For e-mail, you get Microsoft's Direct Push Technology for real-time message delivery and automatic synchronization with your Outlook calendar, tasks, and contacts via Exchange Server. You can also configure the Treo Pro to access POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts, which, in most cases, is a simple process of inputting your username and password. We were able to set up our Yahoo account on our review unit with no problem and started receiving e-mail within a few minutes. Windows Live Messenger is the only instant-messaging client preloaded on the smartphone.
Phone features on the Treo Pro include quad-band world roaming, a speakerphone, speed dial, smart dialing, conference calling, and text and multimedia messaging. The contact book is limited only by the available memory (the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts), and there's room in each entry for multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, instant-messaging handles, and birthdays. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a picture, one of 37 polyphonic ringtones, or a group ID. Bluetooth 2.0 is also onboard for use with mono and stereo Bluetooth headsets, hands-free kits, object exchange, and dial-up networking.
The Treo Pro is a 3G-capable handset as well. More specifically, it supports the 850/1900 HSDPA bands, which means you'll be able to get 3.5G speeds, provided that you are using an AT&T SIM. T-Mobile's 3G network operates on the 1700/2100 bands so you won't be able to enjoy the same advantages. Fortunately, the smartphone also has integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), providing an alternative method for surfing the Web. Simply press the one-touch button on the right side of the smartphone to turn on the Wi-Fi and connect to a network. The smartphone will automatically scan for available networks and allows for authentication and data encryption.
The smartphone also has integrated GPS for your navigation needs. To speed up the process of determining your location, the Treo Pro includes a utility called QuickGPS that downloads the latest satellite information via an Internet connection. Google Maps is also preloaded on the device, which provides turn-by-turn directions, local search, traffic updates, and more. However, for real road warriors, you might want to consider getting a full location-based service, such as TeleNav, so you can get more robust navigation features, including text- and voice-guided directions and a fuel price finder.
While it's been all business up to this point, Palm includes some features to bring some balance between work and play. First, you get the standard Windows Media Player 10 Mobile that allows you to enjoy your AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-4, and WMV files, to name a few. Plus, if you have TV shows recorded on your Windows Media Center PC, you can transfer them to your device for on-the-go viewing or stream your home's TV programming right to your device with a Slingbox and SlingPlayer Mobile. The Treo Pro's microSD expansion slot is designed to accept up to 32GB cards (when available), so you can fill up a high-capacity card and enjoy all your media.
The smartphone is also equipped with a 2-megapixel camera with 8x zoom and video recording capabilities. You can shoot still images in one of five resolutions and one of four quality settings. There's no flash, but you do get effects and white balance and brightness controls. A self-timer and time stamp are also available. In video mode, options are a bit more limited. You have your choice of four resolutions and can adjust the picture via white balance, brightness settings, and effects. There's no limit to recording length.
Picture quality wasn't the most impressive. While objects were clearly defined, colors looked washed out. No matter how much we adjusted the white balance and brightness settings, we could never get the tones to look right. Video quality was acceptable for short clips.
We tested the quad-band Palm Treo Pro (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; UMTS/HSDPA 850/1900) in San Francisco and call quality was decent. For the most part, we enjoyed crisp and loud audio on our end, but there were a couple of instances where voices sounded garbled or we heard a bit of cackling. Still, the overall experience was good and we were also able to use an airline's voice automated response system with no problem. On the other side, our friends reported good results with just a couple reports of an echo. Speakerphone quality was OK. We were able to carry on conversations, but calls sounded a bit hollow and at the highest volume setting, audio could sound slightly blown out. We were able to pair the Treo Pro with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones with no problem.
Armed with a 400MHz Qualcomm MSM7201 processor, the Treo Pro's general performance was OK, but not great. While we didn't suffer any system crashes during our review period, we definitely experienced some of that notorious sluggishness that plagues Windows Mobile devices. It wasn't any better or worse than other Windows Mobile smartphones, but frustrating nonetheless. On a brighter note, the Web browsing experience was swift, thanks to the HSDPA boost. The Treo Pro was also able to find and connect to our Wi-Fi network, and we were also able to enjoy surfing the Net that way. As for multimedia performance, music playback through the phone's speakers sounded one-sided and lacked bass. We're pleased that Palm included a 3.5mm headphone jack, however, and we had a much better experience listening to music with a nice pair of earbuds. Watching video was fine in short spurts, and audio and images were already synchronized.
The Palm Treo Pro's 1,500mAh lithium ion battery has a rated talk time of five hours and up to 10 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, we were able to get 5.5 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge. According to FCC radiation tests, the Treo Pro has a digital SAR rating of 1.5 watts per kilogram.