Means of Seeing what the eye brings

October 17, 2009

Reviewed: Seidio Case for Palm Pre

Filed under: gadgets,Reviews — Tags: , , , — osteoderm @ 8:05 am

After over a week of delicately shuffling my new Pre from one carefully-emptied pocket to another, fiddling with the supplied faux-leather sleeve, etc., I ordered up a skin and holster. Then I ordered another.

I tried out a few at Best Buy, and they all sucked. Unlike the otherwise brick-like iPhone or Blackberry, the curvy and sliding Pre is hard to wrap a useful protective surface around. I went back to the internet, read a slew of reviews, and ordered the Seidio Innocase Surface sleeve and Innocase Holster from pre|central.
The Surface sleeve is great. I got mine in flat black; the exact same shade/texture as the Pre Touchstone back cover. The cover snaps on in two pieces with these tiny precise tabs, no problem. The cover works well enough with the Touchstone; the magnetic attraction is a bit diminished (the phone sometimes needs an additional nudge to find “home”), but the charging seems to work just as well as without the cover.

The Innocase holster I got is the one specifically made to fit the Pre with the Surface cover attached. This combination has pros and cons:
The screen is very protected, as the extra .6mm of the cover keeps the screen from making any contact with the already-felt-protected face of the holster.
However, the spring clip of the holster bumps over/around the cutouts on the top of the cover, by the power, mute slider, and audio port. No marks on the cover or phone yet, but the action is less smooth than otherwise.
The belt clip on the holster is very good: positive rotating detents, strong clip spring, and a pronounced hook on the clip. This will not fall off your pants.
The sole major failing of the holster is in the way the retaining clip is attached to the body of the holster; with the Pre removed from the holster, the empty holster is a Snag-O-Matic seatbelt- coat- door- and countetopr-grabbing Claw of Self-Destruction, and the retaining clip only lasted me two days before snapping off. It is simultaneously perfectly designed to hold the Pre securely when in place, and woefully unable to withstand any other stress with the Pre removed.
However, everything else is so good, I couldn’t help but immediately order an exact replacement from pre|central, who, by the way, have provided me with nothing but quick, simple, and direct service. I’m trying my best to be more careful with the new holster…

Palm Pre: further impressions

Filed under: gadgets — Tags: — osteoderm @ 7:29 am

It’s now been another couple weeks with the Palm Pre, and I’ve been refining my list of likes/dislikes. Some of my criticisms are generally smartphone-related, and I suppose would be equally applicable to any such device.
First off has been the realization that this is not a phone; it is instead a small computer that runs a phone application. The phone sounds decent on both ends of the line, gets no better or worse reception than my previous phones, dials beeps and boops like most any other, and yet, feels more like dialing up a contact on Skype than simply and instinctively punching in a number on a “real phone”. It’s as if all the extra (and welcome!) functionality has put just a little layer of hesitation between me and my phone.
Part of this has to come from my usage of the webOS launcher: as on my desktop, I habitually keep everything as minimized or closed as possible, preferring to launch apps only when I need them, vs. leaving them open in the background. This habit, I’m sure, comes from the days of rabid resource conservation on bootstrapped AT’s running DOSshell and 3.x.
With the webOS on the Palm Pre, not only is multitasking available, it is critical; background apps come to the foreground instantly, whereas there is a definite and annoying lag on most initial launches. I have only twice managed to bog down the OS with a glut of open apps, and yet I am constantly annoyed by how many taps and how much time it takes to launch the phone app and call up a contact. In practice, it is much faster/easier to just leave the phone and/or contact apps constantly running in the background.

Since my last review, I’ve upgraded the webOS, installed WebOSQuickinstall on my PC, downloaded PreWare, and loaded up a slew of homebrew apps and system patches. Now this is the Palm experience I had been missing! Without jailbreaking/downgrading/unlocking/custom firmware crap to contend with, or fear of “bricking” the device, here is a smartphone we can all dig into, with Palm itself providing the services and software to restore things should anything seriously bad happen.

Overall, the Pre isn’t quite there yet; the hardware lacks polish, the App selection is limited (but growing!), and the carrier selection is limited, but I feel confident that good things are on the horizon.

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