share share

Palm Pre 2 Review by

By Simon Thomas on 18th March 2011

3G Total Score

Pros: An unusual but enjoyable user interface, fast processor, responsive touch-screen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a really accurate A-GPS

Cons: Some major things missing (such as a native Twitter client) and a dearth of apps may deter iPhone or Android users from swapping their existing phones


Verdict: Palm has done a good job with this smart-looking device, with plenty of features. It’s just a shame there are so few apps on offer.

Full Review and Specification for the Palm Pre 2


The first Palm Pre really impressed us (in fact we awarded it a full five stars) but commercially it failed to set the world alight. There were two reasons for this. First, it’s hard for any phone maker to elbow its way onto the market with the likes of Apple, Nokia, Samsung and LG. And then it has to come up with a device that can equal or surpass the big boys with its software, hardware and the bastions of the smartphone – apps. It was on the latter criteria that the Palm Pre let itself down. Eighteen months have now passed, and Palm has tinkered with the software and hardware, so will the Palm Pre 2 do a better job?


First impressions


Sizewise, there’s not much between the Palm Pre 2 and its predecessor. This slide device looks very like a shiny black pebble. Open up the handset and there’s a QWERTY keyboard sitting in a dip – it’s a bit cramped, but if you’re careful you’ll get a decent typing experience. The screen offers the same size and resolution as before – its display is 3.1 inches (there are plenty bigger) but it’s a good enough size and you’ll find it fits on enough content so that you’re not forever scrolling to read one article.


Under the screen you’ll find a blank black strip that doesn’t seem to have a purpose. But in actual fact it’s a major part of your operating toolkit. Swipe from right to left and you’ll go back to the previous screen or position, depending on what function you’re in. If you’re on the web, you can go back to see your previous page. If you keep swiping you’ll end up back at the home screen. As you swipe you’ll see a thin white line runs along the bar. Knight Rider fans will be reminded of Kit’s red ‘smile’. The same effect occurs each time you get a text, email or notification. You’ll need to get used to it, but we rather like this unusual take on the back button.


You can also swipe up. Swipe from the touch bar to the display and you’ll see the ‘card view’ function – this basically gives you a thumbnail view of all your open apps. The Palm Pre 2 does a fantastic job of multi-tasking and this card view offers an excellent method of getting an overview of your open apps and switching speedily between them. If you want to close an app, just slide the card up and ‘off’ the top of the screen. For this to work, you need a really responsive screen, and happily the capacitive screen is really up to the task. In fact the screen is so good, we’re surprised Palm hasn’t included a virtual QWERTY keyboard. Of course there’s the hard keyboard but a virtual one is always handy for a quick search entry or text.


Search me


Speaking of searching, Palm has included a search bar on the Pre 2 (called ‘Just Type’) that sits at the top of the home screen. But it’s no ordinary search bar. Yes, you can do a speedy Google search using it, but you can also search Twitter, Wikipedia, Google Maps and the Palm App Catalog. It’s also possible to call up specific functions and contacts. Type in C and A, for instance, and a list will pop up with something like, Camera, Calendar, Carl, Caroline. But our favourite feature is being able to bring up specific emails via subject heading or contact. It’s one of a few nifty features on the Pre 2 – like the ability to pull down the notifications bar at the top of the screen, plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles. It also displays the battery life as a percentage.


The Palm Pre 2 may not offer the same level of customisation as Android devices, but you can still arrange the menus as you want. The default is for three pages – system, extras and applications – but their names can be changed and you can choose what apps, shortcuts, widgets and features sit on which pages.


Web surfing


Surfing the web is a great experience on the Palm Pre 2. It’s really fast either using the Wi-Fi and HSDPA connection (the 1GHz processor helps, too), and while there are bigger displays on offer, the 3.1-in screen offers crisp, bold text and images. Double-tap on the screen to get rid of any page borders and increase the amount of content you can view at any one time. Multi-touch is also supported, so you can pinch and zoom for a better look. The Pre 2’s accelerometers are some of the fastest we’ve seen – and in landscape mode, the touch panel can also be used for scrolling in and out of a page. Another standout feature is the Palm Pre 2’s ability to play flash video (unlike Apple’s devices) – mind you, we weren’t able to maximise the flash videos that are embedded on BBC web pages.


Palm has upgraded the snapper from a 3.15 to five-megapixel model, it makes only a small difference – you’ll get okay images but don’t expect to be wowed by them. What we did really like though was the accurate A-GPS fix, which found our precise location via Google Maps.


The verdict


On the whole, Palm has managed to come up with an excellent device that is fun to use. But even in spite of this, Palm has not managed to address the issues that dogged its predecessor. The Palm App Catalog still needs to have more content – we can’t believe there’s no native Twitter app, for instance – and while it’s easy to use, has excellent features and hardware, without those all-important apps we don’t think consumers are going to give up their iPhones and Android handsets any time soon.

< Back

Palm Pre 2 Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Palm Pre 2 Phone Specification


Type of phone:





100.7 x 59.6 x 16.9 mm




16 million colours





Special Camera features:

LED flash

Video recording:


Video playback:


Video calling:


Video streaming:


Music formats played:


3.5mm jack port:


Handsfree speakerphone:


Voice Control:


Voice Dialling:


Call records:

Practically unlimited


Practically unlimited entries, Photocall

Ringtones customization:


Display description:

TFT capacitive touchscreen






Standard color:


Launch Status:






Operating system:



Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, A2DP, MicroUSB

Announced date:

October 2010

What's in the Box:




International launch date:

November 2010

Battery life when playing multimedia:



1 GHz processor

FM Radio Description:


Internal memory:


Memory Card Slot:



Email, IM, MMS, SMS

Internet Browser:


E-mail client:

Push email, POP3, IMAP4, Attachments






Yes, downloadable

Data speed:





330 mins


350 hours

Display size:




Audio recording:



Tags Palm Pre 2, 3G

# sales team/customer service: 0800 358 9048

All content and images are copyright © 2015 all rights reserved