Some More Palm Pre Review Notes and Thoughts

There's a bunch of little tidbits that came out of my week with the Pre that didn't make it into the main Palm Pre review and slide show. Here are a few items of note: Not a formal coverage test by any means, but I was able to listen to Pandora on the Pre with very good success. I made it all the way from downtown Oakland, Calif., to Milpitas (about 35 miles down Interstate 880) without a drop. It looks like when coverage drops from EvDO to 1xRTT, however, that Pandora -- or the Pre -- can't recover and the music dies. Instant messaging is a bit of a problem on the Pre, as it can be a major battery hog. Since IM and SMS are both in the same Messaging application, IM won't turn off in the conventional manner. Closing the Messaging app by throwing it off the screen doesn't work -- it still runs in the background. Instead you have get into the Messaging app and click on Buddies and then your presence indicator in order to sign out. Many may not know this, but Palm has released a small firmware upgrade since the launch, taking the device to 1.0.2. If it hasn't happened to your device yet, go to the Upgrade application and give it a shot. If on the WAN connection, you may have to try several times. Wi-Fi will be quicker. Every now and then the device hangs, showing a blue sky background with a few clouds. To force a restart, hold down the power button and slide the ringer mute back and forth three or four times. I'm hearing some reports of trouble with Exchange servers with a little extra security. I haven't noticed that myself, but I did not have a problem downloading attachments in one instance. I got some long error message for a couple hours, but it still worked over IMAP. I couldn't replicate the next day, but it is something to keep an eye on. When coming out of BART tunnels or other such areas with poor to nonexistent coverage, the Pre will report that I am roaming and data is not supported. Users should keep an eye on the bill to make sure they aren't getting screwed by something there. I didn't talk about the phone's sound quality. In a nutshell, decent from the handset but a little muddy. Understandable, by any means. Over the included wired headset or Bluetooth, it sounds just fine. The Touchstone power block is sold as an accessory for $70. You have to swap out the stock back face plate for one with an extra power conductor that comes with the Touchstone. The stone is a little sloped so you can keep using the device while charging. Didn't get a chance to try the Pre with iTunes before I sent it back but I did connect it to a PC. When connected, the user must choose -- media sync, USB drive mode or just charge. If in USB drive mode, you can't use the phone. A really draconian way of keeping you from tethering, and pretty stupid if you ask me. If anyone knows a legitimate technical reason for this, I'd love to hear it.

There's a bunch of little tidbits that came out of my week with the Pre that didn't make it into the main Palm Pre review and slide show. Here are a few items of note:

  • Not a formal coverage test by any means, but I was able to listen to Pandora on the Pre with very good success. I made it all the way from downtown Oakland, Calif., to Milpitas (about 35 miles down Interstate 880) without a drop. It looks like when coverage drops from EvDO to 1xRTT, however, that Pandora -- or the Pre -- can't recover and the music dies.

  • Instant messaging is a bit of a problem on the Pre, as it can be a major battery hog. Since IM and SMS are both in the same Messaging application, IM won't turn off in the conventional manner. Closing the Messaging app by throwing it off the screen doesn't work -- it still runs in the background. Instead you have get into the Messaging app and click on Buddies and then your presence indicator in order to sign out.

  • Many may not know this, but Palm has released a small firmware upgrade since the launch, taking the device to 1.0.2. If it hasn't happened to your device yet, go to the Upgrade application and give it a shot. If on the WAN connection, you may have to try several times. Wi-Fi will be quicker.

  • Every now and then the device hangs, showing a blue sky background with a few clouds. To force a restart, hold down the power button and slide the ringer mute back and forth three or four times.

  • I'm hearing some reports of trouble with Exchange servers with a little extra security. I haven't noticed that myself, but I did not have a problem downloading attachments in one instance. I got some long error message for a couple hours, but it still worked over IMAP. I couldn't replicate the next day, but it is something to keep an eye on.

  • When coming out of BART tunnels or other such areas with poor to nonexistent coverage, the Pre will report that I am roaming and data is not supported. Users should keep an eye on the bill to make sure they aren't getting screwed by something there.

  • I didn't talk about the phone's sound quality. In a nutshell, decent from the handset but a little muddy. Understandable, by any means. Over the included wired headset or Bluetooth, it sounds just fine.

  • The Touchstone power block is sold as an accessory for $70. You have to swap out the stock back face plate for one with an extra power conductor that comes with the Touchstone. The stone is a little sloped so you can keep using the device while charging.

  • Didn't get a chance to try the Pre with iTunes before I sent it back but I did connect it to a PC. When connected, the user must choose -- media sync, USB drive mode or just charge. If in USB drive mode, you can't use the phone. A really draconian way of keeping you from tethering, and pretty stupid if you ask me. If anyone knows a legitimate technical reason for this, I'd love to hear it.