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Palm Centro 690 review

7.2/10 AVG.
RATING



7.2/10
Informr score
The Palm Centro 690 currently has an Informr score of 7.2 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 94 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

There has been no shortage of admonitions directed at Palm over the past year, from criticizing their dated OS to cosmetic and aesthetic complaints.

But Palm is selling millions of Centros. It’s simple, we geeks may look down our noses at the antiquated operation system, but in a recent conversation with a cell phone store owner I learned that people just plain like them.

The Centro 690 is a capable smart phone that gets most of the important details right. Buttons you can push, a responsive touch screen, a wealth of 3rd party apps to choose from to customize and maximize your device, and good call quality.

The Centro 690 has lost some weight from its prior iteration, making it even more attractive. Out of the box you’ve got yourself an easy-to-use device with Bluetooth, Ev-Do support, push email so you can receive those Nigerian lottery winnings even quicker and a suite of productivity applications.

A recurring theme among users is that it is easy to use. The folks at Palm have created a device for people that have never owned a smart phone and may be intimidated by more sophisticated options.

If you would like to trade up from to a device that is simple to use, will make your day easier and safer, take a look at the Centro 690.


Operating system
Palm OS
Processor
312 MHz
Screen Size
Unknown
Camera
1+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Wired

You might think the Palm Centro just puts lipstick on a pig-the pig being Palm's creaky, antiquated operating system-but dang if this little smartphone doesn't turn heads and win hearts. Available in glossy black onyx or fire-engine red, the Centro's slim enough to slip into a pocket-something the c...

- Rick Broida, Wired


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Palm released the Centro 690 on September 27, 2007.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Palm Centro 690 user manual here.


Palm backs up the Centro 690 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Centro 690 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Palm support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Palm's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Screen Size
Unknown

The Palm Centro 690's screen size is Unknown with 320 x 320 pixels resolution.

Processor
312 MHz

There is a Intel XScale 312 MHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Palm OS 5.4.9 operating system (OS).

Camera
1+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 1+ megapixel camera.

There's no secondary front camera.

Storage
64 MB

Internal memory is 64 MB. An external, MicroSD (up to 4 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
1150mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 1150 mAh battery. Palm's performance ratings are 12.5 days standby time.

Centro 690 Specs

Overview
Release date September 27, 2007
Regions available USA, Canada
Networks
CDMA:
850/1900 MHz
Data:
1xRTT, EV-DO Rev. 0
SIM card No
Dual SIM No
Operating System Palm OS 5.4.9

Compare Palm OS Smartphones

Processor Intel XScale 312 MHz
Internal Flash Memory 64 MB
RAM No
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass No
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation No
SAR Head: 1.35 W/kg
Body: 0.82 W/kg
Languages No
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Data Cable, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 1150 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Unknown
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Unknown
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Unknown
Standby Time Up to: 12.5 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Colors Black, Olive Green, Pink, Red, Rose, White
Dimensions [H x W x D] 10.7 x 5.4 x 1.2 cm (4.2 x 2.1 x 0.5 in)
Weight 119 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 65k
Resolution 320 x 320 pixels
Pixel density Unknown
Size Unknown
3D No
Secondary Display No
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification No
Screen Orientation Lock No
Multi-Touch No
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features -
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type QWERTY
Navigation Type D-pad
Predictive Text Entry No
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer Yes
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Unknown
Contact Groups No
Auto Answer Yes
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP
Additional Email Features -
Messaging SMS, EMS, MMS, AIM, MSN
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Yes
USB OTG Support No
Infrared Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, DUN, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi No
WiFi Encryption -
Mobile Hotspot No
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD (up to 4 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC No
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility No
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
1+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
2x digital
Flash
No
Additional Rear Camera Info
Video Recording Parameters
CIF (352 x 288 pixels)
Front Camera
Zoom
No
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MP3, AAC+, AAC, WMA
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats No
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers No
Headset Jack 2.5mm
Custom Ringtones No
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration No
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer No
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter Yes
Viewable document types No
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Palm Centro CDMA

A GSM version of the Centro is also available. It is also known as the Palm Centro 685.
Related Links Manual (PDF)
Palm Centro 690 Reviews
Where to buy Palm Centro 690
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Critic Reviews


Wired

The Palm OS may be old, but it's still fast, easy to use

from Wired

You might think the Palm Centro just puts lipstick on a pig-the pig being Palm's creaky, antiquated operating system-but dang if this little smartphone doesn't turn heads and win hearts. Available in glossy black onyx or fire-engine red, the Centro's slim enough to slip into a pocket-something the chunky Treo never could do. But the real news is the price: At less than a c-note, it's cheap enough for teens and cheapskate execs alike. Palm serves up a new IM applet for the kiddos and robust Office-sync software for the suits. Push e-mail, too. Like the Treo, the Centro's a bit of a lightweight when it comes to multimedia, but it can do YouTube, Internet radio, and streaming TV. No one knows why Palm refuses to offer Wi-Fi, but with Sprint's speedy 3G network, who needs it...

More

You might think the Palm Centro just puts lipstick on a pig-the pig being Palm's creaky, antiquated operating system-but dang if this little smartphone doesn't turn heads and win hearts. Available in glossy black onyx or fire-engine red, the Centro's slim enough to slip into a pocket-something the chunky Treo never could do. But the real news is the price: At less than a c-note, it's cheap enough for teens and cheapskate execs alike. Palm serves up a new IM applet for the kiddos and robust Office-sync software for the suits. Push e-mail, too. Like the Treo, the Centro's a bit of a lightweight when it comes to multimedia, but it can do YouTube, Internet radio, and streaming TV. No one knows why Palm refuses to offer Wi-Fi, but with Sprint's speedy 3G network, who needs it?

WIRED The Palm OS may be old, but it's still fast, easy to use, and compatible with tons of awesome apps. All the power of a Treo with less of the bulk (and expense). Bundled software keeps you productive, connected, and entertained.

TIRED Zero innovation: It's really just a smaller, more affordable Treo. Battery life sucks: Just 3.5 hours of talk time. Cramped keyboard not for the fat of finger. Stereo Bluetooth not supported out of the box-it requires third-party software.

Read full review

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User Reviews


Amazon

Unreliable

from Amazon
This phone has been a nightmare, (Best Buy Service also). We bought the phone and the first week the phone would lock up. I took the battery out and it worked fine. This happened regularly for 10 months and then it got really bad. Sent it in for warrenty repair and it was deemed unfixable. They se...More
This phone has been a nightmare, (Best Buy Service also). We bought the phone and the first week the phone would lock up. I took the battery out and it worked fine. This happened regularly for 10 months and then it got really bad. Sent it in for warrenty repair and it was deemed unfixable. They send a new phone, (refurbished), this worked fine for about 5 months and recently went crazy and does not work at all. Also the sound was aweful; could not talk on the phone, lousy clarity everywhere, this is a true piece of crap!!! Less
Amazon

doesnt charge anymore

from Amazon
The phones battery life was poor but most was b/c of the bright screen that I adjusted. The first one I got worked fine and then after 3 weeks it wouldnt hold a charge. I took it to sprint and they told me it was the phone. They sent it away and it came back. I charged it all night and the next day, as...More
The phones battery life was poor but most was b/c of the bright screen that I adjusted. The first one I got worked fine and then after 3 weeks it wouldnt hold a charge. I took it to sprint and they told me it was the phone. They sent it away and it came back. I charged it all night and the next day, as I uplugged it, it had 'low battery.' The red light was on when it was plugged in. I figured it was the charger since I bought it at walmart. I bought a sprint one on amazon and it worked fine. The phone charged that day and the next day it didnt. I took it to sprint and they said it was the battery this time. I got a new battery and I charged it. It worked fine for one day b/c when I charged it for the next day, it was at low battery. The phone just wasnt holding a charge. I took it to sprint and asked what else it could be. I was told that I needed to get a new phone and a plan b/c its illegal to just get a new phone.riiight =/ Less
Amazon

port charge problem

from Amazon
The phones battery life was poor but most was due b/c of the bright screen that I quickly adjusted. The first one I got worked fine and then after 3 weeks it wouldnt hold a charge. I took it to sprint and they told me it was the phone. They sent it away for repair and it came back. I charged it all nig...More
The phones battery life was poor but most was due b/c of the bright screen that I quickly adjusted. The first one I got worked fine and then after 3 weeks it wouldnt hold a charge. I took it to sprint and they told me it was the phone. They sent it away for repair and it came back. I charged it all night and the next day, as I uplugged it, it had 'low battery.' The red light was on when it was plugged in. I figured it was the charger since I bought it at walmart. I bought a sprint one on amazon and it worked fine. The phone charged that day and the next day it was on low battery. I took it to sprint and they said it was the battery this time. I got a new battery and I charged it again. It worked fine for one day b/c when I charged it for the next day, it was at low battery. The phone just wasnt holding a charge. I took it to sprint and asked what else it could be. I was told that I needed to get a new phone and a plan b/c its illegal to just get a new phone.riiight =/ Turned out it was the charger port. So finally I get a new one and so far it has been holding its charge. It wasnt the battery or the charger but the port. Im happy that it finally works but be aware of the minor problems that may happen. Less
Amazon

Simply unreliable

from Amazon
I've had two Sprint plans, each with a Palm Centro, for 12 months and 18 months. In that span, I've replaced the first Centro once and the second Centro four times. These phones are not dropped, abused, or exposed to moisture beyond that of a jeans pocket. The first Centro from the later contract was u...More
I've had two Sprint plans, each with a Palm Centro, for 12 months and 18 months. In that span, I've replaced the first Centro once and the second Centro four times. These phones are not dropped, abused, or exposed to moisture beyond that of a jeans pocket. The first Centro from the later contract was used for 45 cumulative talking minutes and spent its entire lifespan in a leather case on a desk. You might wonder what issues have led to these replacements. The data connector on the bottom of the phone is prone to weakness and moisture damage. Two separate Sprint repair reps have acknowledged this to me. When the connector fails, the phone will enter a Hotsync loop, repeatedly attempting to sync itself with a nonexistent data cable until the phone battery dies. Resetting the phone rarely fixes the problem, and once it occurs for the first time, it will happen again. Sometimes the phone can appear to boot properly, but begins to loop if you attempt to access particular applications. Like your contacts list. A second failure point is the headphone/microphone jack. When you plug a headset into this jack, the phone automatically disables the onboard speaker and microphone. A problem arises when the phone thinks you've plugged in a headset when you haven't. The symptoms are that the speaker phone icon disappears on connected calls, and neither you nor the other person can hear each other. The solution is to plug and unplug a headphone connector until the jack works again, but as with the data connector, this is only temporary. The problem will appear again. My most recent Centro was literally brand new when it failed. I'd had it for a day and a half. When I pressed the red button to turn on the screen to check the time, only the keypad lit. The screen had failed completely. As I could still receive calls, the rest of the phone appeared to work. After twice pulling and replacing the battery for a soft reset, the phone no longer works in any dimension. This is also common; soft resets sometimes fail completely, and you have put in a different battery to make the phone try again. What's painful about all this is that I actually like the phone. The Palm operating system is graphically dated, but very intuitive and quick to use. Call quality is high. There are throngs of third-party applications for Palm OS. The keyboard has plenty of tactile feedback for accurate text messaging even with my large hands. Battery life is about a week on standby. Sprint's coverage of the Atlanta-Midtown area is excellent; I've only had two calls drop in the entire span I've used my Centro. On the merits, the phone deserves 4 stars. And yet, I can't give it that rating because I can't trust it. I've been put in some very awkward social situations because of an inability to access my contact list or make calls. Were I prone to emergencies, having a Centro as my sole phone would be very uncomfortable. Since Palm is unwilling to address any of the issues above in a hardware update, I can only say that if you must have this phone, buy the $7/month Sprint replacement package. Palm's warranty turnaround time is upwards of three weeks. With Sprint, you can have a replacement in-hand within a day regardless of why the phone failed. Less
Amazon

Great phone!

from Amazon
This is my first smartphone and I absolutely love it! I love sprint as well, absolutely wonderful customer service! The video is a bit pixilated on this phone but not unbearable and the little speaker sounds like it blow out if the volume is all the way up for music or the speaker phone and the key boa...More
This is my first smartphone and I absolutely love it! I love sprint as well, absolutely wonderful customer service! The video is a bit pixilated on this phone but not unbearable and the little speaker sounds like it blow out if the volume is all the way up for music or the speaker phone and the key board is cramped but all other functions like browsing the internet, either on the phone itself or through bluetooth on your pc (which is free, just get a usb bluetooth device, Bluetooth CLASS2 Mini Adapter Plug-n-play 10 Range, if your pc isn't bluetooth ready), is very nice and easy. Even though the pictures are only 1.3 mega pixil they are still a lot better quality than my old phone which was 3 mega pixils! The video option is about worthless but it uses so much battery and memory it's not worth using anyway. I can keep all my appointments, grocery lists and contact information organized and easily accessible. Plus, through a third party app (eReader)I can read ebooks on this wonderful device! Sound quality while talking on the phone is like you are using a land line, even when conference calling. You can download many free third party apps to this phone to customize it to your lifestyle. It takes a mini SD card (I don't have one yet) but the phone itself has LOT of memory, I haven't run into the need for one yet and my phone is full of pics, documents, apps and so on. I highly recommend this smarphone! Less

an ok phone

I've had my centro for over a year and half with no problems, until this past weekend, it started trying to hot sync it's self with my computer, tho i was driving down the street and no where near my desktop! then it froze so i took out the battery and put it back in, and no luck, my phone refused to w...More
I've had my centro for over a year and half with no problems, until this past weekend, it started trying to hot sync it's self with my computer, tho i was driving down the street and no where near my desktop! then it froze so i took out the battery and put it back in, and no luck, my phone refused to work! i spoke with sprint tech support and discovered that the centro's are known to have problems with the hot sync feature doing what it did to me, and once it starts doing that, your phone is pretty much gone. i am expecting my replacement phone sometime today, and i am hoping that i don't have issues with this one. my ex husband even told me, he is on phone #3 and his wife is on phone #4 both use centros! i am hoping that this phone at least lasts until this next august when i am eligible for a full upgrade through sprint! Less

My Palm Centro nightmare

My daughter got a Palm last November and as of the begiinning of September she was on her 4th!! The 1st one only worked on speaker phone. The incmpetent salesman at our local AT&T store told us it was because it was not fully charged. We tried it for a couple weeks and it was a piece of crap. I went b...More
My daughter got a Palm last November and as of the begiinning of September she was on her 4th!! The 1st one only worked on speaker phone. The incmpetent salesman at our local AT&T store told us it was because it was not fully charged. We tried it for a couple weeks and it was a piece of crap. I went back to the store and they couldn't do anything for us. He gave me the # to the warranty department and I called them. Come to find out this phone had already been registered to another phone # several months prior. When I went back to the store they SAID they don't sell refurbished phones!! RIIIIIGHT!! I drove over an hour to get to the service center to replace her phone & within days that one didn't work right. After a long and agonizing conversation AGAIN with the warranty department I was off to the service center for phone # 3. Finally a working phone. Until the 1st week in August while we were on vacation and the phone just died and it would not charge no matter how long I left it plugged in. I even went out and spent $30 on another charger thinking that might be the problem. NOPE! BACK on the phone to the warranty department and another trip to the service center. Now I am getting really angry - we are on phone #4 and THAT one doesn't work!!!! I called the service center and told them I was NOT taking another Palm Centro - they either need to give me a different phone temporarily until she is eligible for her upgrade or make her eligible for her upgrade now. After the customer service person spoke to a manager she got approval to replace the phone.They gave me two options, Nolia or Samsung. Finally an end in sight to my misery over this phone! NOT! We just got a replacement phone (Nokia) and of course it is refurbished. Not a problem except for the fact that they forgot to make sure it worked before they mailed it to me. Perhaps I should have picked the other phone. I am sure that one would be a piece of garbage as well. I will make one more phone call to the warranty department and then I am calling the BBB. After being with AT&T for 12 years I don't think I deserve to be put through all this agony! Less
Amazon

good phone - get it cheaper from ebay

from Amazon
This is a good overall phone, that has many desirable features. It also works as a phone modem, though at least sprint wants people to pay extra for that. For greeks or russians there are fonts to be bought separately ($40) PiLoc from paragon. This palm phone runs other palm software from Palm OS 5.0...More
This is a good overall phone, that has many desirable features. It also works as a phone modem, though at least sprint wants people to pay extra for that. For greeks or russians there are fonts to be bought separately ($40) PiLoc from paragon. This palm phone runs other palm software from Palm OS 5.0, but does not run 4.0 software (e.g. the older e[...] dictionaries). Less
Amazon

Good phone but not perfect

from Amazon
I've always liked Palm devices, so when it was time to upgrade my phone I was pleased to find that Verizon was offering them two for the price of one, and my daughter really liked its text messaging features. It works very well as a phone, PDA, and mp3 player, and OK as a camera and videocamera. My onl...More
I've always liked Palm devices, so when it was time to upgrade my phone I was pleased to find that Verizon was offering them two for the price of one, and my daughter really liked its text messaging features. It works very well as a phone, PDA, and mp3 player, and OK as a camera and videocamera. My only complaints are that the keys are too small for me, so I type using the touchscreen; I too had trouble inserting the memory card; and I was disappointed that the headphone jack does not use a standard connector. Since the Palm headset was out of stock I ended up buying a headset made by Motorola. The music shuts off when a call comes in as it should, but the connection is poor so I basically get sound only in the right speaker (if I pull the jack out a little I get stereo, but the volume is greatly decreased and the jack won't stay in that position, so it keeps switching between mono and stereo). Also, I couldn't get the Palm for Facebook application to work. But overall this is a very nice phone that syncs well with Micorosoft Outlook. Less
Amazon

Resting on it's laurels

from Amazon
I've had palm devices for a number of years and have loved them. So when I got the Palm Centro, I was really excited; it was like my other Treos but sexy! Well, not so much... For one thing, the keyboard is really small, but that's fine. After a little while, you actually get used to it. While it work...More
I've had palm devices for a number of years and have loved them. So when I got the Palm Centro, I was really excited; it was like my other Treos but sexy! Well, not so much... For one thing, the keyboard is really small, but that's fine. After a little while, you actually get used to it. While it works just like my previous treos, I have some beef with it: 1. It works just like the previous treos. There is nothing unique about this model except it is smaller. The software is pretty much the same as models from 5 years ago. Considering how long this OS has been used and what is available, I would expect more. 2. The unit is cheap as all getup. It feels cheap, it looks cheap, and it acts cheap. If you get this, buy the insurance. Trust me. 3. I lied. The software has changed; it's worse. I've never had to return a phone or get one fixed in all my years using a cell phone, and yet I'm on my fourth centro. If you want to use it as an MP3 player, it will not allow you to use the speaker when you make cell phone for a period of time after. Now, when I say period of time, I mean anywhere from a few seconds to a few weeks. That's right, a few weeks (hence why it had to be returned). Sometimes this is fixed with a hard restart, other times it's fixed by a return. Customer service acknowledged this issue and said hopefully that will be fixed. I don't mean to complain, because at the end of the day, it's still a decent phone. Just given what's available on the market, I just hope Palm can save itself with the Pre. Less

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