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Verizon Palm Pre Plus Initial Impressions

Palm info center published their experience getting the Palm Pre Plus. Here are some of the highlights:

One of the sales clerks mentioned off-hand that they had approximately two dozen or so of each webOS device in stock but were not anticipating a huge rush. Of course, it was still early in the morning (11am) but this was not an encouraging sign that Verizon is going to put the kind of push behind webOS like they have with Android. The BB Mobile sales staff seemed fairly unenthusiastic about Palm’s products, being unaware of several key specifics about webOS, such as its current lack of support for Visual Voicemail, voice dialing, and video capture. In general, our salesclerk was quick to recommend a Droid over any of the webOS devices but we refused to be deterred from our mission to acquire a Pre Plus.

The slider on the Pre Plus clicks into place with a much firmer feel and no hesitation. Much like the old Tungsten T days, every Sprint Pre I’ve used had a slightly different feel to its slider. Hopefully Palm can maintain a higher level of quality and consistency on the Plus models. Screen brightness, color saturation, and overall clarity remained superb as always. Audio volume and call clarity was very good, both on the earpiece and the speaker, especially so for a Palm product. The headphone jack worked properly but the feeble microUSB port cover is still present. I’ve really grown accustomed to the exposed side-mounted port on my Droid and wish Palm would go ahead and adopt a similar design. That said, the little cover felt a tad more secure on the Pre Plus than on the 8GB Pre I have handled in the past.

I just got a call from the boss and he stated that despite the steep learning curve, he’s cautiously optimistic about his chances with the Pre Plus. He likes the improved screen size and clarity over his Centro and has surprisingly even adapted to the card metaphor for multitasking. Overall he remains irked about the lack of voice dialing and lack of voicemail number customization and misses the lighting quick response of his Centro but is committed to pressing forward with a new platform. He’s still going to keep trusty ol’ Centro at the ready in a desk drawer should a deal-breaking flaw emerge within the 30-day window to return the Pre.

Personally, in just two days of usage, I feel that the Pre Plus is easily the best of Palm’s current offerings. It’s not worth a $600 unsubsidized purchase or breaking a Sprint contract, but it’s a no-brainer for someone wanting the best possible webOS experience. Whether or not it is Palm’s best-ever device is certainly up for debate and greatly depends on the usage habits and personality of the user. The Pre Plus’ hardware changes are far from revolutionary but make for a nice holdover while Palm readies a true next-generation device.

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