Palm Treo Pro

Is this an iPhone killer?

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Palm Treo Pro
  • Palm Treo Pro
  • Palm Treo Pro
  • Palm Treo Pro

Pros

  • Design, Wi-Fi, GPS, display flush with the body, shortcut keys and buttons, HSDPA capable, 3.5mm headphone jack

Cons

  • Mediocre camera, microSD slot located beneath rear cover, fingerprint magnet

Bottom Line

The Treo Pro is Palm’s most stylish smartphone yet. Good looks, ease of use and the latest features make this a well-rounded choice.

Would you buy this?

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Palm’s answer to Apple in more ways than one, the Telstra-exclusive Treo Pro looks and feels similar to the iPhone 3G, but differentiates itself by utilising the Windows Mobile 6.1 OS. Without doubt Palm’s most stylish smartphone yet, the Treo Pro includes a few nifty design features that make the user experience a more pleasant one.

Aesthetically, this is a sharp and stylish handset. By now you are probably sick of the iPhone comparisons, but the Treo Pro makes them hard to ignore — the rear of this handset in particular looks very similar to the iPhone 3G. Its gloss black colour scheme and sloped, curved edges do little to discourage comparisons, nor do the shape and feel in general.

The major difference between the Treo Pro and the iPhone 3G is the fact that Palm has stuck with a physical QWERTY keyboard and regular buttons. The Treo Pro’s keyboard should be reasonably well received by users who need to conduct heavy text entry. Very similar to the Centro, the keys look small and squashed at first glance. Those with large fingers may baulk at the small buttons, but in our experience they are comfortable enough and provide a reasonable amount of tactility — though we still rate the BlackBerry Bold 9000’s keyboard higher.

One of the most prominent design changes over previous Treo models is the lack of physical selection keys. Instead, Palm has built the selection buttons into the touch screen. The Treo Pro’s screen is flush with the front of the phone; there is no surrounding bezel. This makes it fairly easy to touch the bottom of the display with your finger instead of the stylus. The display itself is not only well-designed, it also performs well for both general and multimedia use — it particularly shines when viewing pictures and video content.

Aiding the sleek look and feel of this unit are the controls. Aside from the large and comfortable five-way navigational pad and answer/end call keys, the four shortcut buttons (start, OK, calendar and mail) are flush with the rest of the front and offer a clean look and feel. A nice touch is the backlit Palm logo in the centre of the navigational pad that lights up when you receive a new voicemail message.

Palm devices are well known for their ease of use and the Treo Pro continues this by offering a tweaked Windows Mobile home screen. Among the best features is the ability to search the Web directly from the Today screen, using Sensis search. The screensaver has been altered to display time and date information, as well as a notification of any new SMS or MMS messages — all viewable when the display is in standby mode. Physical features include a Wi-Fi button and silent mode switch. Pressing the Wi-Fi button opens the wireless network configuration screen, while pressing and holding it immediately turns Wi-Fi on or off.

The standard suite of Windows Mobile 6.1 applications are all present, including Excel, PowerPoint and Word Mobile applications, Windows Media Player and a PDF viewer. For e-mail, it's easy to configure for use with Microsoft Exchange; you can also use standard POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts, including Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. A suite of Windows Live applications includes Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail, Spaces and Live Search, and Telstra Business and My Place shortcuts are located in the Start menu.

The Treo Pro has built-in GPS and it can access Google Maps and Telstra’s Sensis service for basic search and POI functions. Full turn-by-turn navigation is available by downloading WhereIs Navigator and a shortcut for this is provided in the main menu. WhereIs Navigator costs $119 per year or $9.95 per month.

For multimedia, a 3.5mm headphone jack is an excellent inclusion, as is Palm’s decision to use a micro-USB connection rather than a proprietary one. A microSD card slot means memory can be expanded, but you do have to remove the rear cover to access the slot. The 2-megapixel camera is disappointing as it has no flash or self-portrait mirror.

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