The best thing about the webOS is how everything is integrated. This operating system can pull address book and calendar data from a wide variety of sources: Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Exchange. Once you sign into your online accounts, everything happens automatically. Your entire online life is part of an organized, cohesive whole, and it just works.
I found the AT&T Pre Plus to be very responsive running webOS 1.4, and didn’t have to wait for any of my instructions to be carried out. Swipe gestures worked perfectly as well, and are so intuitive that after a very brief tutorial you will be navigating like a pro.
Call quality test results were somewhat below average, but I blame the AT&T network in my area. It would sometimes take a couple of tries before I could get the call to connect, and even within calls, I sometimes had trouble hearing and understanding the person on the other end of the line.
The worst problems were inside my office, where I get at most two or three bars of coverage. As soon as I step outside, call quality improved noticeably.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work exactly as expected. AT&T Wireless customers get free access to all AT&T WiFi hotspots, which is a nice bonus.
One of the major new features associated with Verizon’s Palm Pre Plus is Mobile Hotspot, which allows you to create an on-the-go mobile network connecting up to five devices. Unfortunately it seems that AT&T is not supporting thefeature at this time, which is extremely discouraging considering that the AT&T Pre Plus costs $100 than the version currently being offered by Verizon.
While the Palm Pre Plus isn’t a heavy-duty workhorse, it certainly gets the job done in the organization department. The calendar and contact applications are a joy to use, with little touches that help keep your life in order. Contact reminders are just awesome; I love being able to type in a quick little note and have it pop up as soon as I call or text.
Universal search is a great feature as well; just entering a couple of letters on the keyboard is generally enough to help me find what I’m looking for. I especially appreciate the fact that I don’t have to go somewhere special to use it. I just have to start typing. It’s similar to the spotlight search on my iPod touch, but I don’t have to swipe back from the home screen to get a search box on the Pre Plus.
The other apps that came with the original Palm Pre are here, such as Memos, Tasks, the document viewer and the PDF Viewer. Both Google Maps and AT&T Navigator are also included.
The email experience is simply great; I was able to get through my overflowing inbox very quickly every time I checked my mail. The LED light at the bottom of the display blinks when new messages arrive, and a simple swipe is all it takes to delete messages I don’t want to read. It’s also very easy to mark “favorite” inboxes or folders, which is extremely useful. I have about 30 mail folders for organization, but there are only four that I actually need to keep on top of on a regular basis.
The web browsing experience on the Palm Pre Plus is very good, especially the “index card” bookmarks that put all of your most-visited sites a single tap away. The web browser loads even complicated pages with a lot of ads rather quickly, and I didn’t have trouble with readability or problems scrolling.
The webOS music player works great, allowing you to listen to your own music or purchase more from Amazon.com. You can listen to MP3 and AAC files from your computer; music files attached to email messages can also be played in the WAV, AMR and QCLEP formats.
The smartphone has about 16 GB of storage, which is OK, but not great. A memory card slot is absent, which eliminates the possibility to add more.
Games and other entertainment applications are available from the Palm App Catalog, with both paid and free applications available. Downloads were fast and installation was quick and trouble-free.
The 3 megapixel camera takes fairly good photos, though results were somewhat inconsistent; some photos shot under identical conditions came out a little too warm or too cool in tone, for example.
The camera is good enough for everyday shots you might otherwise miss, but definitely won’t replace a standalone camera.
The Pre Plus comes with an 1150 mAh user swappable/replaceable battery that is rated for up to five hours of 3G talk time.
I haven’t had this device long enough to make a definitive judgment on battery life, though I expect that it will be relatively similar to the Verizon Palm Pre Plus, which was good, but not spectacular.