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HP Pre 3 Hands On

The new larger screen packs in a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, which brings the Pre right up into line with most of the best out there. It's an LCD panel, so doesn't have quite the colour saturation and contrast of an AMOLED but it's still a very nice display with strong natural looking colours, a high level of sharpness and great viewing angles. The extra size really does make a huge difference to seeing the Pre 3 as a viable option to your Androids and iPhones.

Something unique to the Pre 3 is what's beating at its heart; a 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8x55 processor. This actually excites us a lot more than the 1GHz dual-core phones out there as currently a single faster chip is of more benefit to overall usability than two slower chips, a subject we discuss in more detail in our article The Problem With Multi-core Mobiles. Obviously we can't directly compare the performance of a dual-core Android phone with this phone as they run different operating systems but certainly the Pre 3 did seem lightning quick. That processor is backed by 512MB RAM and either 8GB or 16Gb or internal storage, though no microSD slot (yes, this could be a stumbling block for many potential purchasers). Also, we're not sure how long the battery will last with that high power chip and only a 1230mAh battery.

The version of WebOS currently running on the handset is the same as found on the Pre 2, so there are no new features to discuss but you still get the same amazingly slick and intuitive touch and gesture based interface with its card based multitasking Just Type search, Quick Actions and Synergy. The latter is its information integration platform that adds social networking pics and updates to contacts, calendars and such like. You can read about the full gamut of features in our in depth look at WebOS 2.0. You can also print straight from the phone to wireless HP printers.

New is the ability to work in conjunction with the also newly announced TouchPad. You can touch the two together to send information from one to the other, or use the pad's cameras, speaker and microphone to make a call (the pad can't make a call on its own). So you can have left your phone charging upstairs while you're sat on the sofa browsing the web on your TouchPad when a call comes in, just tap answer and away you go.

Frankly, given our brief time with this handset, we were utterly taken with it. The form factor, the operating system, the keyboard, the screen, it all feels great. We're sure there will be a few cracks that appear - beyond the obvious continued lack of an onscreen keyboard - when we test the phone properly but for now you can colour us impressed. There is, however, a fly in the ointment; the phone won't be out until 'summer', leaving it coming to market after many of the dual-core Android phones that have just been announced and possibly the next iPhone. Will anyone hold out for the Pre for that long? Let us know in the comments.

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