My New Phone: Palm Pre

The other week I was driving home from running some errands when my best friend texted me and told me that the Palm Pre was on sale at Best Buy for $99. He'd recently purchased one himself and ever since he'd been telling me about how amazing the little phone was. Of course, this made me want one incredibly badly! Fortunately I hadn't past the exit to the local Best Buy so I quickly switched lanes and popped on over to the store.

After about an hour of dealing with faxing, crashing computers and such, I finally had my very own Palm Pre. Of course, by the time the store had also closed so I quickly exited and made my way to my car. I quickly setup my account and started playing with it right away.

Basic System: The basic operating system or WebOS is very slick. It looks and runs very nicely. It took me a bit to get used to how the gestures throughout the system worked but once you get your head around using your fingers to navigate around the system it's a piece of cake! The system comes with tons of different settings from screen brightness, to changing how the few buttons work.

Something I've also been getting used to is using the upper left corner of applications (I guess you could say the little "title menu" to access the applications preferences and such. I find it sometimes a bit difficult to hit that little area, so it does take me a couple tries.

I would love to see the ability to "minimize" applications or something, so that you can still see your desktop/launch bar but still be able to pull up the running applications, which would hopefully be faster then launching them each time.

The Launcher application is pretty straight forward and easy to use. You can easily move applications from page to page and move around from page to page. The one issue I had which is completely personal is that when you get more applications that fit on the page they just keep scrolling down whereas I'd rather see it have a set amount of icons per page (I believe 9 icons/applications fit perfectly) so that it all fits and then you'll just need to create another page to add additional icons/applications. I guess that's just more of the iPhone in me.

At times I did notice system slow down. This was when I was running 3-4 applications at once and was switching between them. I would think that the Pre should be able to handle that, but apparently not.

Overall I am very impressed with WebOS. It's sleek, and works great even when things get a bit choppy.

Hardware: Before I had left Best Buy my friend had told me to check out and make sure that the 2 pieces of the phone weren't too loose. Apparently this is known as the "Oreo cookie syndrome" because basically the two pieces slide apart like an Oreo cookie. Luckily I felt like mine was normal and wasn't very loose. The port protector that covers the USB port on the phone was initially hard to pull out but ever since it's been fine.

The keyboard at first glance was itty bitty but it works unusually well. That said, I would almost rather have an on-screen keyboard over this physical one. Maybe it's because I'm used to the Apple iPhone or because I feel like I could type faster, but I would really love to see Palm develop an on-screen keyboard in the near future.

The little silver button (it's name isn't coming to mind at the moment...) should allow the phone to turn on also, or rather wake up if you may. I find myself hitting this button all the time hoping the screen comes up but this is not so. It only seems to come on when you hit the Power On/Off switch. I do hope this changed in future revisions because it'd be quite useful.

Email: The email client on the Pre is actually pretty slick. It looks great and works well. I used my GMail account which actually also setup the calendar application as well and imported all my contacts. One thing I really like about the email client is that it makes replying to all people in the email very easy. It's definitely important for me because the people I converse with via email tend to CC people and such. The email application also has something called favorites so you can "bookmark" specific mailboxes to they show up in that list allowing you to easily access them. Sounds like a great idea if you've got a lot of folders/mail boxes.

Calendar: I am one with my calendars. If it's not on my calendar, it's just not happening. The nice thing about the Pre is that it's well integrated with your Google Account, so when I setup my email application it also configured the Calendar application as well.

The application itself is nice. You can easily review the day, week or month and adding or editing events is a breeze. It's a calendar application so there's not much else to say about it.

I do have a couple complaints though! When I change views between day, week and month and then exit the application it'll revert back to the day view when you open the application again. Not a huge deal but I prefer to go back to where I left off.

I also just figured out that it's possible to hide calendars in the ALL view. This is really great because there's some calendars I just don't need to see on my mobile device. The screen is small enough as is!

Other applications: Unfortunately the Pre's application catalog is pretty small right now, and by small, I mean there's maybe 25-30 applications. The only extra application I got was Tweed for my Twitter needs. It works very well and I think I like it over any of the iPhone's Twitter applications. No ads, and it does everything I could want it too!

The Messaging application works just as shown in those cool Palm pre videos. It seamlessly combines your SMS messages, AIM and GTalk conversations in one window.

Closing Comments: The Palm Pre is really a neat little device. I'm definitely glad I purchased one and especially when I did, because the next day, the whole $99 sale was revealed to be a mistake! Woops! I really enjoy this phone, it allows me to access my email, converse with friends over my personal favorite instant messaging protocols, review my calendar, keep to-dos, and Tweet on the go!!

If you're interested or looking for a new phone, I highly suggest checking the Pre out. I've also had zero issues with Sprint and support from them.

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Morgan W.

Head over heels for gadgets!