Disclosure: No financial conflicts of interest to disclose.
Ok, that being said, I just wanted to tell you that I love my new Palm Pre Plus. Nope, I'm not getting paid to do this, either (speaking of which, I do envy those bloggers who get free stuff and trips to Tasmania doing reviews!).
For far too long, I had been using a Palm Treo running on Windows Mobile. It was a phone given by work (well, not really, it ends up coming out of my quarterly bonus) and it was my first smartphone. And so I thought it was cool. At first.
And then I realized it was painfully slow. Pulling up my medical applications took forever; my medstudents often beat my Windows/Epocrates (a drug reference) using their paper Pharmacopeia. The camera sucks too, the photos would come out dark and blurry. Half the time, my car's bluetooth would not sync with the phone (never a problem with my OLD Nokia). And, gawd, like a typical Windows platform, the phone freezes. Frequently. When I'm surfing the net. When I'm pulling up emails. But most worrisome, when I wasn't doing anything. I found this out the hard way when the office was trying to contact me for a semi-urgent issue and my phone didn't go off. We tried again when I was in the office- it would go directly into voicemail and the phone wouldn't even ring. This was happening at least once every other week; I'd find out only when I tried to call and it would not connect, or when others tried to call me. And I'd be resetting my 'hang-kei' phone once a week or so. And so it was time for a new phone.
While I was initially tempted to go with another Windows Mobile phone to allow me to log into the hospital system (I'd be able to pull up my patient list and look at labs) my painful experience and the reviews I read kept me away. And so we settled on the Palm Pre Plus. Now, I've always been a fan on Palm (I consider the Treo issue more of a Windows problem). In the last 12 years I had used the Palm Pilot, and then the Palm IIIc, Palm m500 (which my sister inherited) and more recently the Palm TX before I got the Treo. I loved how fast the Palm OS was (aside from the Blazer web surfer on the TX). So when it came time to look for a new phone, it was down to the Motorola Droid running on Google's Android OS, or the Palm Pre Plus running on WebOS. Because we liked the smaller Palm and thanks to rave reviews from many including our esteemed Palmdoc, we settled on the Pre.
Lemme just say that using this phone is just a relevation. I'd been so used to my old phone being slow and unreliable, with no fun apps (aside from Bubblet) that 7 days since we got the Pre I'm still discovering new things about it!
I love how this syncs with my corporate email and calendar seamlessly. And how it syncs so well with Gmail and Hotmail, even the calendars! And with my wife and I sharing each other's calendars we can easily update each other of family events.
The apps are great too. So many possibilities, though being the stingy guy I am, have only downloaded the free apps. Pandora's one of my favourites- being able to get essentially music-on-demand is great. When I went to the gym just now, I no longer had to carry my phone and iPod- the music player worked well enough that I was just streaming music with the phone.
The camera works so much better than the Treo, too. I don't have to put up with dark, blurry pictures anymore. And while I thought the LED flash was just a gimmick, it does a decent job lighting up nearby subjects in a dark room. And I was thoroughly impressed by this picture I took at the baseball game last weekend. Most importantly, it works well as a phone. The sound is good, the mic pretty sensitive. When calls come in and I hit the connect button, it connects instantly. Unlike the 3-8 second lag I was getting with my old phone.
One neat feature I like which I'll probably never use, is the mobile hotspot option. This phone can be used to provide wifi using the 3G line, and with the data plan this is pretty much included for free (well, up to 3 gb which I've been told is plenty). This will be great for Kristin since she doesn't get internet on some rotations, so using the phone to connect her laptop would be a big plus.
My only gripe with the phone is the same issue with pretty much all smartphones. The battery life. Having said that it doesn't seem as bad as what some reviewers had complained. Some were claiming it wasn't lasting even a day. For me, the shortest was on day 1 (not an engineer but I've heard this is normal for a new battery?). But after that, with some calls and some browsing (including frequent Facebooking) and occasional use of the Bluetooth (I don't leave BT on all the time, only when I need it) my battery is still at 60+% at the end of the day. So, while my 3-year old Nokia still beats that, it's pretty decent for a smartphone, methinks.
Yea, we did contemplate other phones. But I'm one who needs a real keyboard, not just a virtual one. So, the iPhone and upcoming HTC Incredible were never considerations. People have complained about the keyboard being small, but I got used to it pretty fast, and it probably kept the size of the phone down (unlike the Motorola Droid). So far, we've been pretty happy with the phone. And that we got a buy-1-get-1-free phone with our 2-year plan was another bonus.
So there you have it. I hope this phone lasts, though it does feel pretty solid.