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Review: Palm Pre

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Menus Calls/Contacts Messaging  


On the messaging front, the Pre does nearly everything. Email, SMS, MMS, and IM are all present and accounted for. SMS, MMS and IM are bundled into one, tidy package, but email is handled separately.

First, let's dive into email. As with most modern phones, all you need to do is enter the username and password of whatever email account(s) you want on the phone. The Pre automagically takes care of the rest. It asks you if you want to import the contacts from each particular account, and you can decline if you wish.

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Email can be configured to arrive instantly, or every 5, 10, 15, 30, 60 minutes or every 6 hours. The less often your email syncs, the better battery life will be. You can also choose how much email is stored on the Pre at any one time (1 day, 3 days, 7 days, 2 weeks, 1 month or all of it).

The main email client is pretty simply to use. Press the "+" sign to open a new email. Type in the name of an addressee, and the Pre will sort through your contacts to see if there are any matches. You can also choose to open your contacts list from the email client to perform a more thorough search. There is a little "paperclip" icon to press if you want to attach something to the email. Press the "paper airplane" icon to send your email on its merry way.

The Pre will display HTML email. When you view each email, you can scroll to the previous or next email by pressing some dedicated arrows. Using the options button, you can mark items as read/unread, flag them, move them to other folders, as well as access the cut/copy/paste functions. As far as attachments go, because it has a document viewer on board, I was able to download and view (not edit) Microsoft Word and Excel and PDF files with no problem. The Pre plays nice with Microsoft Exchange, as ActiveSync is on board, but it doesn't support the full range of IT policy controls that Windows Mobile does.

With respect to the other types of messaging, there are two basic tabs in the messaging app: one for "Conversations" and another for "Buddies". The Conversations side is all the SMS/MMS and the Buddies is for IM.

SMS and MMS are threaded nicely together. It is easy to read, easy to sort through your conversations, and really nice to see MMS messages included in line with SMS messages. Adding a picture is as easy as hitting a button in the text entry field. Audio and video messages are not supported, though.

You can have multiple IM clients running at a time, and the Pre's ability to manage them all simultaneously is impressive. The IM client lets you see which of your buddies are online, and you can easily open the contacts app and find your friends' IM screen names and start up a new IM chat.

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