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Treo 650 Essentials Kit

Tue Aug 30, 2005 - 3:58 PM EDT - By Douglas Morse

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If something is called an essentials kit, shouldn�t the items have been included with the original Treo? The essential items missing with my Treo purchase were in an SD card (128 MB would have sufficed) and a headset adapter to get me started on MP3s. A slip case would have been a nice addition too.

The Palm Essentials Kit for the Treo 650 contains three items that the uninformed user might be tempted to purchase as a quick way to get started on their Treo adventure. Included are a car charger, a wired earpiece and a case. One of the items is poor, the other fair, and the last acceptable.


The chances that a Treo owner would want a specific combination of earpiece and case are slim to none. It is almost hubris on Palm�s part that they would lump them together in a package. It is also a bit stunning that the value for the money, though on the surface looks like a good deal, is actually quite lousy. I am especially miffed given that the person who would buy this is likely an uninformed user.

The Headset

The headset is a replacement/back up for the included headset, so it is unnecessary. Should someone lose the headset that comes with the Treo, there are plenty of better headsets available. The sound quality on this headset is atrocious. I�d be curious to know how many Treo users actually use the included headset.

As you may be aware, the headset is a small ear bud covered with a thin layer of foam. The microphone dangles off the wire. You�ll be one of those people who are forever moving the wire towards their mouth to get a cleaner signal. There is also a button to hang up and receive calls. Since this was a wired headset, I expected clarity on par with the regular handset (I have never used the one Palm included). I was mistaken. Not only was the call quality poor, it tended to cut in and out.

The Case

The case is a bit better, though only a small percentage of users would be interested in this particular case because plastic covers both the screen and keyboard. The plastic over the keyboard doesn�t bother me as much as I thought it would, and in fact the plastic over the screen is fine too. It is a little hard to tap through near the edges and there is a slight loss of screen clarity.

The protection from the case is not high, as there is no covering flip, and the plastic and thin case material are not sturdy enough to protect the device from anything other than a minor brush with death. The black case is highlighted with unattractive white stitching. The bottom corners of the Treo are exposed, probably because it is easier to manufacture cases that way as one solid piece of material.

There are cutouts for he headset jack, mic, and connector port. The case clips over the top, which nicely holds the SD card securely in place while allowing access to the IR port and ringer switch. In another good bit of design, a flap in back unfolds to reveal the camera. It's nice that the camera lens is protected and easily accessible. Alas, the rear speaker is also covered by the flap and the flap doesn�t fold down enough to allow easy use of it.

The case has a large irremovable nub on the back so it can be used with (the included) belt clip. Once again, I am disappointed that a case maker did not find a way to make the clip removable or at least low profile enough not to get in the way when carried in your pocket or bag.

I also have to report that a friend had one of these cases and the top strap fell off after a few weeks.

Car Charger

On one of my visits to the local Sprint store, I got in a discussion about accessory prices. I was told that I would be shocked to see how much accessories are marked up. I got the impression that a car charger costs the store less than a couple of bucks and they sell them for thirty. The included car charger is about as basic as you can get. Plug it into the cigarette lighter slot, the other end into the Treo and go.

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