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Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

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Wizard

Tom's Journey Through Prelandia

I have sitting next to me a Palm Pre that showed up at my door, begging to be let in - seems it was lost...<br><br>For those who have read my posts over the past few years, you know that I am a solidly "a phone is a phone" sort of user. To give just one clear example, my current personal phone is one of Sprint's ruggedized MIL-SPEC Sanyo SCP-7050 units. The '7050 is not only a rugged phone, it is a simple phone - doesn't even have a camera.<br><br>First requirement I have of ANY handset is it must perform reliably as a phone. If it doesn't do that, I don't care if it is solid gold, studded with diamonds, I won't want it.<br><br>Anyway, to put it mildly, I am <b>not</b> one of the expected Palm Pre demographic. :D<br><br>Someone at Sprint felt that would make me an interesting choice to do an extended review of the Palm Pre. At first I said no, but when they asked again, I decided to humor them. :)<br><br>Both sides in this are working under very strict guidelines: I get to say whatever I honestly observe and feel about the Palm Pre, and Sprint doesn't get to have any input or control over what I do or say.<br><br>Anyway, back to that Palm Pre sitting next to me...<br><br>It arrived via FedEx just before 11 AM, and after I got through a about a half roll of packing tape, I finally got the box open and inside, swaddled in bubblewrap was a Palm Pre box, and inside that was a shiny Palm Pre.<br><br>The poor thing was comatose. It's battery dead, unable to boot up.<br><br>I connected the charger (I'd read about how difficult the little trapdoor covering the micro-USB jack was to open, but for some reason, it was no problem at all to open), and after about 6 minutes of CPR the Pre came to life. I made sure it was activated, and proceeded to set up a Palm Pre account at the Palm site. The Pre itself guided me through every step.<br><br>I kept it on the charger for a few hours as I tried just about every icon, button, switch, option, and function I could find without resorting to the User's Guide.<br><br>Why did I do that? Because that is what I would expect about 90% of the new owners to do with a shiny new toy.<br><br>Amazingly, the user interface of this device is fairly intuitive, especially for this complex a device, and I was able to work my way through a lot of things by just trying different things and discovering what worked and what didn't.<br><br>Later in the evening I took the Pre over to some friends' apartment, to let them play with it a little too.<br><br>Those friends are heavy cellphone users and heavy texters (currently with Verizon, but thinking of moving to AT&amp;T for a pair of iPhones). They are very familiar with using iPhones because a number of friends have them. In short order they were zooming around on the Pre better than I was, and by the time we had gotten the battery down to about 12% charge, we were talking about Sprint plans and going to the Sprint site. :)<br><br>Today I loaded a few more applications on the Pre (several were loaded last night by my friends), and finally started reading some of the User's Guide.<br><br>After having the Pre for a little over one day, what are my first impressions?<br><br>First off, it is a very nice looking unit with a very good "feel" to it.<br><br>When "open" the unit is very rigid and tight, when "closed" it has a little slack, a bit of "wiggle room" between the two halves. This makes for easier opening than if it were stiff and tight when closed.<br><br>The included USB cable with it is probably the stiffest USB cable I've handled in many years.<br><br>The keyboard backlight is essentially useless, even in total darkness. One can make out the markings, but it should be easier to see.<br><br>Surprising for a machine this expensive, there is no slot to attach a wrist strap to the Pre (that's my usual final safety feature against dropping phones, cameras, etc.).<br><br>A number of sites that depend on cookies to maintain login sessions cannot maintain them when viewed with the Pre - biggest ones with a problem for me are Flickr.com, and ScionLife.com.<br><br>I won't bother describing the look of the screen (very good) because you will get that in a thousand other posts, I won't describe a lot of things that every review will give you. What I will describe, in this more or less "journal," is how the Pre works - or doesn't - on a day-to-day basis.<br><br>Since this post is already too long, I'll wait 'til tomorrow to tell you some of the nice things so far, and some of the not so nice things, too.<br><br>Take care,<br>Tom<div class="message-edit-history"><span class="edit-author">Message Edited by Tomas on </span><span class="local-date">06-19-2009</span><span class="local-time"> 10:32 AM</span></div>

114 REPLIES 114
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Wizard

This is a link to the photos being taken during this extended review of the Palm Pre, as I wander through the land of the Pre, Prelandia. 🙂<br><br><a target="_blank" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/uuv_one/3615591701/in/set-72157619585125038/">http://www.flickr.com/photos/uuv_one/3615591701/in/set-72157619585125038/</a><br><br>As you can see, I've added a couple of accessories, a carry case to protect the Pre, and a Touchstone inductive charging base.<br><br>Some say the Touchstone is overpriced, and it may be, but in my opinion the convenience of the Touchstone base, the minor extra features it adds to the Pre when it is docked, and the potential vast reduction in wear of the connector on a device that will likely be charged every day makes it worth the cost.<br><br>I should mention the extra features that come with use of the Touchstone.<br><br>I got the Touchstone simply for the convenience and to save the connector, but after getting it I find that it also makes the Pre into a very serviceable desk phone with automatic speakerphone. :)<br><br>When the Pre is sitting on the Touchstone, held in place by some tiny but powerful magnets, if a call comes in the Pre will ring and display the call information on it's screen. If one simple picks the Pre up as if it is the handset of a normal desk phone, it automatically answers the call. :)<br><br>If you place the Pre back on the touchstone, it magically turns into a speakerphone.<br><br>If you pick it up again, you are back to private conversation like a normal handset.<br><br>If instead of picking up the Pre when it rings one taps the phone icon, one answers on speakerphone.<br><br>One hangs up in any mode by tapping the hang up icon.<br><br>(By the way, one won't be accidentally doing odd things on the touch screen when talking on the phone - it senses the proximity of your cheek and not only locks the screen, but kills the screen lighting when next to one's face.)<br><br>All simple and intuitive, really, but totally unexpected.<br><br>It is probably a good idea to caution folks who might be considering a Touchstone purchase and looking for the lowest price.<br><br>I've seen it available in a number of combinations. In order to work with the Touchstone the Palm Pre needs a new battery cover that has the inductive coils, magnets and tiny connection pads built in that allow the Pre to use power from the base with no wires.<br><br>The Touchstone I purchased came with the new back cover for the Pre, but I have also seen them without the new Pre cover for a lower price (I assume for someone who wants a second base for their already equipped Pre) and in other variations including with or without an AC charger and/or USB cable. Just be sure that the Touchstone you have found for a great price has all the pieces in it's kit that you need. (My Touchstone Kit, SKU PDP5858Q came with touchstone base and the new back for the Pre at a cost of $55.99.)<br><br>I also needed a belt carrier for the Pre, and was first considering the plastic contraption made for that since it has a very positive belt clip. It also has a problem. The case is held closed by a plastic clip at the top with only the most tenuous grip on the front of the carrier. Approximately a hundredth of an inch of movement and the carrier flops open and can spill the Pre to a crash on the floor. :(<br><br>I instead chose the leather side case which has a less positive grip on one's belt, but a more protective grip on the Pre.<br><br>Besides, the leather side case looks and feels a LOT better than the rather Mattel looking plastic carrier...<br><br>That's it for now, more later.<br><br><br>

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Sprint Product Ambassador

Excellent Review!  Glad you're enjoying it.

Product Ambassador, long time Sprint employee
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Journeyman

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Wizard


@Lon wrote:
Thanks Tom. It was all part of our master plan to turn you into a PDA user so happy we're succeeding.

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Wizard

Palm Pre on a PillowIn taking a look at the pictures I have linked above, it struck me that some of you are wondering about the NSA screen desktop...

It means nothing, but is an interesting conversation starter when folks see the Pre.

Looking at this particular picture also brings up the small notice at the bottom of the Pre screen.

In the picture, the Pre is connected to my MacBook and it's battery is being charged.

There is also the choice to synch media between the two units (including iTunes and such), or to connect the Pre as if it is a USB drive with access to it's internal files and folders...

That, in fact, is how I got my own personalized ringtone and screen desktop on the Pre.

For the ringtone, I simply found an MP3 copy of my favorite ringtone on my computer, and dragged it to the ringtone folder on the Pre.

Yes, it was THAT simple. No fuss, no bother, no trying to find the moving target the on-line ringtone loading sites have become, no conversion of the MP3 to some esoteric format. Just drag and drop the MP3 in the right folder on the pre.

For the desktop image it was just as simple.

I already had a properly sized image stored on my MacBook (I had used the same image on my Sanyo SCP-7050), so all I needed to do was to drag and drop the image from my laptop to the folder on the Pre. (Surprisingly it takes a number of formats, including both .gif and .jpg...)

When I let the Pre go back to being just a Phone/PDA, going to the appropriate preference apps on the Pre and selecting my new ringtone and desktop was as simple as a few clicks.

Wanna talk about custom ringtones? I'm going to have a friend with a very sultry voice record a custom ringtone for me to use on occasion. It will just be her cooing "Tomas. Tomas. Talk to me, Tomas..."

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Wizard

Just got some good information from Levi4u about screen shields...



Levi4u wrote:

http://www.zagg.com/invisibleshield/palm-pre-cases-screen-protectors-covers-skins-shields.php

The best screen protector on the market, Made from military grade material, I had one on my Instinct and it worked great, Never got a scratch. When you first apply it it feels a little "rubbery" for lack of a better word, But with use it got real smooth.

The front cover is all you'd really need, $14.95

The best part is the lifetime guarantee, If it ever gets scrached or starts to roll on the edges just send it back and they replace it no questions asked.




That's the one I've been considering, so with your recommendation I'll go with it. I still believe the Sprint Stores should have them in-stock. <img border="0" src="/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif" alt="

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Journeyman

Tom, I swear that review and the pictures almost made me run out and get a Pre! LOL

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Wizard

<blockquote><hr>Mel_V wrote:<br>Tom, I swear that review and the pictures almost made me run out and get a Pre! LOL<hr></blockquote><br><br>Get your money out, then, Mel... I'm going to be journaling this for three months. :D<br><br>I'm sure it won't be all just "good stuff," but I expect to find warts, too. After all this is a new product, and from years of engineering things I am very familiar with the unwritten rule that says no matter how many engineers and designers work to make a product perfect, and no matter how many thousands of manhours are spent testing before finally releasing something to the public, within 5 minutes of release an end user will have found something that doesn't work right. It just happens.<br><br>So far I've found some sort of complex cookie problems that prevent me from maintaining a log on at some sites, in fact complex enough I will have to keep fiddling with it to even be able to describe it adequately. (This is especially bad since I was hoping to be able to use the Palm Pre as sort of an emergency mobile tool to allow me to Admin several of the sites I Admin. So far, that won't happen because I can't trust it not to leave me hanging half way through making a change and leaving one of the sites unusable until I can get to a proper computer.)<br><br>Hmmmm... That brings up that this little thing also seems to be very comfortable using WiFi or EV-DO, and not getting all excited when moving from one to the other. I'll need to explore that more. The WiFi reception is actually BETTER than my MacBook's...<br><br>More later...

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Journeyman

I would love to, but I am still under contract with my husbands carrier and that won't expire until next year. By that time I am hoping the major Pre issues are ironed out and I will get one. In the meantime I will be flowing these posts with excitement!

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Wizard

Keep in mind that I don't plan to keep this device after the three month extended review I'm doing.

For me to keep it, the Pre would have to convince me that what it has and what it does are enough better than my current Sanyo that I would be willing to double what I pay every month for my service from Sprint for essentially the same service.

The little beast keeps trying, though.

Just a few minutes ago I was talking to a friend on my Sanyo, and told him I would call him right back from another phone to see how it sounded.

I immediately called him from the Pre, and the first thing I noticed was the audio from the Pre did not have the subtle digital distortions that the Sanyo did, and he sounded so much more like he did 'live' it was astonishing. He replied that I sounded a lot better, too, and that whatever unit I was using must have a lot better codec in it than my trusty Sanyo.

This weekend I'll be taking both phones on a "cruise" (car club stuff - a memorial cruise for one of our members), and will be comparing their RF performance in "fringe" areas, long a Sanyo strong point...

More later...

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Journeyman

I'm liking your little chronicle here. One note, about the screen covers... when I got my Pre a week ago (as of 6PM this coming evening - wow has it been a week already?) I asked about screen protectors, and the store rep happily pointed me to the universal protectors. While I was able to get creative with a pair of scissors, it still took me two tries to come up with a shape that would fit the Pre and cover all the important surface area, while not blocking the mic or speaker, and not go over the center button. Also, I wasn't able to go all the way around the device, and had to stick to the mostly-flat areas, as the screen protectors are not designed to fit a contoured surface. Sprint should definitely carry custom screen protectors for the Pre that are contoured and pre-cut (no pun intended) to leave holes in all the right places for maximum protection.

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