So, I recieved my ATT Pre 3 from eBay Friday. It was unlocked, and brand new, and, I have to tell you, I was really looking forward to it, despite that fact that I won't be using it on ATT (so, no 3G).
When I opened the box and took the phone out, it felt solid, just like I have heard from many people here. I looked all around the phone and the lines and seams just appeared to be designed to be understated, so that the form and shape of the phone was accentuated.
I do NOT like how we have to remove the back cover to get to the SIM card and battery. Its very unintuitive and risks damaging the phone, due to the fact that the hardware buttons are cut out through the back cover...
Sliding the keyboard out was easy, but firm.. no play anywhere, except a slight bit at the end.. not enough to say it was a defect, though. It slid open solidly and closed just as well.
After I initialized it and got my WebOS profile moved over with all of my applications and preferences, I played with it for a while. Here are my impressions:
The screen really is quite elegant. The black bezel really helps bring out the colors that this display has, and, it is very fine.. no pixelation, bleeding, or inconsistant spots. Very slick.
The bigger screen and overall larger device siize is a huge difference from the Pre, however, it doesnt feel so much bigger in my hand.. pehaps thats because I was using the GRT case for my Pre+, which adds width, length and depth to that similar to the Pre 3.
Scrolling the apps was silk smooth, as was swiping cards. At this point, I hadnt installed Preware, Uberkernal (beta only) or Govnah, so, the kernal and CPU speed is the stock one, and it felt pretty good, responsive and there was no lag whatsoever for me once it was going, but, there was some slight lag on start up, screen on, or initial use after being idle for a while. I think this is due to low CPU settings for the Minimum speed.. more on that later.
EDGE is really fast on the Pre 3 (I dont get 3g because Im on T-Mobile); I think the Pre 3 2G radios and antennaes are upgraded somehow, because, Im getting more bars with improved speeds on 2G in places where I didnt before. Wifi is terrific, also, just as it was on the Pre+.
I brought my music over from my PC - about 200 songs, and fueled up the music app and played them through the back speaker, and, I have to tell you, this does sound very, very good for a smartphone. Placing it on a hard surface really lets the sound reflect back up clearly, and, I can definitely see putting this on the touchstone and letting the songs just shuffle along all day while I work.
I plugged the headset in and that's where the real sound quality came through. If you have a halfway decent headset, you know by now that the sound is unsurpassed.. I've heard sound on many smartphones, but, this is superb. Truly.
The camera works quite well, too. Autofocus works as advertised.. and you can manually reset the focal point by thouch the screen in the area that you want focused. Really cool. Picture quality is just fine for a smartphone.. the flash works well, too. I havent tried video, yet, though.
One thing that has always bothered me, though, is while the 5 megapizwl size is nice, Id really like to be able to take pictures and videos at lower sizes. There are times when I just don't need such large images and pictures. Maybe one of the homebrew guys can whip up a patch for this.
I used QuickInstall to install PreWare, and downloaded Govnah, so I could see what the minimum setting for the CPU is, and, it was 146 mhz. I reset it to 746 - thats about 50% of the max., and created my own profile for it and saved it. With that profile, there is no more initial lag. Perfect.
Next, I decided to see how many application I could open sumultaneously, before an obvious performance problem.
I went to the main app menu and started opening applications and running them, in order. The only one I didnt get to open was video, as I had none, but everything else was not just opened but actively running when I minimized it and started a new application.
I got up to 34 applications, and thats when the music player stopped playing in the background and the 35th application wouldnt open. I swiped up, and was still able to scroll cards left and right very smoothly, but, some apps would open, or would just hang.
Now, remember, there was no Uberkernal installed to enable compcache for the TMC issues - this is the stock Pre 3 kernal, so, once Uberkernal comes out of the beta feeds and into the PreWare world, this might improve from there.
Battery usage appears to be about 12%/hour, with moderate use. No battery drain while on the TS, where I keep it all day.
Speaking of the TS, you have to seat it properly to get a good hold. The magnets do feel less powerful on this, for sure, but, it works just fine on the TS, and charges just like the old Pre+ did.
So, in the end, I'm really happy with it. Im not envious of those with an iAnything, Mango, or Android device; Ive played with them all, at length, and evenn set a few up with family and friends, and they are fine pieces of hardware, but, they just don't work the way I need and want them to, and that's the bottom line for me.
The Pre 3 hadware really is a step up; its not perfect, but, if Palm had released the original Pre with hardware that was built to this grade, I believe, strongly, that it would have been a huge hit, initially, which would have brought them enough revenue through huge sales to take off and develop the OS as needed to be a true ecosystem that everyone would know about, and respect.
So, unless something crazy happens over the next few days, this is my smartphone for the next 1 - 2 years.
I hope the homebrew community stays strong and continues to provide thier efforts to us all through all of our financial support for them, so that I can customize and modify my Pre 3 as I need to, throughout that time; whatever happens to HP, Palm, WebOS in that time will be something I watch, but not worry about; by the time I think about my next phone, everything will be different not just in the tech world, but in my life, as well, and I'll certainly have tons more to evaluate to that end.
If I think of anythng more, I'll post it, but, I wanted to get this out there for those of you who are on the fence about buying this or not - for me, it was a no brainer positive move.