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HP Pre 3 - Has HP Pre 3 Got What It Takes

Well if first impressions mean anything then the Pre 3 is quite promising. That is to say, the Pre 2 was merely a slight upgrade from the Pre, but the Pre 3 seems to have destroyed the original Pre plans and started afresh. Immediately you can see this, as the Pre 3 is a bigger device than the Pre 2, with a 3.6 inch touchscreen and WebOS on board.

The aesthetics show a curvy, smooth model handset, with rounded corners and edges reminiscent of a bar of soap. Though we feel it is slightly on the dumpy side, it feels rather nice in the hand and the keyboard is flattened with the lip removed, so it immediately improves on the poor typing of the earlier Pre handsets. Speaking of typing, the slide-out keyboard features rubbery keys that are easy to grip, making it exquisite to type on. Each key features a good amount of spacing and feedback, making it a good competitor for the BlackBerry Bold.

The Pre 3 is packing a punch with an awesome 1.4GHz Qualcomm processor. Though single-core only, the processor is backed up with 512MB of RAM and 8-16GB of storage, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AGPS and HP’s own Touchstone wireless charging system. Yes, the Pre 3 is definitely an eye-opener as far as tech specs are concerned.

In terms of additional features, the Pre 3 features a respectable 5 megapixel camera with LED flash that is capable of shooting 720p video. Though we longed for full HD recording, the image quality is great for both video and stills. In addition, there is a front facing 1.3 megapixel camera that allows for video calling, so all in all you get a fair bit for your money.

The Touchstone system featured on the Pre 3 allows you to transfer data from the HP TouchPad, so if you were to own both devices you can answer calls and text messages received by the Pre 3 on the tablet via Wi-Fi. You can also sync your websites, contacts and videos between the two devices, made easy by the Touch to Share function, which is incredibly simple to use. If you don’t have the TouchPad however, you won’t be too impressed by these features. There are a lot of cheap HP Pre 3 deals online, but there are only a few who offer the best deals.

We were quite keen on the Just Type feature, a quick instant-access box that allows you to type then decide what you want to do with the text once it is finished. Of course, our favourite use for this is to quickly send a text message on the move.

Unfortunately the battery is on the concerning side, at a mere 1,230mAh. This isn’t exactly high capacity, so you can expect to charge the Pre 3 annoyingly often. Though if this were remedied by HP, the phone would stand as a firm rival to the likes of the BlackBerry Bold.

There aren’t many apps to speak of on the webOS store, however hopefully HP will improve on this as time goes by. There are a fair amount to choose from for now, but it pales in comparison to the Apple Store or the Android Marketplace.

In conclusion the HP Pre 3 is a vast improvement on the Pre 2, however there are still flaws to be found when you compare it with higher-end smartphones. If you have an HP TouchPad then it is definitely a phone worth considered, likewise if you’re after a good-looking smartphone in this price range. That is to say, compared to it’s rivals on the price field, it is a great phone. If you’re after plenty of apps and cool Web features then it would probably be in your best interests to search elsewhere until HP improve their store.


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