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Exclusive: Sprint Treo Pro Hands On

So we managed to snag one of those hard-to-find-is-it-here-or-not Sprint Treo Pros before they were put under indefinite lock-n-key.

Care to see our full photo gallery and here some of our first thoughts on this soon-to-be Sprint messenger device? Read on…

Basically the Sprint Treo Pro is an exact port of the GSM version, with some minor changes for CDMA. The biggest new thing would be the inclusion of Mobile Internet Explorer 6, which we’ll do a separate review of later, and a bump in storage memory.

The Sprint Treo Pro has that new fangled Palm packaging and boy is it a tiny box compared to other Sprint phones. But what is really sweet is the pre-setup of the phone, meaning that when you open the box, you just pull the phone out and it’s already on (radio is off). So there is no first-boot, touch screen setup, etc. And if the phone was activated at the store, you can literally just make a phone call. This hands off approach is a nice user-friendly change from Palm and Microsoft.

The phone itself feels like an 800w after it has been squished down. Shiny black all around, it feels like a bar of soap in your hand—definitely a finger print magnet. The flush screen has exceptional clarity and the speakers and earpiece are quite loud and clear—in fact this is probably one of the loudest and clearest WM devices we’ve experienced lately. Speaking of volume, that coveted 3.5mm headphone jack is there right next to the microUSB connector.

The 528mhz processor is quite zippy, edging out the 333mhz Treo 800w (see review) slightly on regular programs; on large programs though the 528mhz processor shines. The inclusion of a 1500mah battery for a rated 5hr talk time is also impressive for such a thin device.

Oh did we mention that in addition to the onboard GPS, this device actually supports the Google Maps "My Location" feature aka A-FLT (Advanced Forward Link Trilateration) aka tower triangulation?

Finally, regarding memory, it does only have ~43mb of free RAM (program memory) after a boot but so far this has not been a problem with regular use. The 300+mb of storage memory, in addition to microSD support, is also a welcomed change from the 100mb or so on the GSM version.

Any obvious problems so far? Nope. How is it compared to the Treo 800w (see follow up review)? Physically and ergonomically I actually prefer the 800w, but the internal hardware of the Treo Pro is also very nice. In short, we wish we could combine both into a single device.

Look for a full review, possible 800w head-to-head and our overview of Mobile Internet Explorer 6 in the next few days. Fire off any questions in comments and we’ll try to answer them!

36 Comments
  • nice work. thank you.
  • Is that round thing with the USB port and Sprint logo the AC adapter? If so, that's a nice touch. I've had previous chargers that took 2 outlets.
  • Just like the Jesus phone - this is probably going to be SOP for now on for all smartphones as it cuts down on multiple cables. And as you noted - easy to travel with. Is the screen comparable in clarity to the 800w?
  • Yeah, the only accessories that comes with the device is a USB cable + that really cool AC adapter. The prongs fold in/out and it's quite convenient for travel.
  • So does this flavor of the Treo Pro actually run simultanous voice/data off of sprint's CDMA network?
  • @sp33d: so far as I can tell, no it does not. Perhaps that is part of the coming software update or just wrong info? Dunno.
  • We tried out the Treo 800w with Sprint when it came out (coming from VZW) and had to take them back for poor call quality and realy frequent dropped calls (in Portland Oregon)...Wondering if there is any chance it was the phone and not the network cause I'm sick of waiting for a new Treo on VZW and might give this Pro a shot but I'm thinking it may just end up the same result, at least with the dropped calls...? Any insight on that since you've tested/used both?
  • Score! Does the "locate me" feature on Live Search work? (I'm guessing not, but can't hurt to try)
  • tower triangulation actually works? is this the first cdma device to be able to do this? I've never seen another cdma device that it works on.
  • @scott: can't speak to your dropped call issue, but the Treo Pro's sound quality is much better than the 800w; reception on the Treo Pro seems okay, no better than the 800w. @Phil: I can't find the "Locate Me" in Live Search, lol. Will work on it ;-) @Anonymous: Actually, the Palm Centro w/update uses "My Location" too, so it's not a first for Palm. I don't know about other CDMA handsets, but as far as "smartphone" I *think* this is the first WM CDMA device to do this.
  • Correcting some misconceptions:
    1. concurrent voice and data is impossible on CDMA under 1xRTT, EVDO Rev 0, as well as EVDO Rev A. Rev A simply allows upload speeds to match download speeds. Rev B was the spec supposed to finally implement voice+data concurrency and no one is adopting it. VZ is pursuing LTE instead while Sprint is trying WiMax. Even on GSM networks, it is not possible under either GPRS or EDGE; you need at least UMTS coverage for voice and data concurrency - namely UMTS, not GSM voice and UMTS or higher for data.
    2. The Treo Pro is not the first CDMA device which can do Google My Location triangulation. You can do that on any CDMA Palm Centro (VZ or Sprint) as long as you download and upgrade the Google Maps app from www.google.com/gmm. Please folks, don't speculate. Facts are what matters.
  • oh, I thought the centro update just enabled the GPS functionality not the my location. my bad then.
  • Is the speaker phone quality improved? It is awful on my 800w.
  • @Mal Perhaps this will refresh your memory. lol.
    If you can't see the "locate me" button, it's probably just cause it's on CDMA and not GSM. But it was worth a try. Still trying to track down an official explanation on that one.
  • He, he! Learn to use the 5-way, Luke! Use the force! Press and hold Center button on 5-way and it always gives you the applicable context menu. Try learning.palm.com if everything else fails.
  • learn something new everyday! Thanks
  • I got one of these on Vodafone in the uk. Really liked the hardware, but my main issue was sending a text. Pressing the centre of the d-pad seems the most logical way to 'send'... but no, you had to use the touchscreen. the OK button just mimics the dpad as well, basically dropping down a line like return. Creating a new text you have to go through an onscreen menu too. I could not find a way to get around this by remapping the keys so I sent the treo back during the 14 day 'cool off' period. Is there no way of sending a text without using the touchscreen? (Maybe I was too used to my old blackberry).
  • Regarding 'my location' in Googlemaps, the Sprint CDMA Centro does have it.
  • If there is no software included how do we go about syncing contacts,info etc,etc?!?!?!?!?! Any SOLID release date on the device?
  • I had heard that when you first connect this phone to a PC, that it acts like a thumb drive and the active sync software is installed from the device itself to your PC.
  • This is very confusing with Sprint with the way they release the devises. It is frustrating how they can't get their products together and give us strait answers. I have been waiting for the next best thing from Palm and Sprint is playing with our emotions when it comes to their organization. It's ridiculous Sprint. Turn it loose Sprint!!! The Pro and the Pre! I will buy them both! Here we go again round and round!
  • @phil, ah yes, that did jog my memory, lol. See that's the problem I thought that's what I was looking for and it's not there at all, so no on that one. I think the API that Palm opened up is only for Google Maps, which is ODD since the Treo Pro doesn't come with Google Maps!
  • I just wrote a very long inside review of this phone where did it go. I did Privew then Save now its gone. Need I say again it was very long and indepth. I can't beleave you deleated it. I went to BGR they didn't reply that they wanted a review so I gave it to you and it's gone. To much work on my part to scoop for you and the public to get a slap in the face. WHATS UP
  • No one deleted your post PRIMECHUCK. Try posting in our forums directly? and next time, maybe write it in Word or whatever, so you have a backup ;-) Maybe we have a word count limit in the comments...hmmm.
  • In your opinion is the Pro worth $150 more (sprint just dropped the price of the 800w to $99) than the 800w?
  • Keep in mind we have not seen teh final version of the Pro.
    I have an 800w and getting a Pro. For me there are a dozen reasons to get the Pro over the 800w, but some or all of my reasons maybe less important to you.
    I have altered my charging habits somewhat to deal with the small battery on the 80ow but the larger battery on the Pro is compelling. the number one complaint in the 800w is battery life.
    The presence of a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the Pro is a considerable advantage if an important use is you listen to mp3.
    There is a consensus that the audio, especially speaker phone is better on the Pro. $150 is a fair amount of scratch. If you are considering getting the Pre in the summer, you would be banking in my estimate $100 with the 800w's cheaper price after considering the Pro will likely have a better resale price. That is not the whole picture, just some thoughts of mine.
  • I'm hoping that this new CDMA Pro has a better case than the GSM version did. There seemed to be alot of problems with hairline cracks on the side of the case in the older Pro.
  • GSM cracks are rare, confined to early models of the GSM,a and, after some early hesitation by Palm, all being replaced on buyer request under warranty. It is likely they found out why in the six months since then, and fixed the problem, and you would have full protection of having bought through Sprint.
  • I was just on Sprints web site and it looks like they maybe EOL for the 800w. It is now just $99 with 2 year contract. But whats bugging me is a release date for both the Pre and the Pro. Any guesses as to when the phones will be released?
  • I was just at the sprint store getting my 800W fixed (AGAIN) and the tech in there went through his email and says Sprint told him they have a tentative date of Feb. 15 for the Pro, hopefully that is the case.
  • Finally! An admission from Palm that we are all not seeing a mirage! They acknowledge on the Treo Pro home page that its "coming to Sprint soon". Perhaps they just figured that out themselves?
  • I've been told by Sprint that the Pro will be out on February 15th
  • Nice preview Mal! Finally a review that does not come with crappy blurry camera pictures. The other writers for the smartphone experts group should take notice and take notes that good images from a real camera make a real difference.
    My .02 :)
  • Most people take even worse pics with "real cameras." :)
  • I am a corp store employee for sprint and were just sent an e-mail last week that the launch date for the pro is march 15 due to some somethings we wanted palm to correct before the launch. What those things were are unknown to us. Trust we as employees want this phone out as bad as everyone else.
  • Keep in mind we have not seen teh final version of the Pro.
    I have an 800w and getting a Pro. For me there are a dozen reasons to get the Pro over the 800w, but some or all of my reasons maybe less important to you.
    I have altered my charging habits somewhat to deal with the small battery on the 80ow but the larger battery on the Pro is compelling. the number one complaint in the 800w is battery life.
    The presence of a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the Pro is a considerable advantage if an important use is you listen to mp3. m65
    There is a consensus that the audio, especially speaker phone is better on the Pro. $150 is a fair amount of scratch. If you are considering getting the Pre in the summer, you would be banking in my estimate $100 with the 800w's cheaper price after considering the Pro will likely have a better resale price. That is not the whole picture, just some thoughts of mine.