Palm Pre Review

Sturdy black plastic, styled with exaggerated curves give the Pre the look and feel of a glossy, river washed stone. It slides open easily revealing a portrait QWERTY keypad and powers up displaying a 3.1 inch vibrant capacitive touchscreen at 320 x 480 res. Initially fiddly to type on, the keys are carefully spaced and have a pleasing, raised gel-feel. Having no touchscreen keypad is limiting to use in landscape mode.

WebOS features multitasking and multi-touch support. Apps run within a unique activity card, managed via a ripple-effect toolbar. They can be flipped around, rearranged, and shut down by fingertip flicks. Universal search makes a fab addition to usability, and discreet, self-sizing alerts don't annoy like pop-ups can.

Palm Synergy allows combined and logical access to Yahoo!, Gmail, Exchange and facebook inboxes, plus the calendar functions synch and colour code appointments, allowing one page daily viewing by compacting free time.

The 3MP camera has a basic flash but the OS makes a real improvement, back loading image processing to allow shots at a faster rate than rivals. It doesn't take video though, D’oh! A 3.5mm jack, Wi-Fi, GPS and stereo Bluetooth all complement the Pre's functionality and Palm's App Catalog is available for a small, but growing range of downloads. 8GB storage is healthy, but can't be expanded.

A dismal battery life of less than a day is almost negated by the bundled Touchstone conductive charger. Magnetically stick the phone to the mount and it charges automatically. Coolest charger ever.

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