Palm Pre review: A pebble in your hand

GSMArena team, 19 December 2009.
Pages: 12345678

Tags: Palm, Touch UI, WebOS

Synergy in action

Managing contacts is easier than ever with Palm's Synergy. It supports multiple services (Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft Exchange, and Facebook) and you only have to enter your account and hit "sync" to start the automatic synchronization.

Any changes to the contacts are synced automatically both ways. By the way, Palm's Synergy extends well beyond Contacts to Calendar, Emails, and Tasks (however, you can synchronize tasks only with Microsoft Exchange).

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Synergy in action

Naturally, you can add and edit contacts the old way - manually or using vCards received via email. If there are contacts appearing in multiple accounts they will be transferred to the phonebook as several entries. However, you can easily merge them under one entry (Palm call it linking). Of course, it's not actually merging the info from all services - it's just showing the various info under one common item.

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Viewing and editing a contact Linking contacts

And when it comes to browsing the contacts, there is something else worth mentioning. There is no onscreen alphabet scroll but you can jump to a certain letter using the hardware keyboard.

You can compose a text or MMS directly from a contact's detail page - using a dedicated icon which launches the message composer.

Call management the simple way

Making calls is always a priority for any phone - that still holds true for smartphones no matter how smart they get. The Pre meets high standards of in-call voice quality and signal reception, but keeps it rather simple in terms of call management.

You get a basic virtual dial pad with no smart dialing. During a call you can opt for speakerphone on, mute, display dial pad or add call.

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Dialing Dee Dee No Smart Dialing support

The Pre did quite well in our loudness test. It snatched a Very Good mark and here is how it stacks up against some other handsets we've tested. More info on our test can be found here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Apple iPhone 3G66.1 62.171.7Below Average
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic75.766.568.5Good
Nokia N9772.867.375.8Good
Nokia N97 mini68.866.783.6Very Good
Palm Pre71.368.080.3Very Good
HTC Touch HD77.773.776.7Excellent

More info on our test can be found here.

Great messaging

The Palm Pre supports SMS, MMS and email. SMS and MMS share an inbox and a message editor.

Messaging gets more fun by the day as you get used to the smallish keyboard and portrait orientation. As we've already pointed out, there is no on-screen keyboard.

Notice that sending a message happens by just tapping on the button in the lower right corner of the screen. There is no confirmation required so once you've touched the button, the message gets sent (even if you tapped it by mistake).

Something else you'll need some time to get used to is positioning the cursor. There is no magnifying glass as on the iPhone. Instead, you have the orange button on the hardware QWERTY keyboard to help you move the cursor without hiding the text with your finger - press and hold it to make a dot appearing right below the cursor, then move the dot wherever you want and the cursor will move along with it.

Instant messaging is also supported (Google Talk and AIM only).

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Typing SMS on the Pre Message settings

Setting up your email is easy as it is on most of the latest phones. You type your email and password and all the other fiddly options are configured automatically. As far as the email editor is concerned, it's similar to the one responsible for SMS/MMS. You can also attach various types of files (including files that are unsupported by the device but are stored in its memory).

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Palm Pre was meant for messaging

If you have multiple email accounts it can get complicated to get to the desired message. That is why you can mark several folders (inbox, outbox, drafts, etc.) as favorite and they will be displayed on top. By the way, that works even if you have one account only and is still very useful.

Selecting multiple messages (if you want to delete them) is impossible. On the other hand deleting a message is as easy as flicking it off the screen. And you're done.

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Browsing the email inbox

While reading emails you can take advantage of the multi-touch support and use the pinch-to-zoom gesture. You can also view attached documents (such as office documents, PDF files, images, etc.).

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Reading an email

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