Palm Pre Review

I am going to do a review of the Pre, and I am going to stay completely away from comparing it to an iPhone, a Storm, an Instinct, a Windows Mobile phone, or any other phone/PDA/PED/Mobile device.  I will simply say what I like, and what I hope for in the next update.

What I like:

  • The size.  It is small enough to carry around and yet large enough to have some serious screen real-estate for running applications.
  • Background applications.  I like that I can run Pandora and browse email at the same time.
  • The search capability.  Within Launcher, you can just start typing, and the Pre will automatically begin to search for what you are typing in the Apps and your Contacts.  If it can’t find what you are typing there, it allows you to select Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia, and Twitter.  Pretty cool.
  • The Sprint Navigation system.  Includes the ability to search for businesses (near your current location or near a favorite location like home) inside the navigation app and add them to your route (from your current location or from a favorite).
  • Pre-installed applications.  Comes with Document Viewer (for MS Office docs) and PDF Viewer.  Also Google Maps, YouTube, Amazon MP3, Sprint TV, and all of the other standard applications you would expect to find on a device like this.
  • Connecting to my work Exchange mailbox.  The SSL certificate install process was easy and flawless, and the Exchange configuration was very straightforward.
  • The keyboard.  Even though it is small, I like it, and I find that it is quite usable.
  • Connection options.  You can connect the device to your laptop/desktop and synch music (with iTunes or other music services), charge only, or act as a USB drive.
  • The camera.  It has a flash!  And when you slide the keyboard down, there is a mirror on the back of the device that you can see if you want to take a picture of yourself 🙂
  • The overall interface.  Launching apps, moving between apps, closing apps, going back, organizing apps, and the top-of-the-screen menus that contain what I need in the specific app that I am running as well as the general menu that allows me to manage WiFi, Bluetooth, and Airplane mode as well as giving me battery charge info.
  • The simplicity of the physical design.  The device has one button near the bottom on the front; a volume adjustment on the left side; micro-USB access on the right side; and a standard headphone jack, power button, and ringer off switch on the top.

What I am hoping for in the next update:

  • A micro-SD slot.  There is only 6 GB of usable space on the device.  I would like to be able to insert a micro-SD card to add to that if needed.
  • A soft keyboard.  While I like the hard keyboard, I would like the option of a soft keyboard so I don’t have to slide the device screen up every time I want to type.  In fact, if you are in landscape mode in the browser, you have no keyboard at all.
  • A slightly more robust physical design.  Right now, when the device is closed (keyboard not visible), the top (the screen piece) seems loose (wiggles back and forth).  When you try to slide the top up to get to the keyboard, it seems slightly more difficult to do with one hand than I think it should be.  The bottom edge when the keyboard is exposed is sharp!  And I think the back of the device would be better if it wasn’t so shiny (and thereby fingerprint attracting).  In fact, I would like a back with some grip to it so it would not slide around so easily.
  • Improved search capability.  Allow it to also search email and possibly music, photos, video, and email attachments/saved documents.
  • I am a little concerned about the applications that are available in the App Catalog will all end up costing money, when many of them could and probably should be free.  Apps make the device, and Palm should encourage app developers to create apps and put them out there for users.

As always, please let me know if you would like me to comment about anything else or if you would like me to clarify something I said.  Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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About Tim Smeltzer
I am a husband, father, and technologist. While I am very much interested in almost all technology, my current area of specialty is secure mobile messaging. You will find me blogging from time to time on mobile technology - what I think is cool, what I think is not cool, and how to do things. Please be nice if you leave me comments. I am really trying to help!

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