Comments on: Palm Treo 500v Review

Treo 500v ReviewThe Treo 500v is the third and latest love child to be produced by the Palm-Microsoft affair. In addition to being the thinnest Treo yet, is also sports some other oft-requested hardware specs, including a 2-megapixel camera (finally!), Bluetooth 2.0 and a widescreen display. Its launch was a testament to the strength of the carrier relationships that Palm has been able to build over the three years they’ve been selling smartphones: in collaboration with Vodafone, the 500v has seen a swift rollout across twelve countries in less than two months. Like the recently-released Centro and last year's Treo 680, Palm is targeting the 500v at entry-level consumers who may have never used a smartphone before but are ready to upgrade.

Have they succeeded in creating Average Joe's smartphone? Or is it just another me-too Windows Mobile device? Read on for the answers to these & other scintillating questions in PIC's in-depth review…

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Good review

hkklife @ 11/25/2007 8:41:35 PM # Q
Nice review, Tim. That camera really looks superb. It's a shame the device is so, ahem, "soulless". Had Palm paid more attention to formfactor, those specs are really solid for a lower-priced device.

I've yet to see or hold a 500 in person but the Centro is much more of a "classic" Palm device (IR, smile keyboard, touchscreen, Athena connector, ringer mute switch) than this "me-too" thing. Of course, if it costs Palm a reasonably small amount of money to churn out a few rebranded WinMob devices like this one, I'm fine with that if it enables Palm to churn out Palm OS (both Garnet & Plinux) devices more in line with what the majority of us are used to seeing.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Good review
DarthRepublican @ 11/25/2007 9:38:03 PM # Q
Wasn't this device supposed to have been created by a different company and rebranded with the Palm name? In other words, it's an outsourced device -- more than enough reason for its "soullessness."

Btw, I'm pretty certain that the Centro doesn't have a "smile" keyboard. Its keyboard virtually identical to the 500v keyboard which is pretty much the same as the Treo 600's keyboard. Now if you want to talk about classic Treo's, you have to go all the way back to the Treo 180 and 270 with their wide, straight keyboards with widely spaced oval keys. Curiously enough, the keys on the 180 and 270 were actually slightly smaller than the Treo 600's more closely spaced but bulbous keys. The 680 made the keys bigger still by making them more rectangular.

The current Palm keyboard seems to be a compromise between the older Treo 680 style and the still older Treo 600 layout. Just straighten out the parallelogram 680 keys line them up in a straight line as with the 600, throw in the LifeDrive's piano key hard keys and condom ring nav-button, and shrink it all down a bit and you have the Centro/Treo 500v layout. Now, if only Palm would bring back the Tungsten T3's slider so we can have a 320x480 Treo.

Speaking of the 500v camera...
hkklife @ 11/25/2007 10:37:28 PM # Q
It's good but still not as good as THIS:

It was hard to find a cheap digicam with image quality like this back in '03, much less in ANY multifunction mobile device!

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Good review
freakout @ 11/25/2007 11:57:24 PM # Q
^^ That thing looks awesome. Say what you will about Sony's recent attempts at corporate suicide (rootkits, over-priced over-cooked PS3, Blu-Ray), they know how to make a funky-looking design.

I actually liked the 500v a fair bit; I just couldn't justify recommending it when there's so many other near-identical devices out there. Heck, just threaded messaging would have been enough. As it is, I'd go for the Blackberry Curve over this: fractionally smaller and lighter with mostly equivalent hardware, but GPS thrown into the bargain as well.

I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

RE: Good review
hkklife @ 11/26/2007 12:44:40 AM # Q

Were you not on the Palm OS bandwagon back in '02/'03 (when Sony were releasing a new Clie(s) every few months)?

There was one point in time--perhaps in spring '03 or fall '02 or so--when I really couldn't keep up with the flurry of new Clies and had to make a cheatsheet Excel file breaking down all of the various pros/cons & specs of the array of Clies.

Here's another take on the 500v from notorious Palm Pessimists The Register UK. In short, they loved it!

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Good review
freakout @ 11/26/2007 2:41:06 AM # Q
^^ Hmmmm. They say that Palm developed the carousel. But most places I've read have said it was Vodafone. Further investigation (and maybe an edit) required...
RE: Good review
freakout @ 11/26/2007 2:45:37 AM # Q
Oh, and while I was keeping a lustful eye on Handspring's products in '02/'03, I wasn't paying much attention to the rest of the Palm OS world. It was just cruel taunting myself with things I couldn't afford on a travelling minstrel's wage...
RE: Good review
SeldomVisitor @ 11/26/2007 6:57:38 AM # Q
Darth-etc is right - this device is ENTIRELY an out-sourced unit from A-to-Z, including Vodafone's standard user interface screens.

[it's not clear how PALM makes money off of this phone, BTW, but whatever money they DO make is probably close to ALL profit since "branding" something has little up-front costs]

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500V review

Andrew-NYC @ 11/25/2007 9:48:06 PM # Q
You are correct, Darth - the Centro does not have a "smile" keyboard. Personally, I think the smile makes typing easier, but I understand it might not fit in such a small footprint. Progress?

RE: 500V review
hkklife @ 11/25/2007 10:36:08 PM # Q
Yes I of course am aware the Centro doesn't have the "smile" keyboard. I think that it really makes a small but noticable difference. I personally had a terrible time with my old T|C's keyboard but have no issues at all with the 700p's thumbboard. The 755p is a bit harder to type on than my 700p due to the slightly smaller keys, the change in key coloration (at least on the Sprint version of the 755p) and the 755p's reduced thickness (harder to wrap my big hands around it).

The Centro keyboard is really a problem for me...but I dislike the tiny Centro screen even more! That said, there's one way I could put up with a Centro-sized KB in a Treo: I'd personally love to see a "tall" Treo with a Centro-sized QWERTY keyboard and a smaller-than-TX 320x480 LCD. As long as it wasn't as tall as one of the old NR or NZ-series Clies I could manage the size!

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: 500V review
Surur @ 11/26/2007 10:01:02 AM # Q
Didn't RIMM recently boast that Palm has to license their keyboard? Maybe the straight keyboard is their attempt to reduce costs and cut corners, as usual.

BTW, I agree that the 500v really missed the boat by not having GPS. For the Vodaphone market GPS is really in now, and can easily make a sale.

Also leaving out threaded SMS makes me wonder if Palm even had any hand-on time with the device at all.


RE: 500V review
hkklife @ 11/26/2007 10:34:26 AM # Q

The (suppose) upcoming Treo 800w is more along the lines of the "proper" Treo people are looking for and much more of a suitable 700wx/750 successor than the 500v. I would also imagine a near-identical 800w GSM variant to follow the CDMA version's release. 2008 looks to (other than the GSM Centro) be an entirey Windows Mobile year for Palm.

The 800w will supposedly have 256MB RAM & 256MB ROM, a 400mhz+ CPU, EVDO Rev-A, BT 2.0, 2.0mp camera, and POSSIBLY wi-fi and/or true GPS built-in.

If the TC reports are correct, Sprint is pushing for the GPS that Palm actually saw fit to include to be disabled and/or hobbled severely. Sigh...this is why I hate the carrier/manufacturer hardball games we have to comply with.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: 500V review
DarthRepublican @ 11/27/2007 2:52:59 PM # Q
I upgraded from a Treo 600 to a 680 fairly recently and haven't noticed much difference in ease of typing. I guess that in theory the smile shape gives you more room to make fewer errors -- the 680's keyboard is certainly taller and more spread out than the 600's. But the difference to me is pretty minimal since both devices are essentially the same size. Now I can see where the Centro being a significantly smaller form-factor would be harder to get used to.

RE: 500V review
hkklife @ 11/27/2007 3:41:49 PM # Q
Odd how everyone handles the keyboard shape differently. I thought there was a huge improvement going from a 600 to a 650. I tried desperately to get used to the 600 but simply could not (this was back in '03 or so and I was familiar with the T|C keyboard). JUST FROM AN EASE OF TYPING STANDPOINT, I feel that the 700p/w is the highpoint for Treo keyboard so far...both from a key size to key color/font to device thickness. Too bad the 700p is also arguably the worst Treo to date!

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P
RE: 500V review
freakout @ 11/27/2007 9:43:17 PM # Q
There's nothing especially better or worse about the 500v's key arrangement relative to previous Treos, but because the actual body of the device itself is wider it definitely feels more comfortable than earlier Treos, especially on the outer keys which no longer go right up to the edge. The difference is minimal, but noticeable.
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I didn't read it

mikecane @ 11/26/2007 9:04:02 AM # Q
Except for this bit:

>>>For a company that has built its business on making thoughtful, user-friendly devices, Palm has put surprisingly little effort into the Treo 500v.

Well, that's a surprise?

And WTF is that thing doing looking like a Centro? It's just going to confuse the hell out of everyday people.

RE: I didn't read it
freakout @ 11/26/2007 4:20:21 PM # Q
Surprising in that they didn't even bother to port over things they'd already developed for other devices.
RE: I didn't read it
adamsmark @ 11/27/2007 11:22:46 AM # Q
It's just another smartphone -- nothing revolutionary about it, and, unfortunately, it seems a departure from whatever progress Palm had been making in the Treo line. Still looking to the iPhone. BTW, is the iPhone much larger than this Treo?

"I believe in the atomic bomb."

Blogging at">

Palm V > Vx > Clie Peg T615C > T3 > Clie TH55 > T3 > Treo 650 > Treo 700p & T3!

RE: I didn't read it
freakout @ 11/27/2007 9:24:24 PM # Q
^^ Not especially, no. A millimeter here, a millimeter there...

500v dimensions: 110 x 62 x 17mm

iPhone dimensions: 115 x 61 x 12mm

RE: I didn't read it
adamsmark @ 11/28/2007 12:06:25 PM # Q
So the smaller screen is a real revolution, isn't it!

"I believe in the atomic bomb."

Blogging at">

Palm V > Vx > Clie Peg T615C > T3 > Clie TH55 > T3 > Treo 650 > Treo 700p & T3!

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I object to the snooty European remark...

ChiA @ 11/26/2007 12:02:51 PM # Q
... especially coming from someone who's so sensitive about comments made about "his" Australia.

I wouldn't be interested if someone was trying to sell me a black and white TV when I had a high definiton flatscreen at home.

Palm's Palm OS phones are the black and white TVs of the European and Asian phone market. At least with the Treo 500v Palm has made it back into the crowd; Palm's yet to release anything which puts it ahead, nevermind in first positon.

I've finally made the jump and got myself a HTC Tytn II, which is a story in itself. I am very pleased with it and Styletap is impressive.

I'm so glad the Tytn II has got wifi. The Palm apologists who say Treos don't need wi-fi assume that the carrier's 3G networks are reliable. My experience has been that wi-fi is a very handy backup for when the networks let you down.

Yes, the networks are now Palm's immediate customer but Palm has been ignoring the end user's demands at its peril.

RE: I object to the snooty European remark...
Surur @ 11/26/2007 2:13:45 PM # Q
Have you visited There's a pile of enhancements which will make your Tytn II even better.

I definitely recommend the HTC Album for a start.


RE: I object to the snooty European remark...
freakout @ 11/26/2007 3:57:43 PM # Q
... especially coming from someone who's so sensitive about comments made about "his" Australia.

You're joking, right?

RE: I object to the snooty European remark...
ChiA @ 11/26/2007 7:06:17 PM # Q
You're joking, right?

Maybe I was and you'll find remarks about backwater Australians happy to take any smartphone Palm shoves (up) their way just as hilarious.

RE: I object to the snooty European remark...
freakout @ 11/27/2007 3:57:56 AM # Q
ChiA, you need to lighten up. I've seen thicker skin on a pot of gravy.
RE: I object to the snooty European remark...
ChiA @ 12/1/2007 5:17:25 AM # Q
freakout, hopefully one day you'll grow up, mature and understand. I was pointing out that your remark was a sweeping statement which added nothing to your review. I reiterate that Palm hasn't been doing well in Europe simply because their devices don't have as much to offer as their competitors.

Surur, thanks for the links. I'm still going over all the features which the Tytn II has to offer. It's an amaazing device. I find it sad that Palm has been incapable of offering such a device with Palm OS.

Nevertheless, I made the transition years ago from the Newton to the Palm OS and now I'm in the process of going from Palm OS to Windows Mobile. I find it ironic that it's a Windows Mobile device which offers most of what the Newton offered all those years ago.

It seems Palm missed its opportunity when it passed on Cobalt.
However there must have been something wrong about Cobalt if no company was willing to use it.

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Typo? - 2300x240 pixel; 65k-color; transflective back-lit

jeffhoward001 @ 11/26/2007 2:10:32 PM # Q
2300x240 display? That's like a 9.58:1 aspect ratio..

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Now THAT'S some wide-screen action! :-)

Tungsten T --> Palm TX --> Foleo-mini??(like an LD-II with a small attached keyboard??)

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OMG!! Palm OS 2 is coming THIS WEEK!!!

mikecane @ 11/29/2007 11:36:05 AM # Q
Just not from frikkin PALM!

RE: OMG!! Palm OS 2 is coming THIS WEEK!!!
hkklife @ 11/29/2007 12:52:30 PM # Q
It doesn't fix anything to address the underlying problems with Garnet, simple as that. It's just eye candy/fluff/window dressing/smoke & mirrors.

Bring on Garnet 5.5, Palm!!

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: OMG!! Palm OS 2 is coming THIS WEEK!!!
DarthRepublican @ 11/29/2007 10:40:41 PM # Q
Yes, Saguaro is basically a system of widgets for the PalmOS. While it'll look very pretty, it probably won't be very useful. I'd be surprised if I could do something with this new toy that I couldn't already do with a ancient Desktop Accessories.

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Treo 500

olmir @ 10/22/2008 8:17:48 AM # Q
@"I should also mention that Word's smooth scrolling in View mode looks like a million bucks.)" - can u explain Word scrolling OK or not ?

I like the looks and feel of the device, and have a chance of buying it in my country for a favourable price.I don't need Wifi but good QWERTY is a must.

Also the abillity for quick scrolling throughout long Word docs is essential for me and my business, so Id appreciate your answer

cheers, N.

RE: Treo 500
freakout @ 1/17/2009 4:48:08 AM # Q
can u explain Word scrolling OK or not ?

Word scrolling is great. There's a "view" mode you can switch to that lets you scroll up and down at a very fast rate and is incredibly smooth. It's a shame there was no such option in pocket IE, which was painfully slow to scroll.

(sorry for the late, late, late reply...)

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