A new approach from Palm
- Size, QWERTY keyboard, touch screen, intuitive and user-friendly interface, price
- No 3G, no back button, plastic build feels a little tacky, keyboard may be a little small for some
The Centro is definitely an interesting concept, and it represents a new target market for Palm. It's not perfect, but on the whole this is a nifty device that is tailored well to its demographic.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
The first smartphone with a full QWERTY keyboard to be sold in Australia on pre-paid, the Centro represents a new approach by Palm. This compact and sleek handset has been designed for people who have never used a smartphone before. Despite its aggressively low price, the Centro offers plenty of features, making it a smart buy in terms of value.
The Centro is Palm's smallest and lightest smartphone on the market. It has a stylish look thanks to a 'glazier white' finish, and its compact size means it feels comfortable in your hand and it easily slips into your pocket. Our only complaint is that the lightweight construction does tend to make the Centro feel a little cheap, although it was solid enough during testing.
Two distinctive features that may not cause such a fuss on a regular smartphone but deserve to be applauded on a device in this price range are the full QWERTY keyboard and the touch-screen display. At first glance, the keyboard looks small and squashed. However, after a few days use, we were typing comfortably at reasonable speeds. (Those with large thumbs may have a frustrating time typing, however.)
The Centro's touch screen is excellent — it's not large, but Palm has designed the interface so most operations can be accessed by using your finger or the five-way navigational pad. There is also a stylus included, but you shouldn't need to use it too often. We found the touch screen very response to finger presses; it didn't require much force when attempting to make a selection. The display is also bright and clear and has a surprisingly good viewing angle.
The Centro has been released exclusively to Telstra and is only available on a pre-paid plan that includes $10 of credit. It's not a 3G-capable handset, instead running on slower GSM/EDGE networks. With Telstra the only network in Australia offering EDGE speeds, the partnership was a logical choice. Surprisingly, we were quite impressed with EDGE network speeds on this unit. Although it is still ultimately much slower than a 3G network, the Centro performs well enough for all of its applications — particularly impressive was the Google Maps feature, as most of the maps load in just a few seconds. We were also impressed with call quality.
Palm deserves a lot of credit for the Centro's user interface. Although you'd naturally expect it to be user-friendly considering the target market, this isn't always the case. For those familiar with the Palm OS, using the Centro will be a breeze. More importantly, we'd have no qualms recommending this handset to someone who has never used a smartphone before — exactly the intended target. All menus are clearly labelled, so using the handset is straightforward and easy.,
The convenient shortcut controls just below the display, along with the five-way navigational pad, only increase the Centro's user-friendliness. Our only complaint is a minor one — the lack of a back button does take some time to get used to.
The Centro is feature packed, especially when taking into account the low price. In addition to options commonly found on smartphones, such as a document viewer e-mail access, memos and voice recording, Palm includes a Google Maps application. This allows users to look up nearby points of interest and get directions — the ability to use your finger to move the map is an excellent feature.
Another excellent feature is threaded SMS messages, first introduced by Palm on the Treo 600. All messages to one contact are shown in a chat style view, reducing the number of individual messages cluttering up in your inbox.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Low-end Android phones could get VR with new Imagination GPU
- Android device updates: the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are finally getting Nougat
- HTC's U Ultra flagship attacks the high end with a glass back, an AI companion, and a second screen
- The iPhone turns 10: Apple CEO Tim Cook promises 'the best is yet to come'
- Nokia returns to smartphones at long last, but you can't buy it (and probably don't want to)
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- FTTechnology Testing Services ManagerVIC
- FT.NET DEVELOPER | MID-SENIOR LEVEL | MEDIA INDUSTRYNSW
- CCSenior Technical Specialist - AIXVIC
- CCLead DevOps Architect l AWS- Cloud- Linux- Puppet Ansible- JIRA-DatadogNSW
- FTSenior Learning Specialist - Global OrganisationQLD
- CCIT Support AnalystVIC
- CCJava Developer/ Guidewire DevelopersQLD
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTJunior Business Process Analyst Perm North SydneyNSW
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- FTMDM - ConsultantNSW
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- CCAutomation Test Analyst - Geospatial and Industrial EnterpriseVIC
- FTSecurity Incident / SOC Analyst (Tier 1) - Permanent - North Ryde BasedNSW
- TPChange ManagerNSW
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- CCSystems EngineerQLD
- FTInformation / Data Quality AnalystNSW
- FTLevel 2 Help Desk SupportQLD
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantNSW
- CCJunior BI / Data Analytics Analyst - contract - SydneyNSW
- FTTechnical Account ManagerACT
- CCSenior Business AnalystSA