. Itís almost like Palm has deliberately crippled the 700w to make the PalmOS versions look better. Very few programs run flawlessly in the 240x240 footprint, although some vendors such as Mapopolis have made the effort to port their software. Prepare to be disappointed by the selection of software that runs without glitches.

    But the real problem with the Treo 700w is the pitiful stability of the software. Many users (including I) have seen their units lock up and become totally unresponsive until reset. Even when running correctly, the phone can become sluggish and ďgo awayĒ for a minute or more. Worse, even an incoming phone call wonít wake up the Treo when itís in this state. Iíve lost quite a few calls because the phone went wonky.

    There are also problems with ActiveSync. This, to Palmís credit, may be more of a Microsoft issue. But there have been frequent reports of users who have ActiveSync 4.1 crash trying to deal with complex appointments in their calendar.

    I also found that, even in the center of EVDO-covered Verizon areas such as downtown Boston, it can take two or three tries for the phone to establish a data connection. And Internet Explorer still took forever to render complex pages, such as the CNN home page.

    Responding to a letter outlining these problems, a Palm representative indicated that the company would need to have a look at my unit to diagnose specific issues, in spite of the widespread reports of similar problems that have occurred. I have to wonder about the practicality of requiring a customer to ship their primary means of communications to the factory in order to diagnose problems widely reported on user message boards. They also implied that the memory issues where because there were programs running when I looked at the memory usage of the unit, in spite of the fact that I had verified nothing was running. The memory leak problem is real, and Palm needs to address it. Or Microsoft, if itís a systemic WM5 bug.

    The Treo 700w holds a lot of promise, but it has lots of ďearly adopterĒ headaches. And glitches that are acceptable in a PDA are showstoppers in a phone. Having to reboot a PDA is a nuisance; not being able to receive an important phone call is a deal killer. Palm needs to fix the problems and offer a firmware upgrade quickly, or the phone will become just another nice idea that was poorly executed.
    --------------------------end article----------------------------------
    I think each Treo has had more early adopter problems based on Visorphone, my 270, 600; then what I read about early 650, 700W. However, I think the Windows market expects something closer to a familiar, better integrated (to MS office/sync pieces anyway) device and this doesn't bode well for repeat sales of future PPC offerings. But recent results says they sure are selling this one...
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  2. #2  
    part of the reason i am back on the 700p wagon...i dont want a wonky phone!
  3. #3  
    The 700W is almost in a no win situation (even though it's probably selling pretty well.) Palm fanboys don't like it because (gasp) it has the evil Windows Mobile on it. WM fans don't like it because it's somewhat underpowered compared to other WM devices, (resolution, memory, WiFi...)

    I always said if I could get a WM device with the Treo form factor, I'd be there. Probably not going to happen though. Looks like the 6700 will be my next phone.
    MaxiMunK.com The Forum That Asks, "Are You Not Entertained?"

    Remember: "Anyone that thinks the Treo should just work right out of the box, shouldn't own a Treo..."
  4. #4  
    700w sucks because it is "wonky", and active sync sucks because .... "it stinks"
  5. #5  
    I'm seriously starting to debate visiting this forum lately. Did we really need another thread about the 700w problems? It's starting to get old... really, really old.
  6. #6  
    I know this kind of relates to future phones, but wouldn't this have been better placed in the 700w forum?

    And now:
    My 700P will be better than your 700p!

    Signed,
    The n00b!

    P.s. Bow before me!

    Don't just see the n00b, be the n00b! Wait, no...
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by OnceUponAn00b
    I know this kind of relates to future phones, but wouldn't this have been better placed in the 700w forum?
    Perhaps this is appropriate here. My Cingular 8125, also a WM5 device, NEVER exhibits these behaviors. I have never had it lock up and lose a call, and Activesync (downloaded ver 4.1 update) is rock solid. I sync email, calendar, contacts, and tasks with our MS Server 2003 wirelessly every 10 minutes during the day - and I've never missed an item.

    It does have 64mb user ram rather than the 32 in the Treo 700W. It even includes WiFi, if anything should have caused more radio lock up problems, but handles switching between WiFi and EDGE very well. In fact, the only problem was figuring out to turn off proxy server services in internet connections in order to pass off between EDGE and WiFi (which should have been obvious that WiFi couldn't use Cingular's EDGE proxy setting).

    So why is the Treo 700p such a bad boy?
    Remember, the "P" in PDA stands for personal.
    If it works for you, it is "P"erfect.
  8. #8  
    It was a poor concept from the get go. It plays out like this:

    Underpowered device with half assed implementation equals poor product.

    I am a user of BOTH OS's, so I can't be called a fanboy of any sort. I just find that they REALLY dropped the ball on this one knowing full well it could have been a BEAST of a device if done right. I am just amazed at the lack of memory that went into it. I know the subject has been beaten to death... I am still at a loss for words tho.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by dstrauss
    Perhaps this is appropriate here. My Cingular 8125, also a WM5 device, NEVER exhibits these behaviors. I have never had it lock up and lose a call, and Activesync (downloaded ver 4.1 update) is rock solid. I sync email, calendar, contacts, and tasks with our MS Server 2003 wirelessly every 10 minutes during the day - and I've never missed an item.

    It does have 64mb user ram rather than the 32 in the Treo 700W. It even includes WiFi, if anything should have caused more radio lock up problems, but handles switching between WiFi and EDGE very well. In fact, the only problem was figuring out to turn off proxy server services in internet connections in order to pass off between EDGE and WiFi (which should have been obvious that WiFi couldn't use Cingular's EDGE proxy setting).

    So why is the Treo 700p such a bad boy?
    Dstrauss, I'm guessing that you recommend the 8125 highly? I'll due for an upgrade in May and WiFi is a must.
    Freedom of some speech in the US, through someone in the UK.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by Insertion
    The 700W is almost in a no win situation (even though it's probably selling pretty well.) Palm fanboys don't like it because (gasp) it has the evil Windows Mobile on it. WM fans don't like it because it's somewhat underpowered compared to other WM devices, (resolution, memory, WiFi...)

    I always said if I could get a WM device with the Treo form factor, I'd be there. Probably not going to happen though. Looks like the 6700 will be my next phone.
    Yeah, if a 700p doesn't come out soon (June at the latest) I'm off to 6700 land with ya! But I don't wanna go!!! I don't!!!
    Go here if you're tired of being .
    It'll be fun.
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       #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by andrebsd
    I'm seriously starting to debate visiting this forum lately. Did we really need another thread about the 700w problems? It's starting to get old... really, really old.
    Sorry, don't follow the 700w much; this is just a feed I get, considered it relevant that a major IT magazine did an updated, "now that I've lived with it" review, and sounds like some of the 700w issues won't get fixed until that next model; is why I put it here.
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by geatches
    Dstrauss, I'm guessing that you recommend the 8125 highly? I'll due for an upgrade in May and WiFi is a must.
    Yes, I do. The one draw back to the 8125 is one-handed operation, unless you add two essentials:

    Smartskey
    MS Voice Command

    I do not like the on screen dialpad, and simply opening the start menu, and closing programs, is hard without dedicated keys. Smartskey.exe is as critical as VolumeCare was for the Treo 650. It turns the soft keys into "click and hold" buttons that automatically open the start menu (left key) and truly close a program (right key), not just hide it as WM5 does. It also sets the Dpad to work in the telephone application, so that "Dpad Down" opens your call history for quick calling, etc. It's so good, that although it is purely freeware, I've PayPal'd a donation to the author.

    Voice Command is like voice tags on steroids. It allows you to call any entry in your contact list; dial numbers form the speaker; and open programs. All without voice training.

    Other than that, the Cingular 8125 has been great. I've had it for seven weeks now, and it is the most stable smartphone I've owned (Samsung i500; Treo's 300, 600 , 650; Audiovox 5600). Not a single random reset. Call quality/reception as good as my Moto v551. WiFi (after I learned to turn off Cingular's proxy setting) works smoothly between EDGE and WiFi access. Only thing missing radio wise is HDSPA(? - true 3G whatever they call it). That is coming with the new Hermes line from HTC, but my price ($299 with renewal of my two year contract) was just too good to pass up.
    Remember, the "P" in PDA stands for personal.
    If it works for you, it is "P"erfect.
  13. cardio's Avatar
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    #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by dstrauss
    Perhaps this is appropriate here. My Cingular 8125, also a WM5 device, NEVER exhibits these behaviors. I have never had it lock up and lose a call, and Activesync (downloaded ver 4.1 update) is rock solid. I sync email, calendar, contacts, and tasks with our MS Server 2003 wirelessly every 10 minutes during the day - and I've never missed an item.

    It does have 64mb user ram rather than the 32 in the Treo 700W. It even includes WiFi, if anything should have caused more radio lock up problems, but handles switching between WiFi and EDGE very well. In fact, the only problem was figuring out to turn off proxy server services in internet connections in order to pass off between EDGE and WiFi (which should have been obvious that WiFi couldn't use Cingular's EDGE proxy setting).

    So why is the Treo 700p such a bad boy?
    I am going to consider the 8125 unless the 700p is not out soon (June/July at the latest)
    "If It Weren't For The United States Military"
    "There Would Be NO United States of America"
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    I am going to consider the 8125 unless the 700p is not out soon (June/July at the latest)
    If you're open to switching carriers, that will probably work. However, I haven't heard a peep about a 700 anything for Cingular. In fact, no activity on any new Treo for Cingular, other than rumors that Hollywood should work on Cingular since it's a GSM phone, but that will definitely be late this year at that, and no doubt, WiFi will be, at best, and SD card implementation (which I think will kill them in the Euro market with so many WiFi enabled competitors).
    Remember, the "P" in PDA stands for personal.
    If it works for you, it is "P"erfect.
  15. cardio's Avatar
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    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by dstrauss
    If you're open to switching carriers, that will probably work. However, I haven't heard a peep about a 700 anything for Cingular. In fact, no activity on any new Treo for Cingular, other than rumors that Hollywood should work on Cingular since it's a GSM phone, but that will definitely be late this year at that, and no doubt, WiFi will be, at best, and SD card implementation (which I think will kill them in the Euro market with so many WiFi enabled competitors).
    I am no longer under contract with cingular so don't mind switching carrier as long as coverge is acceptable. I have heard that cingular will have a 700 this summer, but no indication as to what or when in summer.
    "If It Weren't For The United States Military"
    "There Would Be NO United States of America"
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    I am no longer under contract with cingular so don't mind switching carrier as long as coverge is acceptable. I have heard that cingular will have a 700 this summer, but no indication as to what or when in summer.
    Interesting about the 700 this summer. Our local store (take this with an entire pound of Morton's best) says there are no Palm's on the horizon and they are "committed" to their own phones (I guess that means 8125 and 2125) and Blackberry. We'll see.
    Remember, the "P" in PDA stands for personal.
    If it works for you, it is "P"erfect.
  17. cardio's Avatar
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    #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by dstrauss
    Interesting about the 700 this summer. Our local store (take this with an entire pound of Morton's best) says there are no Palm's on the horizon and they are "committed" to their own phones (I guess that means 8125 and 2125) and Blackberry. We'll see.

    Here is a nice chuckle for PalmInsider

    New Treo to be unveiled on April 5

    Stan Sigman, President and CEO of Cingular Wireless would introduce the new PalmOS Treo on the CTIA show, which takes place in Las Vegas (April 5-7), rumors say. This Treo will be the first of the saga announced this year. We don't know if it will be the so called 700p, but we're anxious to see it. I am pretty sure that this one won't have wifi, considering who's introducing it.

    better buy several pounds of mortons best, or better yet, buy Morton stock.
    "If It Weren't For The United States Military"
    "There Would Be NO United States of America"
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by dstrauss
    Yes, I do. The one draw back to the 8125 is one-handed operation, unless you add two essentials:

    Smartskey
    MS Voice Command

    I do not like the on screen dialpad, and simply opening the start menu, and closing programs, is hard without dedicated keys. Smartskey.exe is as critical as VolumeCare was for the Treo 650. It turns the soft keys into "click and hold" buttons that automatically open the start menu (left key) and truly close a program (right key), not just hide it as WM5 does. It also sets the Dpad to work in the telephone application, so that "Dpad Down" opens your call history for quick calling, etc. It's so good, that although it is purely freeware, I've PayPal'd a donation to the author.

    Voice Command is like voice tags on steroids. It allows you to call any entry in your contact list; dial numbers form the speaker; and open programs. All without voice training.

    Other than that, the Cingular 8125 has been great. I've had it for seven weeks now, and it is the most stable smartphone I've owned (Samsung i500; Treo's 300, 600 , 650; Audiovox 5600). Not a single random reset. Call quality/reception as good as my Moto v551. WiFi (after I learned to turn off Cingular's proxy setting) works smoothly between EDGE and WiFi access. Only thing missing radio wise is HDSPA(? - true 3G whatever they call it). That is coming with the new Hermes line from HTC, but my price ($299 with renewal of my two year contract) was just too good to pass up.
    Thanks!
    Freedom of some speech in the US, through someone in the UK.
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    Here is a nice chuckle for PalmInsider

    New Treo to be unveiled on April 5

    Stan Sigman, President and CEO of Cingular Wireless would introduce the new PalmOS Treo on the CTIA show, which takes place in Las Vegas (April 5-7), rumors say. This Treo will be the first of the saga announced this year. We don't know if it will be the so called 700p, but we're anxious to see it. I am pretty sure that this one won't have wifi, considering who's introducing it.

    better buy several pounds of mortons best, or better yet, buy Morton stock.
    At the rate of salt consumption around here, we're going to look like salt pork before long.
    Remember, the "P" in PDA stands for personal.
    If it works for you, it is "P"erfect.
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by Insertion
    The 700W is almost in a no win situation (even though it's probably selling pretty well.) Palm fanboys don't like it because (gasp) it has the evil Windows Mobile on it. WM fans don't like it because it's somewhat underpowered compared to other WM devices, (resolution, memory, WiFi...)

    I always said if I could get a WM device with the Treo form factor, I'd be there. Probably not going to happen though. Looks like the 6700 will be my next phone.
    so are we going to loose those witty responses?
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