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Palm Pre 2 - Keyboard, Performance and Verdict

By Edward Chester

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

The camera is a 5 megapixel unit with an LED flash, however it lacks autofocus and video is only standard definition, not HD. In use the camera is easy enough, but it has no settings whatsoever, bar turning the flash on or off. Combined with the lack of autofocus it makes for a very limiting photography tool. Results are okay in terms of detail and colour but, despite the small lens meaning the lack of autofocus has a less dramatic effect than on a 'proper' camera, overall they're a step below the competition. Switching to video and things don't improve a great deal. You get smooth enough motion and decent colours but the lack of HD really is a let down in this day and age.

The keyboard is quite narrow and has small rubber keys that some people will find are too tiny. However, with what we’d consider average man hands we had no problems. Indeed, thanks to a great layout, it’s quite a nice typing experience and in WebOS 2.0 Palm has finally added predictive text which works well. Nevertheless, we would still like to see an all touchscreen version of the Pre with a decent onscreen keyboard. As it stands, WebOS, even in its second iteration, and despite many people’s protestations, remains without even an option for an onscreen keyboard.

Using the Palm Pre 2, its 1GHz processor (up from the miserly 500MHz one on the Pre and Pre Plus) and the software's support for GPU acceleration makes for a super snappy and slick interface, indeed it's second to none in this regard. You also get both Wi-Fi, for fast local browsing, and 3G for data on the move, and there's 16GB of internal memory, though no microSD slot for adding more.

Making a few calls on the Palm Pre 2, it threw up no causes for concern, though the deceptively large looking speaker doesn't actually return as good quality sound as you'd hope. Battery life is okay, with up to two days average use obtainable, but it seems to be particularly poor at retaining charge when in standby with us regularly returning to a dead phone when left over the weekend. This was presumably because of background activity like syncing emails so potentially life could be extended by turning a few of these options off, but we couldn't work out how to.

So the hardware is competent but not exactly market leading. What makes the Palm Pre 2 so appealing though is that currently it's the only phone that runs the stupendous WebOS 2.0. That software is simply a joy to use and puts almost all alternatives to shame. From messaging through email, web browsing, listening to music, running apps, social networking, and of course making calls, there are few areas where it slips up and is beaten by the competition. Certainly if you're after a smaller than average phone mainly for productivity and purposes, its superb multi-tasking makes this well worth considering.

Unfortunately, you'll have to have deep pockets up front as currently the phone is only available direct from Palm for £399. Just as when the original Pre launched with exclusivity to O2, this could actually be the biggest problem for this phone. Were you able to pick it up for free on a £20pm contract it would at least be good value, however at £399 it's just a tad too pricey to recommend.

Verdict

While the software of the Palm Pre 2 is on a par with anything else out there, the hardware still doesn't do it justice. It certainly has some great features – like wireless charging – and is generally easy to use but its small screen, lack of onscreen keyboard, small physical keyboard and poor camera means it trails the competition by some way.

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Ala Miah

November 30, 2010, 3:50 pm

I want the Palm Pre 2 simply because of the software, nothing out there not even iOS beats WebOs 2.0.





I can do away with the hardware nigles because I'm not looking for the best of everything.





It just so sad that it's not available on any networks, can't afford this on it's own :(.





Surely o2 would like to pick this up as they had the origion palm pre.

KultiVator

November 30, 2010, 11:15 pm

This is the OS platform I most want to see set free on some decent tablet hardware.





Come on HP, concentrate on making this happen (and please get it right first time).

Premfab

November 30, 2010, 11:54 pm

It must be good - it's not Apple!!





HP products of past have always been well thought out, usable and robust. Hopefully some of this culture has been passed down to the Palm Pre 2.





The reason for the opening statement about Apple is iTunes - they really need to get rid of it. I don't care how cool or slick the iphone is - it is still tethered to an incredible piece of crapware.

rav

December 1, 2010, 3:39 am

I'm a bit confused by what you mean by poor hardware? Screen aside the hardware specs pretty much matches any high end smartphone.





Personally I don't think the screen is even too much of an issue. Yes bigger and higher res is better but given that you don't lose any space to the virtual keyboard 3.1" should be okay in practice.

Ed

December 1, 2010, 2:47 pm

@rav: Small, low res screen. Poor camera. Not a particularly good keyboard. Plastic construction (though this has its upsides as well). It's not appalling but when you can get significantly better on a variety of other devices.

rav

December 1, 2010, 3:34 pm

@Ed


Fair enough. I was thinking more about the components but when you're spending 400 notes you' like to have something you can show off to your mates.

Simmy

August 5, 2011, 7:14 am

I used to have an iPhone 3GS!
+ then got a palm ore 2,
Hate the palm! Freezes all the time, doesn't receive all texts or calls! It's crap to be honest!
I recommend you don't get one!

Simmy

August 5, 2011, 7:16 am

I used to have an apple iPhone 3GS
Then got palm pre 2.
I wish i still have my iPhone,
Palm freezes, doesn't receive all calls+texts
And have to put the password on for the Internet everyday!

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