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QWERTY Keyboard

It’s admirable that the Palm Centro has a full QWERTY keyboard. Presumably, this makes it easier for you to make entries into the appointment manager, type out your mobile emails, and surf the web. The trouble is because the Centro is so compact, the keyboard is also very compact.

The keys have a rubbery feel to them, but they are so small that you will probably get the best performance by typing with your fingernails. Even if you have average-sized hands, you may have to take quite a bit of time to get used to this cramped QWERTY. If you’ve got big hands, you’ll need to look elsewhere. I do appreciate that the numeric part of the keyboard is highlighted, though.

Making and Receiving Calls

Call quality is perfectly acceptable on the Palm Centro, as is reception. It’s not the absolute best phone on the market, but it’s far from the worst as well. Strangely, when you hit the “phone” button, it does not take you directly to the virtual dial pad shown above. Instead, it takes you to some phone homescreen. I don’t get it. On my Windows Mobile smartphone, I can hit the “talk” button and it launches directly into the phone app. That would have made more sense to me.

Google Maps, Scheduler, and Other Applications

The Palm Centro comes with a healthy suite of additional applications that take it beyond a conventional mobile phone. It’s not quite up to par with the most powerful smartphones, but it’s a huge leap up from a RAZR.

The Google Maps application downloads new maps on the fly, making use of your data connection. Because the Centro does not have real GPS, it estimates your location by way of cell tower triangulation. As a result, you get your current location within about a five block radius.

The scheduler has remained largely unchanged since the first Palm operating system. If you’ve ever used any Palm OS-powered device in the past, you’ll feel right at home here.

Other applications include the media player, camera, picture viewer, and Blazer web browser. Browsing most websites, like mobile Twitter and Gmail, are acceptable, but if you visit any websites not optimized for mobile handsets, you may run into some rather substantial rendering issues. As you can probably guess, there’s no Flash or Javascript support either so no YouTube for you on this handset.

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