Released just yesterday, the Palm Centro has our eyes for a few reasons. First, their Treo smartphones have some of the highest ratings in smartphone history on review sites like CNET. So when Palm essentially shrinks their famous Treo and drops the price to $99 with contract, we have to take a closer look.
So hit the jump for our Frankenreview on the Palm Centro—seven takes that will let you know the whole story.
Palm appears to have carefully thought through the size of the device. For instance, it was just small enough to stow comfortably in a jeans pocket. And it is just barely large enough to have a full QWERTY keyboard.
Again, the touchscreen is smaller in size but luckily Palm kept a high resolution 320x320 display. I didn't have any problems at all viewing all sorts of information on this screen but admittedly the smaller size does make it just a bit harder to reach some buttons or menus with your fingers...
Like Brian said, that keyboard is seriously tiny. It's much easier to use the screen to type in phone numbers, for instance, and in general, it's significantly more cramped than a Treo.
...it uses the smaller jack, for which I don't have an adapter or any headphones that fit, but the quality, and volume of the built in speaker more than makes up for it, it really is amazing. I could literally hear music from 2 rooms away after I turned the volume up to max, and it was still understandable; there was some crackle in the highs when I cranked it up, but other than that, it sounded great.
Despite the smaller size, the Palm Centro still manages to pack in all of the features of the Palm Treo 755p and then some...Of course, you get the standard personal information management tools...the Centro isn't just an electronic organizer, though, as the smartphone comes preloaded with Documents to Go (version 10), so you can open, create, and edit Microsoft Word and Excel documents, and view PowerPoint presentations and PDFs.
Web browsing in the US with the Palm Centro's Blazer browser over Sprint's EvDO network was a sheer delight...Email setup went smoothly...[and] the Palm Centro supports concurrent instant messaging sessions with the three supported IM services...
So, why would anyone still buy a Treo? Palm reps claimed business users would be enticed by the larger keypad and screen, though the Centro does have the same 320 by 320 resolution as our larger Treo. Any other differences? None that Palm reps could name, at least none in favor of the Treo.
Final thoughts: The Palm Centro had a very positive response from reviewers. But it's getting obvious that smartphones, and maybe Palm's especially, just aren't achieving that "wow" factor of old. Even with some of the new features, many reviews read more like impressions. Because the biggest updates most users will notice are the price and the form.