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9/10

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Palm Treo 750v - Palm Treo 750v

A lens for the 1.3 megapixel camera sits on the back of the casing. This is hardly state of the art, and there is no front facing camera for video calling. I know video calling hasn’t taken off the way some thought it might, but nonetheless I’d have liked to see it provisioned for.

Palm has tweaked the Windows Mobile user interface to provide some really great enhancements. Here’s an example. You want to make a phone call - assuming the Today screen is showing, you use the navigation button to get to the top of the Today screen, where a call window will highlight. Now you start to spell out the name of the person you want to call using the keyboard. Your entire contacts list is narrowed down as you type, till just a single contact is showing. Now you choose between the numbers on offer and dial. All this can be done one-handed.
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If that’s too much trouble, you can put speed dials on the Today screen complete with little photos of your nearest and dearest (or your boss, I guess – where’s that mugshot of Riyad gone?)

It is also very handy to be able to easily send an SMS to an incoming caller. The Treo 750v rings, you hit the right softmenu key and choose Ignore With Text Message, then either write a message or choose from a preconfigured set. Add the link to voicemail on the Today screen and I have found the Treo 750v one of the easiest connected PDAs to use for ordinary voice communications.
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SMS messaging gets an enhancement too, with ‘chat threads’. This allows you to see all messages to and from a person as if they were an ongoing two-way conversation. I don’t uses SMS very much for important communications that I like to keep a handle on, but if you do, this could prove invaluable.

Another really useful Today screen tweak is the Google search bar. Scroll to the bottom of the Today screen and there it is. Type in a search term and press the enter key and Pocket Internet Explorer pops up with a Google window containing the results of your search.

I’ve already noted that the Treo 750v is 3G. It may have been my particular device, or it may be a more general issue, but I found that in my normal office – inside the M25 – I couldn’t get a 3G signal. I got one in various other places, and the same SIM gave me a 3G signal in other Vodafone devices within my office. It is possible, then, that the Treo 750’s antenna is not what it could be. But based on a sample of one device I can’t be sure.
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Naturally enough you get the full range of Windows Mobile software. Microsoft direct push email is supported, and you can use the Treo 750v with other options such as BlackBerry Connect, and the Vodafone Business Email service.

Verdict


The absence of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 1.2 and lack of front facing camera and the need for a separate charger all annoy. These aside, Palm has done something quite special with the Treo 750v. The company has enhanced a widely used operating system with clever tweaks that reflect how users (or at least how this user) wants to work, making it easier to perform a lot of standard tasks. In doing so, Palm has added value to Windows Mobile in ways others have not managed and produced hardware that is neat, tidy and ergonomic.

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