Palm Treo Pro

Palm's thin, sleek entry is a winner!

Palm TreoPro2The Treo Pro, Palm's second new device of 2008, is a breath of fresh air to those who have used previous versions of the Treo. Its sleeker measurements make it easier to carry, and its elegant black design looks great at the theater or your next important business meeting. 

Performance, display, and battery life

Unlike most Windows Mobile devices, the Treo Pro does not ship with the traditional Companion CD. Instead, Palm includes everything you need on the device's built-in memory. The box is a stylish statement in its own right, and there is no annoying shrink-wrap to deal with. Also included in the box are a standard hands-free stereo headset, a USB sync/charge cable, and a separate wall socket power adapter. 

The Treo Pro uses a 400 MHz Qualcomm processor. Performance was acceptable, but a bit sluggish when using the Web browser or taking it out of screensaver mode. Overall though, you shouldn't notice any slowdown on most of your everyday tasks.

The Transflective TFT touch screen display is flush with the face of the device and features 320 x 320 resolution, which is a noticeable improvement over the 240 x 240 screens on previous Treos. However, the non-standard square screen can still cause compatibility issues with certain games and programs. Still, the screen is clear and sharp, particularly when viewing images, and the bright colors hold up well in direct sunlight. It also responds well to taps with a stylus or finger, and the flush face looks better than the sunken screen on previous Treos.

The battery life of the Pro is as good if not better than on earlier Treos—Palm claims 5 hours of talk time and 250 hours of standby. If you use a cellular data connection a lot (for Web browsing, etc.) you'll drain the battery faster. But you should still be able to get a full day's use out of it. You might even go 2-3 days between charges if you don't talk for hours on end and use your data connection sparingly.

Keyboard, usability, and software

The four-row QWERTY keyboard is great for typing a quick e-mail or entering a URL while browsing online. The keys have a slightly soft feel when pressed, and they aren't spaced too close together. One slight annoyance is the need to press the Shift key to enter numbers in certain tasks. It can be cumbersome to hold down the small Shift key while selecting another key, especially for people with large fingers. It would be nice if the phone detected a need for numeric entry and defaulted to numeric mode automatically.

As with previous Treos you can still find a contact by typing on the Today screen, and the "keyguard” function and the screensaver remain as well. In addition, the Pro has some other non-Microsoft features built into it by HTC (the company that manufacturers the device for Palm). These include the Task Manager, which allows you to close programs that are running in the background to save valuable system memory, as well as the Communications Manager, which controls the Wi-Fi, phone, and other functions. Missing from earlier versions of the Treo, Wi-Fi is a welcome addition. These custom features make Windows Mobile 6.1 easier and more enjoyable to use. 

The only added multimedia feature is support for playing YouTube videos, which was added by HTC. You can still play your movies and music with Windows Media Player, but will want to invest in a separate player such as CorePlayer for a better entertainment experience. The good news is that the standard 3.5mm earphone jack allows you to use your favorite headphones to listen to music and watch movies. 

The Treo Pro ships with the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition OS and an application suite built into it, which includes Office Mobile, Outlook Mobile, and more. The useful Adobe PDF Reader LE is also included, along with the Microsoft Remote Desktop utility for remote server management and Sprite Backup for memory card backups.


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