Palm Pre Takes a Holiday - A Real Review | webOS Nation

Palm Pre Takes a Holiday - A Real Review

by Riz Parvez Sat, 01 Aug 2009 3:52 pm EDT

You may recall Palm's Real Reviewer program, wherein Palm awarded a handful of Palm Pre phones to lucky winners who, in turn, are blogging, twittering, and posting about their month with the Pre.  Below, one lucky winner RizP of our forums, talks about how the Palm Pre made his vacation a whole lot more fun. Don't miss RizP's first Real Review, posted here in our forums.  Read on!

After having the Pre for several weeks now, I wanted to share my thoughts on what I think is one of the hardest real-world tests you can throw at any mobile device: The vacation.

If you think about it, vacations are the perfect high intensity test for your mobile tech. When you're out for a bit of R&R, frustration shouldn't be on the itinerary. In other words, stuff just has to work. In the last few weeks I've had the opportunity to take my Pre a couple short trips, and I came away pretty impressed.


Synergy in action: synced calendars

For both trips, the Pre made itself quite useful before we'd even loaded the car. In the weeks leading up to our first trip, my wife put together a detailed itinerary: addresses, phone numbers, ETAs, business hours; you name it. I entered all of this information into my Google calendar so it'd be available on my Pre, and she had full access to it through the shared calendar feature if there were changes to the plan.


The fact that I've had the Pre for only a few weeks and I've already taken nearly 250 pictures with it should speak for itself. It's so quick, clean and easy, you find yourself *wanting* to use the camera. That's something I could never say about my WM phone.

On our vacation I neglected to load an SD card into our dSLR at one of our destinations, so I thought I was totally out of luck. Much to my relief, the Pre filled in nicely in a pinch. Now, if you really lean on the camera and have a bunch of apps open, it still does lag, and no one should kid themselves: The quality is terrific for a phone camera, but it's not going to beat an equally spec'd standalone digital camera. But for what it is, I was definitely impressed. (Also, the lag's gotten a lot better since WebOS 1.1)

The photo at top is one vacation photo RizP took.  Here are a couple more:



After an evening of shopping, my father-in-law suggested we find a nice ice-cream place for a couple of impromptu scoops. This was a moment where the Pre was either going to really shine or fall on its face.

I said something to the effect of, "here, lemme check what's around" and loaded GoodFood (through Universal Search), tapped the magnifying lens and began typing "ice cream." before I'd even finished the first word, a list was forming. Moments (and one tap) later and I had a list with distances. We settled on a place in no time, called (through the app) to confirm they were open, fired up the GPS and headed over. I've been using mobile devices for a number of years now, and I've always found it pretty difficult to do something like that in a pinch. It's one thing to casually browse through apps when there's down-time, but it's something quite different when everyone is standing around waiting for you to get to the answer. The Pre (and GoodFood) handled the situation nicely. I honestly don't have a single bad thing to say about this. It was really great.


I've come to realize it takes a change in thinking to take full advantage of what multi-tasking has to offer. It's such an easy (and gratifying) action to toss cards off the top of the screen, that you forget you can simply leave them open. However, once you to hang of it you can really get a lot done multitasking. For example, during the car ride back home from our vacation, I found myself with an opportunity to get a little scheduling work done. Specifically, I took a look at my calendar to decide when to put in for our next vacation.

After blocking off some time (making sure I wasn’t running afoul of *anyone's* calendar), I began to write e-mails to inform my supervisors of the next time I would be out. Since all of the e-mails were going to be quite similar, I simply opened up three new e-mail cards, typed a generic "I'm going to be out" e-mail into the first one, then copied the text and pasted it into the other two (leaving the calendar open so I could double-check that I was writing in the correct dates). It was short work to then put the correct e-mail address and salutation into each one and send them all off.


There's very little to say about this; the Pre has been exceptionally stable. Even with the daily, heavy use I put it through, I've had perhaps only one or two inadvertent restarts. Coming from a Treo 700p, this is the difference is night and day. None of the above pros would matter at all if the device was constantly resetting.

So just as with my first post, it hasn't all been roses.


This was definitely the most significant issue I ran into. As much of the traveling during these vacations was done by car it was easy to keep the Pre charged; but honestly, there's no way it would've made it through a whole vacation day, using GPS, finding restaurants, looking at wikis, and placing phone calls without charging in between. Every time we got in the car, I'd plug back in to top off. It never died on me during the trip, but that's certainly because I was watching the meter. There have been a few things I've been able to do to make the battery life quite a bit better; including disabling the GPS unless I'm actively using it and keeping the screen brightness at a minimum, but in reference to this vacation post, having a backup plan (car charger, spare battery) was a must.


The other thing worth mentioning was some instances of lag when certain apps were open. Pandora was probably the biggest offender in this department. Don't get me wrong, it's a great app otherwise (I still use it almost every day), but the Pre is noticeably less snappy with Pandora running in the background.

Taking the Pre on Holiday

So all told, the Pre stands up to the vacation test quite well. It stays rock-solid stable, and moves fast enough to handle whatever might come up, all the while keeping you organized and on track. Just make sure to pack a charger or a spare battery, because you'll want to have it around the whole day.

Thanks for submitting your Real Review to us, RizP!!