I've had the past week to use and abuse this device and if you were anti-Palm before, it's safe to say they've come a long way since the Centro. The Pre is flashy, sexy, and perfectly fit in the palm of my hand. With its nice glossy black exterior, it tends to be fingerprint-prone, but if you switch the back plate with the plain black touchstone compatible back, you should be good to go.
The flip out QWERTY keyboard comes in handy for typing emails and texting (the Pre has copy and paste!), but keys are somewhat small so I tended to use my fingernails for precision. When the keyboard is flipped out, you'll find a nice mirror on the back of the Pre — a mirror that's big enough for quick food in the teeth checks or makeup touch-ups. The Pre's 3.2-megapixel built-in camera takes crystal clear pics, and with the big bright flash, you can take night shots no problem. Also, with Palm's stellar image processing, you can take photos continuously (like a regular camera) since there isn't a shutter lag.
To check out more photos of the Palm Pre, to see what else I thought and to watch a video of it in action
The screen on the Pre is comparable to the T-Mobile G1's, the iPhone's and the BlackBerry Bold's screen. Color is vibrant and video viewing is impeccable. As you'll see in my video after the jump, scrolling through applications with webOS is similar to the iPhone, but the touchscreen sensitivity isn't always 100 percent accurate. Sometimes it would take me two or three tries before I could launch an app, but it wasn't something that happened every time. What I absolutely loved was the ability to use a slow swipe for the cool Quick Launcher and you can scroll up to discard windows when you were finished with them. No fiddling with small x boxes to close something, just swipe up and it's gone (again, something you'll see me using a lot in the video!). Left swiping acts as your "back" button and web pages, tools, and apps are easily draggable and droppable. Features like texting, placing calls, emailing, etc., were similar to the iPhone. Overall, applications were fairly intuitive, if not easier to use than those on the iPhone. Now for my gripes.
- I happened to drop the Palm Pre outside (on cement) and my heart stopped when it was unresponsive. Fortunately, a quick touch of the power button and it was back in action. But, this occurred again (I'm a klutz!) and the same thing happened. Whenever I drop my BlackBerry or iPhone, although a little banged up, they never shut off (or need to be restarted). Also, I noticed that the track for the keyboard was a little off when I tried to flip it out. The phone still works, but on a durability level, I don't know how long it would sustain a few too many falls.
- The new iPhone 3G S has video functionality, the Pre sadly does not.
- Apple just announced that they might put their foot down on Palm Media Sync, which transfers pics, videos, and tunes to your Pre from iTunes. This would be a major thumbs down for Pre owners.
- One Pre accessory I was really excited about using was the touchstone charging device. Except when I got my hands on it, I was saddened to see that it wasn't wireless. And the Pre needed to be placed on it in a very precise manner to actually pick up a charge. Not as sexy as I originally thought, that is for sure.
I'm just skimming the surface on this one, but overall this smartphone deserves four stars for design, sleek interface, ease of use, and camera quality. Hopefully a software upgrade will fix some of my issues with the phone.