Review: Palm Treo 750
After reviewing a number of the most recent QWERTY smartphone, we've developed certain size and weight expectations for a Windows Mobile device - especially a monoblock one - as opposed to the slide-out style of the Apache, Wizard or Hermes. The first thing that struck us was the weight of the Treo. It feels about twice as heavy as the BlackJack, Dash, Q and other slim QWERTY smartphones.
However, everything is relative. The first time a current Treo user picks up the 750, he will probably say "wow, this is really light," as many Treo users we know did. For as heavy as the Treo 750 is, it is actually about 20% lighter than the 650 or 700.
The 750 is a pleasure to hold in one hand to talk on the phone. Although it is thick, it is also narrow and has a nicely rounded transition from the sides to the back. The smooth rounded shape and rubbery finish are a pleasure to wrap your hands around. The sides are concave and made of a hard, smooth plastic, which should allow you to grip the phone firmly even if your hands too small to wrap around the Treo.
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Although the Treo is well-designed for one-handed use, it is not nearly as comfortable when held in two hands to type, even though there are not any hard plastic corners or other bits that poke you. Instead the problem is one of balance - the Treo is so heavy - and the keyboard so short - that when you try to type two-handed, more than two-thirds of the length - and weight - of the Treo are hanging up in the air.
Over time we learned to hold the Treo differently than we would any other QWERTY phone to balance the weight, but this did not make up for the weight or the cramped keyboard.
Although the Treo's keys are small, they have a very nice rounded, convex shape and enough space in between each key that you should be able to feel out keys and type quickly. Unfortunately, this isn't the case in real-world usage. When tapping out messages, we made far more errors typing on the Treo than we normally do.
Although you can feel each key below your thumbs, they are small enough and spaced tightly enough that your thumb winds up resting on more than one key at a time when typing. If you don't press straight down, or if your thumb is off center slightly, it is too easy to press a neighboring key instead of your intended target.
The navigation cluster remains largely unchanged from previous Treos. The D-pad is large and very easy to control. The send and end keys have been enlarged at the expense of the Windows and ok keys, however all four are easy to press, and tough to mistake for one another.
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In Depth coverage of CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2006 in Los Angeles. Hands on with the Treo 750, Casio G'zOne, HTC S620 and Hermes, BlackBerry Pearl, Nokia E62, and more.
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