Palm Treo Pro Review

Introduction and Design
This is an unlocked GSM phone which can operate in
the US on AT&T and T-Mobile (without 3G).


As smartphones begin to penetrate the consumer market Palm, the manufacturer who brought them to the mainstream, has been fighting to stay relevant. Bigger names like RIM, HTC and more recently Apple have dominated the market. The tried and true Treo form factor that made Palm so successful also contributed to their downfall, with sleeker and better designs passing it over. About this time last year Palm made their first major design shift with the Centro, a move that netted them seven figure sales numbers and a reemergence on the scene. Now they’re at it again with the Treo Pro, and though it carries the Treo name it thankfully has little in common with Treos of yesterday. The notoriously portly line has been slimmed down and sleeked up to iPhone levels, and the results are great. Will the Pro bolster Palm’s return to prominence, or just let them hold onto a dying brand a little bit longer?

Included in the box you will find:
  • Li-Ion battery
  • AC Adapter
  • USB data cable
  • Stereo headset


The Treo Pro is a good looking phone, though it does little to hide its iPhone inspiration. The face is much sleeker than any Treo we’ve seen before, with curvy lines and flush buttons. The keys are the same as on the Centro, though with a little more spacing since the phone is wider.

You can compare the Palm Treo Pro with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The Treo Pro does not abandon its roots altogether though, and the overall design is the same as any other Treo out there: display on top, cluster of navigational and shortcut buttons in the middle and QWERTY keyboard below. We measured the 320x320 display at 2.5”, and as other Windows Mobile phones it supports 65k colors. It’s a good display, but not great. We had no problems reading it any lighting condition, but like we’ve seen on Motorola screens the colors seemed just a bit washed out and they aren’t as vibrant as panels we’ve seen from HTC and Samsung, even though rumors point to HTC manufacturing the Pro (and, as we’ll see later, they did.)

The cluster in the middle features the same buttons we’ve seen before, but its makeover is much needed and gives the Pro a much different look. There is the five-way directional pad in the middle, with two stacked shortcut keys to each side and send and end on the far edges. Thankfully Palm has ditched the needless mechanical softkeys we’ve seen in the past. The d-pad is a silver ring, and in the middle is a black bubble button with a silver Palm logo. It is easy to use and navigate with. The shortcut keys are pre-programmed to, moving clockwise from the top left, Start Menu, OK, Messaging and Calendar, but are customizable in the settings menu. They sit flush and are seamless with the glossy black housing, which is a large part of what gives the Pro its modern appearance. The send and end keys are simply small black circles, rounded and raised with an LED-lit green and red ring around them respectively. They are visually separated from the rest of the cluster by an hourglass-curved line. Again, small design touches that make a world of difference.

The keyboard is virtually the same as the Centro, though there are a few small differences. Since the Pro is wider, the far left and right column of keys are as big as the rest, not tapered like the Centro. There is also the slightest amount of extra spacing between the keys, making a fairly good keyboard better. It’s still no Blackberry, but the slight grippiness of the keys prevents your finger sliding off and pressing two at once. They feel much cushier than the hard plastic keypads of previous Treos, which we appreciate. The travel is good and there is no doubt that the key has been pressed.

The side buttons are sleek and well designed; there is no missing them but they blend into the body’s minimalist design well. The volume rocker sits on the top left, and below it is the camera key which has to be held to activate. The left side has a flush Wi-Fi on/off button towards the bottom, sitting above the IR port. The keys on the left side offer reassurance when pressed, but the Wi-Fi switch has no tactile feedback. When we pressed it worked, but we only knew so because of the onscreen confirmation.

The top of the phone has a power button to the left and sliding silence switch to the right. The power key is flush like the Wi-Fi switch, but easy to press like the left side buttons. The bottom houses the microUSB charging/data port and 3.5mm headphone jack.

The back of the Pro would probably fit perfectly on the iPhone 3G, assuming it had a removable door. The Pro shares the same fingerprint magnet glossy black finish and soft rounding at the corners and edges that make it comfortable to hold. Unfortunately it also shares the tendency to scratch when breathed on, and even the most anal user will notice light scratches after just a few minutes of use.

The 2-megapixel camera is situated in the middle near the top, and directly to the left is a vertical speaker on the edge. The stylus is tucked away tightly into the bottom left corner. Thankfully Palm has moved back to metal after using a cheap plastic one on the 800w.

The Treo Pro feels fantastic in the hand, and very similar to the iPhone. It’s slightly narrower, which we always prefer, but overall the dimensions are very similar and the rounded backing makes the depth deceptive. The weighting is good; the Pro is solid without being heavy. Where the Centro was an evolutionary departure from the norm, the Pro is a gigantic leap forward in the design of Palm devices. We hope Palm doesn’t sit on this leap but instead continues to push the design envelope on future units.

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