- Twice the memory
- Exceptional calendar and contact features
- Good camera
- Keyboard is adequate
- Battery life is barely acceptable
- No memory card expansion slot
An easy to use smartphone that's ideal for soccer moms.
The Palm Pre Plus, only available from Verizon for now, is an updated version of the Palm Pre launched last year. It offers twice the memory and a new Mobile Hotspot feature in a svelte, slightly redesigned package.
Like the original Pre, this smartphone runs the webOS, and has a 3.1-inch HVGA touchscreen and a small portrait-oriented keyboard. The Pre Plus also includes 3G, Wi-Fi, and a 3.0 megapixel camera with LED flash.
The Palm Pre Plus is available now for $150 with a two-year contract.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Palm Pre Plus is eye-catching in its simplicity. Unlike most of the cookie-cutter phones on the market today, it is curvy and sleek, with almost no visible controls.
The device feels wonderfully solid in the hand. At just under 5 ounces the Pre Plus is very light, but it doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap. The edges and corners are perfectly rounded, so you won’t feel any uncomfortable jabs or sharp pokes in your palm when holding the phone. The button that was in the gesture area on the original Palm Pre has been removed, making it even sleeker and easier to use.
It’s a little thicker than some devices on the market right now, which is due mostly to the slider design that houses the keyboard behind the screen. It’s still eminently pocketable though, so you shouldn’t have any issues with unsightly bulges in your pockets.
With its sleek design, you have to look closely to find the ringer/vibrate switch and headphone jack on the top, the volume up/down keys on the left side, and the covered charging port on the right side. The back of the phone is completely plain aside from the Palm logo, the camera lens and flash on the top left, and the speaker on the top right.
The 3.1-inch display runs at a resolution of 480 x 320 and is absolutely gorgeous. Colors are rich and vibrant, text is sharp and easy to read, and I really enjoy everything from looking at photos to surfing the web — no squinting required.
My only “complaint” is that the screen can be a bit too bright, especially in low light situations. Of course the good thing about that is that the display is perfectly readable in bright sunlight, which is a major plus. It’s ridiculous that the displays on many modern devices wash out so badly on sunny days that you can’t even place a call or take a photo without trying to shade the screen with your hand.
The phone’s keyboard is hidden by the display; to access it, hold the bottom portion of the phone in your hand and use your thumb to push up at the bottom.. The sliding action is relatively tight, so steady pressure is required to get it started, but the phone quickly snaps into place. Once the display is extended to reveal the keyboard, it doesn’t wiggle or move at all.
The keys fill all the available horizontal space and they are both backlit and clearly labeled for easy use. One improvement of the Pre Plus over the original Pre is the keyboard, as the keys on the new model have a slightly better feel when pressed.
The Pre Plus’s keyboard is fairly good, but you have to adjust to it. . There isn’t much space between the keys, and they are rounded and only slightly curved on the top surface. At first I found myself using my thumbnails, which was both slow and frustrating because I often hit the wrong keys.
When I made a concerted effort to relax and switched to the tips of my thumbs, it worked much better. I was able to type at a reasonable speed, and accuracy improved. Like many other phone keyboards, the one on the Pre Plus is adequate (though in the previous graf you said it was “pretty good” which is better than adequate… perhaps a new adjective for the first keyboard reference?), though I certainly won’t be using it to pen the next great American novel anytime soon.