Review: Palm Pre Car Charger | webOS Nation

Review: Palm Pre Car Charger 56

by The Keith Newman Thu, 30 Jul 2009 1:48 pm EDT

Palm Vehicle Charger

The Palm Car Charger for the Pre is a compact and convenient USB charger that will keep your Pre topped off while on the go. We know car chargers are fairly important accessories to have, especially when it comes to smartphones. You never know when you'll need to get a few precious moments of juice. The problem was always finding a charger that wasn't an eyesore in your vehicle.

Enter the latest addition to the Palm family of chargers. This time, you have a device that looks good, supplies enough power to charge your phone while listening to Pandora and using Sprint Navigation, plus it comes with a data sync cable for the Pre.

Oh yeah, it gets points for working with my Touchstone Charger in my car. Your mileage may vary (excuse the pun), as I'll explain after the break.


palm car charger usb side view

Well, let's not beat around the bush... it's a Car Charger, folks. It's able to charge up my Pre while I'm running multiple applications. Over an hour-long period I added around 7% while running a bunch of data apps - including streaming Pandora over Bluetooth and running Sprint Navigation using GPS.  With all of my apps closed, I was able to get a  30% increase over the same period.

Bonus points for working as a standard USB charger (if you have other USB devices to charge).  Unfortunately, the micro-USB cord packaged with the car charger is is only 2.5 feet long. I can see some people having to switch it out for the longer micro-USB cable that comes with the Pre. That said, it's also very nice to have a micro-USB cord in the car now. I've needed to swap music in and out while at various computers. Having the cord available for charging at a computer has been a nice little surprise that I didn't think I'd use very much.

It also comes with a small adapter that can power Centros and older Treos, which is pretty convenient if you've handed yours down to a family member.

Touchstone in the car

Before I get going, let me start by saying that this probably isn't an intended use of the Touchstone and people have reported varying levels of success. However, one of the reasons I chose the official Palm Pre Car Charger was according to NickDG in our Forums and also BMCI50, this was one of the chargers on the short list that could work with the Touchstone Charger

It appears to come down to a car by car basis for whether the Touchstone works properly or not. So it's not necessarily true that you'll be able to power your Touchstone properly with this charger - it works for me, it may not work for you.


Palm has redesigned all of their accessories with the release of the Pre, the car charger being no exception to the overhaul. They are now using a two-piece design that includes a 12-volt to USB port. The charging 12-volt piece is very slick and small. As a matter of fact, I am shocked at how small it is compared to my one-piece mini-USB charger. I had to include that as a photo because it's quite comical.

side by side palm car charger vs motorola

motorola side view charger palm pre comparison usb micro

As you can see, it's a fraction of the size. They also changed the styling of the LED light that indicates power being supplied to the charger. With the mini-USB Motorola charger (as well as my old Palm 800w charger) they used a Yellow-ish LED, where as the Palm Pre Charger now uses a soft whitish-blue. You can see the difference in the two devices clearly at night time, with the Palm Pre Charger being less of a bright eyesore or distraction. As far as the construction goes, it just feels more solid than previous Palm chargers I've owned (micro-USB and Athena port connectors included). It's definitely sturdier than cheap aftermarket products too; I've taken it in and out of the 12-volt socket numerous times and haven't felt any indication of separation between the mold.


night view palm pre vs motorola usb chargers micro

So there you go, it's not exactly the most sexy of accessories (it's sexier than other car chargers), but it's a necessary one.  Palm did a solid job on this one.

The Palm Vehicle Power Charger for Pre is available in the Store for $19.95.


Charges even when using Apps


USB Cable may be too short