Palm Pre review

Does the Palm Pre live up to the expectations of style conscious business users? Read our review to find out.

Palm Pre
Price
£399

The Palm Pre has large boots to fit its relatively diminutive frame into. Not only is it the most vehemently touted iPhone killer of the last 12 months, it's also the first phone to use the webOS operating system. It is seen by many as one of Palm's last chances to crack through the tech enthusiast shell and into the mainstream mobile market.

First impressions

It's with some trepidation then that we first slid back the Pre's QWERTY - with the king of PDA's fragile future cradled between our fingers. The first things to strike you are positives. The screen is luscious, with a bright image and vivid colours. As it has fewer inches and the same resolution compared to an iPhone, the pixel density on the Pre is greater, giving the impression of a sharper image.

Then there's the fact that unlike many smartphones currently flooding the market the Pre owns its design. There's no sense that the Pre is an identikit copy of other limelight-grabbing handsets on the market, which, shallow as it may sound, is a boon if you're looking to differentiate yourself from your BlackBerry- and iPhone-toting colleagues without compromising on features.

At the heart of the Pre's design is its slide-out QWERTY keyboard. However, it feels more like a non-slider mini-QWERTY, like the one seen on the budget BlackBerry 8520, than the full-length leviathans we normally see careening out from underneath smartphone screens. Such a form factor has its own share of benefits and negatives.

It makes sure that the Pre has the smooth lines to cut it as a simultaneous work and weekend device, but arguably doesn't let you get your typing speed up to full-length QWERTY levels. We spent quite a while typing emails and texts on the Pre to see how our fingers and thumbs fared, and although we eventually did get to faster speeds than we normally manage with an on-screen virtual keyboard, mistakes were more frequent too.

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