Palm Treo 700 755p review: Palm Treo 700 755p

Palm Treo 700 755p

Bonnie Cha

Bonnie Cha

Former Editor

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.

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9 min read

We finally can put all the rumors to rest as the Palm Treo 755p is real and has arrived on Sprint's doorstep looking all dapper in burgundy and midnight blue. Replacing the older Treo 700p, the 755p not only sports the two new, fresh colors, but it also features the slimmer design like its GSM cousin, the Treo 680, and brings a collection of small but notable enhancements. Google Maps for Mobile and Microsoft's Direct Push Technology now comes preloaded on the device's ROM, and it finally offers an instant-messaging app that supports all the three major IM clients.


Palm Treo 700 755p

The Good

The Palm Treo 755p sports a more compact design than the 700p and is available in two attractive colors. The Palm smart phone has integrated Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel camera, EV-DO support, and adds an instant messaging app, Google Maps for Mobile, and direct push technology. It's a good performer too.

The Bad

The 755p is a bit pricey and feels bulky and heavy compared to other full QWERTY devices. The device still lacks integrated Wi-Fi, and the camera's picture quality was subpar.

The Bottom Line

Though it's not a major overhaul of the smart phone, the Palm Treo 755p offers a nice collection of enhancements and solid performance to make it an attractive upgrade.

The Treo 755p certainly isn't a major overhaul of the 700p. There's still no integrated Wi-Fi; it runs the same Palm OS 5.4.9; and the smart phone is looking just plain frumpy compared to today's sleek QWERTY devices. In other words, Palm is lagging in innovation. That said, the Treo 755p delivers on the performance and productivity front. We experienced excellent call quality, reliable e-mail delivery, and made good use of the PIM tools. Add to that the EV-DO support, ease of use, and new apps, and you get a solid device. The Palm Treo 755p will be available through Sprint for $279.99 with a two-year contract and after rebates and discounts--a tad pricey, in our opinion--starting May 14. For our review, we took a look at the burgundy Treo 755p.

The Palm Treo 755p comes from the same mold as the Treo 680, but gets a new paint job for its Sprint debut. Whereas the GSM Treo 680 is available in graphite, copper, crimson, or arctic white, the 755p comes in a more understated burgundy or midnight blue that may be more suitable for business users hoping to add a bit of personalization to their smart phone. Though we didn't see the latter firsthand, we were quite fond of the burgundy color. It's beautiful and classy whereas the crimson model just screams, "Hey, look at me!"

The 755p does away with the external antenna and shaves off a bit of weight and depth to make it a sleeker device than the Treo 700p. Like the 680, the smart phone measures 4.4 inches by 2.3 inches by 0.8 inch, but is just a smidge heavier at 5.6 ounces (compared to 5.5 ounces). Though the 755p features a soft-touch finish and has a solid construction, it's definitely thicker and bulkier than other full QWERTY devices such as the Samsung BlackJack and the RIM BlackBerry Curve, so it will make for a tight fit in a pants pocket, and the weight difference is quite evident.

Out with the old, in with the new. The slim and burgundy-clad Treo 755p (left) next to its predecessor, the Treo 700p.

Of course, many users are willing to put up with the extra bulk for the benefit of a touch screen. Like previous Palm-based Treos, the 755p boasts a 2.5-inch TFT touch screen with a 65,000-color output and 320x320 pixel resolution. Not only are text and images bright and sharp, but the ability to enter data, launch apps, and navigate the device via the touch screen is a big advantage.

One of the advantages of the Treo is its bright and colorful touch screen.

You can operate the Treo with the set of navigation buttons below the display. You get Talk and End keys, a four-way toggle with a central select button and shortcut keys to the phone app, calendar, messages, and home page. You can program the four shortcut buttons to open different apps in the Preferences menu. Furthermore, by pressing the option key with the same controls, you can launch another user-defined program; so in effect, you get a total of eight shortcut keys.

The Treo 755p's full QWERTY keyboard is a bit cramped, especially when compared to the Motorola Q or even the Cingular 8525. The buttons are smaller and the spacing between them is tight, so they may give users with larger thumbs more difficulty. However, we've noticed that with some time you do get acclimated to the layout and learn to type quickly and accurately.

The 755p's QWERTY keyboard is a bit cramped, but it gets easier to use with some practice.

On the left spine, there's a volume rocker and a user-programmable launch key (by default, it activates the voice recorder), while the right side holds the infrared port and miniSD expansion slot. The camera lens and self-portrait lens are located on the back of the device, along with the speaker and stylus holder. Finally, there's a silent ringer switch along the top edge, and the bottom of the Treo 755p has a 2.5mm headset jack and multiconnector port.

The Palm Treo 755p for Sprint comes packaged with an AC charger, a USB cable, a wired headset, a software CD with the Palm Desktop app, and reference material. Check our cell phone accessories page for more add-ons for your Treo.

The Palm Treo 755p doesn't offer a complete feature overhaul, but you get a collection of small but noteworthy enhancements. To start, the 755p's VersaMail e-mail app now has built-in support for Microsoft's Direct Push Technology for real-time synchronization with Microsoft Exchange. Good Mobile Messaging also is available if your company uses this push e-mail solution. VersaMail supports a wide range of POP and IMAP e-mail accounts, including AOL, Apple.Mac, AT&T Global, EarthLink, Gmail, and Yahoo Plus. E-mail setup was really easy, as we simply input our username and password for our SBC Global account and within a couple of minutes, the Treo retrieved all our messages. Web-based e-mail accounts can be accessed via the Treo 755p's Blazer Web browser.

Another addition to the messaging department is a new instant-messaging app that brings the big three IM clients--AIM, Yahoo, and MSN/Windows--right to the device. It requires a quick download, which you can do just by tapping the IM icon on the Treo's main menu page and then following the directions. Once installed, simply sign in with your screen name and password, and instantly chat with all your buddies. You can sign into multiple clients and carry on simultaneous conversations. The Treo 755p continues to support text and multimedia messaging as well as the new threaded chat view, which in itself mimics the look and feel of IM conversations.

For working on the go, the Palm Treo 755p is preloaded with Documents to Go 8.0, so you can open, create, and edit Microsoft Word and Excel documents and view PowerPoint presentations and PDFs. Also, for the first time, the Treo comes preloaded with Google Maps for mobile. With this handy application, you can get text-based driving directions, search for local businesses, view traffic conditions, and more; for a full rundown of features, check out our review of the Google Maps for Mobile.

The Treo 755p's miniSD slot can accept up to 4GB capacity cards.

The Treo 755p runs Palm OS 5.4.9 and has 128MB of RAM with about 60MB of user available memory, which should be enough for the average user. In addition, the expansion slot accepts up to 4GB miniSD cards. You get the standard PIM tools, including a Calendar, a to-do list, a memo pad, a calculator, a world clock, and a voice recorder, and a new game (Bejeweled) preinstalled on the device. Of course, you'll also have access to the extensive library of third-party applications available to the Palm OS.

The Treo 755p's voice features are largely unchanged from the Treo 700p. The contact book is limited only by the available memory, and there's room in each entry for multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, instant-messaging handles, and birthdays. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a picture, one of 36 polyphonic ring tones, or a group ID. The 755p also has a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, three-way calling, speed dial, and the "Ignore with text" feature, which allows you to reply to a call with a text message if you can't pick up. A voice command feature is available only if you subscribe to Sprint's Voice Command service, called Mobile VoiceControl, and isn't an inherent function of the smart phone. You do get a free 30-day trial version of the app, but after the complimentary period is up, you'll have to pay $6 a month to continue the service.

As for wireless options, surprise, there's still no integrated Wi-Fi, but the Treo 755p works on Sprint's EV-DO networks, so we're a bit more forgiving of the omission. With the 3G support, you can experience broadband-like speeds on your device--around 300Kbps to 600Kbps--and enjoy faster Web browsing, data transfer, and streaming music and video. For the latter, you can tap into Sprint TV and watch programming from a variety of channels, including ABC News, the Cartoon Network, Fox, and the NFL Network, and you can listen to live streaming music and talk radio from Sirius, VH1 Mobile, and MTV Mobile. For more content, check out the carrier's On Demand feature, which pulls all the current headlines for the user's region (based on Zip code) from the Web and delivers it right to your Treo. Sprint offers these services as part of the Sprint Power Vision pack, which ranges in price from $15 to $25 per month. Alternatively, if you don't want to pay for multimedia content, you can stream music and video from the Internet using the Treo's Web browser. The 755p also comes with PocketTunes 3.1, so you can enjoy your favorite MP3s. However, if you want to listen to other music formats, such as WMA/PlaysForSure, you'll have to upgrade to the Deluxe edition ($34.95) of PocketTunes.

You also can take advantage of the EV-DO speeds and the smart phone's integrated Bluetooth 1.2 to use the Treo 755p as a wireless modem for your laptop via dial-up networking (DUN). You have the option of connecting via USB. The DUN capabilities will require that you sign up for the Sprint Power Vision Modem Plan, which runs $39.99 per month for 40MB or $49.99 per month for unlimited. Other supported Bluetooth profiles include wireless headsets, hands-free kits, object exchange, and PC synchronization. Unfortunately, the 755p does not support the A2DP profile for Bluetooth stereo headsets.

Without a flash and any way to tweak the camera's settings, the Treo's 1.3-megapixel camera produced some gray-looking images.

Last but not least, we're glad the Treo 755p didn't follow in the Treo 680's footsteps and upgraded to a 1.3-megapixel camera rather than a VGA camera. There's a 2x zoom and video-recording capabilities, but it lacks a flash and any options for tweaking the white balance, resolution, brightness, and so forth. As a result, picture quality was subpar. Objects were defined clearly but there was a dull, grayish overtone to the images.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) Palm Treo 755p in San Francisco using Sprint service, and call quality was excellent. We enjoyed crisp audio with very little to no background noise, and our callers reported the same. Activating the speakerphone didn't deteriorate the audio, though we did notice a slight hiss. However, there was plenty of volume, and our friends added that they were impressed such good sound was coming from a speakerphone. We also were able to pair the Treo with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset without any problems.

Powered by a 312MHz Intel XScale processor, we enjoyed rather speedy performance from the 755p. While there was a brief lag when opening Office documents, we didn't experience any significant or frustrating delays. The EV-DO support brought zippy Web browsing and fast downloads. Unfortunately, multimedia performance wasn't as great. Music playback through the phone's speakers sounded weak and tinny. Plugging in the included earbuds, as uncomfortable as they are, improved the sound quality. Watching videos on the Treo 755p was a bit difficult. Though images and audio always synced up, the picture was often quite pixilated and blurry, so we couldn't handle watching video in more than few minute spurts.

The Treo 755p is rated for 4.2 hours of talk time and up to 10 days of standby time. In our battery tests, we got exactly 4.2 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge. According to FCC radiation tests, the 755p has a digital SAR rating of 1.07 watts per kilogram.


Palm Treo 700 755p

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 8