Palm Pre Plus (Verizon Wireless) review: Palm Pre Plus (Verizon Wireless)

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Palm Pre Plus offers double the storage capacity and double the RAM of the Palm Pre. The smartphone also ships with an inductive back cover for Touchstone charging and features an improved QWERTY keyboard.

The Bad Speakerphone volume is too soft. We'd like to see a landscape keyboard and camera editing options. No support for V Cast Music or Video. The phone can run a bit hot.

The Bottom Line The Palm Pre Plus earns its place as the top WebOS device, improving on the Pre with a better design and performance, and upgraded features. Verizon customers looking for a versatile smartphone to balance their personal and work lives will be well-served by the Pre Plus.

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Editors' note, March 2, 2011: We have adjusted the ratings since the original publish date to reflect new products that have entered the market.

When Palm officially unveiled the Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus at CES 2010, it wasn't a complete surprise. Rumors of the two Verizon-bound smartphones had been circulating for weeks before the show, but that doesn't mean we weren't interested in checking out the products.

The Pre Plus is definitely the more exciting of the two devices. It includes design enhancements, such as a revamped keyboard, that improves the overall look and feel of the device. Palm also beefed up the internal storage and RAM, giving the smartphone's performance a boost in speed and expanded capabilities. If Sprint Pre owners weren't jealous enough, Verizon customers will also be able to use the Pre Plus, as well as the Pixi Plus, as a 3G mobile hot spot.

Now, Verizon has added a lot of great smartphones to its lineup lately, so the Palm Pre Plus will definitely face some stiff competition. But with its added features coupled with the WebOS's easier-to-use interface and great multitasking capabilities, we think it's a perfect device for the consumer who is looking for a smartphone to balance work and play, and who might find Android or Windows Mobile a bit much. The Palm Pre Plus will be available starting January 25, 2010, for $149.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. Pricing on Verizon's voice plans were recently updated and you can find the new rates here, while the carrier's unlimited data plan costs $29.99.

Design
At first glance, there doesn't seem to be a noticeable difference between the Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pre. The Pre Plus shares the same pebblelike shape and slider design and also features a gorgeous 3.1-inch HVGA multitouch screen. However, Palm made some slight changes to the design of the phone that really improves the overall look and feel of the device. To start, it removed the center knob that takes you to the Deck of Cards view. The function is still there, but as with the Palm Pixi, it's integrated into the gesture area so you have a more streamlined look, not to mention it makes for a smoother experience when you're swiping your finger from right to left to return to the previous screen.


Palm removed the Deck of Cards button on the Pre Plus and seamlessly integrated it into the gesture area.

Palm also revamped the keyboard. Generally speaking, it's still small and will probably give people with larger thumbs some initial problems. However, the company's increased the key travel space and the buttons now give a more clicky tactile feedback, instead of feeling gummy like the original Pre's, which made a huge difference when typing. We didn't feel dragged down by squishy keys, allowing us to compose messages faster and with fewer mistakes. We asked a couple of Pre owners in the office to try it out, and they definitely noticed a difference and had a hard time hiding their jealousy. That said, it would still be nice to have a virtual keyboard for those times when you're using the smartphone in landscape mode and want to enter some text.


The improvements made to the keyboard make typing on the Pre Plus much more enjoyable than on the original Pre.

On somewhat of a related note, the slider mechanism feels more solid on the Pre Plus. In its closed state, the front part of the phone doesn't move around as much or feel rickety, and there's more of a springlike action when you slide open the phone.

One final design change is that the Pre Plus now ships with an inductive back cover, so it's Touchstone-ready right out of the box. Of course, you still have to buy the charging dock ($49.99), but you won't have to get the backplate as well. As an added bonus, the phone just feels more substantial in the hand and doesn't quite have that plasticky feel of the original Pre. With the inductive cover, the Pre Plus weighs a slightly more at 4.89 ounces (versus 4.76 ounces), contributing to a more solid feel, but measures the same at 3.9 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick.


The Palm Pre Plus now ships with an inductive back cover so you can use it with a Touchstone charging dock (sold separately) right out of the box.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Palm Pre Plus (Verizon Wireless)

Part Number: palmpreplus
Low Price: $199.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Talk Time Up to 330 min
  • Technology CDMA2000 1X
  • Combined with With digital camera / digital player
  • Service Provider Verizon Wireless
  • Weight 4.9 oz
  • Diagonal Size 3.1 in
  • Sensor Resolution 3 pixels