You might remember my blog post from back in April, which consisted of me ranting about my issues with my iPhone 3G, my internal debate over getting a BlackBerry, my pleasant but brief past with Palm. I announced that I had decided to submit to become a “Real Reviewer” to try out a Palm for six-months and regularly blog, tweet, and share online what they think of the product. Long-story short, Palm chose me! And this morning a shiny new Palm Pre arrived on my doorstep.
Now that I’ve got that photo up… *breaks into box* … Pretty! It’s super sleek. Comes with the obligatory phone charger, headset, USB cable and a pouch for the phone. It includes this piece of packaging (picture below) that make my inner design geek quite happy. Swoon.
Since so many people have my number and I have had it for so long, I decided to leave it on my iPhone at this time. Sprint assigned me a new number for the Pre. Since I’m not sure whether or not I will have to return the Pre at the end of the six-month period, I decided I would just use my Google Voice number on my Pre. Google Voice (previously Grand Central) allows me to use one number for all of my phones (mobile and land lines), voicemail (that is transcribed and emailed to me), free US long distance, and free text messaging. Save it now, if you don’t already have it: (917) 512-3650.
SETTING UP THE PRE
Back to the phone. It fits so well in the palm of my hand. It’s slick and shiny, similar to the iPhone, which means I will definitely have to be careful and leave in the pouch often as to not scratch or smudge. (When is someone going to develop a phone this slick that doesn’t have to worry about fingerprints?) The Pre was very easy to set up. When I turned the phone on, it prompted me for language (English, Spanish), activated the phone, prompted the Terms & Conditions, and guided me through setting up a Palm profile.
A Palm profile is required to activate your phone and access Palm services to:
- Update phone software
- Backup and restore personal data and applications downloaded from the App Catalog
- Erase personal data remotely
So it’s basically the equivalent to iPhone’s required an iTunes account.
The next part of the setup was Location Services. In addition to select applications that use it, the Pre uses the location services with Maps, Navigation, Camera and Universal Search. Agree to Google Mobile Terms of Service? Check! I enabled Auto Locate so applications don’t have to ask me every time for permission. It will be interesting to see if this has an effect on the battery life.
KEYBOARD & GESTURES
As when switching to any new phone, the keyboard is often the primary difference and the hardest to get used to. The keyboard on the Pre reminds me of those little sticky earrings I wore when I was four years old. Ha! Texture and size-wise. I keep feeling like my nails are going to dent the buttons. When I select something on the screen, it gives off a little ripple effect in the spot my finger made contact, whether on a selection or not. The Pre also includes a back gesture which helps you navigate through the screens on the Pre. It’s a little strip on the body of the phone, directly below the screen. Flick your finger across the area from right to left to use.
At initial usage, the display is amazing quality — very crisp. The audio sounds good, much better than the echoey sounds like sometimes come from my iPhone. It does take a little more time to load certain screens and menus than I’m used to. The little Sprint button in the top left corner with Settings is a tad bit too tiny but does make me happy to see cut, copy and paste! (Oh how am I loving you functions now that I have you.)
SOAPBOX: RINGTONES ARE BLAH
Why haven’t mobile providers come up with better preloaded ringtones yet? They are all so annoying! I opted for one called “Discreet.” Sounds terribly scandalous, doesn’t it?
COOLEST FEATURE: FACEBOOK CONTACT SYNC
The coolest feature I’ve stumbled on yet is the Facebook contacts account. It allows me to log into my Facebook account and sync it with my Pre, enabling me to access the contact info, photo and birthday of all of my Facebook friends from my Contact List on my phone. While syncing my account I got to see the Pre continuing to work even as my phone went to half sleep/key lock mode. Granted I do have almost 2000 Facebook friends, this syncing took about five minutes to complete on three bars of reception. It actually looked like it was still syncing, I interrupted it and it appeared to still have all of my contacts added with the appropriate information. I also added my two Google accounts and it supports Microsoft Exchange accounts as well. I assume if there are duplicates, it will automatically update the previous card but unfortunately (fortunately?) I’m friends on Facebook with the majority of my Google contacts so I’m not sure at quick glance.
As mentioned above, I added two Google accounts to my Contact List. When I moved over to set up my email, both of these Google accounts are already sitting there waiting for me. One of these Google accounts was a hosted account (versus Gmail) which is now no longer hosted on Google, but still contains an address book. I was unable to correctly add the new email account after adding it to my Contacts so I will need to explore how to delete that Google-version of the setup.
When you plug in the USB charger to the device (it’s a little hard to open, but I assume it will get easier with use/wear), the Pre gives you the option to sync your media, use your device as a USB drive or just charge your phone. I haven’t played around with these options yet but will report back when I do.
That’s it for now. I’m going to quit blogging and go play around with my new Pre. More soon!