06/01/2016, 03:43 PM
Every once in a while, I feel nostalgic for 2011, and I pull out my Pre 3 from the gadget drawer and boot it up.
This time, the nostalgia was hitting me hard enough to put my SIM in the phone and try to make it my daily driver again.
Things I need my smartphone to be? Phone (calls, texting), media player (podcasts, audiobooks, music, videos, etc.), Camera, Email/Facebook/Twitter, Light productivity use (Dropbox, MS Office document editing), and finally GPS Navigation.
There is something so satisfying about using the Pre 3 to make phone calls. It probably has a lot to do with being able to snap the keyboard shut to hang up a call. I was also pleasantly surprised that my T-Mobile service is actually pretty good where I live, even with a device that was meant for AT&T. I generally got a few bars of 3G service wherever I was, and I only noticed it drop down to Edge in a few places.
Although texting works fine, I've discovered that MMS functionality is broken. I couldn't send or receive pictures. I'm pretty sure I used to be able to on AT&T, so I think this must be due to my move to T-Mobile. I tried fiddling with the APN settings, but didn't have much luck. I haven't decided yet if this is a deal breaker, but it was a particular inconvenience over the weekend.
Now, I'm also a Google Voice user, and my GV number is my primary phone number. Receiving GV calls was no problem, of course, and although I didn't try it, I imagine I could still use the "call me" function to initiate a GV call from my web browser using my computer. But I basically had to be okay with making calls from my regular phone number when I was using the Pre 3. Google Voice SMS/MMS was another issue. I've migrated to receiving GV texts in Google Hangouts, and there is no way to use Hangouts on webOS, but I discovered that the mobile browser version of Google Voice also seems to be broken on webOS, so this wasn't an option either. I was concerned about missing texts when I was away from my computer. As a workaround, I set my Google Voice account to forward all SMS to my Gmail inbox just like it does with voicemail. This way, even if I couldn't reply right away, at least I would see that I had a message.
Thanks to the C+Dav synergy plugin, I'm able to get my contacts and calendars onto the phone again. I'm using the "no-upsync" version, which actually works out really well for me, because I've become accustomed to high resolution contact photos, and the ones downloaded from Google through carddav are terribly pixelated. I was able to replace the contact photos on-device for my most frequently called contacts, and I didn't have to worry about those changes altering my contacts on the server.
I'm a heavy podcast listener, and GuttenPodder fills that need quite nicely. Music listening is likewise handled well by the Pre, and I can watch videos I've loaded via USB. I missed being able to listen to my Audible audiobooks, but it wasn't a big deal. The experience of watching Youtube has noticeably degraded. I found that the video and audio would often go out of sync. Your mileage may vary, and that was the only online video source I tested.
I've been too spoiled by modern smartphone cameras. I have a 10 month old son, and I didn't even try to use the Pre 3 as my camera. I just reached for my 2014 Moto X or my Sony point-and-shoot.
Email is fine. I'm wrestling with security certificates on my Gmail accounts, and sometimes I end up sending duplicate messages, but most of the time I'm able to send and receive mail without a problem. I'm using Project Macaw for Twitter, and it's still my favorite twitter client. Facebook was tricky, but it mostly works from the browser. My friends have taken to using Facebook messenger as our default method for group chat, and I was surprised to find that even without a Facebook app, I wasn't left entirely out of the conversation. But I had to manually check our chats in the browser, as I obviously wasn't getting any notifications.
I occasionally need to manage my files on Dropbox and edit a word or excel document. I can still use the "Explorer for Dropbox" app, but editing documents aside from plain text is a no-go.
Just forget it. I think something might be wrong with the GPS hardware, because with GPS only selected under Location Services, neither Bing Maps, nor Google Maps can lock in on my location. But even if it the GPS were functioning, Navit just can't hold a candle to Google Maps Navigation. I ended up using my SIM-less Moto X for Navigation. I imagine if I got into a situation where I needed online navigation, I could tether to the Pre 3, but in that case I might as well transfer the SIM back to the Moto X, since my LTE signal is so much stronger than my Pre's 3G signal (aside from also being faster).
Since last Friday, I tried to make my Pre 3 my daily driver, and in a pinch, as a backup phone I totally could have made it work. But my SIM is back in my Moto X. I found myself reaching for my Moto X over the past few days whenever I wanted to take a picture or listen to an audio book, and I needed to use the Moto X if I wanted to send or receive any picture messages.
In the short-term, my Pre 3 would work as an emergency backup, but I would use it only as a stop-gap to tide me over until my primary phone were replaced or repaired. It's a shame. I truly miss the elegance of webOS and the ergonomics of the Pre 3.