Feeds
80%

Palm Treo 680 smart phone

Bringing the price-fight to Windows Mobile

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The 680 is unlocked, and inserting a given network's SIM card triggers the phone's automatic network set-up app, which pre-configures connections for your carrier. I used an O2 SIM, and once the handset was up and running, I was able to make GPRS connections without the need to key in access point details, passwords and so on. VersaMail is likewise pre-packed with data for a host of ISPs from around the world. It's smart enough to makes sure your outgoing emails are sent via your network's SMTP server rather than your ISP's.

You can use the 680 to connect your computer to the internet via Bluetooth and the cellular network, though you'll find is slow if you're used to a broadband connection or 3G. By the way, Mac users can find modem drivers here. The 680's Bluetooth connection can be used for headsets, but there's no support for wireless stereo as there is with the 750v.

palm treo 680 smart phone with phone app

Palm claims a battery life of six hours' talk time and up to 12.5 days on stand-by. With a mix of calling, GPRS web access, a little music playback and Bluetooth on I got just over a day's real-world usage out of the battery, which is disappointing - I'd expect to get a couple of days at least. With Bluetooth on, the battery's charge dropped from 26 per cent to four per cent overnight. Forget to charge your Treo and you run the risk of ending up with a brick in your pocket. So expect to charge your phone up every evening, or buy a cradle and keep the 680 charging when you're not out and about.

On the other hand, the price is impressive. Palm's asking £299 inc. VAT for the 680 - £100 less than the last few 650s cost. You'll have a hard job getting a QWERTY keyboard-equipped Windows Mobile phone for that kind of money, certainly not one that's not tethered to a specific network.

Still, if you already own a 650, the move to a 680 isn't a compelling upgrade. Yes, the 680 is better, but it's not as much a leap ahead as, say, the 750v is thanks to its 3G connectivity. But the 680 is a good handset for folk who want to move up from a Palm PDA and a separate phone, or from a standard phone to a smart device. Like all Treos, the 680 is one of the best attempts to fit a usable QWERTY keyboard and a big screen into the smallest possible handset. I'd much rather use a Treo than Nokia's E61, for instance. RIM's BlackBerry Pearl may be smaller, but you're forced to use the predictive text entry technology.

Verdict

The Treo 680 is a step up on its predecessor, dropping the 650's antenna stub, improving its software and increasing its memory size. It's just a shame Palm couldn't squeeze rather more out of the handset's battery. But the 680 is competitively priced, and while it may not be a must-have upgrade for 650 owners, its keen price should win over more supporters to both the Treo family and the Palm OS. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

80%

Palm Treo 680 smart phone

A great smart phone at a cracking price...
Price: £299 inc. VAT RRP

More from The Register

next story
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.