Product: The Palm Pre, sold by Sprint
Features: 3.1-inch touch screen with full QWERTY keyboard. Has built-in GPS, a three megapixel camera with LED flash. Can tap into nearby Wi-Fi and has eight GB of memory.
Price: $199.99 after $100 mail-in rebate and two-year service contract
Ups: This is a beautiful phone with a great interface. The operating system's synergy is convenient: For example, it easily manages multiple e-mail accounts, imports contacts from Facebook and Google, and has a layered calendar for Outlook, Facebook and Google events. I'm also a fan of a camera with flash, and how you can have multiple programs open at the same time. And for iTunes users, the phone will sync up with iTunes when connected to a computer.
Downs: The keyboard is tiny, and I used my nails to type. Still, it's better than having no physical keyboard.
Because it's new, there are not many applications available to download in the app store, but that can change in time.
Currently the Pre doesn't have a way to edit or create Microsoft documents like Word or Excel; this function reportedly is coming soon. It also doesn't record video -- something that pretty much every other average phone on the market can do. (Sigh.) Palm said they may look into adding video recording in the future.
Bottom line: This is a fantastic phone; I preferred many features on the Pre to the iPhone. Took me about 15 minutes to become comfortable using the unique touch-screen controls, but I have had no problems or quirks interacting with the screen. The battery won't last more than a day -- especially if you're running all its awesome features at once. If you're a Sprint customer, this is a must-have. But considering how often it should be recharged, I think it's worth the investment of $69.99 to get the convenient Touchstone Charging kit, which lets you just recharge by laying it on a magnetic docking pad.
(c) 2009, The Miami Herald.
Visit The Miami Herald Web edition on the World Wide Web at www.herald.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Explore further: Motorola unveils three smart phones for return to China