Some may feel that the Windows Mobile market has of late been dominated by both HTC and Samsung with their latest offerings such as the HTC Touch Pro and the Samsung Omnia. However, there are actually many other alternatives out there for the picking. Palm, for one, is a name that should ring a bell with most tech enthusiasts, though the company has taken it slow and steady of late. With that said, the latest of its Treo series, the Palm Treo Pro gets a new look.
The Treo Pro, from first glance, resembles the Palm Centro more than its other Treo siblings such as the Palm Treo 680 and Palm Treo 780. What we were pleased with, was that the Treo Pro gave more leeway in its horizontal dimension at 60mm as compared to the more compact Centro at 53.5mm. Though the added 6.5mm width was a good move, we still had some trouble with the QWERTY keyboard due to the close proximity of each key. More often than not, you'll be using your nails to get a better tactile feedback from the QWERTY keyboard. Further up, the Palm logo is placed right smack in the center of its five-way navigation pad, flanked by the Start, OK, Message and Calendar shortcuts and on the extreme edges, the Call and End buttons.
The Treo Pro did score quite well with us on several points. Firstly, the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack. This is a trait lacking in various Windows Mobile devices, where you'll either be utilizing a 2.5mm audio jack or even its USB port which requires you to unpack its propriety USB audio cable. The 3.5mm audio jack route gives consumers the flexibility and opportunity to enjoy a good soundtrack with their favorite audio peripherals.
Secondly, the Treo Pro comes with a few very useful shortcuts. For one, there's a dedicated Wi-Fi button on its right profile, and as its name suggest, it activates the device's Wi-Fi connectivity. The practicality lies in the fact that you'll have immediate access to your Wi-Fi connection, and conversely, you can switch it off quickly to increase the Treo Pro's battery stamina. At the top, there's a slider button that switches the device between its Normal and Silent profile, thus you can easily lower or even mute your device during meetings.
Looking at the Treo Pro's specifications, it's the usual suspects for a device of its category. Wireless connectivity such as Wi-Fi, HSDPA, GPS and Bluetooth 2.0 are there, all powered by a Qualcomm MSM7201 400MHz processor. Memory support on the Treo Pro is at best average, with 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM to handle the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional platform. To put things into perspective, we did a round of application tests on the Treo Pro, running Mobile Word, Excel, Internet Explorer and with Windows Media Player looping an audio track.
With the above mentioned applications set into motion, we noted that the Treo Pro received some slight lag in its application handling and switching. With a rated talk time of up to 5 hours using its 1500mAH battery, the Treo Pro handled itself well for almost up to two days of usage.
Palm, once a dominant name in the PDA market, has gone through its ups and downs, and unfortunately, it's facing stiff competition from major manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung. In our opinion, the Palm Treo Pro has debuted too late and has too little to change the game. Nonetheless, the Treo Pro itself does not disappoint with its hardware delivery, but Palm has to find a niche for itself against the onslaught of devices armed to be faster, stronger and more appealing in its aesthetics.