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

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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.

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