Windows Phone Thoughts: Palm's Treo 700w Reviewed: Part 1 (Intro, Background, Hardware)

Be sure to register in our forums! Share your opinions, help others, and enter our contests.


Digital Home Thoughts

Loading feed...

Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...

Android Thoughts

Loading feed...



Monday, April 10, 2006

Palm's Treo 700w Reviewed: Part 1 (Intro, Background, Hardware)

Posted by Janak Parekh in "HARDWARE" @ 12:30 PM


Thumbboard Continued...
Of course, if the thumbboard is always readily accessible, there's the fear of accidental dialing while the Treo is in one's pocket. Fear not: the Treo implements a keylock very similar to that of a cell phone. In the Treo's case, to undo the keylock, you first hit power (or one of the other 3 "application" keys next to it) to wake the device up, and then hit the center key on the d-pad to disengage the keylock. In my roughly 2 months of carrying the device in my pocket, I've never done this accidentally. It's a decent compromise of secure locking while making the unlock process as painless as possible. By default, the device is set to lock as soon as you turn it off or let it power itself off, although that behavior can be customized. (In theory, one could shove the Treo in the pocket without turning it off, thereby making it vulnerable to accidental presses, but the timeout is short enough that I haven't managed to do this yet.)

There are several special keys on the Treo 700w: the "Fn" key, for lack of a better word, is the key with a large "dot" on it immediately below the A key. You can use the Fn key to access the "alternate" value of any key in one of three ways: by holding down the Fn key while pressing the other key, by pressing the Fn key followed by the other key, or by pressing Fn twice, which gives you an "Fn-lock", which sticks until you press the key again. The Fn-lock is particularly useful when inputting numbers into a PIM application. Palm also built a nice indicator in the WM OS, which I find hugely lacking in HTC's devices. Here, for example, is what happens when you press the Fn key once:


Figure 16: Fn key enabled. Notice the "dot" to the left of the SIP indicator.

That dot is there to tell you that Fn is enabled for the next key press; if you Fn-lock, a line appears under the dot. Simple and perfect. HTC, are you listening? Fn is cumbersome unless you have an indicator like this.

Incidentally, the two shift keys do exactly what they would suggest, and they have a similar indicator mechanism. (You can even "lock" Fn and use the Shift for one character, or vice versa, and it will properly return to the previously-locked state.) The last remaining key of interest is the Alt: it's a handy way to enter unusual characters without having to resort to using the SIP.


Figure 17: Alt key pressed. If you're a WM geek, you'll notice the popups "originate" from the top-left on the 700w.

You can either scroll through the list, or you can press another key on the thumbboard: period jumps you to the symbols, a jumps you to accented a characters, and so on. Backspace will get you out of the list. Handy! One nit, though, is that there is no dedicated colon key. Maybe other people don't use it much, but I do, and I miss its presence on the thumbboard itself (in fact, I use colon far more than semicolon).


Figure 18: Sending critical email to Jason by using the thumbboard. (No, I didn't actually send it. ;))

As figure 18 shows, the thumbboard glows when you're using it. In fact, it's on whenever the device is on. The keys are very bright and clear to read in all lighting conditions (on the dark keys, the actual letters/numbers show up clearly as well). However, you may find the thumbboard a little too bright for a theater venue...

Comparing thumbboards
Here's a few more shots comparing the 700w's thumbboard to that of two HTC devices: the Verizon XV6700 (HTC Apache) and the i-mate JasJar (HTC Universal).


Figure 19: The 700w's thumbboard vs. the 6700's thumbboard. Note the relative sizes of the keys compared to my thumbs.


Figure 20: "Action shot" of the two thumbboards. No, I can't actually simultaneously type on both devices, piano player though I may have been.


Figure 21: A "night shot" to give you an idea of the illumination difference between the JasJar, 700w, and 6700 clockwise. Red, white and blue... ;) The screens admittedly look "washed out" here; it's surprisingly tough to get accurate screen exposure and be able to clearly see the thumbboard backlight. None of the three screens are washed out in reality; all are clear and bright.

Okay, I think I described the thumbboard enough. On to the other sides of the unit!

Tags:

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...