Palm Centro - cobalt blue (Verizon Wireless) review: Palm Centro - cobalt blue (Verizon Wireless)

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The Good The Palm Centro offers ease of use, a compact design, and a solid feature set at an affordable price. The smartphone is also EV-DO capable and offers good call quality.

The Bad The Centro's keyboard is small and cramped. There's no support for stereo Bluetooth headsets.

The Bottom Line Despite some minor shortcomings, the Palm Centro offers Verizon Wireless customers an easy-to-use, affordable, and solid performing smartphone that's perfect for the first-time buyer or anyone on a budget.

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7.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7

It's not quite the Palm Treo 850 news we were hoping for, but we're sure Verizon Wireless customers will still be happy to hear that they'll be able to get their hands on a Palm Centro. First introduced on Sprint and then AT&T, the Centro has breathed new life into the struggling company by offering an affordable and easy-to-use smartphone. It's a simple formula, but it's one that's proven successful for the company as Palm has increased market share and reached a broader audience. We suspect this will only continue as the Centro hits Verizon. Sporting a fresh paint job, the Verizon Centro offers the same easy-to-use experience and solid set of productivity and communication features as the other models. Plus, it has EV-DO support and good call quality, making it an exceptional value at $99.99 (with a two-year contract and after rebates and discounts).

The look and feel of the Verizon Wireless Palm Centro doesn't differ much from the Sprint or AT&T versions, though it comes in an attractive cobalt blue color rather than red, black, or white. The smartphone features a 2.25-inch, 320x320-pixel touch screen and retains the same compact dimensions at 4.2 inches high by 2.1 inches wide by 0.7 inch deep, and it weighs 4.2 ounces. For more information on the Centro's design, please read our review of the Sprint Palm Centro.

The Palm Centro offers a compact frame while still fitting in a full QWERTY keyboard. Here it is next to the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330.

Verizon packages its Palm Centro with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phones accessories, ringtones, and help page.

Part of what makes the Palm Centro such a great value is that you get a lot of features for the price. You may be getting a smaller device compared with the Treo, but Palm doesn't sacrifice any of the functionality. As a phone, the Centro offers a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, three-way calling, speed dial, and the "ignore with text" feature. The contact book is limited only by the available memory, and there's room in each entry for multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, instant-messaging handles, and birthdays. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a picture, one of 37 polyphonic ringtones, or a group ID. The Centro also has text and multimedia messaging with support for threaded chat view.

The Centro has Bluetooth 1.2 for use with wireless headsets, hands-free kits, serial port, and dial-up networking. The DUN capability lets you use the Centro as a modem for your laptop, but you'll need to subscribe to Verizon's Broadband Access plan, which starts at $15 a month. Unfortunately, there's no support for the OBEX (Object Exchange) or the A2DP profile so you won't be able to use your stereo Bluetooth headset with this device. To be fair, none of the other Centro models offer this functionality. Also, the only way you'll be able to get GPS capabilities on the Centro (aside from e911) is to pair it with a Bluetooth GPS receiver, since there's no built-in radio. On the plus side, Google Maps for Mobile ships on the device and includes color maps, satellite imagery, and traffic data.

The smartphone lacks integrated Wi-Fi, but on the bright side, the Verizon Centro is EV-DO capable, bringing broadband-like speeds on your device--about 300Kbps to 600Kbps--and enjoy faster Web browsing, data transfer, and streaming music and video. Disappointingly, Verizon doesn't offer its V Cast multimedia services. However, the Palm Centro now comes with PocketTunes Deluxe Edition so not only can enjoy your favorite MP3s and DRM-protected music, but you can also stream Internet radio stations from within the application.

The Palm Centro offers plenty of e-mail solutions, but the tiny keyboard might give some users problems.

For messaging, you have several choices as fair as e-mail solutions. There's the VersaMail e-mail app, which has built-in support for Microsoft's Direct Push Technology for real-time synchronization with Microsoft Exchange. VersaMail supports a wide range of POP and IMAP e-mail accounts, including AOL, Apple .Mac, AT&T Global, Earthlink, Gmail, and Yahoo Plus. Alternatively, Verizon offers Wireless Sync that gives you access to up to three e-mail accounts. We should note that the Centro is also the first device to support the carrier's new

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