It's a really easy UI to get to grips with, and Palm's placed all the 500v's key applications, settings and functions. The only thing it lacks is a link to the camera, but once you've reached it through the Pictures & Videos app, or the icon-filled Main Menu - press the centre of the nav control when you're in the Today screen - you can quickly find it again in the Recent Programs panel.
The black version looks better than the white one
But what the UI needs is the smooth scrolling of the iPhone. Here there's always a sense of jerkiness to the motion and a lag between the press of a key and the appearance of the menu. To be fair, it doesn't impede what you do and it's no worse than any other Windows Mobile device - better than some, in fact. But it's still not a smooth as a handset in this day and age really should be.
If the iPhone does nothing beyond forcing other phone makers to speed up their UIs, it will have been a success in our view.
The 500v is a 3G device, but it lacks HSDPA support, presumably to keep the manufacturing cost down. But since network subsidies tend to level that out, can the 500v really afford to be without it, especially since it hasn't got Wi-Fi either? Make no mistake, this is a data device. It's set up out of the box to use Vodafone Live! as a web portal and content source, and Microsoft's Windows Messenger is there too, ready to make use of the connection. A Google Maps app is ready to use.
So to is Mobile TV, and app that pulls down live Sky broadcasts onto the 500v. It sounds attractive, but at £5 a month for a postage stamp-sized picture - you can blow it up full screen, but the resolution's not up to the job - we can't really recommend it.
The handset has Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) connectivity and can operate as a wireless modem, but again that missing HSDPA support means it can't deliver true broadband speeds to your laptop. Still, Bluetooth was a fast way of getting stills snapped on the 500v's two-megapixel camera over to our main machine. Not that they were anything to write home about. Shots taken in bright light are fine, but are muddy and fuzzy in darker places. But then 500v is no worse for snapping than most similarly specced phones out there.
Decent resolution but basic
As you might have seen from the picture on the front page of this review, the 500v has no video-call camera. That's no loss to us - atually, it's an advantage: it makes for a neater look - but it might put a few potential buyers off.
Call quality was generally very good, but we missed the loss of Palm's patent threaded messaging, which presents a set of SMS messages exchanged between you and a chum the look of an IM conversation. Maybe Vodafone expects punters to use IM instead - we're not convinced though. Incidentally, the 500v is a tri-band GSM/GPRS device, so it'll roam in most, but not all, parts of the globe. Would it really have been that much of an issue to make it quad-band? 3G is limited to the 2100MHz frequency - again potentially limiting travellers who want fast data.
The battery life par for course for a 3G phone without Wi-Fi. Using the device for data - ie. using 3G and keeping the screen on - will sap the battery far more than calls do. So will using Bluetooth, particularly if you make use of the nice-to-have A2DP wireless headphone technology - though the handset comes with an adequate wired set.
Palm's Treo 500v isn't the 'power users' Windows Mobile device - no Wi-Fi, no HSDPA - but it's an impressive attempt at bringing the handset family into the reach of the mainstream. It's wonderfully compact and it looks good. Palm's new UI is a big improvement on the standard WM one, and its micro-keyboard is as easy to use as anything on a BlackBerry or HTC device.
Palm Treo 500v smartphone
First no-stylus phone ???
I second Dave Murray: I have a TyTn and I barely pulled out the stylus. I also have the new 8GB SonyEricsson W960, this is what I use nowadays and I lost the stylus weeks ago and I'm doing absolutely fine, didn't even buy another stylus - simply I don't need it.
"Gone is the tactile rubber-like feel of old, replaced with a varnished look that helps the 500v slip in and out of pockets and bags with ease"
Does this mean that it also slips out of your hand and smashes onto the floor with the same ease as previous curvy backed zero friction Treos?
Re: Threaded Messaging
The palm threaded messaging app has been hacked to work on most HTC phones, such as Tytn, Tytn2, Touch etc. Google for it.
WTF are you smoking?
"D'you know the most interesting thing about Palm's Treo 500v? It's a Windows Mobile smartphone without a stylus. For years, we've been noting PDA and, later, smartphone makers' attempts to overcome the Microsoft OS inability to work one-handed, but until now no one's quite succeeded."
"Past Palm and recent HTC devices have come close, but the 500v is the first to hit the market without its manufacturer feeling the need to include a stylus even just in case."
WTF are you guys smoking and can I have some?
In my previous job I had an HTC Windows Smartphone, the 500c or something like that. It ran Windows Mobile 5 and had no stylus, no need for a stylus, didn't have a touchscreen and worked fine one handed. Other than the long boot times it was a pretty good phone and it's successors were better.
The first two paragraphs of this review are such complete bollocks that I can't bring myself to read further. Now if it were a new Palm, rather than a new Windows Smartphone made by someone calling themselves Palm I might have persevered. But it isn't. It doesn't even look like a Palm.
But does it work in the car
I've got about 10 Treo 750Vs that as soon as you plug them into the vodafone approved car kit they crash and get errors, not very useful for the mobile based personnel who would require such a device.
Any idea if this one actually works? Also check my ebay page for a lovely Treo 750V ;)