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Christmas Gift Guide
Mobile

I don't hate the Centro

The Centro is great for the price.

The Palm Centro moves the bar lower, pricewise, for Palm-based smartphones.
The Palm Centro moves the bar lower, pricewise, for Palm-based smartphones. Palm Inc.

In fact, I really like it. It's been a few days now and the more I use the Centro, the more impressed I am, especially for the money.

Let's get the bad out of the way: The keyboard really IS tiny. This is not the device you want for long e-mails. But if you want an inexpensive smartphone that delivers in many other ways--and don't mind running your fingers through a pencil sharpener now and then--you've got to check this one out.

Sprint's EV-DO network provides fast Internet connections. The Centro's media player is solid, with strong sound and video. Like the Treo, there are tons of apps you can add.

But this initial rave is based on the best voice-recognition system I've yet encountered. The Nuance Voice Control doesn't just dial your calls; it becomes your personal assistant. No need to worry about the small keyboard when all you need do to add an appointment is hold down a side button, name the appointment, and give the date and time. It's in your PDA. Done.

I'd score the Centro higher than the 7.0 given by CNET's editors and users. Granted, I'll probably find flaws and write about them as I live with it more, but at $99 (activated), this smartphone rocks!