Lightning Review: Palm Treo 800w Smartphone

The Gadget: Palm's Treo 800w is the updated, Windows Mobile successor to the Palm 750w. In addition to adding WinMo 6.1, the 800w brings a higher resolution screen, EVDO rev.A, GPS and Wi-Fi.

Price: US$250 (after 2 year contract)

The Verdict: As far as Windows Mobile phones go, the 800w is a pretty good one. It's no frills as far as smartphones go, but this is almost exclusively for the enterprise crowd. It's not the prettiest, nor is it the smallest, but is powerful enough to run Windows Mobile 6.1 like it should. It moves from menu to menu reasonably quick, and ran most of the apps lag free. In terms of size, it's less wide than previous Treos, but thickness is more or less the same and the keyboard feels the same as old Treos. The bright and crisp 320x320 touchscreen is also a nice upgrade for the 800w.

But the 800w also good because Palm put some of their TLC into the product. The main "Today" screen you see when you first use the phone has a GPS search that lets you find points of interest without first having to launch a separate app. The SMS interface is pulled straight from the Palm OS, meaning text-based conversations can be easily managed. There's also a Wi-Fi button at the top of the phone that allows you to turn on your Wi-Fi and connect to a pre-configured network in a matter of seconds with a touch of a button. It seems minor, but it eliminates a fair amount of tedious menu surfing.

Reception is always at full strength where I'm at, meaning call quality is clear and the EVDO rev.A is speedy. The bottom line is that if you need an enterprise phone and want a physical keyboard, the Treo 800w isn't a bad choice.

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