Monday, March 15, 2010

Palm Pre Plus - Closing Out Week 3

It's coming down to the point where I will have to put my money where my mouth is if I want to keep the Palm Pre Plus.  At this point, I am weighing my decision but it doesn't seem as if I will keep it..

Summary
I like the innovations presented in the phone.  It introduces some neat new usability concepts.  It does well enough for messaging and e-mail.  Limited app support means you will be relying on the browser for lots of things. I only partly like using it as a phone. 

Bottom Line: The competition is stiff and the extra $30/month for the data plan makes me very particular.

Details -  What I Like About the Phone
  • Hardware
    • Bright screen. Even at the lowest setting it looks sharp.
    • Decent Battery Life. After the v1.4 upgrade hit, I can now get through a full day on a single charge without running below 20% capacity.
    • Small formfactor. Fits in the pocket and the hand nicely.  However this is only a half-win because it means having the smaller screen.
    • Mute Switch.  A nice feature and it is well placed so that I don't hit the switch by accident.  (I hear this happens with the iPhone mute switch)
  • Operating System
    • Gestures.  Gesture-oriented interface and Card View multitasking is very usable as a means to manage open applications. 
    • Notifications. Nice notification system with gesture swipe dismissal.
    • Universal search. Start typing in card view and it brings up matching apps/contacts or if not matching, can search the internet
  • Applications
    • Messaging App.  Conversation-threaded SMS/IM client is good. You can find any conversation by typing the person's name.  Auto splits long SMS messages for you.

Details - What I Don't Like About the Phone
  • Hardware
    • The inconsistent keyboard.  I thought I'd like it but between it double-registering some key presses and failing to register other key presses, it is an aggravating experience.  I can get this level of inconsistency with virtual keyboards but also have the benefit of predictive spell correction.
    • Screen Resolution.  It's the same as the iPhones but with a smaller screen so you often have to use landscape view for readability.  Not every software application supports landscape reading. 
    • Nerfed GPS.  This is only available to Verizon's VzNav app.  Boo!
  • Operating System
    • Vanishing features after upgrade. 1.4 upgrade gave me better battery life, video recording, and program launch indicators.  Thank you.  What did it take away?  Forward swipe gesture and PDF view pinch zoom.
    • Slow slow slow.  Sometimes, the device gets really jittery - for instance when you click on a notification and it takes multiple seconds to get to the target app - even if it's already open.
  • Applications
    • Messaging client vs. notifications.  When you're in a SMS/IM conversation with someone, any incoming message hits the notification area first and doesn't show up in the messaging client for a few seconds - even if it's the foreground app.
    • E-mail client does not implement threaded conversations.  I think this is because it supports Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Exchange ActiveSync, etc.  That's broad support but I only use Gmail so I don't care how broad the support is.
    • PDF Reading.  You have to download hacks for the phone to be able to rotate/landscape-view PDFs.  I don't read PDFs all the time but often enough that this is annoying. Reading on the go is a crucial smartphone function and should be rock solid.
  • Phone Functions
    • Phone Usability.  You can't answer calls if wearing gloves.  When I'm going through my call log or contacts, I dial people by accident frequently.  My LG ENV2 feature-phone was a better phone overall.
    • Bluetooth headset support is half-baked.  Sometimes I will have my headset fully connected, press the green phone icon to take an incoming call and, instead of it coming across the headset, I end up having to hold the phone to my ear.