Palm Treo 500
- Design; comfortable keyboard; A2DP Bluetooth; solid, if not outstanding features list
- No Wi-Fi, no standard 3.5mm headphone jack, regular WM6 interface
The Palm Treo 500 remains a solid handset, but the tailored interface of its Vodafone exclusive brother would have been a nice inclusion
Price$ 649.00 (AUD)
Originally launched as the Treo 500v exclusive to the Vodafone network, Palm has now released the standard Treo 500, available on any network in Australia. Once again positioned as an entry-level smartphone in the Palm range, the Treo 500 is almost identical to the Treo 500v. Aimed at both mobile professionals, and regular consumers who might be interested in taking the smartphone plunge, the Treo 500 runs Windows Mobile 6, features a full QWERTY keyboard and has a 2-megapixel camera.
The main difference between the Treo 500v and the Treo 500 is the user interface. The Vodafone exclusive handset featured a user interface specifically tailored for that unit, but the regular Treo 500 runs a normal version of Windows Mobile 6. While it's still an effective and user-friendly handset, the convenient list format and menu bar of the Vodafone model is definitely missed here.
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.
In terms of features, the Treo 500 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 Treo 500 also has a suite of Windows Live applications. The business user hasn't been left behind though, as PIM applications include a calculator, calendar, PDF viewer and an alarm.
The Treo 500 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 Treo 500 using the included mini-USB cable, or via Bluetooth. The Treo 500 has 150MB of available user storage, though a microSD card slot is available for any 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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