Last updated: 2006.08.06

Verizon Wireless Palm Treo 700p User Review

| Applications | Phone | Crashes | File List | Use Favorites | websites | links |

Introduction: I have been a long time (6 years) T-Mobile customer. I have a 900 minute plus unlimited data plus wifi plan with them. In fact not long ago I bought a Nokia 9300 Communicator smart phone so that I can browse the web and do email using the T-Mobile EDGE "high speed" service.

So why switch to Verizon Wireless? (1) Reception, reception, reception -- I cannot get good reception for voice in my loft, in my office, in the garage, so what good is it? (2) EVDO -- it is so much faster than EDGE.

This is work in progress, check back often for more update

Treo vs 9300 Communicator:

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The Review

This is a user experience and practical use review. For detail pictures and spec listing, see many other nicely done reviews on the web. I have listed a few at the links section. This review is written to share my actual usage experience and tips on this phone.

Getting Started

(very important) tip one: Do not press the "email" button when you first got the phone. If you pressed it, or clicked on "wireless sync" (sounded good at the time), do not install the wireless sync application.

Instead, follow the instructions that came with the phone. Install the desktop app (outlook or Palm desktop), do a hot sync. Then install the "VersaMail" application on the CD.

Why? The wireless sync application allows you to do "hot sync" over the air. Not sure why anyone would need to do this. It installs a different email application on the treo, and also messes up the hot-sync options. Just do not do it!

Why would you want to get this phone?

Or, why did I switched to this phone?

  1. email on the go -- if you need to be that in touch, checking and replying emails in the car, at the mall, waiting for the kids, you need this phone.
  2. web browsing on the go -- information at your finger tips, weather, news, gmail, your own applications, you need this phone.
  3. speed -- email was usable on EDGE which is 56Kb modem speed, web browsing was not. EVDO on Verizon is really fast. It honestly let me check emails and use the web as if I am at my desk. It makes a big difference.
  4. utilities -- there are many applications out there for the Palm OS platform. See the list below for what I use. No other platform has so many little tools.

Look at the size differences: Communicator, Treo, and the tiny Sony Ericsson Z520i

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Learn to use Favorites

The Favorite application (utility?) is the most important on the Treo 700p. This is the little blue buttons that show up in the phone view. If you leave your Treo on the phone application most of the time, and customize your favorite buttons, you can pretty much do everything you need from that screen with minimal keypress. Make sure you also program the quick keys:

  1. Go to phone application
  2. Menu / records / edit favorite pages /
  3. Select a button, and edit it.
  4. For the quick key, hold down any of the key on the keyboard. For example, I program "H" to go to a URL that display my home webcam so that I can check on "Home"

Applications

What's included

It is a little confusing as to what software is actually bundled with the Treo 700p. Some of the software on the CD are not the full version, or is only a basic version:

  1. Pocket Tunes -- great music player, but the included version is the basic version. You will need the deluxe version to play ogg file. You also may want to at least upgrade the basic player to the latest version by going to the Pocket Tunes website.
  2. Document To Go -- The professional version of document to go is included. You have to install the desktop side of Document To Go from the CD so that you can sync and convert documents for the Palm. You can upgrade the pro version to yet higher version which supports more document format from DataViz.

Additional third party Software

These are the additional application I use on the Palm. Note that installing more and more third-party apps are one sure way to crash the Treo. Be warned.

  1. Handy Shopper -- this is a free (!) application that is a must have. I use to keep my grocery shopping list as a text document on my 9300. Now it is an application with a very easy to use interface.
  2. TuSSH -- since I do need to log into a server here and there to do things.
  3. Bejeweled that came with the Palm CD. Great fun game.
  4. Dir Assist, an app that front end the yp.com lookup service. Very useful. I wish there are more front ended apps like these for other services.
  5. Backup Buddy VFS Professional -- I purchased this because my treo has crashed a few times and I had to do a full re-install once. If I am ever on the road I hate to loose my setup, especially my email connectivity. This version lets me do full backup and restore to my SD memory card. First backup took 9.7 meg, sitting at /PALM/backup/userid/Backup , with the ziped version. It took a very short time to run.
  6. Card Reader -- a little utility that let me access the treo's memory card like a USB external drive on my PC.

Crashes

Just in the first week, I have had several crashes. One hard crash that required a hard reset and reload. So this phone is not as stable as you think:

  • VersaMail crashed the phone after getting stuck downloading mail.
  • The built in media play crashed after playing a few videos taken by the phone itself.
  • Installing bigclock (a great and mature application) crashed the phone.
  • Installing PalmaryClock hard crashed the phone. Seems unlikely (just a little clock app!) but it did. I had to do a hard reset and re-install everything. But nothing was lost, and in the process I deleted the Verizon Wireless Sync application(s) that I mistakenly installed.

Simultanous Data and Voice?

This is one of the most asked question regarding the Treo 700p. The short answer is "no, but". No, you cannot talk on the phone and use the data connection, browser the web, check email etc, at the same time. However the phone can detect that a call is coming in while you are using the data connection. A screen will pop up, asking You to either answer, ignore, or ignore with a text message. If you answer, your data connection will be dropped.

However this does not happen 100% of the time. Some time I am checking email and the email client seems not liked to be interrupted at all.

This "limitation" is a limitation of the current EVDO protocol. In a future revision of EVDO, simultaneous data and voice may be possible.

File List

One thing that is different about the Palm OS is that if you look at the application list or the delete option, it is sometimes unclear what file (PRC and PDB) is for which application. If you look in your backup directory you have the same problem. So here is a small list of known file names that I have compiled for the application that is on my Treo.

Base List of files before any installs.
ADD052SData.PDB
ADD052VData.PDB
AddIt_deDE_data.PDB
AddIt_esES_data.PDB
AddIt_frFR_data.PDB
AddIt_itIT_data.PDB
AddIt_newstips.PDB
Addit_Promotion-Content.PDB
AddIt_ptBR_data.PDB
AddIt-Content.PDB
AdditMyPalm-Content.PDB
AdditShop-Content.PDB
Blazer_Field_Autofill.PDB
Blazer_Find_Autofill.PDB
Blazer_URL_Autofill.PDB
CarrierProfiles2.PDB
ConnectionMgr50DB.PDB
Graffiti_ShortCuts.PRC
HSTraceDatabase.PDB
locLCusLocationDB.PDB
locLDefLocationDB.PDB
Messages_Database.PDB
MIDI_Ring_Tones.PDB
NetworkDB.PDB
NetworkProfiles2.PDB
PhoneCallDB.PDB
PhoneFavorites2DB.PDB
psysLaunchDB.PDB
Queries.PDB
Saved_Preferences.PRC
SndFile_Ring_Tones.PDB
System_MIDI_Sounds.PDB
VersaMail application
AddressCitiesDB.PDB
AddressCompaniesDB.PDB
AddressCountriesDB.PDB
AddressStatesDB.PDB
AddressTitlesDB.PDB
AirSAM.PRC
AirSAMPrv.PRC
BgndService.PRC
IIDataLib.PRC
MIAttachLib.PRC
MIDataLib.PRC
MM_Text_Lookup_FPI.PRC
MMConduit-asc6.PRC
MMConfigFPI.PRC
MMHtmlPlugin.PRC
MMNotify.PRC
MMPluginMGR.PRC
MMPRCPlugin.PRC
MMSDCard.PRC
MMSmartAdd.PRC
MMTextPlugin.PRC
MMUnzipPlugin.PRC
MMUpgrade.PRC
MMVCal.PRC
MMVCardPlugin.PRC
MMWave.PRC
MMWizard.PRC
MMWordPlugin.PRC
MultiMail.PRC
PalmVMFontLibrary.PRC
Photo_Video.PRC
SAMgr.PRC
VaultDeviceList.PDB
VersaMail.PRC
VersaMail data files
midataidcache.PDB
MMIDCache0.PDB
MMIDCache1.PDB
MMIDCache2.PDB
MMIDCache3.PDB
MMIDCache4.PDB
MMIDCache5.PDB
MMIDCache6.PDB
MMIDCache7.PDB
MultiMail_Attachments.PDB
MultiMail_Disconnected.PDB
MultiMail_Messages.PDB
Files application:
Files_Installer.PRC
Bejeweled
Bejeweled!.PRC
Bejeweled-music1.PDB
Bejeweled-music2.PDB
Bejeweled-music3.PDB
Handy Shopper
HandyShop2.PRC
HS2Icons.PRC
HS2_Shopping.PDB
HSPrefs.PDB

The Phone Application

Ok, this is a phone first and formost. How's the phone app? Some good and some bad points:

  • + You can use the red and green button to start and end calls. At a contact, select the number, press the green button to call.
  • + When done with a call, press the red/power button to end the call. Do not use the hang-up soft button on the screen, why? See next point
  • - The touch screen's response time is not perfect. Many times, I press the soft "hang up" button on the phone application to hang up, and ended up calling the voice mail because the voice mail soft button is right near it.
  • + You can assign a picture to a contact and it will be displayed when that contact called. Nice...
  • - When you dial the contact, the picture is not showned. Strange.

VersaMail

To be added...

Treo Friendly Websites

Surprisingly, there are still not many sites that supports mobile browsers. The Treo suffers a little from its split personality also. Most smartphone site supports the use of numeric accelarator keys -- i.e. the site is setup so that you can press 1-9 to navigate. But since the treo has such a large screen, some site decided that it will let you "click" on links instead.

To be added...

Links