08/23/2011, 07:46 AM
Day 1 review - Using the SIM Free EU Pre 3 on AT&T in USA
For webOS lovers, the EU Pre 3 with its Tri-Band UMTS, and Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE radio inside is an absolute must have device whether you own a HP Touchpad or not. If you do have a Touchpad then trust me now please, stop reading and pick up your current telephone (or any phone that happens to be nearby), get online, or do whatever you need to do right this instant to secure yourself one of these baby's from across the pond before they're all gone. It's a no brainer. 3g works well enough and I couldn't find one reason not to use this device even with its single band non-robust 1900 MHz UMTS radio doing all the heavy lifting of north american 3G data services. If you act fast enough you'll be able to score one of these magnificent devices for a paltry $75 USD.
To be honest, the first thing I realized after signing on to my Palm profile, the same profile I've used previously with a retail AT&T Veer 4G device, and for two days with an AT&T Pre 3 prototype we passed around the office for a couple days last month doing carrier testing was the lack of HSPA+ (faux 4G). This discovery was a complete surprise to me as I expected whatever 3G UMTS features that were available from AT&T to be available on both the 850 and the 1900 MHz bands. I've written enough about this discovery in my earlier posts so I don't need to elaborate here. In short, on AT&T's network, HSPA+ is only available for devices that can access UMTS services in the 850 MHz spectrum. Therefore, you can immediately cross that one off your list of must haves because you won't be able to have it.
3G UMTS on 1900 MHz and Outdoor reception
- After using my EU Pre3 device on AT&T's 1900 MHz 3G band all day long, I can honestly say that 3G connectivity is acceptable at its worst. Actually, it worked just fine for me. HSPA+ doesn't need to be a must have feature. 3G signal strength on the 1900 MHz band is stable at almost every location I tested and monitored for signal strength and/or made phone calls. The Veer device with both 1900 Mhz and 850 Mhz for 3G, Edge, and HSPA + I carried with us to use for comparison purposes was consistently reporting one more bar of coverage than EU Pre 3
- The Pre 3 dropped down to Edge data during calls twice this afternoon. Both times the geography (hilly terrain) had to be the factor, but the EU Pre 3 managed to switch back and forth between Edge and 3G without even a hiccup to report.
- I live in a metropoliton area, a suburb of Los Angeles. There shouldn't be bandwidth issues near the big cities where coverages overlap and I can vouch that's the case near the Los Angeles / Orange County California metropoliton area. I haven't found many gaps in 3G coverage to report. It's more likely there will be gaps in coverage found in rural areas where there's also a much lower population density.
3G UMTS on 1900 MHz and Indoor reception
- Fairly decent and stable in metropoliton areas. - Problem is overblown on the web. I consistently had 4 bars of 3G while in my office this afternoon.
- If there's any location you regularly frequent that suffers through reception issues, try to assist your carrier by identifying dead spots by lat/long and report them - you'll also need to note the signal strength then reference it when you call to AT&T Mobility technical support to report the dead areas.
- Use WiFi for data when at home, but if you still don't have a stable 3G signal on the Pre 3 indoors and you desire it (I sure would) you may want to consider purchasing a AT&T Microcell device, a femtocell device providing round the clock 3G and HSPA+ coverage to your family inside your home as needed.
- If you already know you're in a fringe reception araa before getting the EU Pre 3, don't count on things getting any better on their own. Remember, you're most likely going from a dual band UMTS radio to a device with only one band to work with. On the other hand, if your house happens to sit near or under an AT&T cell tower, you'll be fine with adequate 3G signal and no need to consider a femtocell.
- You could always swear you're done with mobile telecomunnications forever.
Voice call quality -
- Consistently good - Twice was asked to repeat what I had just said by callers due to signal dropping in and out, however that's a common complaint heard from customers of all mobile carriers.
TTS, Voice and SMS sharing via bluetooth with the TP
- All of this works as designed, FINALLY!
- Every one of my Palm Touchstone chargers has trouble supporting the weight of the EU Pre 3, especially if its the Touchstone mounted on the dashboard of my car. Take the speed bumps too fast, and you'll watch in horror as your Pre 3 flies off the daashboard mounted Touchstone heading for either the floorboard or your freshly brewed hot cup of coffee. I think you get the point.