Note: this phone is discontinued, Verizon now
offers the Palm Treo 650 as their Palm OS smartphone offering.
Kyocera is no longer developing smartphones.
The long awaited Kyocera 7135 is the successor
to the very popular 6035. Originally
scheduled for release late last year, the 7135 is finally available
from Verizon Wireless and Alltel in the US. I was a big fan of
the 6035, and I'm thrilled to be using the 7135 as my new phone!
This cradle is included and
has both USB and serial connectors. The 7135 comes with both
Mac and PC software for syncing.
The Kyocera 6035 was probably the most successful
Palm OS Smartphone in the US, running a close race with the Handspring
Treo models. However it was large by mobile phone standards
and had a grayscale display. The 7135 sports a much smaller clamshell
design and has a high quality color display. Not only that, it
has an SD slot supporting SDIO and an MP3 player. While not as
small and light as popular miniature mobiles like the Motorola
T720 and Sony Ericsson T68i, it nonetheless is quite pocketable.
As you can see from the image on the lower right, it's actually
smaller in height and width than the Palm
Tungsten C (and Tungsten W which
is the same size as the Tungsten C). It is significantly thicker
than these Tungstens.
Design and Ergonomics
The 7135 has a clamshell design (otherwise known
as a flip phone). The 2.5" display on the top half is both
your phone screen and the Palm OS screen. The Graffiti area is
at the top of the lower half of the phone, above the number pad.
I thought it might be awkward using the Graffiti area, especially
being a lefty who writes "over the line", but it turns
out to be very easy to use and I've yet to bump the screen with
my knuckle while writing. The Graffiti area has silkscreen buttons
for Home, Menu, Phone App and Find. You can also adjust brightness
and contrast using icons on the Graffiti area.
Below the Graffiti area, there are hardware buttons
for calendar, phone book, email and web browser, with a center
rocker that acts as the Palm OS up/down buttons and also controls
phone functions when in phone mode.
The number pad is a standard mobile phone design,
with additional buttons to turn backlight and the Palm on and off,
and to activate speaker phone. When in Palm mode, the number keys
are not active, but the send button, speakerphone and brightness/Palm
power screen are active. The phone offers options to backlight
the keys and Graffiti area for 10 seconds or 30 seconds after you
press a keypad button— nice!
The unit feels good in the hand and is a comfortable
size for use against the head. It's got a deep gray metallic finish
plastic case with a silver inset on the outer front casing. It
looks professional, slick and attractive. So far it's turned more
than a few heads thanks to its good looks. There's an external
monochrome LCD along the top edge of the phone which is readable
when you're wearing it on you belt. The LCD has a battery meter,
connection strength meter and displays the time. It provides caller
ID info when a call comes in, and has a message indicator.
The left side of the phone has volume up and
down buttons which control the ringer volume when not in a call,
and voice volume when in a call. The headset jack is above the
volume controls, under a rubber door.
Wireless service is provided by Verizon Wireless
and Alltel in the US. The 7135 supports the Express Network, Verizon's
name for their high speed 1xRTT data network capable of speeds
up to 144k and averaging about 40 - 70k these days in metro areas.
It's a triband phone supporting both US CDMA bands
and analog (analog, 800 MHz and 1900 MHz), which means it should work
just about anywhere in the US, including rural areas. Note that digital
data connections require you to be in a digital service area and to use
the high speed data connection, you'll need to be in one of the many
major metro areas that offer this service. Given the aggressive rollout
of high speed service in the US, most major cities are already covered.
When in a 1xRTT service zone, you'll see "1X" at the top of
the phone app screen, and a signal strength meter regardless of service
type. If you're not in an Express Network area, or if you prefer not
to pay for high speed services, you can still use the 7135 to connect
using QNC (Quick 2 Net) at 14.4k and pay only for minutes used.
Connection speeds on the Express Network are noticeably
faster than 14.4 QNC connections when browsing. Pages load reasonably
fast and I've yet to feel impatient. I generally use Handspring's Blazer
2.0 (not included) since that's the fastest web browser on Palm OS.
The voice quality is excellent, and it's pulled in
a strong signal even inside of large buildings such as malls and didn't
drop calls. It has a powerful speakerphone, voice dialing (you can store
up to 30 voice dialing entries), speed dialing and works with standard
cell phone headsets. It has a replaceable antenna that measures 5" (wow!)
when extended. I've yet to have to extend the antenna.
Wireless Software Included
The Kyocera 7135 comes with a Phone application that
you can launch by pressing the silkscreen Phone button, and it automatically
launches when the phone rings and you open the flip to answer or plug
in a headset. The phone app does not give you an onscreen dialer (there
are 3rd party apps for that), and you'll use the rocker button and integrated
action button to navigate the app since it isn't touch sensitive. Why
isn't it touch sensitive? So you don't accidentally activate someone
on screen when the phone is against your face. The phone app screen mimics
a standard mobile phone screen, with service indicator, signal strength
and GPS positioning indicator and a battery meter along the top. There
are menu listings for Recent Calls, Messages, Address Book (you can view
the Palm OS address book, add a new contact and view your speed dial
and voice dial lists). There's also a Phone Preferences menu item which
will take you to the Palm app called Phone Prefs.
Phone Prefs offers quite a few features and customizations.
You can set flip settings (whether or not calls are answered by opening
the flip, and if the phone display should appear whenever the flip is
opened), select phone alerts for such things as missed calls and entering
a roaming area, turn on voice answer and wake up, set call volumes and
ring tones and much more.
The 7135 comes with Eudora Mail, the Eudora web browser,
images and SSL 2.0) and Openwave's WAP browser, all built into ROM. Even
if you somehow wipe out your Palm data, these will remain intact .
Mobile Mail for Palm OS is included on the CD, as is Eudora Internet
Suite. All in all, a generous bundle of Internet apps to get you started!
Integration of Palm and Phone
Most smartphones are either closer to mobile phones
or PDAs, and the Kyocera manages to do both well. The standard hardware
number pad and flip phone design give it a mainstream phone feel, yet
it covers all the bases as a Palm OS PDA. I find it more usable as both
a phone and PDA than the Treo, but this
is somewhat a matter of personal taste. Those of you who do a lot of
messaging may prefer the Treo's built-in keyboard. There are a few areas
where the Kyo could do better. You won't be able to dial using the number
pad unless the Kyocera is in the phone app. You must either launch the
phone app, or press the send button to bring up the phone app, or set
the kyocera to automatically run the phone app when the flip is opened
if you want to make a call in standard mobile phone fashion. This doesn't
mean that the unit isn't a good mobile with convenience features for
phone users. When not in the phone app, you can voice dial by pressing
the send button and speaking your contact's name. When using a headset
with the flip closed, you can wake up the phone and voice dial by saying "wake
up", waiting for a confirmation beep, then speaking your contact's
name. You can also use voice commands to answer a call. The phone uses
the Palm address book, and you can click on any number in your main address
book listing to dial or send an email or text message (you do not have
to go into the detailed view for the contact). If you've got a phone
number in a note, you can highlight the number and switch to the phone
app to automatically dial the number.
Horsepower and Expansion
The Kyocera runs Palm OS 4.1, has a Dragonball
processor running at 33 MHz and has 16 megs of RAM. Not the most
stellar specs compared to the latest non-phone capable Palm OS
PDAs, but it gets the job done well and beats out the Samsung
i-330 which runs the now ancient Palm OS 3.5.3. Response times
are good, games run fine and it's a very usable Palm OS PDA. While
we might be longing for Palm OS 5 and faster processors, one benefit
of Palm OS 4 is that you can run web clipping apps (sometimes referred
to as WCA or PQA apps). These are very efficient apps originally
developed for the Palm VII and i705 that allow you to access a
variety of sites and online services using very little bandwidth.
They're generally free and quite small. Visit Palm's web site or
palmgear.com for a list of available web clippings.
The 7135 has an SD expansion slot located on
the right side under a rubber door. This means you'll be able to
expand your Kyo's memory (a must if you want to play MP3s!) and
use SDIO cards. I benchmarked the speed of several different brands
of 128 meg SD memory cards using VFSMark,
and got lower than expected performance. Ttotal scores were in
the mid 50s to low 60s, where 100 represents the speed of a Palm
m500 using a 16 meg SD card (higher numbers are better).
I tested it with Palm's
SD Bluetooth card, and it worked when connecting to BT LAN
access points and HotSyncing to a PC and Mac (OS 10.2) equiped
with Belkin's USB Bluetooth adapter.
Transmission speeds with the Kyo are slower than using other
Palm's with the BT card, and syncing was quite slow via BT. Note
that Palm's SD BT card does not support audio or headset profiles,
so you won't be able to use Bluetooth headsets with this card.
Perhaps Palm will update the driver in the future to support
headsets since the Palm Tungsten
W could also benefit from this.
Battery Life, Charger and Cradle
The Kyocera comes with one user-replaceable 1200
mAh Lithium Ion battery (in comparison, the Treo doesn't have a
user-replaceable battery), and claimed talk time is 3.5 hours and
the standby time is 160 hours. These runtimes are a bit optimistic.
If you use the phone for about 2 hours of talk/data time and use
the PDA frequently during the day, the phone should last until
you get home, but you will need to charge it nightly. If you're
a light phone user, then you'll likely get 2 days per charge. Unlike
Palm OS PDAs, there is no battery meter at the top of the home
screen. Instead you'll have to look at the battery meter on the
external LCD to check your battery level. Unfortunately, that meter,
like most mobile phone meters, only shows charge level in 25% increments.
3rd party software that supports showing the Palm OS battery level
(including some popular games) do display correct Palm-style battery
The 7135 comes with an attractive weighted desktop
cradle (see image above). It has a slot for both the phone and
a spare battery so you can charge them both. An LED on the cradle
indicates when a spare battery is charging. The travel charger
can plug into the cradle or directly into the phone, so don't need
to bring the cradle if you travel (in comparison, the Samsung i330
must be charged in the cradle). The sync cable is permanently attached
to the cradle and terminates in dual USB and serial connectors
(see image above).
The display is a rich and vibrant 2.5" 65,000
color display with a resolution of 160 x 160 pixels . That's the
same size screen as the Kyocera 6035 and the Palm m130. Both brightness
and contrast are adjustable, and the screen is easily readable
in bright daylight. I wish the 7135 had a higher resolution display.
Now that I've become accustomed to 320 x 320 pixel displays on
the latest Palm brand PDAs and Sony Cliés, it's hard to
go back. That said, the display has great color saturation, contrast
and brightness. Photos look quite nice on screen, but not as good
as the high end Cliés and
transflective-screened Palms look even
better. But to put things in perspective, this unit is a phone
and a convergence device, and that means giving up some high end
This phone comes with a great deal of bundled
software, and most of the Internet apps are built into ROM which
means you'll have about 15 megs of free space to install your programs
and data. The 7135 comes with Palm Desktop 4.0 for Windows and
Mac. It uses the standard Palm driver for syncing and gets along
with existing Palm Desktop 4.x installations. You'll also get drivers
to use the Kyo as a modem for Windows 98 and newer, and this is
where the Express Network high speed connection really shines compared
to the old 14.4 QNC connection. For PC users, you'll get MP3 Desktop
for transferring MP3s to your 7135's storage card, a ring tone
maker, Chapura's Pocket Mirror Standard Edition (for syncing to
Outlook), and the desktop component of MGI PhotoSuite for transferring
images and movies to the Kyo. PhotoSuite for Palm is built into
ROM so you won't need to install it on the Kyo. You'll also get
Quickoffice (for working with Word and Excel docs), and pdf manuals
for most all of these applications as well as the phone itself.
Yes, the Kyo even has a built-in MP3 player,
and it uses MP3s for ring tones so you can have a ball making your
own ringers using the included Ring Maker software. The MP3 player
has JukeBox, Playlist and Downloader features. The JukeBox is the
actual player interface, and has volume, balance, bass and treble
sliders. The Downloader function is for connecting the Kyo to your
PC for MP3 file transfer using the included MP3 desktop app. Just
as with the Zire 71, downloading
tunes this way takes a long time. If you're into MP3s, I suggest
you use a card reader for faster file transfer. The manual doesn't
state the max bit rate supported for encoding, but given the processor
speed, I'd stick with a max of 128k. I did play several MP3s encoded
at 128k and they played fine through the built-in speaker and through
the optional hands-free stereo headset.
The 7135 has a stereo headphone jack, but it's
a standard mobile phone sized 2.5mm jack rather than a 3.5mm mini-stereo
headphone jack used by consumer electronics devices and multimedia
PDAs. Kyocera went with the 2.5 mm jack so you can use standard
hands-free sets when using the device as a phone. I tried using
a 3.5 to 2.5 mm stereo adapter with stereo headphones but only
got sound in the right ear. A shame, since this solution works
with the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone which
also has a 2.5 mm stereo jack. Kyocera does sell a combined handsfree
and stereo audio head set for $40, and MP3s sound quite good through
it. You'll be able to use this headset to make calls as well, and
the MP3 player will automatically mute if a call comes in. It's
hard to compare the MP3 playback quality with other multimedia
PDAs like the Clié NX70V,
since I can't use the same set of headphones to make the comparison.
Using the stereo Kyo headset (has earbuds) and the earbud headset
included with the NX (probably one of the best sounding PDAs for
MP3), I'd say the NX has the edge for bass and stereo separation,
but then it can't make phone calls, can it?
Pro: Currently my favorite Palm OS Smartphone!
A very slick design and reasonable size and weight for a smartphone.
Solid build quality and sturdy design-- the hinge will outlast
me! Vibrant color display, polyphonic sound, MP3 player and an
SD expansion slot. Newer OS version than Treo and Sprint's Samsung
i330. Supports web clippings, which help keep the bandwidth charges
down. Voice quality and connection strength are very good. Generous
software bundle with Internet apps in ROM, leaving more space free
for you to install your own software. Keypad and Graffiti area
backlighting are wonderful features! Con: Like most Palm OS smartphones
currently on the market, the OS version, display resolution and
processor can't compare with current high end Palm OS PDAs. Number
pad isn't active unless you're in the phone app. Only Kyocera's
own stereo handsfree set works if you want to listen to MP3s.
List price $499 with 2 year service contract,
$529 with 1 year service contract.
160 x 160 pixel color TFT display with 65,000 colors.
Speed: 33 MHz DragonBall™MZ. 16 megs of RAM.
Palm OS 4.1.
in x 2.43 in x 1.17 in (100.8 mm x 61.6 mm x 29.7
mm). 6.6 oz.
in speaker. Has polyphonic sound and comes with
20 ring tones. Supports alarm
sounds, LED alert and vibrating alerts.
SD slot supporting SDIO that accepts SD and MMC cards.
the Box: CD, manual, phone, cradle,
plastic holster with belt clip, battery, charger
and 2 extra styli.
Comes with a 1200 mAh rechargeable Lithium Ion battery.
OS 4.1. Includes the usual suite of Palm applications,
including Address Book, Date Book, To Do List, Memo
Pad and Calculator. PhotoSuite, Tetris, MP3 player
app and Eudora Mail and web browser built into ROM.
Quickoffice 5 included.
Palm Desktop 4 for PC and Mac. Chapura Pocket Mirror
(for syncing to Outlook on PCs),
supporting 1xRTT for data. Service provided by Verizon
Wireless and Alltel in the US. Telstra is the carrier
in Australia, and is coming to Canada. Dual band/Tri-mode
(CDMA 800 MHz; AMPS 800 MHz, CDMA 1900 MHz (PCS)).
Claimed talk time: up to 3.5 hours and standby time:
Up to 160 hours.