SMART Board 680

Overall Rating

Product Summary

The Good: Industry leading brand.  Lots educational content.  Touch screen.  Useful software tools.

The Bad: Expensive proprietary board.  Expensive to ship.  Expensive to install.  Can’t use marker pens.  So much content hard to find good relevant content.

The Bottom Line: Very expensive solution.

$1999 + $250 Shipping

* Stand not included

Smart Board 680 Smartboard Review

SmartBoard ResourcesSmartBoard On-line Tutorials

SmartBoard Specifications



Smart Board by Smart Technologies pioneered the interactive whiteboard segment back in 1987 and coined the term “smartboard”.   Today all interactive whiteboards are synonymous to the term “smartboards” similar to how we  commonly refer to tissues as kleenex.
Being first to market Smart Technologies is the market leader in interactive whiteboards (IWB)  and enjoys a large community of users.   The Smart Board community is a great resource for a lot of educational content.  What we really like about the Smart Board 680 is the Touch Screen technology where you can interact with the board with a pen or just your finger.
The Smart Board 680 comes in a big box, it’s like purchasing a 77″ flat screen TV.   Very cool, it’s like every man’s dream.   The size of the board is a little smaller than 5ft x 4ft and weighs 30lbs.

Set Up & Install

We soon came to learn that the install and set up is not that easy.  Although we thought it was very cool to have this big screen now we have to install it.  Similar to mounting a flat screen to the wall in your house we had to mount the Smart Board 680 to the front of our classroom using the wall-mount bracket and drywall screws included in the packaging.   I’m not much of a handy man so it took me quite awhile to figure out exactly where to place the wall-mount so my Smart Board was evenly centered on the wall.  That was a bit of a hassle.

Instead of mounting the Smart Board 680 to the wall we could’ve purchased a mobile floor stand to place it on which probably would’ve been a lot easier.  It would also allow us to move the Smart Board to nearby classrooms, but this would’ve cost another $500.

We had a laptop connected to a projector facing the Smart Board that we mounted to the front of the classroom.  Works with Windows, Mac and Linux.   Here are the steps to install in a nutshell:

  1. Mounted Smart Board to front of classroom (60 minutes)
  2. Plug in power cord from the Smart Board to the wall socket.
  3. Install Software
  4. Plug in the cable from the Smart Board to the USB port in our laptop.

To start the calibration process push the 2 buttons at the bottom of the Smart Board and touch the calibration points projected on the screen with your finger or a pen.   Once we had the Smart Board mounted on the wall the rest of the install and set up was pretty easy.

Ease of Use

We found the Smart Board 680 very easy to use.  We opened up a powerpoint presentation navigating through our file folder using our finger.   The surface is a hard coat that seems pretty durable and easy to clean.  The technology within the board is called a Resistive Technology that provides the Smart Board with it’s Touch Recognition.

Cool Features

1. Touch Recognition – This feature is pretty cool.  Based on your actions the board automatically recognizes what you are doing.  For example you can annotate with  one of the 4 pens provided,  use your finger to move the annotation anywhere on the board and than use your fist to erase the annotation.  The board automatically switches modes based on your actions.  The only problem we found is that if we rest our hand on the board while we write the board thinks we’re in erase mode.   So it was important to remember not to let our hand rest on the board while writing on it.

2. Notebook Software – The notebook software has some handy tools in it.  Here are a few:  On a Mac we can just drag and drop any file (.doc, .pdf, .ppt, etc..) onto the notebook and now it’s ready to mark up and annotate in any way that we want.  The magic pen tool works similar to “gestures” on a Mac where we can draw a circle to create a “spot light” effect, move it around and increase the size by grabbing a point on the square and dragging away from it.  In the same manner you create a magnifying effect by drawing a square, increase the size by pulling the corner and move it around the image.

3. Content– We found we had access to a wealth of content  for images, lesson plans and activity.  Smart Board has one of the largest communities of educators that have produced a lot of content.  One of the issues we came across is that there is so much content at times it was hard for us to find good relevant content.

4. Recording – Playback during the lesson to walk through a math problem as an example is very useful.  All notes can be saved for future review by both the students and the teacher.

5. Warranty – Smart Board 680 comes with a 2 year warranty and is extended to 5 years after product registration.

The Smart Board 680 has some pretty spiffy features and functionality.  What we can’t seem to get over is the high price and lack of portability.  If money is no object and you are only looking to use the Smart Board in 1 classroom (or a few classrooms nearby using the mobile floor stand) than the Smart Board 680 might be for you.  The Touch Recognition is pretty cool, but not sure if it’s worth an extra $1500 in cost compared to it’s portable competitors. February 2010