Palm's first Windows Mobile-based Treo to hit the UK arrives with something of a splash. It was September last year when the company announced a US version of its Treo, called the Treo 700w. Now we get the Treo 750v, exclusive on Vodafone where it'll cost you from free to £212, depending on the tariff you choose.
Long-serving Palm fans might feel they need to force themselves to forget about the Palm OS and grudgingly live with Windows Mobile, but in fact there are plenty of good things about this smart phone that mean it stands up well in its own right. Unfortunately, there are a couple of bloopers too.
If you refer back to our review of the Treo 700w you'll see that particular smart phone has an antenna sticking out of its head. That design has been ditched in the Treo 750v and the antenna is buried within casing that -- and we have to point this out -- looks rather BlackBerry-ish with its blue and silver decor.
The blue parts of the casing are made of a rubbery material that feels nicely secure in the hand, and the combination of blue and silver all round make for the kind of professional look we're sure Palm was aiming at.
The keyboard is small but the well-spaced keys are easy to find with thumbs. There's an embedded block of numbers for direct dialling, and an Option key that lets you get at the +, ! and other symbols. More symbols, including the £, can be accessed via an Alt key.
Above the keyboard is a button bank. The two softkey buttons are huge, as is the navigation button. They don't scream style at you, but they are certainly easy to get at. Call and End buttons and a Windows Mobile start menu and OK button complete this suite. Between them, they make using the 750v one-handed very simple.
The screen takes some getting used to because it isn't what we normally expect from Windows Mobile devices. It's square: 240x240 pixels and 61mm (2.4 inches) diagonally across. If you aren't used to Windows Mobile you'll probably find everything okay, but if you are more accustomed to a taller 240x320-pixel display you might find the truncation here annoying at times.
Memory expansion is catered for by a very handy miniSD card slot on the right edge, and this is also where you'll find the infrared port.
One of our favourite features sits on the top edge of the casing. It's a slider button that flicks the ringer on and off. With this and the volume rocker on the left edge you can quickly control the noise the Treo 750v makes for the situation you are in. Add in the left edge button, which you can configure to launch any application you like, and you'll see that the Treo 750v hardware has been thoughtfully designed.
But not always. On the bottom edge are two terrors. First, the connector for the headset is a 2.5mm jack, so a converter is needed to use your own favourite headset. We loathe headset jacks on the bottom of phones, and Palm seems to rather like putting them on Treos. Second, the Palm connector for syncing and powering the battery is proprietary. We would much prefer a standardised mini-USB connector.
Flip the Treo 750v on to its back and you'll see a lens and self-portrait mirror for the built-in 1.3-megapixel camera. With no flash, indoor shots are somewhat hit and miss, though the resolution means you'll probably just want shots for email and MMS purposes, not for keeping or printing.