I’ve upgraded my Treo 650 to a Treo 680 fairly recently, thanks in part to cracking my very first Palm screen by dropping my phone on a hard, concrete airport floor. Oops!
I’ve been using Cingular (now AT&T) for my mobile service for several years, and their coverage is stellar. Previously, my wife and I had Verizon, and their coverage is a joke. We’d get dropped calls dozens of times per-day, with full signal and towers nearby, and then we’d go hours without any signal, for no reason. Avoid Verizon if you can.
I had a $5.99/month “Insuranace” plan on my phone for a few years, to protect me in the case where something was damaged or my phone was stolen. As it turns out, Cingular doesn’t support the Insurance plan for “PDA Phones” like the Treo. After some heated arguing with them, they back-credited me about 3 years of $5.99/month charges, which I then applied to upgrade my 650 to the 680.
Shortly after using it, I realized the battery life was HORRIBLE on the device, with the standard 1200mAh battery (shown here):
There are a few tricks to fixing this however! The first thing to do is reduce the amount of power being consumed.
- Disable Bluetooth if you aren’t using a Bluetooth headset or synchronizing over Bluetooth
- Turn off the screen during phone calls using an application called Phone Technician
- Disable the keyboard lights with an application called KBLightsOff from LilApps.
Check your Power settings:
- Navigate to Prefs -> Power
- Set your brightness down to the bottom 10-20% of the scale (left-most side of the slider)
- Set “Auto-off after” to 15 seconds
- Set “On a call, dim backlight after..” to 1 minute
- Set “Beam Receive” to OFF
Install the latest Treo 680 firmware update. As I type this, the update is v1.09. The list of fixes is shown to be:
- Improved power management for better battery life.
- Camera update for improved battery life (available previously as a standalone update).
- Helps correct distorted characters that can occur in the title bar of the Phone application.
- Helps fix device “freezing” that may occur under certain conditions.
- System Lockout improvement for increased security.
- Support for the new Daylight Saving Time legislation (available previously as a standalone update).
- Provides better support for networks unique to some Caribbean, Latin American, and Asian countries.
- Updates Cingular branding, replacing it with the new AT&T branding.
The next thing to do is “power-reset” your Treo battery. To do this, do the following:
- Connect your Treo to the standard wall charger (NOT the usb charging cable).
- Remove the battery from the back of the Treo and wait for three full minutes.
- Remove the SIM card from the device and wait for another full minute.
- Put the battery back into the Treo (without the SIM card) then let your Treo charge until completely full (about 6 hours).
- Do NOT press any keys on your Treo after reinserting the battery.
- Do NOT switch your TREO ON or OFF, just leave it alone.
- Do NOT enter the SIM card PIN if prompted to do so, just wait!
- Once your Treo is fully charged, you may reinsert the SIM card in the back and replace the battery. You should now see proper battery utilization from your Treo.
Another option is the Seidio 2400mAh “Extended Life” battery. I bought one of these for my 680, and I couldn’t be happier.
The best part about the extended battery, is the extended battery cover that comes with it. I still have my Treo 650 and its larger battery, and with the Seidio cover, I can now use that older battery in my 680 as well, giving me 3 full batteries to work with!
I also purchased the Multi-function Charger from Seidio as well. This charger works on AC power as well as over USB if you were on the road. Since I now have 2x2400mAh batteries and 1x1200mAh battery, I needed a way to rotate the charging across all three of them. While I’m using one battery in my Treo, I’m charging another, and it works out perfectly.
If you don’t want the “bump-out” cover making your Treo ugly, you can also get the 1300mAh battery that is 7-8% more capacity than the stock 1200mAh battery, and fits in the same physical slot, using the same OEM cover. A few of these and the multi-function charger, and you’re good for several days of offline-talk time.
After combining these techniques, the battery life on my Treo 680 is much more tolerable than it was when I first received it. I almost sent it back, it was so bad, and now I can’t imagine parting with it.