Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hands on with the (relatively) inexpensive Treo 680


By Heather Wardell

I'd had my Zire 72 for nearly two years and it was starting to show its age. My Graffiti recognition was really going downhill, and the Palm crashed occasionally for no apparent reason.

Coincidentally, my cell phone was also in desperate need of replacement. I'd always wanted to keep the two devices separate, just because that was how I'd always done it. Plus, even though I was having difficulty with Graffiti, every Palm I'd had since 1997 had used Graffiti and I couldn't imagine not having it any more.

I eventually took the plunge and replaced both units with a Treo 680. In less than a week, I couldn't imagine having Graffiti any more.

Name, rank, and serial number

Continuing its history of odd naming decisions (Palm III/IIIx/IIIe, anyone?) Palm's Treo line appears to be randomly numbered. When I bought my Treo 680, the 600 series was essentially discontinued, the 650 was the old model, and the 700 was the previous model. I've had the handheld for just over a month, and since my purchase the 750 and 755 models have come out. The 680 is a lower-end model, with pricing as low as $199 with a service commitment.

"The biggest problem with the Treo 680 is its battery life."

Complicating the situation, some of these Treos are actually running Windows Mobile. The 680 and 755 are Palm-only, and the 750 appears to be available only with Windows; the Treo 700 is available in either.

As if this weren't bad enough, different wireless providers get into the act. Figure A shows the Palm support Web site and all the different providers for the 650 series.


Who you gonna call? (click for larger image)

When I had difficulty with HotSync after installing the Palm Desktop that came with my Treo (more details on this below) I couldn't get help from my provider as it was a technical issue, but there was no obvious information on how to get help from Palm directly. As is so often the case, an Internet search revealed the answer I needed.

What comes with the Treo 680

The box contains:

  • The Treo 680
  • The battery (which is removable)
  • An AC charger
  • A USB sync cable (which also charges the Treo, albeit slower than the AC charger)
  • A telephone headset which also acts as music headphones
  • Documentation
  • A CD containing the Palm Desktop and additional software

The additional software consists of:

  • Media software: Audible's player, eReader, and Pocket Tunes Deluxe
  • Games: Bejeweled and Solitaire
  • Productivity software: a VPN client, Palm Files (similar to FileZ), Avvenu Remote Access, and a demo version of Treo Voice Dialing
  • Applications for the desktop: Adobe Reader, QuickTime Player, Documents to Go Professional Edition, and Windows Media Player