Palm Pre Plus Review
The Palm Pre Plus for Verizon comes with webOS 126.96.36.199 installed, which has similar functionality of the Palm Pre on Sprint, expect for a few minor differences. Launching apps, such as email, messaging, phonebook, calendar, and connectivity are all the same, so we won’t go into great detail here. Needless to say, they all work well, as it integrates your personal contacts with ones from Google Talk, AIM, and Facebook. Since the Pre Plus has twice the RAM of the original Pre, we were able to have over 30 cards open on the homescreen without any noticeable lag, though the initial time it takes to open programs could be a little bit better.
The WebKit-based browser is fast and does well at rendering pages, though we did notice that when viewing some sites, the text size is not always consistent, as some would be larger than others. We’re also glad that pinch-and-zoom is supported, which is something we miss on the Motorola DROID’s stock Android browser. Naturally Flash content isn’t supported yet, but we hope that Flash 10.1 won’t be too far off. Other than that, there are only two complaints we have about the web experience on the Pre Plus. The first has to do with the fact when using the browser in landscape mode; you must continually flip the phone back to portrait mode to enter in a URL. A simple on-screen keyboard would eliminate this. The second has to do with the HVGA display, as text and images aren’t as crisp as they would be on a WVGA display. When using Verizon’s EVDO Rev A network, we were able to completely load PhoneArena.com in 32 seconds, while the 1MB test from dslreports.com/mspeed showed 800kbps download speed. We then connected the Pre Plus to our home broadband Wi-Fi network and PhoneArena.com was able to load in only 18 seconds, while dslreports showed a 1400kbps download speed.
While we’re on the topic of Wi-Fi, the Palm Pre Plus can be used as a 3G Mobile Hotspot, similar to a MiFi, though this will cost you $40 per month with a 5GB data cap. You can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously to the Pre Plus using Wi-Fi, which then is connected to Verizon’s EVDO Rev A network. For this we used the HP Mini 311 netbook, which is also sold by Verizon. During the first test we connected the netbook directly to Verizon’s EVDO Rev A network using its own built-in network card and got 1.78mbps download/0.53mbps upload with 180ms ping from Speedtest.net. Then we performed the test again, but this time with the netbook connected via Wi-Fi to the Palm Pre Plus (which is then connected to Verizon’s network) and got 1.83mbps download/0.31mbps upload, but the ping time was up to 350ms. So as you can see, there really isn’t a noticeable speed difference here, but latency times are almost double. Honestly, we really can’t see many people using the Pre Plus as a mobile MiFi, mostly because of the extra $40/month fee associated with it.
The standard Google Maps app is included, which you can use for aerial satellite views and for plotting driving directions, but it lacks the advanced turn-by-turn directions with voice prompts that we saw on the Motorola DROID. For this, Verizon has included their VZ Navigator program, which costs $10 per month, if you choose to activate it. The program is easy to use and does have the familiar GPS guided turn-by-turn directions, as well as being able to perform local searches for gas stations, supermarkets, movie theaters, etc. Overall, VZ Navigator has its place, but still can’t compete to the more advanced (and free) Google Maps Navigation program. We hope that Google ports this over to webOS once it’s out of Beta.
Other included apps on the Pre Plus are the Doc Viewer (for opening Word, Excel and PowerPoint files), PDF viewer, photo viewer (which supports pinch-and-zoom), music player, and video player. The music playback quality is good, though not as loud as what we heard with the DROID. The highest-quality video that it could play was a 640x272 resolution MP4 file with H.264 encoding, which is a decent performance. Other H.264 videos with higher-resolutions, such as 720x306 however, could not play at all and would give an error message. We would like to see more formats supported on the Pre Plus, such as DivX and XviD.
The App Catalog is continually growing, and with the addition of 3D games it offers some entertaining choices, but still can’t compare to the App Store or Android Market just yet.
The camera interface is simple to use, as it only has three on-screen icons for flash (off/auto/on), shutter, and gallery, though we wouldn’t mind some advanced options like white balance and ISO. When pressing the shutter icon, it only takes about 2 seconds to capture and save the image, which is reasonable since it doesn’t have to spend time focusing. The images we took outside with the 3MP camera were acceptable; through they were soft and lacked sharp-crisp edges, while color rendering was also a bit off. Images taken inside were also what we’ve come to expect from most other phones, with more grain and noise showing in lower-light conditions. The flash was also pretty useless. Video recording is also missing, though it is to be included with webOS 1.4, along with some editing options.
1. TheEclectic (Posts: 77; Member since: 23 Sep 2009)
I guess I'm a little perplexed. Didn't the original Pre with half the internal memory and RAM get a 9.9? I guess PhoneArena realized that giving a rating of 9.9 to a phone basically gives the message that 'this is the greatest phone of all time and no other phone will ever compare.'
3. testman22 (Posts: 337; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)
i agree with theeclectic. phone arena can rationalize it all they want, but this phone has increesed memory and RAM, better keyboard feedback, no intrusive track ball, and has the mobile hotspot feature (which no device out there has). Cell phone technology is not that much far in advance to warrant a drop from 9.9 to 8.5. If the phone was exactly the same- fine, but palm addressed most of the major gripes people had with the old device. PA needs to get it together when it comes to its rating system
9. jacobsladder (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 Nov 2009)
Phonearena's ratings highly inconsistent, and that last paragraph does little to disguise it. What has been released since the launch of the original Pre that's comparable? The iPhone 3GS, HTC Hero, Motorola Droid, and most recently, the Nexus One. None of those devices garnered marks high enough scores to rival that of the Pre, so how exactly did it lose its edge? Something clearly doesn't add up. I'd have more respect for PA if they just admitted that they went a little overboard with their original rating, or come clean with us and admit that someone greased their pockets for a really high rating.
4. ace1122 (Posts: 237; Member since: 23 Mar 2009)
I think PA is right on the money with its rating system and i dont think there is anyway AT&T can possibly say they have the best line up of smartphones anymore. The best they have is the iPhone and many will argue that its not even a true smartphone.
7. testman22 (Posts: 337; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)
Right on the money? The ratings have no parity from phone to phone! They went from a 9.9 to an 8.5 from pre to pre plus. PHONE ARENA, why did storm 1 get a 6 and the storm 2 got a 9????? I don't undertand where they get these numbers from
5. tonyc_42 (Posts: 61; Member since: 18 Aug 2009)
"Would like to see free Google Maps Navigation replace VZ Navigator" Seems like more of an opinion than a true con of a device.
6. Osukaru (Posts: 68; Member since: 02 Jul 2008)
"Would like to see free Google Maps Navigation replace VZ Navigator" ERM THIS IS ONLY FOR ANDROID PHONES!
8. rjt185 (Posts: 257; Member since: 11 Jun 2009)
How many "amazing phones" came out between the Pre and Pre Plus to warrant the "downgrade"?
14. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)
Motrola droid which as they say turned Android from being out there to being in the spotlight
10. nyc_rock (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Feb 2010)
I can understand you pre-owners being a bit po'd about PA rating but come on. Its been a year and Palm has done nothing to upgrade this device. It really shows the limit of what a small company with limmited capital can do. Since the pre came out, Android has raised the bar on hardware by leaps and bounds. The HD2 on Winmo has also been released. Bottom line, screen resolution is lacking, still no video recording or BT voice dialing and other than the incremental memory increase, hardware is basically unchanged. I think the rating is fair.
11. testman22 (Posts: 337; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)
nyc rock- i'm not even a pre owner, but my only complaint is that the Phone arena ratings have no consistency. If you disagree then just look at the score difference from the storm 1 to storm 2. All blackberry did was improve the touch screen and add wifi- and the storm 2 went UP by 3 points! Palm improved the keyboard, improved the look by removing the button on front, improved space, speed, and included the touchstone back cover. Not to mention its now on verizon so it has improved call quality. Somehow with minimal changes, the storm was able to GAIN 3 WHOLE POINTS- while the pre went down by 1.5. Makes no sense at all
12. giblues (unregistered)
not sure about the palm pre but i just got my pixie and it has the free google maps and places you right where your at and moves down the road with you .... maybe we talking apples and oranges not sure... i'm certainly a rookie at this phone stuff. when i went to google maps and directions i asked my location and it put a blue dot exactly where i was showing the road i was on ...... as i moved the dot moved no matter where i was zoomed. realy i need no more than that i dont need to see the stop sign in front of me , lol , i am suppose to watch the road
13. BC (unregistered)
Web os rocks -but With no promised Flash 10.1 this phone is dead. Even the promised 2.0 is mia. PS: I disagree about camera. Its better than other 5's & 8's On a 2 yr. -at their mercy for updates! BC