Palm Pre 2 – First Impressions

I don’t know if anyone will remember, but a smart phone came out just over a year a go called the Palm Pre exclusively to O2. Now, this phone got copious amounts of bad reviews and people were really put off getting one. I feel the main reason was because of the OS on the phone, WebOS. Just over a year later and the sequel is out! However, it hasn’t been going down too well at all, just like it’s predecessor.  And this time, it’s isn’t available with a specific network as none wanted to take it up.

Well, HP Palm, as they are now known, have kindly given me a Palm Pre 2 to try out for a few weeks, and i must say, it is a massive improvement from the original. The Pre 2 is host to a 1Ghz processor, seemingly an industry standard these days, 512MB RAM, 3.1″ touch screen, full QWERTY keyboard, 16GB storage and a 5.0 mega pixel camera with LED flash. These are pretty similar to the original bar the 1Ghz processor and camera as it was a 600Mhz down clocked to 500Mhz previously with a 2 mega pixel camera and 8GB storage, with 16GB on the Pre Plus.

Now, i know on paper it looks pretty much the same device, and even in design the only differences are that it has a flat screen on the front. Other than that, the features are taken from the Pre Plus. But the major difference is on the inside. The OS. That’s right folks, this device is running WebOS 2.0. Now for most of you, you don’t know the original, which i can’t blame you as it was poorly advertised, so i will run down the basic features now.

  • You have a palm account that syncs wirelessly with a cloud based server and stores all kinds of information such as contacts, apps and other linked accounts.
  • The accounts you can link include Facebook, gmail, windows exchange and outlook, hotmail and AIM.
  • The OS is built around a card based system used for multi-tasking which, to date, is the best i’ve seen on a phone.
  • There is a gesture area under the screen used for all sorts of functions such as the back and forward functions of the internet and quickly changing between open cards.
  • App settings are found in a drop down menu at the top when the app is open.
  • One massive feature is called Synergy which allows linking between all of your accounts such as collecting the same contacts into one, collecting photos and info from you facebook contacts and much more.
  • One of the best features is the notification bar that pops up at the bottom. Unlike other devices where the notification gets in the way with what you’re doing, it gives you a basic run down of what it’s about at the bottom whilst pushing the bottom of the screen up. If touched whilst like that, the relevant app opens. If left alone, it dissipates into a little icon in the bottom right corner, which when touched will open up an expanded view of the message which you can either act up and open the app right away or swipe away for later.
  • Another important feature is copy and paste. Probably one of the most useful features of phones at the moment, and WebOS is very good at it.
  • Another huge feature is over the air firmware updates. When connected to a 3G signal or WiFi it will download the update and then alert you when it has finished. When on 3G it will periodically download as it can sometimes use a large amount of data.
  • Just by touching the bar at the top you get quick access to the full date, battery percentage, Aeroplane mode toggle and other toggles such as Wifi and Bluetooth. With VPN added for WebOS 2.0.
  • There are of course loads of other really awesome and important features, but i can’t go into them all or you won’t hear what is new.

One thing that has changed in the new OS is the ability to have more cards open at once, and also, you can collect similar cards together to take up one card space on the card view. This is pretty handy as it means i can get straight to my important e-mails whilst all my social networking stuff loads by pressing the middle “button” and pushing all that social stuff to the side making my e-mails the focus. On top of that, of you are only done with facebook, then you can just push that card off the screen at the top, and it’ll close. Simple and efficient.

Another impressive feature, and one of my favourites, is the just type feature. Now, it may not seem that impressive, but it is so useful. When on the home screen, slide out the keyboard, and just type. From there you get a multitude of options such as a selection of contacts, google suggest, a whole host of searches including wikipedia, twitter, facebook and more, and the best, quick actions. With quick actions, you can start typing something that literally has just popped into your head, and then tell that text to be saved as a memo, or be sent as a message, or even update your twitter and facebook. The cooler thing is, as more and more apps come out, more and more quick actions will be added. Along with that, you can add your own websites to search on provided they add the system, which a lot already have.

There are of course loads of other features on this phone, but i don’t have that much time to talk about them all, so i’ll leave it there for now, but i will be posting a video with a comparison against the original pre.  On an overall basis, i love WebOS the first time i had it with the Pre, but the hardware wasn’t really great. Again, the hardware isn’t fantastic, but the power of WebOS is astonishing this time round, and with a faster processor everything just runs that little bit better. I would love to be able to get the phone myself just for the OS as it is truly fantastic. For that this phone gets a 9.2/10.