We're not sure if you've heard, but Sprint is getting its own version of the Palm Treo 700w. OK, we say this with a bit of sarcasm as the specs, the images, heck, even the user manual were leaked all over the Web. But now we can say officially that the Palm Treo 700wx for Sprint is here. The Windows Mobile-based Treo offers a couple of advantages over its Verizon variant, among them increased memory and thus improved performance. In addition, it comes with push e-mail capabilities right out of the box, and you can use it as a modem for your laptop. That said, this leaves Sprint customers in a bit of a quandary. Do you go with the 700wx or the Palm-based Treo 700p? And just to make things even more confusing, what about the Sprint PPC-6700? Well, here's how we see it. The 700wx is outsmarted by the two smart phones for different reasons. First, the 700p holds the edge with its high-resolution screen and intuitive OS, and the PPC-6700 has integrated Wi-Fi, so if these features are important to you, the 700wx may not be the best choice. Still, if you favor the Windows environment and form factor of the Treo, the 700wx is a solid device. The Treo 700wx is available for $499.99 with a two-year contract or $549.99 with a one-year contract.
From a design standpoint, there is no major physical difference between the Palm Treo 700wx and the 700w, other than the Sprint branding. It sports the same dimensions (5.1 by 2.3 by 0.9 inches; 6.4 ounces) and full QWERTY keyboard of the 700w, and though we've always had high praise for the Treo's form factor, the arrival of such sleek smart phones as the Motorola Q and the RIM BlackBerry 7130c, makes the Treo seem almost seems gargantuan now. Of course, those devices don't have advantage of the 700wx's touch screen. A number of Moto Qs have been returned because of the lack of this feature, and admittedly, once you experience the convenience of a touch screen, it's hard to go back. That said, we're still disappointed with the 240x240-pixel resolution since, particularly since many Windows Mobile apps are written for 320x240 screens. What's more, text, images, and colors just aren't as sharp or vibrant compared to those of other smart phones we've tested.
Like we said, the two Treos practically are identical in look and feel. They share the same ringer/silent switch on top and the shortcut keys below the screen. For a more detailed description of the design, please check out our review of the Treo 700w.
The major differences between the Treo 700wx and the 700w come in the features department. First, many customers (perhaps to the chagrin of Verizon subscribers) will be happy to know that the 700wx has more program memory than the 700w. As you'll see from the image below, there's about 36.25MB, whereas the 700w had only about 11MB available. This should alleviate some of the slow performance issues that users have been experiencing with the 700w. And true enough, we did notice that the response time was a bit snappier (see below for more).
The 700wx ships with Microsoft's Messaging and Security Feature Pack, so you get direct push technology out of the box for wireless synchronization of e-mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. In addition, there's support for GoodLink and POP3 or IMAP e-mail accounts. Productivity apps remain the same as for the 700w. The 700wx runs Windows Mobile 5 with the full Microsoft Office Mobile Suite and Windows Media Player 10 Mobile for music and video.
Despite Palm's promise to add Wi-Fi to future Treo models, it's not starting with the 700wx. That is disappointing, but you can connect to the Web via Sprint's 3G EV-DO network, with data speeds topping out at about 2Mbps. On average, though, they'll fall in the 400Kbps to 700Kbps range. You can also access Sprint's On Demand content which pulls all the current headlines for the user's region (based on zip code) from the Web instantly and puts it into the palm of your hand. Both services are offered as part of the Sprint Power Vision pack, which ranges in price from $15 to $25 per month.