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printed November 23, 2014
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Review: Palm Pre

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The Pre is far and away the best device from Palm when it comes to music playback. First, it syncs seamlessly with iTunes. For anyone using iTunes, this is an absolute blessing. The Pre's software fools iTunes into thinking it is an iPod, and you can set up playlists and add/delete songs as you would with any Apple iPod. It also acts as any other MP3 player would with Windows Media Player.

The music app lets you sort through your tunes via the usual methods: album, artist, song, genre, etc. In the main page, you can see how many songs you have, and a shortcut will let you shuffle and start playing your entire library immediately.

The player interface itself is pretty cool. It will show the album art or the list of tracks, whichever you choose. You can loop the songs, shuffle them, or just sit back and enjoy. Rather than having to hit a small little button, a light press on the screen will pause playback. Press again to resume. You can also swipe in either direction to the previous or next track. Fun.

What's really interesting is the options button, which pulls down some neat features. Say you're listening to the new Green Day album. Open the options menu, and the Pre will let you perform either a YouTube or Amazon MP3 search for, say, "Green Day". You can search by the artist or the song itself. Searching via YouTube, for example, will take you to a list of Green Day videos. Searching via Amazon MP3 will take you to a selection of music from that artist that can be downloaded via the Amazon MP3 store. You can buy single songs or full albums over the air using the Amazon MP3 store.

The Pre has a regular 3.5mm headset jack, meaning you can use most stereo headphones. It also can play back music via stereo Bluetooth. Music sounded really good, but the Pre has no equalizer or any other way to control how the music sounds.

There's one major kicker. When the Pre is attached to a PC to sync media, it cannot make or receive calls or text messages!!! What the what?!? Palm doesn't provide an explanation, but that's just ridiculous.

 

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