A Week With The Palm Pre Smartphone – Day 4 & 5

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It’s a phone, it’s a music player, it’s a camera, it’s a Palm Pre. Is it good at any of those tasks? I have been trying these feature for the past couple of days and here are the results…

Before I get into anything else, I did want to mention that I haven’t experienced any more weird battery suckage issues like I did the other day. No major hardware issues lately either…

The Palm Pre as a… phone

Today let’s make some calls, receive some calls, play some music and take some pix with the built in 3 megapixel camera.

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Initiating a phone call requires two steps at a minimum. If the Pre is already awake and in the card view, you can just press the Green call icon and then start tapping the number you want to dial. If you want to search by name, slide open the keyboard and a list of matching contacts will appear and filter as you type. You can also assign speed dial numbers to the numbers on the touch pad and hold them down to call.

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If your phone is idle and a call is received, the display will look like the image above. I assumed by the image that I would be able to press the hardware button to answer the call. Ummmm…. nope. So ok, I thought then just tap the call button on the screen to answer the call. No again. You have to slide the call button up as you would do to unlock the phone. Argh… I hate this as it’s sometimes hard to do with one hand and your thumb. Especially while driving. Yeah, yeah, I still don’t use a Bluetooth headset all the time.

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If the phone is awake, this is what you’ll see. A simple tap of the Green or Red buttons will answer or end a call.

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If I had an image set for myself, it would show up, but otherwise, you see the little person shape. This is the during call display. You can switch to speaker phone, mute, go to the dial pad or add another person to the call for a conference. The Pre has a proximity sensor, so when you have the phone up to your face, the screen will turn off. Pull it away and it turns back on. Wonder where they got that idea? Hmmmm ;)

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If you miss a call and turn on your phone, you’ll see something like this. I thought the notification system was really nifty for about 1 day. Now I’m over it. It seems to get in my way more than help me.

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Tap the missing call button to see more info and call the person back if you desire.

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Small icons in the bottom right corner will also remind you of missing calls, voice mails and other notifications. BTW, I can’t get rid of the darned alarm icon no matter what I do. I had set a timer the other day to remind me when to take a lasagna out of the oven. Now it’s stuck there even though I’ve deleted the alarm. Grrrrrr…

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There’s a standard call log screen that lists outgoing and missed calls.

Call quality with the Pre, even while roaming, seems to be much better than what I’m used to with my GSM phones on AT&T. My calls with the Pre have been significantly better sounding. That said, Sprint reception here isn’t very good. At my home, it’s roaming 100% of the time. At my work I’m not roaming, but I have had numerous times when I would call the Pre with my desk phone or AT&T phone and the calls would go to straight to voice mail even when the Pre shows 2 bars. I don’t know if this is a Sprint issue or a Pre issue.

Update: I figured out that this only happens when I’m doing data on the Pre. If I’m loading a webpage or doing something that is accessing data, incoming phone calls go straight to voice mail. I’m wondering if this is because I don’t have 3G here.

For any iPhone users out there thinking of jumping ship to get a Pre, you should know that the Pre doesn’t have visual voice mail. Not that the lack of that feature would be a deal breaker for me. But once you’ve used it, you realize just how handy it is.

So for phone calls, I’m not real impressed with the Pre. Although call quality is very good, I hate not being able to make or answer a call with a actual physical button. I guess I’m just too old school about some things ;)

The Pre as a digital audio player

Loading and playing your favorite music on the Pre is easy.

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Just plug the Pre into your computer with the USB cable. Then tap the USB Drive button and the Pre will mount like a flash drive. Drag and drop folders of your music onto the Pre. Unplug and then launch the Music player.

You can also use the Media Sync option, which will load iTunes on your computer and allow you to sync with that.

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The music player is not unlike other media players. In other words, you’re not going to have any problems figuring out how to use it. You can view music by artist, albums, songs, genres or playlists. There’s also a link for the Amazon MP3 store in the player. More about Amazon in a bit…

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If you have album art with your music, it shows up in the various lists.

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The now playing screen can be seen in album art view…

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Or song list view. That light blue progress bar to the left of the top song will fill in the whole row as the song plays.

Since the Palm Pre multitasks, you can play music while you surf or do other things. Nifty.

If you need a new song fix, you can go to the Amazon MP3 store and buy some with your Pre.

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The interface for the store is easy to navigate.

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It has a search feature – of course.

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You can buy albums or songs, which will be charged to the credit card that you have on file with Amazon.com.

The Pre as a camera

I was anxious to try out the Pre’s built in 3 megapixel camera. I was encouraged by the fact that it has a built in LED flash.

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When you launch the camera application, you’re put in viewfinder mode by default. My screenshot didn’t capture the live view finder, but you get the idea. The interface is very simplistic. There’s a green shutter button and the flash button that toggles between always on, never on and auto on. The other button launches the photo viewer.

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Photos are separated into photo roles, all images, screen captures and wallpapers.

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Images are shown in thumbnails that can be then shown full screen, zoomed, etc.

Here are some sample pix that you can check out. Click on them to see the full sized images.

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The camera takes ok pictures indoors and outdoors, but you can forget macro shots. Darn. I always like a phone with a camera that can take good close up pix because I sometimes like to snap pictures of product labels, magazine ads, etc when I’m at a store.

The camera also doesn’t record video… boo. You can’t change the resolution (which is 1520 x 2032), zoom, etc. either.

I’ve had the Palm Pre for 5 days now and so far I have to tell you that not in love with it. I am still loving the size and the display, but the rest is just ok for me. I was hoping to be wowed the way I was when I first tried an iPhone. That’s the whole thing, so far the Pre is too much like an iPhone for me. Yeah, it has some features that the iPhone doesn’t have like a real keyboard and multi-tasking. But other than those two main features, I’m not yet thinking that I can’t live without this phone. Maybe I’ll change my mind before the week is over though. We’ll see…

I plan to cover quite a bit in my next post:

  • Built-in video applications
  • App Catalog
  • Classic emulator
  • PIM syncing

{ 51 comments… add one }

  • Cameron June 11, 2009, 10:17 pm

    RE: not being able to receive calls while getting data from web: I believe this is a limitation of Sprint’s network itself; nothing to do with 3G. You can’t do both Data and voice at the same time. It’s one of the other.

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  • Tyler Puckett June 11, 2009, 10:19 pm

    Julie,

    Coming from a Centro, would this be a great phone to upgrade to? I’m seriously considering switching to Sprint to buy it. I’ve been coming up with excuses to switch to another carrier for a long time now. AT&T’s billing practices are really starting to work on me. I hate their expensive voice plans, expensive text plans, and expensive data plans. Plus the fact I get TONS of dropped calls and poor signal indoors (and outdoors) in regions where I should be getting excellent signal.

    Although the iPhone is a really, really great phone, I refuse to give AT&T $30 a month for a data plan on a phone that has WiFi. You can’t use the MediaNet trick with the iPhone, nor can you use it with a Centro you bought from AT&T or I would have data on my Centro as we speak.

    Sprint’s $60 plan with unlimited data, text, 500 minutes, GPS navigator, and Sprint TV is really luring me in. I think I’ll at least go to the Sprint store and try the Pre.

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  • Julie June 11, 2009, 10:25 pm

    @Tyler It’s hard for me to consider switching away from AT&T because I like to change phones so often and it seems like GSM phones are more prolific than CDMA phones. That said, I have been VERY impressed with Sprint call quality. AT&T just plain sucks. But all that said, if i were going to switch carriers right now, it would probably be to Verizon… that’s just because that’s the only carrier in my town that has EVDO. And there’s a tower less than 1 mile from my house :)

    Coming from a Centro, I think you would like the Pre… But you might have problems going from stylus to finger. I know I still do.

    If you do go check one out, please come back and tell us what you think about the Pre. :)

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  • Julie June 11, 2009, 10:26 pm

    @Cameron Is that a limitation with CDMA 3G? Because I had some folks on AT&T 3G do some quick tests and they were able to do two things at once.

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  • Tyler Puckett June 11, 2009, 10:36 pm

    @Julie, Cameron:

    I believe that is a limitation of CDMA and EvDO. I seem to recall they both run on the same band, and thus can’t be use concurrently.

    This is in contrast to GSM, which runs on 850 or (rarely) 900 in the USA, while HSDPA runs on 1900.

    Don’t take this as gospel, it’s just what I seem to recall from the depths of my brain…

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  • Anonymous June 11, 2009, 10:39 pm

    You can always answer the incoming call by sliding the phone open!

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  • Tyler Puckett June 11, 2009, 10:40 pm

    @Julie:

    Will do! Have you noticed any of the slugishness that has been reported? I’ve seen videos where the Pre will routinely take 9+ seconds to open apps like the Camera. I certainly hope those issues are resolved, as the Pre has just as good (if not better) a processor as the iPhone 3G.

    Also, how’s the battery life? I’ve heard reports where the phone will quit at 1pm or a little later, perhaps around 3pm. A phone that will not make it through the day is a useless paperweight, regardless of how nice the UI and physical design is. The interesting thing is the Pre uses the same battery as the Centro, which has pretty decent battery life, but is much less complicated.

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  • andix June 11, 2009, 11:15 pm

    I don’t know. I have been looking and looking at the photos and despite the Pre not being available in Canada (northern Canada to be more precise), for me it’s a no. absolutely, definitely and finally NO.

    I’ve just reverted from a HTC Touch to an old simple Nokia 6275i phone, part of it being the absolutely impossible user interface of the Windows Mobile. I was hoping that the Pre would sport something as sleek as the Treo, just a tad fine-tuned but equally practical. for some reason Palm has chosen to appeal to 16 year-old “cool” kids with a penchant for useless eye candy instead of business users.

    and I don’t get it, why does everyone want to have their products looking and feeling like iPhones while being limited by patent issues, instead of coming up with their own thinking? it’s really sad… and if I ever upgrade to something again, it’ll be a Blackberry. that is, if I don’t manage to find myself a Motorola StarTac in the meantime.

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  • Lc June 11, 2009, 11:20 pm

    Coming from a centro I’m in LOVE with the pre. I can Facebook chat and I love being able to make web pages bigger. Ugh to hear that you’re not in love with it makes me wanna scream!

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  • jimmy June 12, 2009, 12:10 am

    it’s not just a Sprint limitation, it’s a CDMA limitation, I’m sure Verizon has the same problem. Can’t do voice and data at the same time.

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  • Holly June 12, 2009, 12:18 am

    I am a current Sprint customer and I have no problem receiving phone calls while I am online on my phone. I am currently using a Samsung Instinct and plan on upgrading to the Pre in a few weeks when I am eligible for my credit. When I am using the internet on my phone, there is a slight pause in my activity and then the call pops up on the screen. I will say that there is the occasion, however that someone will say that they called me and my phone never rings, so I think it is just the occasional Sprint issue. I have been with every major carrier and I must say that I have been the happiest with my Sprint call quality, however! Thanks for all the great feedback on the Pre…I like to do my research before I get a new phone! :-)

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  • Fred June 12, 2009, 12:52 am

    Hey Julie,
    I guess that your cell phone number was not secret…

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  • Ben Combee June 12, 2009, 1:11 am

    To get rid of the alert icon, tap on it to bring up the full notification, then slide the whole notification off the screen. You can use that to dismiss other notifications without opening the program that posted them too.

    If that doesn’t work, try resetting the device with Orange+Sym+R. I don’t think it will stay on screen after a reboot.

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  • jason June 12, 2009, 1:15 am

    @Tyler
    I went from a palm centro to the palm pre. Overall, I really miss my centro as far as being able to do EVERYTHING with one hand. You do well to think of the pre as a two handed phone–even more than iphone cause it doesn’t even have an on-screen keyboard so you have to slide the keyboard out and sometimes it’s like handling a slippery fish: two hands or you might drop the thing. I wonder if this ZAGG’s invisibleSHIELD for pre works on the capacitive touch screen (as advertised)…then the pre may not be so slippery.

    Although centro’s browser and email suck (whereas pre’s browser and email are brilliant), I hate using my finger to navigate around on the pre, including moving the cursor in a sentence: there is no button!!! you have to hold a orange button with the thumb of one hand and swipe with the finger on the other hand…and even then it is so hard to either make it move or not to overshoot the target. I know it is not a good habit but I could literally type a text message on a centro while driving. Impossible on the pre. On centro I could easy answer a phone, type in a number or find a contact. If that pre keyboard is not already open then you are taking a risk to open and type on these even smaller pre keys while driving. Not having a desktop sync leaves me with a sinking feeling. The preferences are so mimimal this phone begs for apps to manage everything. NO VOICE dialing??? C’mon, this should be standard since it is illegal in many states to have a phone up to your ear and I would imagine if they see you trying to dial and your car weaves you are going to get a ticket too.

    Although I have a pre, what I am waiting on is another candy bar phone but running webOS. The apps are the bomb. A real onboard GPS, Sprint navigation turn by turn and google maps just saved me from buying a navigation unit (at least for now since might be enough). Wifi has saved me too when sprint signal is weak in my office.

    I really lost a lot leaving my centro (including paying more for this so-called everything plan) but there is a little bit of joy in my pre. I would say Im only 50% happy with pre over my centro…only pre’s software and screen, rest of the hardware sucks, including crappy battery life, no lanyard and no expansion card and stupid microUSB coming out the side of the phone. OK, enough venting for today:)

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  • Tom June 12, 2009, 1:31 am

    I found this site in the Google Tech. section. Great article on the new Palm! I will be sure to keep coming back to this site. Keep up the great work!

    Sincerely,

    Tom

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  • Rob Tillotson June 12, 2009, 3:20 am

    @Julie, re: simultaneous voice and data:

    It seems to be all a matter of design and implementation decisions. On the Sprint/Verizon side of things, the older EVDO and 1X standards don’t support it at all, while EVDO rev. A does it only with a catch: the voice has to be routed over the data connection as VOIP, not as an independent voice call. That’s just not how the Sprint and Verizon networks work, so you can’t do it.

    On the other side of the fence, UMTS does support it, so you can do both voice and data on AT&T’s 3G network (and probably T-Mobile’s, although I know little about it yet). The question is, is that worth dealing with the rest of AT&T :)

    re: Centro and such.

    So far the Pre seems like an interesting mix of good and bad points. Maybe they rushed it a little bit to compete with the iPhone? I’d love to try a GSM version of it, but I worry that its RF section would be similar to the Centro. When it comes to holding a signal the Centro was the worst GSM phone I’ve ever had, to the point of complete uselessness, so I’m not even going to consider another Palm GSM device until it’s been well-tested in situations like mine. Still, WebOS seems interesting and I hope I can find some way to at least play with it a bit, maybe through a developer’s kit or something…

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  • Will June 12, 2009, 5:52 am

    Hi Julie, I am a bit confused about your comments on the pre’s camera. I have read other reviews where they say it is brilliant….including it’s macro mode?

    I am from the UK, so I am keen to see the GSM Pre arrive on our shores. Although, I have to say some of your comments about what you have to do to answer a simple phone call are concerning, especially when the phone is idle….whatever happened to the ‘zen of palm’ approach….i.e. the KISS principle !

    rgds, Will

    regards, Will

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  • Julie June 12, 2009, 7:41 am

    @Tyler I do feel like the Pre is too slow launching applications. So far the battery life excluding the one time it drained in less than 4 hours has been fine.

    @andix I agree. I didn’t want an iPhone clone. I wanted something new and fresh. I don’t hate the Pre, but I’m not excited by it, which makes me sad.

    @Lc I’m sorry that my lack of affection to the Pre is making you want to scream ;) I do think the Pre is a very good first effort for webOS. And I’ll be very curious to see what other devices pop up. The EOS is one I’m very much looking forward to.

    @Fred I was too tired last night to edit all the images with my phone number. And anyone could easily look it up on google if they were so inclined. So I just shrugged and thought who cares ;)

    @Ben I dismissed the alert notification a bazillion times. Resetting now… (queue Jeopardy theme music)…. still resetting…. I avoided doing this because it takes so long to do… still resetting… Ok, the alarm icon is gone now :)

    @Jason I completely agree that the Pre is a two handed device. I am very partial to candy bar phones like the Centro and others. So far the only slider that I’m really enjoying is the little Pantech Matrix Pro. And that’s because it’s super easy to slide open and has physical buttons on the front that make it easy to answer and send a call with one hand.

    @Rob Thanks for the explanation of the dual voice / data usage :)

    @Will About pictures, I can only tell you that the ones I’ve taken are ok. Macros are just plain crap. I’d like to see some real examples of good macro shots taken with the Pre. I haven’t read other Pre reviews yet. I make it a point not to read reviews of devices I’m writing about until AFTER I’ve finished my own review. :)

    As for answering a call while idle, I failed to mention (I’ll go update the article) that you can just slide open the phone.

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  • Chris aka webbahoy June 12, 2009, 9:37 am

    Julie – am enjoying your reviews. Keep up the good work!

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  • Doc June 12, 2009, 9:49 am

    While I understand that there’s not a whole lot that’s new when you’re comparing it to an iPhone, why mark it down for things that the iPhone also doesn’t do? I don’t understand this train of thought. This is of course comparing it to currently available iPhones.

    I did not want to switch to AT&T from Sprint just for an iPhone because I’ve used them in the past and was very not happy with them. Being a long time Sprint customer the Pre gives me an iPhone-like option.

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  • Geakz June 12, 2009, 10:03 am

    The lasagna looks great.

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  • Julie June 12, 2009, 10:12 am

    @Doc Just a hazard of the review trade I guess. I’m always comparing things that I’ve used before. I’m not realy knocking the Pre for what the iPhone also doesn’t do. I’m knocking the Pre (for me) because it’s too much like an iPhone and not more original. It’s missing something that always made Palm OS devices special for me. I can’t put my finger on it yet. The closest thing is what someone else said in a comment about it not having the Zen of Palm.

    @Geakz Where do you see the lasagna? I took a picture, but I don’t have it in the review. You’re kinda freaking me out ;)

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  • Andy Chen June 12, 2009, 10:20 am

    The pan of lasagna is in the thumbnail view. That, and I knew you made some the other day.

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  • Julie June 12, 2009, 10:23 am

    @Andy Jeez, I realllllly need bifocals ;)

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  • Scud June 12, 2009, 10:26 am

    How do you reject a call that came when Pre was in idle mode?

    Re: finger vs stylus: I’m a long-time Treo 650 user and I can’t remember when I used my stylus last time for other purpose than to reset the device :)

    What concerns me more is the absence of 5-way button, which is a must to have while working via keyboard. It seems to me that positioning the cursor using fingers must be kind of tricky, isn’t it?

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  • Doc June 12, 2009, 10:48 am

    That’s probably why I didn’t understand I guess. Being a longtime Windos Mobile user I love the Pre. I tried PalmOS (PalmIV and Handspring) back in 2000 and 2001 and hated it. I’ve never tried a Centro, and I’ve thus never used a 700w even though they run WinMo. I’ve been using WinMo since that time and have about $350 invested at Handango. I obviously lose this switching to the Pre, and I’m ok with that.

    Having never liked Palm, or their products, I’m not a convert based on the Pre. Wonder if the Folio works with the Pre? ;-)

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  • Doc June 12, 2009, 10:50 am

    Sorry, I meant I am a convert now.

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  • Andy Chen June 12, 2009, 11:24 am

    I want to review your lasagna. Send some over, or save a placesetting for me.

    Enjoying the Pre write-up! Totally insane on the “slide call button” feature…

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  • Julie June 12, 2009, 11:27 am

    @Scud There’s no way to reject a call (that I can find) while the phone is idle and the slider is closed.

    Positioning the cursor is a bit tricky. You have to hold down the Orange key on the keyboard to get good control over movement.

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  • Julie June 12, 2009, 11:31 am

    @Andy Hahaha, I’ll mail you some ;)

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  • SeahorseSeaEO June 12, 2009, 11:57 am

    Julie,

    If you need some apps to run in the Classic emulator, I would be more than happy to shoot you some registration codes ;)

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  • Julie June 12, 2009, 1:23 pm

    @James Hook me up! I need to do that tonight before my trial runs out. :o

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  • aphid June 12, 2009, 3:07 pm

    I also bought a Pre, but I’m not 100% committed to it yet. I haven’t ported my number over from my Treo 755p, and I am able to compare with my wife’s iPhone 3G.

    The Pre definitely has some rough edges in the software, but I find it extremely promising so far. There are definitely some “Wha?” moments I’ve found in missing features and a few bugs I’ve encountered (e.g. you can’t yet customize your SMS or IM sounds…), but these are the sort of things I fully expect can be fixed with software.

    The hardware has felt pretty good to me so far. Battery life hasn’t been great, but it’s not that much worse than my Treo was, and I’m still in the “I’m playing with it too much” phase to really know what the story is.

    The ability to switch between cards is way more convenient than what the Treo or iPhone provide. I know I’m essentially being an early beta tester on it. I can really see it improving with a few revs of the OS/apps.

    Sprint’s service has been fine so far. It’s been as good as my current provider, and they do have the AIRAVE if worse comes to worse. http://www.nextel.com/en/services/airave/index.shtml

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  • AndyL June 12, 2009, 3:19 pm

    I was experimenting….. you can reject a call in two ways: 1) if the screen is locked, push the power button twice (first push silences). 2) if the screen is unlocked tap the red ‘hang up phone’ icon on the lower right of the screen.

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  • Robert June 12, 2009, 3:19 pm

    One thing didn’t mention July is even though it can’t record video and it doesn’t have visual voice mail unlike the iphone these can be added with a bios and software upgrade. So both of these options will show up at some point soon.

    Also no with Sprint you can’t go on the web and talk at the same time…but if I’m on a website and I get a call my phone rings and I can answer it so I think your problem was with the lack of 3G.

    I find this phone so much better than the iphone. Plus AT&T is really bad! People who bought the iphone 3G will have to buy the iphone 3.0 to get the new features and a lof of the new features won’t work because of the AT&T network. So Apple will bring out a new iphone ever 6 months and people will ditch their old phone (even if their contract isn’t over and they don’t get a discount) and buy the new iphone.

    I love the Pre but if it were an exclusive on the AT&T network instead of Sprint I wouldn’t buy it no matter how good a phone it is. I laugh every time I see an iphone person and they complain about dropped calls and how bad the service is. I sometimes ask “why did you go with them then” and they say “because of the iphone”. Why would someone be so dumb to go with AT&T which sucks just to be loyal to a product? Apple and AT&T deserve each other because Apple doesn’t seem to care that AT&T is so bad and AT&T doesn’t seem to care that their so bad. If Apple said “We’ll keep you as an exclusive if you fix your network, otherwise we’re moving to someone else”, then I’d have a tiny bit of respect for Apple but they didn’t so it shows they care about as much as AT&T. Neither AT&T nor Apple have any reason to care because people keep going to them for the iphone and now both companies will make a boat load more money with the 3.0 and the Apple fanpeople will stick with them through thick and thin. I’m only loyal to a brand that I think is worthy of my loyalty and neither Apple nor AT&T mobile (I do have uverse which is a pretty good service) are worthy of my loyalty. Just like if a friend screws me over I’m not going to be loyal to him/her. AT&T mobile and Apple don’t seem to be very good friends.

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  • JC June 12, 2009, 4:00 pm

    I love the iPhone but hate the high rates AT&T has – with a basic call plan, data plan and unlimited text over $100.00 a month for only 1 person! That has been my BIG deterrent. I had Sprint years ago and never had a dropped call and it worked perfectly throughout the US but the customer service was atrocious that’s why I swtiched…now I have T-mobile and I have spotty reception and frequent drop calls but their customer service has been excellent. I had a chance to play with the Pre at my local Best Buy and I loved the WebOS but the Pre’s plastics felt cheap almost “toy-like” – like a snap together toy and its construction left me wondering about durability – that was my big turn off with this phone…I am still up in the air about what’s going to be my next phone!

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  • Chelsea June 12, 2009, 4:12 pm

    I’m enjoying your review and have just a few things to add :)

    I also waited in line and got a Pre the day it came out – first time I’ve ever done that! I’m definitely not a person who switches phones often; I’ve had only 3 cell phones (including the Pre) during my 8 years with Sprint! I had my first cell for about 6 yrs with no problems. :) That being said, I obviously won’t have much to add as far as the Pre vs. this phone or that phone. I can say I miss being able to drop my phone all over the place without any worries ;) My other two phones were so hardy – a sanyo something (flip) and a katana II.

    1.) I have had very little trouble with the keyboard and placing the cursor, but I have pretty small fingers. When typing something, I don’t have to push the Orange key to place the cursor somewhere else on the screen… I just tap my finger where I want it to go. Works well enough for me.

    2.) I’ll have to pay more attention next time, but I’m fairly certain I’ve gotten an incoming call while surfing… but I’m in an area with very good reception, idk if that matters. From what others are saying, it’s impossible with Sprint but… I’m not so sure about that.

    3.) I haven’t had battery problems. Yes, my phone barely makes it through the day with lots of use (surfing, txting, email, etc), but it does make it. And actually, yesterday I took it off the charger around 11am and at 4pm it reported having 92% battery life left! I had barely used it, but that was comforting after hearing all the horror stories. I seem to have good luck with phones. :) I do keep Wifi and Bluetooth turned off almost always, fwiw. Also my phone doesn’t have to expend too much effort looking for service; I have great coverage where I live.

    4.) I’m in college and have a bunch of friends with iPhones. I definitely like them but I wasn’t going to switch to AT&T for anything! AT&T has horrible coverage in many areas around campus and I’ve ALWAYS had a good signal with Sprint. Plus the difference in cost of plans is massive. So when Sprint/Palm came out with the Pre, I was so excited. Some ppl are upset that the Pre is too similar to the iPhone, but considering the huge success of the iPhone, I think it’s safe to say that the majority of people want the iPhone or something similar, and you’ve gotta cater to the masses. I think Palm has been as original as possible with the Pre while also trying to keep up with the latest smart phone trends.

    5.) I think to dismiss a call, just push the power button as you would to turn the screen off. Not sure though, I’ll try it next time my mom calls me ;)

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  • Robert June 12, 2009, 4:16 pm

    JC that makes no sense to me. You left Sprint even though you had good coverage but bad customer service (Since sprint got a CEO the customer service is better, not perfect but I was with AT&T for a week last year because I thought I would be cheaper since I have Uverse, but with all the extras it was actually $60 more a month so I switch back to Sprint. AT&T’s customer service is way worse than Sprints, it took them 3 days to activate my phone with the new number from the temp number they gave me…3 DAYS! Then I got dropped calls around my area like crazy and they said “you should get good reception bring in your phone”, I brought in my phone and they said “your phone is fine it must be in the house and we don’t support indoor calls”. So I dropped them and have been happy ever since. T-mobile I hear has good customer service but I will not go with a company that has such a bad network. I’d rather have a phone with no camera, no texting no nothing, and get good calls then have a phone that does everything but get good calls.

    I think the build quality of the Pre is fine. It does have a plastic body and I understand why they did that but it still feels pretty good. Plus if you get the touchstone you get the nice back. To me after the Pre the iphone seems like the toy and after a while there will be a ton of apps for it and, and more options will be added to it, and it’ll be just that much better.

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  • JC June 12, 2009, 8:33 pm

    Robert, I had Sprint over 3 years ago…and eventhough the network was great, the customer service was hell on earth – at that time – you called Sprint and they made you wait and wait then you got some idiot(s) – that if your question was not on their Q&A book, they will place you on hold and pass you around. I had a problem with my bill and it took over 3 calls and literally HOURS to resolve – ridiculous. I waited until my contract expired – or face a high early termination fee then switched to T-mobile – their customer service was DRAMATICALLY different AND so much much better – very helpful, very efficient and they knew their stuff – unlike Sprint. I know that Sprint now has a new CEO who promises a much better customer service experience. My contract with T-mobile expires soon so I will be shopping around for a better network company. I like T-mobile’s customer service but their network is weak. Like you I heard horrible things about AT&T from poor reception to bad customer service – all from iPhone users. Regarding the feel of the Pre – it’s my opinion – it just feels too plasticy to me and when you open the keyboard, the lip around the keyboard feels sharp and uncomfortable. For many others, this phone is just perfect for them, not me.

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  • Court June 13, 2009, 12:29 am

    Hi Julie – I appreciate your review, even though your feelings are different than mine. You were honest to yourself and not to your desire to blindly support a new Palm product. Coming from a Moto Q, this thing is leaps and bounds better. But the one very important point, at least to me, is the form factor. The size of the Pre compared to the iPhone reminds me of when Apple had the Newton and Palm came out w/ the Pilot! What a world of difference. For me, a mobile phone needs to be a phone first and everything else second. I actually like the phone interface quite well and think Palm got the form factor right on the money. My brother has an iPhone and it just does not fit in one’s pocket well. And I just don’t dig the belt cases (I love technology, but not as an apparel item). The Pre, on the other hand, fits in my pocket as comfortable as my handkerchief (well, almost ;-) and fits in the palm of my hand like it belongs there. I wonder if size and form factor are important phone attributes to others?

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  • Robert June 13, 2009, 1:05 am

    JC yes for one person the phone may be great and another it may not be. From what I read Palm is coming out with other form factors for the phone, one being kind of like the old school palm without a slide keyboard, maybe thats something you would like more. The one thing that I heard that I didn’t know if I’d like or not is instead of 8gb of ram it’ll have 4gb, not sure if that was just rumor or not. I think Palm should come out with different form factors. Maybe one that slides landscape, and one that doesn’t slide and maybe even one that just has a virtual keyboard like the iphone but is thin. Give people options and they will come because one will be for their liking thats what I always say. We’ll have to see what happens. I hope this works out for Palm, I love the phone and hopefully others will feel the love too. If not then maybe Google will buy them and absorb WebOS into Android. I hear T-mobile has good customer service, only Verizon gets better ratings from JD power. A year or so ago I heard a rumor that T-mobile wanted to buy Sprint and I was a little happy because to have a phone that did CDMA and GSM…that works in the US…would be awesome. To bad that was just a rumor or fell through. It would have been a win for T-mobile because they would have gotten a good network…even though its CDMA…and it would have been good for Sprint because they would have gotten the T-mobile customer service.

    Court I agree the size of the phone is really nice and it does fit in the hand and pocket really nicely. Apple has always been known for their elegant hardware but I think Palm beat them with the Pre, the phone is almost like a work of art, its just beautiful.

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  • jason June 13, 2009, 3:05 am

    TIP: To hide unused time in calendar set beginning of day to 1200am and end of day to 1200am.

    [more venting...skip if you are happy]
    I wish they would put webos on the centro…I love the centro except the mail and browser. And the fact they never update PalmOS.

    Or add a 5-way or track ball to the pre.
    Hey, I figured out that to move the cursor I am supposed to swipe on the actual display…I was swiping in the gesture area. Works better, at least left and right but to go to a new line you still have to peck the screen).

    Can’t wait to add grips to this phone…
    [venting off for a moment...]

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  • Marianne June 13, 2009, 8:48 am

    Great job on the review, Julie! Looking forward to the next post.

    I also used to be a big Palm fan back in the days of the Palm V PDA. I tried a Treo 600 and hated it and gave them up for a couple of years and then tried out a Treo 680. I had a very bad experience with the 680 as well and swore Palm off for good with mixed feelings since I used to think they made such cool devices. I had high hopes for the Pre, but the more reviews I read, the more it seems like it’s not as big of a game-changer as it could have been. Maybe that will change once there are more 3rd-party apps out there for it, but I’m sticking to my iPhone for the time being, particularly since a GSM Pre isn’t available yet.

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  • Michael June 13, 2009, 9:39 am

    Regarding coverage at your home (or office). I called Sprint regarding this very issue. The solution, they sent me an Airave and service for free. This is a device that connects to internet via your router and takes all calls (within range) and places them seamlessly over the internet. The result, is amazing sounding full strength calls.

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  • jason June 13, 2009, 2:21 pm

    Correction on tip:
    TIP: To hide unused time in calendar set an appointment at 1205am (just leave name blank or ‘.’) and an appointment at 1155pm (just leave name blank or ‘..’) , set for repeat daily and no reminder. This will fold all unused time in your daily view, reducing scrolling, and displays your free times from midnight to midnight +/-5 minutes (doesn’t work setting it to 1200am).

    Until palm fixes this…or Datebook/Agendus for palm comes.

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  • ZAL June 14, 2009, 1:08 pm

    THE PRE GETS VERY HOT WILE WORKING ON THE INTERNET AND WILE CHARGING

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  • Marianne June 14, 2009, 1:54 pm

    Forgot to ask how you’re taking the Pre screenshots… Is there a built-in functionality to do this like there is on the iPhone?

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  • Julie June 14, 2009, 2:29 pm

    @Marianne Yes, there’s a special key press combination (Orange button, Sym button and the letter P) to take screen shots :) Sure makes things easier for us reviewers!

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  • Q June 14, 2009, 11:47 pm

    “I thought the notification system was really nifty for about 1 day. Now I’m over it. It seems to get in my way more than help me.”

    I’m mixed on it so far, though I’ve only played with a couple of demo units in Sprint stores to date. What I really would like to see changed on those demos, though, is that they go back to Palm’s demo video way too quickly! After ~15 seconds, you get a notification about it and it expands from there to ask if you want to run the demo app. That really gets old fast.

    On more day-to-day notifications… chances are there’ll be apps to customize those before long.

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  • Mk K July 7, 2009, 1:37 pm

    I need voice dialing!

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  • Lloyd March 17, 2012, 1:39 pm

    Absolute garbage. Do not get this phone

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