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Palm Treo 700wx and 750v side by side

Posted on 5-Apr-2007 12:00 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

Vodafone was the first mobile operator to launch the GSM-based Treo 750v Windows Mobile device, following the exclusive deal Palm offered to Verizon Wireless for the Treo 700w launched in the American CDMA market.

Since then the exclusive deals expired with both operators and CDMA users can now source the Treo 700wx in select markets (New Zealand included), while the Treo 750 is available for non-Vodafone users.

Since New Zealand is one of the few places where we are lucky (are we?) to have both CDMA (Telecom New Zealand) and GSM (Vodafone New Zealand) networks, I decided to post a comparison of these two devices, providing some information for readers to get the right device and service for them.

Palm Treo 700wx as supplied by Telecom New Zealand (left) and Palm Treo 750v as supplied by Vodafone New Zealand (right)

The devices
The Treo 750v is a GSM/GPRS/EDGE quad-band device 850/900/1800/1900) and UMTS tri-band (850/1900/2100). The Treo 700wx is a CDMA 800/1900MHz device and CDMA 1x EVDO (fallback to CDMA 1xRTT).

The Treo 700wx is just a bit different from the Treo 750v. You will notice a satin finish on its body, while the 750v comes with a rubber like blue coat. The Treo 750v provides a better grip in this case. Also you will notice the antenna stub on the Treo 700wx, non existent on its GSM sibling.

The buttons on the Treo 700wx are just a bit bigger and feel better when thumb typing.

Memory can be expanded with a SD card on the Treo 700wx, and a miniSD on the Treo 750v. The Treo 700wx allows access to the card from the top of the unit, while you insert the miniSD card on the right side of the Treo 750v. I like the Treo 700wx using the SD card because of its compatibility with digital cameras, but I also like the fact that your card is protected by a plastic cover on the Treo 750v.

As for digital cameras, both come with a 1280x1024 pixels built-in camera, but only the Treo 700wx allows you to control the brightness of the image.

The Treo 700wx comes with a bigger battery (3.7 V, 1800 mAh) than the Treo 750v (3.7 V, 1200 mAh). In real life I found both have approximately the same battery life when Direct Push is enabled.

The batteries: Treo 700wx (left), Treo 750v (right)

Also, a minor detail, but the stylus on the Treo 750v is a little plastic thing, while the Treo 700wx comes with a real metal stylus, nice to use and with good weight. But you will notice the Treo series requires less use of the touch screen than other Pocket PCs.

Software, memory, CPU
Both devices run Windows Mobile 5.0, the Treo 750v actually running a just newer version (build 14959.2.3.2) against the Treo 700wx's (build 14929.2.2.1.

They also are not running the same CPU. The Treo 750v runs a SC32442A at 300 MHz, while the Treo 700wx run a PXA272 at slightly faster 312 MHz.

Treo 700wx (left), Treo 750v (right)

Microsoft Voice Command is standard with those units, but the Treo 750v comes with a Wired Car Kit application.

In terms of storage memory, Palm reports that 128MB ROM is installed, with 60MB available for the user, but what I found is that you will see 66.31 MB available on the Treo 750v, and 62.92 MB available on the Treo 700wx. This is not a big deal difference for storage, because in my experience I tend to use a SD card for anything that doesn't require to be installed in the main memory.

For program execution, the Treo 700wx comes ahead, with 57.45 MB available , against 49.10 MB on the Treo 750v.

Treo 700wx (left), Treo 750v (right)

The Treo 750v comes with a customised Messaging application for SMS, that allows users to see a complete messaging session as a threaded discussion. You will also find that it is possible to browse the Outlook Mobile folders with one hand only, thanks to a Go To Folder menu option, not available on the Treo 700wx.

Treo 750v: customised SMS interface and Go To Folder option

Internet Explorer Mobile is customised on both devices. On the Treo 700wx it is set to a mobile version of Telecom New Zealand's Xtra ISP. Vodafone decided to go lighter, with its home page set to Google mobile.

Internet Explorer Home page: Treo 700wx (left), Treo 750v (right)

Both devices come with Bluetooth, but the Treo 700wx can not be used as a modem wirelessly, since it does not have the Bluetooth DUN profile. I found it the hard way, when I needed to have an Internet connection and the Treo 750v could barely get a GPRS signal. The Treo 700wx had a nice strong CDMA signal, but useless in that situation.

Just out of interest I've tested the network speed with a pagel from the DSL Reports website, specially made for mobile devices. As expected the CDMA EVDO Treo 700wx performed much better than the UMTS based Treo 750v, with speeds of 534 kbit/second (Treo 700wx) versus 195 kbit/second (Treo 750v).

Network speed test: Treo 700wx (left), Treo 750v (right)

Two notes about this test: first, Vodafone tells us that one day we will see a ROM update that brings HSDPA to the Treo 750v. Also, you will notice the difference of signal strength in the screenshots below, with Telecom New Zealand providing a better signal. Until a few months ago I used to have full signal from Vodafone as well, but since their HSDPA launch they must be tweaking the cell sites, because the signal is coming down, to the point where most of the time here I only get GPRS.

These are the most important features differences you will see on those two devices, apart from price. You can use this information as a guide, but remember to always check your requirements before deciding which device, network, provider you will use, especially if the decision involves a contract.