Palm Centro is a surprisingly good alternative to blackberry Pearl
About a month ago I managed to get my hands on a hot new Palm Centro - the smallest and lightest Palm OS based smartphone to date.
This was a trip down sentimenal lane for me as my Palm treo 650 was my first smartphone and it remained a favourite for nearly two years until it started falling apart from use and abuse… although I still fire it up once in a while for a few games of bejeweled – which was never as fun to play on my iphone or blackberry.
Here are some things I really like about the Centro:
- Better battery life than previous generations. Even with tones of texting, I can gets a good two days on one charge – far better than the iphone or my blackberry bold.
- Document viewer is awesome – it essentially brings full Office 2007 support to the Centro with ability to view, edit and create native documents. PDF files are also easy to view out of the box
- Touch screen is great. They’ve always had this, and it still rocks.
- Full keyboard – I could never get used to the 2 letters per keys on the blackberry Pearl – so it’s nice to have what feels like a reasonably sized keyboard for a device that is about the same size.
- Easy to carry – feels more like a phone than a mini-computer
- Micro SD slot – but you have to take the back cover off to get at it
- Simple Email setup
- Lots of free apps – but having been spoiled by the Apple App store – finding them just isn’t as easy
- Screen is amazingly sharp, much nicer than the treo
What could be improved:
- Back cover is a pain in the butt to put back in place. It didn’t slide very easily and it takes way too long compared to my other devices
- More applications would be great – and an easy way to find them. My favourite application was maps. I liked to plot where I was going, plotting it against my current location, and trying to beat the estimated time maps returned
- Bigger screen. Some of those buttons could be moved to the side of the phone or eliminated making the screen that much bigger… although for those looking for a smaller smartphone, the trade-off may be worth it
- No wifi (boo!) or true GPS
- Decent camera, but it could use a flash
- Still freezes sometime. This is alleviated by plugging it into a computer or doing a soft-reset
- Touchscreen needs to be re-calibrated every once in a while
Should you buy one?
If you prefer a smartphone that looks more like a real phone… the Centro is a great option for you to consider. It’s got a great price point ($99) and gives you pretty much all the features you get with the blackberry pearl – minus the instant email and sleeker design.
Having a full keyboard is also refreshing.