The 750v is the first Palm phone based on Windows to arrive in Europe. The phone maker decided to support Windows last year, and delivered the Treo 700w last year in the US, where it has already been followed by a Palm version to placate supporters of Palm's own OS.

Palm isn't so big over here, though the Treo 650 made inroads before it was pulled for containing too many toxic substances for EU rules (ironically we still got one to review).

When Palm returned to Europe with the 700v arrived in September, it was obviously updated and "Europeanised". It doesn't have the stubby antenna of its US cousin, but has the same keyboard, and 240 x 240 screen. It's initially exclusive to Vodafone (costing up to £127.66 inc VAT depending on contract) - hence the v in the name. It also has slightly larger action keys and phone keys than the US version (which in turn had larger keys than the 650).

It's got a touch screen, but we found the user interface made it easy enough to do most things one- or two-handed and the stylus mostly stayed in its holster. It operates on 3G GSM, GPRS and EDGE.

Texting, texting…
US users aren't big on texting (hence the Treo adopted a tiny keyboard similar to the Blackberry, so they could enter text and send emails without the benefit of predictive input)

So it's a significant nod to Europe that in the overlay that Palm designed for Windows Mobile 5.0 - alongside other real improvements - the company included a built in text function that threads SMS messages, so you can treat them like IM conversations.

Texting is also built into other functions so, for instance, you can respond to a voice call with a text instead of answering the phone - either composing on the fly or picking pre-prepared responses like "In a meeting".

Other extras on the basic Windows Mobile include a customised Today screen which arranges new, emails, calls, contact and calendar items, and a Google field that gets a swift page of search results, without having to navigate to the web first. Google is hardwired into the Today screen, but other search engines are available through the web.

Email services
In daily use, we connected to our Google mail account by POP, and found the interface easy to use.

But this is a corporate creature, and intended to accept mobile email from from Microsoft Exchange's push service. Once this is activated at the Exchange end, and security policies applied, it's easy to set up on the phone, using a wizard that asks for the password and for server and user information, then synchronises messages, contacts and appointments.

Other corporate features include the ability to wipe a Treo 750v remotely if it's lost or stolen. If it isn't connected at that point, it receives the 'wipe' command the next time it connects to a mobile network. While it's not connected, data on the device is protected by a password, and is wiped if three wrong passwords are entered.

Other details
Of less interest to the corporate, there's a rather average camera (1.3 Mpixels) and a media player. There's a miniSD slot on the side. Some other devices place this under the battery, so storage can't be removed and switched without having to re-boot the phone.

The headset, power and data connections are on the bottom of the phone and we liked the fact that all three are separate - so it is possible to plug the phone in for a charge while speaking on it hands free (something you can't do with Nokia's E61 for instance). The headphone provided has a 2.5mm jack. A data cable and power adapter are also provided.

OUR VERDICT

This is a very usable phone, that should do well for Palm. It makes a good showing of Microsoft's push email, and handles texts well, so could be a good option for the really connected.