This review appears in the December 06 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents. The price, scores, specifications and picture to the right are for the HTC MTeoR; to see details of the Palm Treo 750v, kindly click here.
Palm is a household name. HTC certainly isn't – you've probably never heard of the company. So this smartphone face-off ought to be a walkover, right? Not so fast.
HTC has been making hardware for the likes of O2 and Orange for many years. Now it's as keen as mustard to make good on its reputation among the techno-cognoscenti.
And Palm is changing tack too. After years of doing very nicely thank you with its PalmOS devices, it has plumped for Microsoft’s impressive Windows Mobile 5.0 OS (operating system). Yet the company claims it has no plans to dump its own OS.
The Palm got off to a great start: we were immediately taken with the useful way the opening screen displays everything you're likely to need to know. At one glance you can instantly see whether you've any missed calls or voicemails, and whether there are tasks or meetings outstanding. A Google search field is included, but this can be changed to another engine if you prefer.
The HTC MTeoR gives you icons for IE, Calendar, Tasks, Messaging and the ClearVue Viewer, a handy third-party application that resizes office applications for display on a small screen. It enables you to view Excel, Word, PowerPoint and other files at anything from 25 to 200 percent.
Below these is oodles of white space normally taken up by lists of appointments, unread messages and the like. Hitting the button immediately beneath the screen takes you to the full list of applications, including the voice recorder.
The methods of navigation are different. The HTC uses the central jogpad below the screen, while there's also a staccato scrollwheel for vertical navigation on the MTeoR’s left flank. The Palm, meanwhile, has a central oblong navipad, a Start button to bring up a list of programs, plus a stylus.
The Palm is touch-sensitive. Composing text messages and emails is an absolute breeze, and while its hard, rounded keys may be small, they are sufficiently spaced that you have no problem hitting the right one. Accessing characters on the Shift menu is easiest using the onscreen soft keyboard, but otherwise we found it easy enough to write paragraphs of text on this device.
By contrast, the keypad on the non-touch-sensitive MTeoR is extremely stiff, making entering text for emails and text messages a long drawn-out affair. We'd have thought this was one of the key aspects HTC needed to get right, and it was something we certainly didn't have a problem with on the largely similar Orange SPV C600.
The browser was another disappointment. The HTC wouldn't co-operate with our O2 WAP setup, or any other sort of connection for that matter. By contrast, getting online was incredibly easy with the Palm.
We're rather surprised that neither product offers Wi-Fi. Both include basic 1.3Mp (megapixel) cameras, and given that they are 3G, it seems odd that there's no swivel camera so you can conduct video calls. HTC adds extra phone functionality, so it's very easy to record ringtones, send personalised picture messages, watch a slideshow of your photos or try a few games. The voice recorder works well and the camera isn't bad. You can add a MicroSD card if you're keen to store more shots or import music, but it's no good for video calls – surely one of the points of 3G?