Funnily enough, Shaun reckons that the Nokia N95 8GB is the best of the best in his entertaining review over the past few days, despite it probably having the poorest battery life, worst text entry system and being the only one without a touchscreen. In addition, out of the 4 devices in the test it is the one that I would least like to use on a daily basis and if you were going to be uncharitable you could point it is more than twice the cost of the Centro, in fact getting on for 3 times the price and yet is plainly not anywhere near being three times as good.
Anyway, my Centro arrived today and so far I have to say I am very very pleased with it. When I have been looking at it on other sites my immediate reaction was that, from the pics posted, it does not look that much smaller than the likes of the 680 and that was something that disappointed me. However, in the flesh it is much smaller and it makes the 680 look rather big and ungainly in comparison. The picture on the left shows it next to my 500v and 680 and again fails to portray the sheer dinkiness of it…it is small.
Set up was a breeze using my work PC. I removed the existing hotysnc ID backup folder from Program Files/palmone/hotysnc ID and when I fired up the cd and it went through the Palm Desktop install process it gave me the option just to sync across contacts, calendar, tasks, and memos and I declined its offer to load on all the old apps. I did that later manually, two or three at a time and then backed up each time when I was sure those apps were working okay.
Obviously it is very early doors with the Centro but it seems very well made…it is far more solid feeling than the 500v for example and is creak free. It also appears to have the best signal strength of any previous smartphone which is refreshing as too many previous devices have struggles to get a signal in my office whereas this one had 3 bars showing all day. It’s too early to call battery life as it spent most of this afternoon charging and syncing via the PC usb port.
The black version has a faint but noticeable silver sort of fleck through the paint which is actually quite nice. I have found the keyboard, which I was worried about, to be just fine. Not as good, as you would expect, as the equivalent on the 680 or 750 but I have been typing away without too many mistakes nor have I been missing keys or pressing the wrong one. The keys have an almost sticky feel to them which aids accuracy and gives them a nice "feel".
Before buying this I was thinking…why would anybody who has a 680 feel the need to "upgrade" (if it is an upgrade) to a Centro ? I was sceptical of the merits of such an action and without wishing to come out too early and without wishing to tempt fate too much, I gotta say this device feels like a winner. The price, when you hold and feel it, seems like a genuine bargain at £80 odd quid less than 680 yet with a better form factor (much better in fact), better camera and an equally rock solid feel. I’m genuinely surprised how nice it is…so far. I loaded on about 12 applications including some heavyweights like SnapperMail yet there is still 52mb of out of the 64mb memory free. What a joy not to have to worry about enough RAM to run apps in….KerPow..take that windows mobile.
One or two initial small niggles are the cheapo stylus which I’m sure one of the add on vendors will sort by offering a much better quality one and the nav strip in the middle bit of the Centro. I’d personally prefer the same sort of buttons as are on the 680 as I am having a bit of trouble accurately pressing the "home" button sometimes, it seems a bit unresponsive but may loosen up with use. But come on…this device is under £180.