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I've been using Palm products for over a decade, and I've had the 680 in daily use for around a year. It's an extremely cool device, but not perfect.
One of the most annoying things about this Tre680 is not something I can really mark it down on, because it's not a fault with the device at all. I'll tell you why, it's because every time I take it out it always get's lots of admiring attention from people, but they always say the same thing "oooh, is that a Blackberry?!". DOH! Everyone has heard of Blackberry, but when you tell them it's a Palm, they've never heard of it!
Anyway, about the device. I'm going to start with the not so good aspects, and finish up on a more positive note, because I do like the Treo680!
First bad thing is the camera - it's only a VGA camera, that means it doesn't even rate on the megapixel scale. So while other phones might be boasting a 5,6 or even greater megapixel count, the 680 is only really good for quick captures. Do not anticipate printing out any great photo's, you'll be disapointed.
Secondly is the battery life. The big screen must take a lot out of the battery because even with only light daily use, you simply must charge this phone every day.
Now the good stuff. This is a Palm and Palm devices are superb PIM (Personal Information Managers). The desktop software that goes on the PC synchronises perfectly with the data on the Palm so all your contact info and calender appointments can be edited on the PC quickly and easily. I use the calender a fair bit and it's great for keeping track of appointments. You can set your own categories and have the coloured up to your own preferences for example.
The phone application is very good too, with the ability to store lots of information about each contact.
It's a rugged wee thing too, I've dropped mine on concrete and it still works perfectly.
The form factor is just superb, the full qwerty keypad is a must for people like me who hate having to type texts on a numeric keypad.
I should mention the vast array of custom software you can download cheaply for this phone, there is custom everything! I'm using a custom phone application right now and it's very cool with custom ringtones and photo's for all my contacts.
One superb feature you can get for this phone actually came free with my purchase, but look around for it as an extra now - Sat Nav. Mine has Tom Tom Sat Nav software which works superbly on the big screen. It communicates to the satellite receiver via a bluetooth connection and works really very well, it has the speech and everything. No need for a separate Tom Tom device!
In summary, if you can stand people calling it a Blackberry, and you want to organise yourself a bit better, get it!
This has to be the best phone I have ever owned, it may not have the latest in graphics and isnt as flashy as other PDA phones but I never ever had to reboot it, as I did so many times with other PDA phones.
I use it for reading, PDF files, Word, Excel, and HTML. I can browse the net and download files.
I can watch movies on a big screen, listen to my favorite music and with an external SD slot I can put allot of that on it. The battery life lasts an exceptionally long time and the speakers are loud considering their size.
I use a normal silicone skin, and it has withstood being dropped numerous times without any apparent trouble. I wont be changing my phone anytime soon as it suits all my needs and fits comfortably in my jacket pocket. It isn't as slim as some newer models but that's not a problem for me.
This is a well thought-out device with a good touch sensitive screen and a surprisingly usable keyboard, even for people like me, with fat fingers. I have used Palm OS PDAs for many years so I have a lot of data and applications from previous devices that I want to maintain and I was keen to stay with the Palm OS operating system rather than switch to Windows at this stage. It was easy to move the Treo 680 from my Palm T5 without any loss of data. Now I only need to carry one device instead of a PDA and a phone. The stylus is a bit fiddly to use when compared to the chunky T5 one, but then the stylus is not needed as much given that the keyboard replaces the need for text entry with the stylus.
The operating system is easy to use and syncs without any problems to my old iMac (Mac OS X version 10.2.8) In the few months I have owned this phone it has crashed only a couple of times, which is surprisingly good. Palm OS however does not support 3G so the internet access is quite slow by the very latest standards, although fine for occasional use, so this is probably not an ideal device for someone who spends a lot of time surfing on the move.
Battery life is not as good as my old T5 PDA and it does need to be charged almost on a daily basis, but then that is to be expected with such a lot of functionality in a single device. The memory is of course non-volatile so running out of battery power is not a major issue and all of the data is backed up during the syncing operation anyway.
As a phone it is fairly good with reasonable reception and clarity. Over-all a very good substitute for two devices. There is a new trendier PalmOS phone available now, called the Centro, which has a very similar specification, slightly faster internet access and a lower list price. I prefer the styling of the older 680 model which looks more professional and is available for large discounts although that may mean it will be phased out imminently.
Design wise the Palm Treo 680 catches the eye and with its a light, sleek body and curved tapered edges it certainly has an outstanding ergonomic feel to it. It appears quite similar to the earlier Treo 750v model but unlike the 750v this hand-held device uses the Palm Operating System. I particularly like the bright primary colour used for this model that certainly makes it stand out against the more usual neutral tones of most electronic gadgetry.
Although at first the control panel might seem a bit daunting to those who have never used such devices, it really doesn't take that long to find your way around. At the top of the device there is a slider that turns the ringer off and so allows you to silence the phone. Beneath the screen are big Call and End buttons, a huge navigation button and shortcuts to the calendar, messages, and home page. You can reprogram any of these buttons to open up different applications. Further down is an excellently designed mini keyboard with nicely laid out keys. These are tactile and back-lit for comfortable viewing in dark corners, but some might find that the spacing between the keys is rather small. However, I personally found it easy to navigate one-handed with the external controls and sometimes it is really helpful to be able to enter data and operate the device via the touch screen.
SD cards can be used with this device for memory expansion. This is a useful feature as they are quite common nowadays and can be used with other devices such as cameras. There is card slot on the right-hand edge of the device, so you can exchange cards easily. The device supports the Cingular EDGE network that allows you to take advantage of higher speed web browsing and download times. As you might expect there is the customary PIM tools such as a Calendar, a to-do list, a memo pad, a calculator, a world clock, and a voice recorder. There is also a Documents To Go application which lets you create as well as view a range of different document formats. For example, you open, create, and edit Word and Excel documents and view PowerPoint presentations. I have to admit though, this is a feature I find little use for. The fact that the handset is Quad-band will enable you to use it in a variety of international destinations.
The bright touch screen has a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels and a 64,000-color output which I suppose is satisfactory. Photos and web pages come out vibrant with text that is clear and easy to read. This was the case even when using the device in direct sunlight. One has to say though that the built-in VGA camera is a little disappointing as it only has a a maximum still image resolution of 640 x 480 pixels - hardly impressive. There is no Wi-Fi incorporated into this device nor does it support Palm's Wi-Fi card or voice dialling, which might be a bit of a let down for many users. The quality of the speakerphone also leaves a lot to be desired. However, you will find integrated Bluetooth as well as infra-red and the ability to use it as a wireless modem. There is also more user-accessible memory and I was impressed with the Versamail software that allows you to receive and send emails. The music player is also excellent and compares well with other portable audio devices on the market.
According to the manufacturers battery life is supposed to give you six hours' talk time and up to 12.5 days on stand-by. I found that the battery can run out within a day if all the features on the device are used frequently. This is a bit of a let down and really stretches the meaning of the phrase "portable device". What this all means is that if you intend to rely on it every day, then you'll have to be prepared to charge up the device every evening..
In conclusion a recommended buy, especially for those who are new to these types of devices or those of you who just want a mobile phone with a little bit more versatility.
Price ranges from £299.