Review: Palm Treo 750
The 750's screen is bright enough to be read in most lighting conditions. It even does fine in bright sunlight as long as it is shining directly on the screen. However it is not bright to see on sunny days if the screen is not lit by the sun.
Because of its low 240x240 resolution, the screen looks a bit blocky, or pixelated. But at least the touch screen uses modern technology that does not further degrade the visual quality. Until recently the addition of a touch screen would have clouded the screen with a grey textured film that would have made the Treo unusable.
Although the screen is easy to read, it is simply too small for such an data-heavy device. Microsoft and Palm have tried their best to maximize the information shown on the screen, but without a complete redesign of Windows Mobile, these efforts fall short.
If we didn't test so many other Cingular phones, the 750 would make us seriously doubt Cingular's claims about having the fewest dropped calls. In one 20 minute period our Treo dropped at least 6 calls while displaying full strength in an area we know has excellent coverage. Over the course of our test period, the Treo would drop calls randomly but not at an exceedingly high rate. However every time we returned to the original problem spot, the Treo would drop calls without fail. To be sure this wasn't a network issue, we even switched our SIM to a different phone and were able to make calls in the exact same spot without them ever dropping.
We checked with Palm and with users in our forums and others and no one else was having this problem, so we suspected we had a defective test SIM or device. We swapped SIMs and the Treo still dropped calls. We asked Palm for another Treo, worried ours was defective and still the dropped calls continued with the replacement.
We can only assume that since no one else has reported an issue, but since it was consistent for us, that the Treo 750's problem is limited to the network in San Francisco. However there may be other parts of Cingular's network that are configured similarly and we would expect the Treo to have similar problems there.
These problems were limited to voice calls. We had no problem with data calls dropping. Nor did the Treo have any problem passing the vault test. The problem was not signal strength itself, the antenna is obviously quite good.
The sound quality of the Treo in a call is among the best we've tested. Nearly every person we spoke to on the phone said they've never talked to us on a better sounding phone. And on the listening end every call was loud and clear. So loud, in fact, that we rarely used the 750 at anything above the lowest volume - even outdoors.
The ringer and speakerphone are loud as well, however not nearly as loud as the speaker. We had to turn the ringer volume to halfway just to hear it in a quiet room, and almost to its maximum to hear it outdoors. Unfortunately the vibrating alert was too weak to get our attention in situations where the ringer had to be turned off or wasn't loud enough when it was on.
Considering the size of the Treo in comparison with similar smartphones, we expected a longer battery life than those skinnier models, and the 750 lived up to expectations. Battery life was generally two and half days with regular use, however that was without checking email automatically every five minutes. If you prefer to have your email updated automatically, we're told you can expect just about two days. Leaving Bluetooth on also affects battery life enough to notice, but not terribly.