Palm Pre 2 Hands-On! | webOS Nation

Palm Pre 2 Hands-On! 40

by Dieter Bohn Sat, 20 Nov 2010 5:18 pm EST

  Palm Pre 2

Sure, we've given you the full work-up on webOS 2.0 already and we did it based on the OS running on a Palm Pre 2, but that was a pre-production unit and so we couldn't really get into how the hardware felt. However after today's Oprah Moment at Developer Day we now have a full production unlocked GSM Palm Pre 2 in hand.

No, it's not the Palm Pre 2 hacked onto Sprint, instead it's the standard North American version, unlocked with support for 3G on AT&T's bands (or EDGE-only on T-Mobile). It's available now for $450 to regular folks and $250 to developers.

Read on for some very quick first impressions and, of course, a photo gallery!

Palm Pre 2 Specs and Changes

If you're not already familiar with the specs on the Palm Pre 2 from that SFR leak last month, let's fill you in:

  • a 1GHz processor that's on-par with some of the best phones available today
  • 512MB of RAM and 16 gigs of storage for music and apps
  • A new flat, glass screen. It's definitely Gorilla Glass by Corning and although it adds a little weight to the device (up to 5.1 ounces now), it's definitely worth it and feels great
  • A slightly tweaked, sturdier design that does away with the crack-prone plastic of the Pre and Pre Plus and replaces it with a soft-touch feel that runs around the edge of that glass screen
  • A microUSB port that's thankfully no longer hidden behind a fiddly  little USB door
  • The same 320x480 screen we've had since the original Pre at the same 3.1 inch size
  • A 5 megapixel camera that uses Extended Depth of Field instead of true autofocus
  • GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth
  • it's running webOS 2.0

Pre 2 Build Quality and Feel

Build quality on the Pre 2 (after just a very short amount of time, of course) is really good. The slider feels much more solid and sturdy than even a fresh-from-the-box Pre Plus. From what we can tell Palm did very minimal work here to refactor the sliding mechanism so we'll have to wait and see if it develops the dreaded "Oreo Effect," but initially we'd say prospects are very good that it won't.

We alluded to it in the spec list above, but the Gorilla Glass screen combined with the new soft-touch bezel is a huge improvement. It just feels heads-and-shoulders better and presumably will be much better protecting against scratches. Trust us: glass is better.

One small complaint: we're still slightly unhappy to see the microphone on the front of the device in a decidedly cheek-unfriendly place.

The keyboard feels pretty similar to the keyboard on the AT&T Pre Plus, which is to say it's a little clickier than the original Pre and much better than the error-prone keyboard on the Verizon Pre Plus. 

Palm Pre 2 Camera

The 5 megapixel camera is a decidedly nice step up but still not on par with the 5mp shooter on the iPhone (although it doesn't tend to overexpose like we sometimes get on the iPhone, some shots on the Pre 2 do feel a little washed out). We'd sacrifice a small animal to get autofocus here, but in the meantime it's a nice incremental upgrade.

Warning on the images below - they link to the VERY large full size-images

Palm Pre 2
Palm Pre 2

Palm Pre Plus
Palm Pre Plus

iPhone 4
iPhone 4

As far as speed goes, it's fast. We'll refer you back to our webOS in 10 minutes video to get a feel for how it runs overall and also to our webOS 2.0 vs Palm Pre Plus (regular and overclocked) for a speed comparison.

Wrapping up

The Palm Pre 2 is rightly called an iterative update over the Palm Pre Plus. If you're interested in having the latest and greatest in webOS, we think you'll find that the conventional wisdom actually doesn't give the device enough credit. It won't blow your mind, but if you're in the market for a webOS device on AT&T or Verizon (which is coming soon), it's definitely the way to go.

If you're a developer, though, we think at $250 you absolutely should pick one up. Palm is promising hot new devices in early 2011 and if you want to get a taste for how your apps will perform on those magical devices, this is the way to go.

Of course, the real story is webOS 2.0 - read our webOS 2.0 review here - and we are excited to see how it performs on every other webOS device when Palm makes good on their promise to send out those OTAs in the coming months.

Palm Pre 2 Photo Gallery

Palm Pre 2 Palm Pre 2 Palm Pre 2 Palm Pre 2 Palm Pre 2 Palm Pre 2 Palm Pre 2