Despite various cosmetic changes and a slimmed down overall footprint, the Palm Centro 685 is essentially still just a Treo 600. That means, as critics are quick to point out, that it is running on an antiquated OS, in this case the OS 5.4.9.
That being said, the Centro 685 is the least expensive keyboard smart phone ever, and for customers who have never “learned” a prior OS, this represents an arguably fair deal. In addition to being able to surf the web, send and receive email, text and organize your calendar, there is a large library of third party applications that can go a long way to enhance your experience.
After a brief exclusivity agreement with Sprint, the Centro 685 is now available on the AT&T Wireless network. Unfortunately, it runs on the EDGE network, which is a full generation down from the 3G speeds it runs on with Sprint. This will slow the web experience down.
Among the Centro 685’s more interesting features is a dedicated switch that turns the ringer on, off and to vibrate. No need to pull up menu options just to switch to silent mode. The device also sports a large, 320x320 pixel display, which you can interface with either through the included stylus, touching the screen with your finger or using the keypad to select commands.
The large display leaves little room for the Qwerty keypad, which is small and appears crunchy and compromised. As with any keypad, it is a matter of personal opinion as to whether it is difficult to use, but clearly it is a far cry from, say, the spacious Motorola Q9.
Talk time is rated at 4 hours, and standby time at 300 hours. It comes with 64MB of on-board trans flash memory and supports up to 4G of external memory.
While there are many smart phones available that have modern, compelling user interfaces and optimized operating systems, few can compete with the list price of the Centro 685. The tradeoff in this case is getting a great price but having to tolerate an OS that can be cumbersome and limiting at times.