Palm Treo Pro: A sweet Windows smartphone

Review: If you're partial to Windows Mobile, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than the new Treo Pro from Palm

The screen, a long-needed upgraded from past Palm devices, is very crisp and readable indoors without cranking up the brightness. Outside in sunlight, the display almost washed out, but proved readable in the shade. A screen-saver mode, which turns off the backlight, shows the time and date, plus missed calls.

The Treo Pro's touchscreen was responsive, and I was very impressed with the accuracy when using finger presses. I pulled out the included stylus only a few times to deal with a dense Windows menu here and there.

Perhaps the biggest hardware limitation is the relatively minuscule 100MB of free user memory. Then there's the hassle of getting to the microSD memory card slot (which holds up to 32GB card, when they become available). The slot is hidden under the battery cover; I can see the cover getting damaged if it's removed too many times.

Boot 'er up

Once the Treo Pro is switched on, you won't find the fancy TouchFLO 3D user interface that HTC uses on some of its branded devices. Yet the Treo Pro simplifies a few tasks while maintaining clean screens. For instance, the MyTreo screen helps you set up the device. And the main Today display is uncluttered.

Since you're dealing with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, there's an abundance of corporate functionality. As with the iPaq 910c, I had no trouble connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server and receiving push e-mail. I also added three POP e-mail accounts, quickly configured using a Wizard; you can set the device to connect to these services on a predetermined schedule to download messages. There's a copy of Microsoft Office Mobile and the standard fare of Internet Explorer Mobile.

The Treo Pro generally performed well, launching applications within a few seconds. And there were no lags in input, such as entering numbers on the phone keypad.

Find out more about Windows Mobile 6.1 by reading "Microsoft takes big step in managing enterprise handhelds."

Interestingly, Palm's reduced on its packaging (a good thing) and includes Microsoft ActiveSync software on the device rather than shipping an install CD for Windows XP. I had no difficulty hooking up to a Vista-running laptop; the OS recognized the Treo and automatically downloaded the latest drivers. Mac and Linux users will have to rely on third-party desktop connectivity applications.

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Mike Heck

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