Centro vs. Treo 700 vs. Treo 755: Side-by-side comparison and review

I wanted to compare and review the three popular Palm smartphones, Treo 755, Treo 700, and now the Centro, side by side to allow readers to draw their own conclusions on where the Centro stands. If you are a Sprint customer, these three smartphones are being actively marketed to you. If you are Verizon, you can compare the 700 with the 750 (Verizon's version of the 755).

Size: This is a no-brainer. While the Palm 755 made a significant improvement over the 700 by removing the stub antenna, both are bulky in the hand and the pocket. The Centro, while only about 5% shorter than 7% narrower across than the 755, cuts of nearly 15% of the thickness of the unit. While that may not sound like alot, it is very noticeable in both your hand and pocket. Advantage: Centro

Weight: The numbers speak for themselves: Centro - 4.2 oz, Treo 755 - 5.6 oz., Treo 700 - 6.4 oz. The Centro is the lightest of the three in a big way. Advantage: Centro

Business Features (Email/Calendar): As far as the technical appearance, specs, and performance of things like email and calendars, these phones really are interchangable. The function is nearly identical. I'll have the advantage here to teh 755, however, because of the larger keyboard. While I don't find the Centro's small keyboard problematic like some, I would probably write more thorough emails on a more comfortable keyboard. Advantage: Treo 750/755

Screen: Resolution is identical on the Centro to the Treo 700 and Treo 755. The screens on the Treo's are slightly larger, however. While I really don't notice the size difference and never find myself longing for more screen space on the Centro, some users might. Advantage: Treo 755

Camera: Great quality at over 1 megapixel, but I don't see any kind of change from previous models. I'm also not one to use my camera phone alot, and never for pictures that really matter: No advantage

Phone Sound Quality: Voice quality, both in and outbound, has been good on my Centro as well as the Treo's. No problems in that department. Reception has been good on all three phones, although I may notice another reception bar in problem spots with the Centro. However, I find the speaker on the Centro to be more "tinny" than the others, so I'll give the advantage to the Treo 755.

Keyboard: The small keyboard on the Centro has the world of internet reviewers complaining. But frankly, most internet reviewers are WAY too picky about their tech gadgets. The QWERTY keyboard is fully functional even for someone with chubby fingers like me. I'd like it to be a tad larger, but nice sticky texture of the keys keeps my fingers from slipping off. Still, the larger board on the Treo is easier to use -- in my opinion, the Treo keyboards are the best in the business if you are a heavy emailer from your handheld. Advantage: Treo 700 and 755

Internal Performance: I've had issues with all of my Palm products freezing periodically. However, as long as you get the Palm OS instead of windows (Windows is not an option on the Centro), you'll find the speed just fine. The Centro claims to have an extra 4MB of memory, and it is slightly noticeable to me in some situations. Just don't try to do other functions while your Centro is retrieving wireless email -- it will freeze. Still, for doing one function at a time, it feels slightly faster. Advantage: Centro

Toys: All three phones have built in games, toys, lots of ringer options, etc. I'm not a gadget freak and don't really use ptunes or the texting. However, rumor is that the Centro adapated some of the latest and greatest thinking into their Centro has it is targeted at proficient personal users in addition to business people like me. Very slight advantage: Centro

Battery Life: In my book, this is a terribly underrated aspect of phones. Say you are on a business trip and can plug your phone in once daily in a hotel room. Running out of battery can be a deal killer. Ironically, the oldest model gets the edge on this one. The 4.5 hrs of talk time on the Treo 700 trumps the 4.2 hrs on the 755 and the 3.5 hrs on the Centro. Frankly, this has been my only disappointment on the Centro. Advantage: Treo 700

Overall Comparison: The size and weight improvement on the Centro more than outweighs the losses for the average business user, namely the smaller keyboard and the shorter battery life. This is a nice phone, one that feels much better in your hand or pocket, and one that you will instantly become a fan of. Unless you do tons of long emails from your phone, or absolutely have to have a battery that doesn't require a nightly charge, the Centro is a great addition to the Palm family. Especially when you consider that a Sprint user can get a Centro for $100 after all discounts, it becomes a no-brainer. Overall Advantage: Palm Centro.


Matrimony Inc. said...

Thanks for this review. I am committed to my Treo, but just on a Pink Palm Centro. I am an event planner and run my business with my Treo. Based on your review, I am going to try the out the Centro. Thanks!!

yummy411 said...

uber helpful! thanks for the post!

Gil and Marin said...

This post really helped me in my important decision to stick with the Centro. I just upgraded from the 700P, and am hesitating on my decision because I am stuck with a 2 year contract.

But since I am addicted to audible.com's auto-download of the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker daily, I want a device compatible with audible.com, so a blackberry doesn't work for me.

Also, since I have to carry a second device for work email, I wanted something smaller than a 700P.

You really helped me out, and I appreciate it.

Mr.Gnooti said...

Thanks for the thorough comparison. I chose the Centro for the reasons that you cited, although as you mentioned, it's a very close call.

Basically, the three devices are equivalent (esp Treo755 and Centro), and it all depends on what's more important:

a) Treo: Pure function, regardless of aesthetics. The BlackBerry look of the Treo is IMHO, unsightly, but very functional, and the Treo's larger screen and keyboard are easier on the eyes and fingers. For those whose concern is all business, the Treo's the choice.

b) Centro: Really slick form factor with an "everything including the kitchen sink in a tight package" functionality. Nothing looks like the Centro, or comes close to it in function at this package size.

I chose the Centro, because at my work, one not only needs to be efficient at the job, but also has to look good doing it. I know, it's a stupid, vain reason.

For others, the Treo is just as valid a choice, and I'm sure will work well for them.

As a side note: One device that I also looked into was the iPhone, which, although very sexy looking, was basically a 2-trick pony whose only advantage is music and video. For business use, the Palm devices beat it hands down. Heck, I'd choose the early model Palm Zire over the iPhone for a PDA device. BTW, the Centro can also play MP3s... but then again, music on "bud" earphones is not my idea of entertainment. If I want music, I fire up my audio system: Paradigm speakers, Yamaha preamp/amp + Mitsubishi Natural Sound CD player. A modest system by any measure, but beats the crap out of an i-Anything.

Anonymous said...

I will be trading up from a Treo 650. Don't do emails on my phone...no need to be THAT accessible. Little texting. Use PDA for phone, contacts, calendar, docs 2 go, turbo passwords and a couple of word games (while waiting in doctor offices!)

So, the review was very helpful for me. We'll probably change carriers to Verizon -- we're in a dead zone with ATT and no chance of improvement at the house -- and will go Centro based on my needs and the review.

Thanks so much!


Lyn said...

I just irreparably broke the screen on my Verizon 755p. Verizon no longer sells the 755p. The Assurion insurance people will only replace it with a Centro - so this blog was SUPER helpful. While I was reluctant before to accept the Centro, I'm now more accepting of my fate (and even looking forward to it the tiniest bit) because of your blog.

Amy said...

I have been addicted to my 650 for ages and fear change :) Many times you go to buy a new phone without knowing the quirks until it is too late... Your post was so helpful! Thank you! Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I'm a T/X user and have dropped my old flip phone one time too many, and will now look at the Centro as they're on sale now at my carrier, Bell Mobility.

phyllis.carrier said...

Thanks for the post. I am late and the Centro has probably already been replaced by a newer model but I am going to buy the Centro based on the wonderful review. Do you know anything about the alarm features? On my Sony I can set up to 6 different alarms and have them recurring or not. Can I do this on the Centro WITHOUT using a calendar or task feature?? Thanks.