The Treo 650 has been around for a few years, and is Palm's most successful smartphone. But the new kid on the block might have something to say about that.

Building on the trademark Treo ease of use, the 680's qwerty keyboard makes typing an absolute joy: just grab the device with both hands and use your thumbs. Contacts are easily found, while text and email conversations are threaded and colour-coded, all making your life easier.

You can now insert emoticons – a slightly odd inclusion for a business phone – and status messages such as 'in a meeting' with the press of a navigation button.

By default a calendar/clock button takes you to your appointments for the day, week or month, while a home button accesses the main application screen: contacts, email and so on. But all of the 680's buttons can be reconfigured via the preferences.

Most features are straightforward. Setting up email via the VersaMail app was a matter of entering the address and password and checking that it was POP-enabled. And the connection is fast – we downloaded 662 messages in minutes. The Blazer browser is great, enabling proper surfing rather than a hobbled, WAP version of the web.

Palm has made this handset more consumer-focused than some of its predecessors, adding a Pocket Tunes applet that plays MP3s. Fortunately, the built-in speaker is actually pretty good.

The crisp 2.8in colour screen is ideal for displaying photos and video, although the playback resolution for prerecorded clips is markedly better than the images you can capture using the embedded camera.


  • GPRS/Edge quad-band GSM smartphone
  • Palm OS 5.4.9
  • 312MHz Intel PXA270 processor
  • 64 Mbyte flash memory
  • 2.8in 320x320 colour touchscreen
  • Documents To Go Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF viewer
  • VGA camera, voice recorder, speakerphone, MP3 and video player
  • SD/MMC
  • Bluetooth
  • talk time 4 hours
  • standby 300 hours; li-ion battery
  • 113x21x59mm
  • 157g


The 680 is the best Treo yet, combining business functions with connectivity and a leaner footprint. It's simple to use, the feature set is extensive and text is easily legible on the big screen. The only concern is whether you'd want to use the Treo as a phone – an issue that doesn't arise with some of the sleeker Windows Mobile-based smartphones.