Palm Centro AT&T Review
The Centro runs Palm OS, clocking in with version 5.4.9. It has not changed much over the years, and anyone who has ever used a Palm should feel comfortable picking up the Centro. In fact, users who have never used a PIM or smartphone before should be comfortable picking up the Centro too. AT&T has put its own touch on the phone screen, which has five tabs running across the bottom. The functionality isn’t any different than the Sprint Centro, there is Dialer, Favorites, Phone (which does nothing but show a wallpaper image,) Contacts and Call History, but the stylish skin give it a much more refined looks.
As always, the Palm OS runs smooth and stable, and the layout couldn’t be more intuitive. Power users can find third party applications (both free and for a fee) that will allow them to do just about anything with their device. The beauty in Palm OS is that it is easy enough that new users won’t feel intimidated, yet it is powerful enough to be a true all-in-one unit.
That said, the OS is growing stale and AT&T would have done well to skin it as well. The layout and basic functionality has not changed in nearly a decade. Features like a camera, web and multimedia players have been integrated since its initial inception, but the OS remains fundamentally unchanged. To be fair, the OS lends itself to seamless integration of new applications and features so functionality and ease-of-use remains without endless submenus.
The OS is very customizable- the user has the ability to edit and create categories, as well as reassign any application to any category they see fit - but it lacks the personalization found with Windows Mobile. There are several color themes available, but they cannot be personalized. The user can set a wallpaper in the phone tab, but it’s a generally useless feature. If Palm would incorporate a customizable home screen into the OS a-la Windows Mobile we feel it would do wonders for the aging OS.
The phonebook on the Centro is as robust as it comes. The user can store just about any piece of information they want with a contact and is limited only by available memory in the phone. You will find standards like multiple phone numbers and email address, photo caller ID and personalized ringtones onboard, and the user has room for multiple addresses, IM names, birthday and anniversary, 9 custom slots as well as a memo for each entry.
The contact list can be managed both from the device as well as from your computer using the included Palm Desktop software or Microsoft Outlook. Contacts can be beamed to other devices via either Infrared or Bluetooth, or can be sent by email.
The GSM Centro uses VoiceSignal as its voice recognition program, unlike Voice Control which is found on the CDMA version. As always, it is an excellent program that works flawlessly, and is these days found on most handsets. However, it is not nearly as robust as Voice Control, which allows for advanced features such as dictating emails, adding calendar appointments, launching websites and checking weather and stocks online all by voice. Voice Control had some drawbacks, but we think power users would have appreciated its inclusion.
As expected from a smartphone, the Centro features a full-featured calendar. As with the phonebook, it can be synchronized and managed with either Palm Desktop or Outlook, and users can add and edit events on the go as well. It is the same calendar application Palm has used for years, and appointments can be set as a one-time or recurring event. Reminders can be assigned at any time interval, and appointments can be filed under customizable categories and tagged with notes. They can also be set to private, meaning that the user can choose to hide the events in the event that someone gets a hold of the device.
The Centro includes other PIM features, such as a Memos, Calculator Tasks and Voice Memo. These applications work exactly as one would expect them to. The user can store up to 100 minutes of voice memos, and the calculator features an advanced mode that not only offers features like a preload list of common constant numbers (Pi, Avogadro’s number, speed of light, etc) but also has several modes such as Trig, Finance, Statistics, Length and others. The World Clock features an alarm clock function, though that was not the first place we would have thought to look for an alarm.
another crappy phone, my Nokia 6630 from 5 years ago takes better pics.
2. last (unregistered)
who cares if your old phone takes better pictures
oh yeah- well my camera takes better pics- but won't organize my life or make phone calls or browse the net or play music...
hey wait so instant messaging is free to USE? wont it access the internet? therefore i hav to pay for using the internet right?