Alternatively, you can also hop onto any available hot spot, since the smartphone has integrated Wi-Fi. In a nice touch, Palm included a button on the right side of the smartphone that turns on the Wi-Fi radio with a single press. The smartphone will then automatically scan for available networks and allow for authentication and data encryption.
As a Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition device, the Treo Pro comes with Internet Explorer Mobile for your Web browsing needs, but note that this is the first Palm to offer Internet Explorer Mobile 6. This brings some enhancements, such as the capability to switch between mobile and desktop versions of a site, pan support, multiple zoom levels, Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 for Adobe Flash content, and more. The new features are certainly welcome additions, and it made it easier to navigate sites. However, the browser is still unwieldy compared with some of the competition.
In addition to Internet Explorer, you get the full Microsoft Office Mobile Suite for viewing and editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, OneNote Mobile, Windows Live integration, and the standard personal information management (PIM) tools, such as calendar, contacts, and a task list. There is a wide variety of third-party applications available for the Windows Mobile operating system, so you can always download more to the smartphone, whether you're looking for business apps, games, or other PIM utilities. For software recommendations, check out Download.com.
For your messaging needs, the Palm Treo Pro supports Microsoft's Direct Push Technology, which brings real-time e-mail delivery and automatic synchronization with your Outlook calendar, tasks, and contacts via Exchange Server. You can also configure the smartphone to access POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts, which, in most cases, is a simple process of inputting your username and password. We were able to set up our Yahoo account on our review unit with no problem and started receiving e-mail within a few minutes. Sprint offers a download that installs three of the major instant-messaging clients--AIM, Yahoo, and Windows Live Messenger--onto the phone.
When you're ready to kick back and relax, you have several options with the Treo Pro. You can enjoy your personal library of music and videos (supported formats include AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-4, and WMV files) using Windows Media Player. The smartphone also supports Sprint's various multimedia services, including Sprint TV and the Sprint Music Store. Sprint TV gives you access to programming from a variety of channels, including CNN, Comedy Central, and Sprint Exclusive Entertainment. In addition, you can listen to live-streaming music and talk radio from Sirius, VH1 Mobile, and MTV Mobile. Meanwhile, the Sprint Music Store offers simultaneous track downloads to your PC and wirelessly to your phone. Songs cost $0.99, or you can get a six-pack for $5.94, but this no longer includes a PC download. Both the music and TV services are part of the Sprint Power Vision pack, which ranges in price from $15 to $25 per month.
The Treo Pro also has a 2-megapixel camera with 8x zoom and video recording capabilities. You can shoot still images in one of five resolutions and one of four quality settings. There's no flash, but you do get effects and white balance and brightness controls. A self-timer and time stamp are also available. In video mode, options are a bit more limited. You have your choice of four resolutions and can adjust the picture via white balance, brightness settings, and effects. There's no limit to recording length.
Picture quality wasn't that great. We could make out the objects just fine, but images looked gray and dull. Video clips were decent. After you've shot your photos and videos, you can save them to a contact, as your background image, share them with friends and family via e-mail or multimedia message, or simply enjoy them in a slide show. The Treo Pro has about 311MB of user-accessible memory; you can supplement this via the microSD expansion slot, which accepts up to 16GB cards.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 850/1900; EV-DO Rev. A) Palm Treo Pro in San Francisco using Sprint service, and call quality was good. Audio was crisp and clear on our end, posing no problem whether we were talking to friends or using an airline's voice-automated response system. On the other side of the conversation, our friends reported similarly positive results, though there were a couple mentions of our voice sounding somewhat digitized. Speakerphone quality wasn't as pristine as regular calls (no surprise there) but the Treo Pro offered generally clear calls and plenty of volume. We had no problems pairing the Treo Pro with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones, and we didn't experience any dropped calls during our review period.
The Treo Pro features a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7501A processor, and the smartphone was generally responsive during our testing period. We encountered some delays with the camera and a couple of isolated instances during which the smartphone seemingly froze when selecting menu options but would then snap back into action after a few seconds.
There's no question about the speed of Sprint's EV-DO Rev. A network, however. For once, we didn't have to wait ages for Sprint TV to launch, and the streamed content was smooth and surprisingly watchable. We also downloaded several songs from the Sprint Music Store, which only took seconds. Using Internet Explorer Mobile 6, the full CNET site took about 25 seconds to load, while CNN's mobile site loaded in 7 seconds and ESPN's mobile site came up in 5 seconds.
The Treo Pro's GPS receiver was quite impressive. Using Sprint Navigation, the smartphone was able to find our position within two minutes, and subsequent starts were faster. Real-time tracking was almost on the mark as we followed a course set out by Sprint Navigation from the Marina District of San Francisco to CNET's downtown headquarters.
The Palm Treo Pro features a 1,500mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 5 hours. The smartphone met the rated talk time in our battery drain tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the Treo Pro has a digital SAR rating of 1.4 watts per kilogram. The smartphone is also compliant with the FCC Hearing Aid Compatibility with a M3/T3 rating.