The Palm Pre 2 is first HP webOS 2.0-powered smartphone, yet retains Palm's much-loved slide-out QWERTY and 3-inch touchscreen
Editor's Review of the Pre 2
The Pre 2 is the first Palm-branded handset to launch since HP's high-profile takeover of the company back in 2010. While its specs may struggle to get the pulse racing, HP's first foray into the smartphone market is certainly a good one, and a vast improvement on Palm's previous releases. It may be nothing revolutionary, but can the Palm Pre 2 finally make people pay attention?
Design & Build
At 59.6 x 100.7 x 16.9mm the Palm Pre 2 is hardly the most compact handset on the market, but what it carries in bulk, it makes up for in style. Its curved rear sits comfortably in your hand, and its matt black battery cover is certainly a looker, albeit a fingerprint magnet. Unlike Palm's previous efforts, the handset sports a flat glass front, which not only looks better, but is 10 times easier to operate.
At 3.1 inches, the Pre 2's 320 x 480 resolution touchscreen is hardly one of the most capacious panels we've ever seen, especially when pitted against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S and HTC Desire HD. Still, the Gorilla Glass-toughened display has no reason to be huge, especially considering the handset's lack of onscreen keys. Instead, it packs a slide out keypad, although its backlit QWERTY keys are still as tiny as ever. We soon got used to the tightly-squashed keys, although those of you with sausage-sized digits may not have the same luck.
In terms of build, the most impressive factor about the Palm Pre 2 is its 1GHz processor under the hood, doubling the speed of its predecessors.
OS & Interface
The main focus of HP's webOS 2.0 interface is its intuitive "cards" system, as found on the original Pre handset. For Palm newbies, this transforms any app you open into a minimized "card", enabling you to flick through all of your open applications straight from the homescreen. HP have included an all-new "Stacks" feature on the Pre 2, which now allows for cards to be grouped together. Arguably, its one of the best multitasking systems on a smartphone, and is miles ahead of the iPhone 4's efforts.
With webOS 2.0 onboard, the Palm Pre 2 ticks along much faster than the original Pre and Pixi too, and looks more refined in the process. It also has its plus points for social networkers, offering email, Facebook and LinkedIn intergration.
JustType is also included on HP's latest platform, acting as an evolution of Palm's Universal Search. By simply typing into webOS 2.0, it will begin to find relevant content, be it a Facebook contact or Google web search.
Multimedia & Storage
The 5 megapixel snapper on the Palm Pre 2 is a vast improvement on the 3 megapixel camera found on the original Pre, although its still lacking in advanced features. It may come equipped with an LED flash and geotagging, but colours still tend to look dull and lacking in detail, delivering mediocre images at best.
Just like the quality of our snaps, Palm's media sharing options struggled to match up to Android's deep social network integration, only enabling users to share snaps via email and MMS.
Video is captured at VGA resolution, although despite the onboard flash, it cannot act as a video light. The footage wasn't as bad as we were expecting however, and audio quality was crystal clear.
The onboard music player is functional, and easy for first-time Palm users to operate. However, in terms of quality, the music sounds flat, even with a decent set of headphones plugged in. This could be helped with an onboard equalized, although HP haven't provided one.
The internet experience was central to the original Pre, and HP webOS 2.0 takes this up a notch with the inclusion of Flash 10.1 support. Despite its HSDPA and WiFi speeds, it has to be said that the web browser itself really does need to work before Adobe's plug-in can take center stage, with content struggling to load on the basic client.
While we're not convinced it's going to be a hit, we really enjoyed playing with the well designed, intuitive Palm Pre 2. It's media features may be lacking, but HP's webOS 2.0 offers one of the smartest interfaces we've ever used, offering fantastic social networking integration and super-slick multitasking. Let's just hope this time around, people stand up any pay attention.
Palm Pre 2 News
HP has sent out invitations to a press event on February 9th, which will play host to an “exciting webOS announcement”. Ignoring the fact that its CES this week, HP plans to make “big” and “small” announcements at its San Francisco event next month. While no further details are given, this hints that the unveiling [...]
According to a Tweet from O2 Germany, it looks like all Palm handsets will be getting upgraded to webOS 2.0 in “Q1 2011″. This date seems to tie in nicely with Palm developer Josh Marinacci’s November announcement, stating that web2.0 OS will be landing on all Palm devices in âcoming months”. Of course, when we [...]
HP‘s new platform, webOS 2.0, looks set to arrive on all Palm handsets in “coming months”. Speaking at webOS Developer Day in New York, Palm developer Josh Marinacci said that web2.0 OS will be landing on all Palm devices in “coming months”, following its recent debut on the Palm Pre 2. We assume “all” refers [...]
HP have announced that their hotly anticipated Palm Pre 2 will be landing on Monday, with a SIM free price tag of £399. Despite originally announcing it would be landing today, HP have pushed the Pre 2′s release date back until Monday. The webOS 2.0 device will be able to buy SIM free from Palm’s [...]
Palm Pre 2 Specifications
100.7mm x 59.6mm x 16.9mm
Full capacitive touch screen
Type: TFT LCD
Size: 3.1 inches
Resolution: 320 x 480
A-GPS with maps
Up to 7.2 Mbps download speed
Up to 2 Mbps upload speed
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack
Data: Standard microUSB
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
5.0 megapixel camera
Talk Time: 350 minutes
Standby Time: 350 hours
Audio supported formats
Playback: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
Video supported formats
Playback: MP4, H.263, H.264