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Treo 680 Review Part 3: Unlocked GSM In My Delighted Hands

Hot on the heels of my Treo 680 Review Part 2 here comes the Unlocked GSM…


I was undoubtedly happy when I first got my hands on a Cingular Treo 680 (above left) but what I was really waiting for was to have my very own ($399) Unlocked Treo 680…  To my delight the anxiously awaited box arrived today and I couldn’t be any more thrilled than I am at this very moment – so happy in fact that I poured myself a glass of an 18 year old single malt whisky to celebrate…


Aside from the Treo 680 Unlocked GSM and its battery, the box (below) contains:

  • Mono corded 2.5mm headset
  • USB HotSync cable (does not charge via USB)
  • Wall Charger (bulky & heavy) with four international plugs including Europe, UK and US.
  • Quick Reference Guide
  • “Getting Started” CD which includes free software such as the bestselling Bejeweled
  • One Universal Screen Protector (which needs to be cut to size)

Existing Treo 650/700 owners will be able to reuse most if not all of their existing Treo Accessories (known exceptions are the battery and stylus) and I will address this more fully in my Treo 680 Compatible Accessories review during the week.


[Please note that I have the European version of the Treo 680 Unlocked and therefore the contents of the US version may be somewhat different.  For example, the Cingular Treo 680 package has a smaller and lighter travel wall charger but no International plugs.]

Getting started using my new Unlocked Treo 680 was not only simple but also extremely quick.  I just performed a HotSync on my old Treo 650 to backup all of my existing files and then performed a new HotSync on the Treo 680 matching it to my existing User ID (no need to use the CD if you already own a Treo).  Next I removed the SIM card from my Treo 650 and simply placed it in the tray under the battery of the Treo 680.  Voila!  The whole process took under 10mins.


BIG NEWS PREVIEW: Somewhat by accident I discovered another reason to like my new Treo 680… I decided to play some music with Pocket Tunes – finally able to use a 4GB SD card – (while sipping my whisky you understand) and noticed that the screen was not only brighter and crisper than on my Treo 650 or Treo 700p but also offered _much_ more vivid colours (click on thumbnail above for more detail – both screens are set to maximum brightness).  Evidently I therefore have to assume that Palm have used a new and even better screen technology on the Treo 680.

The only thing missing now is for me to get my hands on the three other Treo 680 Unlocked colours – Crimson (red), Copper (orange) and Arctic (white) – then I’ll really celebrate!  Treonauts who have already ordered their new Treo 680 will be able to join in the celebration starting this Friday, Dec. 1 when the first Unlocked units are expected to ship in the US.

You may also like to read my Palm Treo 680 Review Part 1: Introduction.  Please also note that our Treonauts Accessory Shop Thanksgiving Sale continues until midnight PST on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Treonauts are always delighted

Posted by Andrew on November 27, 2006 at 07:50 PM

Treo 680 Review

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by morrie | Nov 27, 2006 10:12:54 PM

you mentioned there is no need to use the cd if you already own a treo, i thought it was necessary to use the new cd since it has some additional features. did you install all of your old programs from your 650 or did you do them one at a time?

by Rudy | Nov 27, 2006 10:19:03 PM

Congrats on the new device! Would it be too much to ask for you to post the wallpapers (man on mountain peak and others; not the cingular one) that came on the 680 for us non-680 users? Alternatively, you could also email them to me. Thanks!

by Gregg | Nov 27, 2006 10:57:20 PM


I read your post on "what is a locked vs. unlocked Treo", but it only seems to address, as with this post, the unlocked version directly from Palm. I live in Florida and was told by a Cingular rep that if the phone is "locked" or branded to a particular carrier, then unlocked via a code, then some of the services lose their funcionality. Bottom line is I can't wait for the 750 release in the US. I told him is was thinking about an unlocked Vodafone 750, and he said forget it because text messaging and email and other functions are useless when unlocked via a code. Is there any truth to this??

An Impatient Treonaut....

by John Whorfin | Nov 27, 2006 11:28:32 PM

Gregg/3 -- It sounds to me like that Cingular rep is on crack, or just blatantly lying to you because he wants you to buy a phone from him instead of Palm/Vodaphone. He is a sniveling bastard.

Bottom line: an unlocked phone is an unlocked phone, period. (And I don't even think your provider/network has any way of knowing if you're using an unlocked phone or not.)

by ancker | Nov 28, 2006 1:17:37 AM


I want to know how you got you Unlocked 680 already. I ordered very early in the morning on the 22nd. Mine hasn't shipped yet. Is this a promotional unit since you run a Treo site? How did you manage to get this a week before anyone else?


by Cripple | Nov 28, 2006 1:39:07 AM

Can you confirm if the 680 has 64Mb memory or 128Mb with 64Mb available? I remember your Treo Family Comparison Chart listed the 680 with 128Mb with 64Mb. I assumed it'll be like the 650 so it should have 64Mb with about 56Mb for user apps.

by francis | Nov 28, 2006 4:00:04 AM

How come your unlocked Treo 680 did not come with the free Mobile music pack if you bought yours from Palm.com?

by James | Nov 28, 2006 7:22:30 AM

Hi Andrew. That's good to know that the 4GB cards work straight out of the box. The treocentral review says it only works with 2GB cards. I knew 4GB was available on the 650 after a ROM update, so I was surprised if the 680 didn't have that capability.


by Bill | Nov 28, 2006 10:39:03 AM

Andrew, Will the slim P5 case work with the 680. My 650 is coming up on 2 years old and, though trouble free, it needs to be my backup machine. Tnx Bill

by jason | Nov 28, 2006 10:53:37 AM

This will be my first Treo purchase. Does anyone know if the rumors of the thousand Treos being sent back because something wasn't connected is true? I just don't want to buy a $400 phone that was put together, then taken apart, then put back together again. Thanks.

by Fred | Nov 28, 2006 12:36:55 PM

The European Palm site has some nice package deals, but what I find strange is that if you buy your 680 from them, you don't get the color choice. Wassup wi' that?

by sarah | Nov 28, 2006 5:04:49 PM

A question from a locked vs unlocked novice: If I buy a locked 680 from Cingular in the U.S., can I remove the sim card in another country and use a sim card from that country (say, Kenya) with the 680 I bought from Cingular? Or is that precisely why I would need an unlocked version? I am fine using a locked CIngular phone here in the U.S. I just want to be able to use it overseas with an overseas number in the future. thanks.

by Greg | Nov 28, 2006 5:31:28 PM

That's why you'd need an unlocked one. Most phones can be unlocked after the fact though, we had to do it when Cingular took over ATT and wanted us to purchase new treos since the locked ATT ones wouldn't work with a Cingular sim.

by Kenyanaut | Nov 28, 2006 5:59:43 PM


I travel some and have been to Kenya twice. The Cingular technicians sometimes do subsidy unlocks and this allows you to pop in a different SIM card into your Treo. I have used my 650 with a safaricom SIM and with a T-Mobile SIM and it works fine.


On HotSynching your new Treo, did you first need to rename the 650's back up folder and then drag the stuff onto the new folder set up for your 680? I hear that if this is not done people mighthave reliability issues with their new phones. I got my 680 today and don't want to mess it up.

I drop my phone quite a bit. Have you tried any of the current 650 cases to see if they offer a snug fit for the slimmer 680?

by Cripple | Nov 28, 2006 6:05:40 PM

Just on the SD card limit issue. The official limit is 2Gb because they found that some brands of 4Gb cards did not use the whole 4Gb. If you buy a reputable SD card (like SanDisk) they should have no problems with 4Gb. Palm will probably fix it with a patch later, in the meantime, It might be a good idea to list which 4Gb cards are compatible. Which ones have you tried it with, Andrew?

by Angelo | Nov 28, 2006 6:51:42 PM

Ordered my Treo 680 a couple days ago and found out some important details.
1. If you order over the phone the representative can offer you free next day delivery.
2. People in Florida don't pay tax.
3. There is a Mobile Music Pack that you get for free valued at $135.00
4. If you buy any accesories such as the Flexi skins, you get a coupon for free downloads (Software Coupon)
5. Last but not least. From Palm.com representative I spoke to, it kinda makes you wonder why the Treo 650 unlocked is still upwards of $500+ and a new product such as the Treo 680 is only $399. It is a promotional period, so get your Treo 680 now, before they increase it to $600 for the unlocked. Also if you don't sell on Ebay, trade in your 650 for the $125 cash back option.

Just want everyone to be informed. Peace from the EAST!

by Al | Nov 28, 2006 9:31:01 PM

But is the 680 functionally better than the 650. The nice shape and colors are not important to me, but if the 680 is functionally better...then it's worth looking into.

Also, does everything work with the 680 that works with the 650? For example, linking the 650 to my computer to use the 650 as a modem has always been easy.

by wendy | Nov 28, 2006 11:13:54 PM

Can you download ringtones? If so, will you share with me how? Thanks.....

by Andrew | Nov 29, 2006 7:35:30 AM

Kenyanaut - I didn't personally find the need to back up or rename my old Treo 650 folder before performing the HotSync with my Treo 680 and have not had any problems.

I will review the Treo 680 Installation process for new and existing Treonauts in more detail soon.

Cripple - I'm using the 4GB Dane-Elec card found in the store without any problem. http://shop.treonauts.com/content/accessories/7-124--1052.htm

Al - I will also provide a review of Treo 680 Software where I will address the new functionalities.

Cheers, A.

by Brian | Nov 29, 2006 11:23:02 AM

Well, I did it. I took back my Treo 650 under the Cingular 30 day guarantee and picked up a new 680 yesterday. I've owned a Sony Clie pda but the 650 was my first Treo. I have to say I've been very impressed with both phones. I only owned the 650 for 2 weeks and now the 680 for 1 day. These are my observations so far.

I liked the function and volume buttons on the 650 better. The layout was easier to use with the separate buttons for home, mail, phone, etc. The volume button was easier to find when I was on the phone with the 650. The 5 way was a little nicer on the 650 as well imo. The center button is hard to get to on the 680. My fingers must be too fat.

I feel the keyboard is far superior on the 680. I can type faster without accidentaly hitting the wrong button. Looks and feel wise, the 680 blows away the 650. This phone just feels right in my hand and I don't have an antenae sticking me in the side of the head.

Performance. I like the 680 better. Most of the software is the same so there's not a whole lot to talk about here. The mp3 player is outstanding. I can listen to my radio spots right on my phone instead of having to get to a computer. I just have the station email them to me in mp3 format.

One of the things I didn't like on the 680 is that you can't hang up the phone with the touchscreen. Unless I'm missing something. There doesn't appear to be a button for this anymore. It's not a huge deal, but I was used to it after only 2 weeks with the 650.

Accesories. I had picked up a Palm cradle and Cellet holster from right here for my 650. The charger works with the 680 with no problems. The 680 fits into the Cellet holster if I put it in upside down. It seems to lock in solidly with no problem at all.

Oh ya, one more thing. The stylus on the 650 is a 10 on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best. the 680 stylus is maybe a strong 2. It's too flimsy and light.

by sp | Nov 29, 2006 1:26:06 PM


Can someone let me know if an unlocked will definitely work with Sprint? I stopped at a Sprint store in the Chicago area and the guy said they weren't sure.


by Jerry | Nov 29, 2006 1:54:26 PM

Does the 680 (or other Treo version for that matter) remedy the issue of having just one Bluetooth device working at one time? For example, having a GPS and headset connected with Bluetooth at the same time.

Love my 650!


by Kenyanaut | Nov 29, 2006 2:20:19 PM

sp/ An unlocked GSM phone cannot work on Sprint's CDMA network. A verizon phone can work on the Sprint network as they both use CDMA technology, but you would need to have a clean ESM #.

Jerry/ Bluetooth 1.2 which is installed on the new 680 allowed multiple connections.

by Jerry | Nov 29, 2006 2:56:15 PM


So, to clarify, BT 1.2 allows for two Bluetooth devices to work simultaneously with the 680? Use GPS while talking on a BT headset?


by Mark | Nov 29, 2006 4:54:07 PM

So are 680's supposed to ship on Friday or ship thursday for Friday delivery? Is this from a reputable source? Can't wait!

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