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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 sp | Nov 29, 2006 10:09:46 PM

Thank you for the info kenyanaut
- sp

by Kenyanaut | Nov 30, 2006 11:25:22 AM

Jerry / Yes BT 1.2 allows you to use GPS and your headset at the same time, probably the one significant improvement over the 650's BT 1.1.

Asante - Kenyanaut

by sarah | Nov 30, 2006 12:06:43 PM

thanks Kenyanaut on my unlocked vs. locked query. If I need to unlock a cingular 680 down the road, is that something cingular will do, or will I have to have it done some other way?? thanks

by Kenyanaut | Nov 30, 2006 5:16:51 PM

Sarah/ Cingular techs can do it, but it takes quite a few phone calls until you get the right person, I am not sure they are doing subsidy unlocks yet though.

I am sure that a third party unlock code might also be available in the future.

Good news though - Unlocking your cell phone is now fully legal here in the U.S.—at least for the next three years.
Last week, the Register of Copyrights released the latest list of exemptions to 1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and along with it, some welcome news for cell phone users.
Of the six proposed exemptions (the largest number to date), the one that arguably affects U.S. consumers the most is number five on the list, which covers:

"Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network."

In other words, it is now permissible for anyone to "unlock" a phone tied to one network and use it with another; as long as they own the phone


by DaHonay | Dec 1, 2006 8:41:42 AM

Can anyone tell me... I see in Andrew's blog above that there is great ease in setting up the new 680 if you already have a Treo and are syncing it with your computer. Not having to instal the software that comes with the 680 etc...

I have a Treo 600. Is it still going to be compatible? I've read a lot about how there were so many changes from the 600 to the next generation, that only 650 forward software and accessories will work with the the 680.

Any help would be great! My new Crimson beauty is set to arrive today by noon and I want to be READY!!!!


by Andrew | Dec 1, 2006 8:56:43 AM

DaHonay - I would strongly recommend that you do not HotSync from your current Treo 600 to the Treo 680 but instead do a clean install from the CD.

I hope this helps.

Cheers, A.

by luca | Dec 1, 2006 3:09:04 PM

Quad band phones should all already be unlocked. They are world phones right? So why should we be limited or stuck with only one provider or waist time asking for an unlock code? Talking about free market!
I was in europe last summer and found out that every single phone is unlocked there.

I had a TIM simcard and passed it on to a WIND and no problem (in Italy). I bought a small panasonic vodafone cellphone (smallest phone in the world ..triband for 40 Euros + 5euros included of phone calls. Took it in NY and plugged my tmobile card and it works. No unlock stupid codes. (By the way tmobile sold a nokia phone 6030 I saw in Italy for 40 euros for $90 with a stupid mail in rabate of $40 bullshit making us believe they give us money back!)

We guys,girls whatever.. spend a fortune on these gadgets (services access..etc) and I think companies should hear what we have to say and be reasonable.

I dont know guys... I am not too happy!!

by Ferdinand | Dec 4, 2006 12:09:40 PM


I know that there has been some known problem where the Palm OS (Desktop version) is not supported with the Windows Tablet based PC's. Does anyone know if the new version that accompanies the 680 now makes it copatible?

by David | Dec 4, 2006 12:16:16 PM

I just ordered my 680 and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival. I am curious; I know that the smaller battery in the 680 was to reduce weight and form factor - does anyone have any idea whether Palm will introduce an increased capacity battery for the 680? (one of my 'things' is battery life).

thanks in advance.

by allie | Dec 6, 2006 11:31:16 AM

I have to say...I was really skeptical but now that the 680 arrived (white gsm unlocked) I am pleasantly surprised. I also switched from sprint (horrible customer service to t-mobile which has been a drastic improvement as well). I thought tmobile was a smaller network..but I get three times the reception in the same locations as compared to sprint. Perhaps that chip in the 680 which increases sensitivity really works? At any rate, it was a worthwhile upgrade from the 650, for sure. Even though the processor speed is supposed to be the same, I find it much much faster (must be the increased memory and far more stable. My 650 continuously crashed, not the 680. Also, BT is much improved! The design of the form is so much nicer in real life than in the photos - no comparison to the 650. Any treo lover will want one when it hits their hot little hands. I am taking the trade in for $125. Plus palm sent me ptunes and a free 1GB SD. Soon, they will not even be making 650's and I have seen them being sold new for $50 bucks. Best of luck deciding...but I am a pretty heavy treo user and this is the best one so far. I have not had any battery issues, but I charge mine every night (better for the battery anyway). There is nothing entry level about this phone. Now if someone would just make a nice case.... : )

by Kint | Dec 6, 2006 1:44:41 PM

Andrew, is there no BT DUN on the unlocked GSM? It used to be in the Bluetooth app, but I don't see it.

by rich | Dec 7, 2006 4:44:41 PM

I have a 650 and thinking about the 680 but I want to know should I wait for the 700 or 750? What will the differences be? If it is a windows version then I will pass as I think right now I would like to stay with the palm platform. Any input please advise.

by chinkee222 | Dec 7, 2006 11:31:30 PM

please help... i think i really want the 680 but i have sprint... is there hope for me??? i think i read somewhere that even an unlocked version won't work w/ sprint

by jason | Dec 12, 2006 4:09:54 AM

hey andrew,

i just picked up a treo 680 from cingular and was really digging it until -- to my horror, i discovered that the obex protocol is only set to 'obex push'...wtf? is there a way to get around this that you know of? would getting the cingular treo 680 unlocked resolve this issue and open up the obex to it's full capability? i'd really love to be able to send my own pics and ringtones to my new treo 680...please help.


by Michael | Dec 13, 2006 11:43:40 AM

I have the Treo 680 (unlocked) in the USA. Interestingly enough the USB sync cable that I received does charge the Treo 680 when attached to my Macintosh PowerBook.


by Iris | Dec 17, 2006 4:56:21 PM

i have a cingular 650 and i'm thinking about upgrading to the 680. what concerns me most is phone service because the is terrible. is the 680 any better? btw, i live in nyc. thanks

by SherriA | Dec 17, 2006 4:57:57 PM

No one has mentioned the serious decrease in phone/camcorder quality (according to specs, 650 had 1.3mpx and the 680 has a dismal .3!). Has anyone tested that aspect of the phone? What are your observations/examples?

by Hani | Dec 25, 2006 7:17:14 AM

At SherriA, the 650 never had a 1.3 mpx. Only the 700 series. The 680 and 650 both have .3!. Although the 680 edges out in terms of overall quality of shots taken.

by mike | Jan 14, 2007 6:57:15 PM

2 Questions - any help appreciated.

I have a 650 - want bluetooth headset. tried 2, poor reception. i am told the treo is sensitve to the type it uses -- any recomendations?

680 - thinking about upgrade but on SPrint - is it confirmed 680 will not work on sprint?


by David | Jan 30, 2007 1:17:41 PM

does anyone have this problem: when i am on a call i can hear when someone new is ringing in. when my 680 gets voicemail my connection is cut off. this does not happen when i get another call, but just when they leave a message.

by jonathan | Feb 3, 2007 4:43:14 AM

i can unlock any phone u want... i dont need the phone just the imei number i charge 18 $ add me on msn if u are serious its unlock_1979@hotmail.com

by Farbet | Apr 7, 2007 1:01:15 PM

I am a Cingular RAzr phone. I want to get a Treo Unlocked phone.
Can I switch the Sim card from the Razr intothe unlocked phone?
Great Site.

by csrich | Apr 14, 2007 10:15:54 PM

Great site, Andrew. I have been a Palm user since the IIIxe. The screen went bad and I did not replace it. Last Xmas I got a Z22 and MS Money. I loved them both and saved so much money that I decided to treat myself to the 650 to get rid of my gadget clutter - cell, PDA, & MP3 player. I loved it from the minute I took it out of the box but it had poor reception, was a culture shock (size-wise) from the pink RAZR I was used to, and would freeze quite frequently. Four days before my 30 days were up, I exchanged it for a 680. It will be here Monday. Can't wait. From what I am reading on this site I am going to love it even though every time I think of my spending $300 for a phone I get sick to my stomach.

by mahd | Apr 25, 2007 5:33:35 PM

i have palm treo 680
how i can get free arabic softwae for it? please

by jess | May 16, 2007 10:36:33 PM

I have a palm treo 680 and I've had it just about since they came out. well I love this phone but the only problem I have is I can't get ringtones no matter how hard I try. I would really like to know how I can get them so my phone doesn't always have to stay on vibrate...someone PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!

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