How Does The New Palm Pre Stack Up?

June 4, 2009
Eric Zeman

This weekend, the most anticipated smartphone of 2009 goes on sale at Sprint and Best Buy stores nationwide. Is it worth lining up for?

This weekend, the most anticipated smartphone of 2009 goes on sale at Sprint and Best Buy stores nationwide. Is it worth lining up for?

In short, the answer is yes. If you're a current Sprint customer and looking for a capable messaging phone to upgrade to, the Pre is definitely worth looking at. Here's why.

It is amazingly small and compact. The Pre (pronounced "pree") is smooth, pretty and fits into any pocket you care to shove it into. It features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for messaging, a standard 3.5mm stereo headphone jack (works with most headphones), and it boasts one of the best and brightest displays I've ever seen on a mobile phone. The QWERTY keyboard is a little on the cramped size, but many will probably be fine with it.

It runs a brand new operating system from Palm called webOS. Palm gave it this name because it incorporates a lot of web technologies into the OS itself, as well as the way we've become use to interacting with the Internet via web browsers. As with all Palm devices, the Pre has a touch screen for user input. It works better than the screen of the iPhone and is a delight to use. The new operating system makes good use of this capability, and has some really fun-to-use features, such as the ability to "fling" applications off the screen.

It has perhaps the best contacts/personal information management system ever conceived for a phone. The system, called Synergy, merges contact information from all your various online accounts and email systems (including Gmail, Exchange, Facebook) and creates one master contact list. It is amazingly efficient, and this system cuts down on duplicate entries in your contacts database.

The Pre also supports full HTML email for a graphically rich experience. Text messages are threaded into conversations that also include picture messages. Instant Messaging is also fully supported, and the Pre even lets you carry out multiple IM conversations at once.

On the multi-media side of things, the Pre has a capable camera, very good music player, and fun things such as YouTube and an Amazon MP3 store built right into the phone. Other features include GPS, WiFI, a fast mobile Internet browser, video player, and navigation software. If you're interested in downloading applications for the Pre, the Palm App Catalog will also be present on the phone, though it is currently still in beta.

In sum, the Pre is a powerful and elegant phone that should make a big splash in the coming weeks.