Palm Treo 500v

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Palm Treo 500v
  • Palm Treo 500v
  • Palm Treo 500v
  • Palm Treo 500v

Pros

  • Design, user interface, comfortable keyboard, A2DP Bluetooth, solid features list

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi, no standard 3.5mm headphone jack

Bottom Line

The Treo 500v aims to appeal to a broad audience thanks to its user-friendly menu system, a sleek design and a range of multimedia features. It's not perfect, but is definitely a welcomed entry into the market.

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Positioned as an entry-level smartphone in the Palm range, the Treo 500v is aimed at both mobile professionals, and regular consumers who might be interested in taking the smartphone plunge. Sporting a user-friendly design and user interface, this Vodafone-exclusive handset runs Windows Mobile 6, features a full QWERTY keyboard and has a 2-megapixel camera.

The two most striking features of the 500v are its design and user interface. Palm has made an effort to make this handset as user-friendly as possible, and they've done an admirable job. The large controls below the display are simple, with a five-way navigational pad doing the grunt of the work. The QWERTY keyboard is easy to type on and although the keys are small, they are easy to press and comfortable for typing long e-mails. The screen is short, but relatively wide and it is bright and clear with a respectable viewing angle.

The 500v runs Windows Mobile 6 OS, but the menu has been tailored specifically for this unit. It resembles a regular mobile phone menu, with each item accessible via a list format -- a menu bar at the top of the screen allows easy access to commonly used functions and applications. The main menu is also simple, consisting of a 4x2 grid of animated icons. If you are new to the world of smartphones, this may be the handset for you.

In terms of features, the Treo 500v offers everything typical of a Windows Mobile smartphone including e-mail access, Excel, PowerPoint and Word Mobile applications for viewing documents, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player for audio and video playback. For e-mail, it's easy to configure mail servers that run Microsoft Exchange 2003, while you can also use standard POP3 e-mail accounts such as Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. In keeping with Palm's target market, the 500v also has a suite of Windows Live applications; Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail, Spaces and Live Search amongst them. The business user hasn't been left behind though, as a suite of PIM applications include a calculator, calendar, PDF viewer and an alarm.

The 500v is a 3G device, but it doesn't support the higher speed HSDPA network. The lack of Wi-Fi is a sour point, but Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 2.0 are present. For Bluetooth the A2DP profile allows you to wirelessly stream your music, but a 2.5mm headphone jack instead of the standard 3.5mm is disappointing. The included headphones offer low quality audio and the external speakers aren't adequate for quality music playback. Files can be transferred to and from the 500v with the included mini-USB cable, or via Bluetooth. The 500v has 150MB of available user storage, though a microSD card slot is present for extra storage.

Photos taken with the included 2-megapixel, 2x digital zoom camera are decent, but far from sharp or vibrant. A lack of flash deems night photography useless. Photos can be taken at resolutions from 96x72 up to 1600x1200 and you can adjust brightness and use burst or timer modes. There is also a video camera, which captures clips at resolutions up to 320x240, but the quality is below average.

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