I finally got my hands on a Palm Pre (officially released on 16 October) to play with and, on the whole, I was quite impressed. I know it’s been out for a while now but I had to perfect my video!!
If you end up buying a Palm Pre, the software will be the reason why. The operating system is, in case you didn’t know, web based similar to Google’s Android.
The software including is, in one word, slick. You have a launch bar at the bottom of the homescreen that looks and acts like a Mac launch bar. You simply ‘pick up’ the bar with your finger and slide across until you find the application that you want to open.
Your open apps will be organised as ‘cards‘ and you can flick through them by swiping left and right, closing them by flicking upwards so the card flies off the screen.
The universal search is another good idea. So you start typing and it will first suggest things that are on the phone, like apps and contacts. You can make it an internet search too. I love this idea, so instead of opening a browser you just start typing and search and instead of opening your contacts etc. Fantastic!
Notification bars on the bottom of the screen for new texts, emails, and song changes are great, and can be removed with a swipe. It really gives you a feel for being connected.
I also really like the Pre’s calendar which collapses gaps so it looks like you’re always busy.
Let’s start with the screen. It’s beautiful, crisp, clean and clear. It’s 3.1″ and 320×480 pixels with the multi-touch capabilities fantastic.
Battery life is good lasting a few days, it has a 3 megapixel camera which is… ok. In fact it’s quite crap. Like the iPhone it needs a lot of light and has a poor flash.
The qwerty keyboard is terrible. This is the killer. I was having so much fun playing with the phone until I tried to write an email.
My fingers aren’t fat, honest, but I found pressing the buttons really difficult. It was impossible to type quickly and left me frustrated with the amount of mistakes I was making when all I was trying to type was ‘I’m emailing you from a Palm Pre’. True, you’d probably find it easier with practice, like the iPhone touch-screen keyboard but I was watching a friend try and type with long nails and realised that for some it’ll be impossible.
I’m slightly concerned with the slider as it seemed to be a bit fragile and I have seen forums with customers complaining that the slider had *slid* a bit too far and come off. The one I had seemed fine but I thought it was worth noting.
The Palm Pre is fresh and different. It’s a handset I can imagine people will fall in love with but I can’t help feel that they messed up with the hardware. A better camera and some tweaks to the keyboard would’ve made this a must-have (iPhone) while it’s now a might-have. Palm will be happy with their first mobile phone on the new webOS and this phone will do well because of the slick user experience. I love it.