The original Palm Pre, launched in October 2009 in the UK, was designed to offer the best of both worlds - a touch screen and a physical keyboard - in a small form factor. Even though less than a year has passed since then, Palm has already brought out successors to the phone and the operating system, and has also been acquired by HP.
The Palm Pre Plus has a 3.1in capacitive touch screen that is very responsive, and surprisingly we didn't encounter a single issue while using it, which is very rare for any touch-screen handset.
Palm seems to have got this technology right, even from the first mobile phone. The display is housed very close to the surface of the phone, and seeing it in action puts you in mind of the Microsoft Surface touch table, with its seamless integration into the overall body of the handset.
The Pre Plus screen is bright and vivid with 320 x 480 resolution. It still has the appearance of the first model and the look of a small polished stone, with dimensions of 100.5mm x 59.5mm x 16.95mm, and has a comfortable fit in the palm of the hand.
Side by side, the screen on the Palm Pre Plus looks brighter than the one on the original Palm Pre, although both handsets have more or less identical hardware. However, there are some significant improvements, and also some slight ones, on the original phone.
Memory and storage
Palm has increased the memory and storage in the Pre Plus, both of which have been doubled. In the previous model there was only 256MB for running applications and 8GB for media storage, but now there is 512MB and 16GB respectively. This opens up the possibilities of adding more media while benefiting from multiple applications running on the handset with the increase in the Pre's memory.
There was a limit of around 13 applications running simultaneously on the first Pre, whereas now we've seen 50 apps running at once without an 'out of memory' error message, and we're sure more could have been run.
Multi-tasking is clearly the phone's forte. Each application is known as a 'card' in webOS and are loaded fast and effortlessly. This is all from a slower than usually seen 600MHz Texas Instruments CPU, which shows up the 1GHz Qualcomm variant in the way the operating system on the Palm and the hardware all work together seamlessly with no lag.
We haven't seen multi-tasking working this well on any handset before, and were quite taken aback by how fast webOS works with just one application running or 50, and how well they all switch between each other.