Interestingly, making phone calls – like on the iPhone, but not as much with the G1 – seems secondary, almost as an afterthought for people who actually still talk to each other occasionally.

The truth is, the Palm Pre is a better voice device than the iPhone and is actually one of the better smartphones for making phone calls.

Palm pre

CALL: Dial a number or select a contact from your contacts book

Palm likely learned its lesson with the Centro and previous devices – voice communication better work, because without good voice controls and quality, a smartphone can die a quick death.

Crisp voice

In a series of calls made during all times of the day, each call sounded crisp without any of the strange audio delay found with lower-end smartphone models.

contact listcontact

CONTACTS: Selecting a contact is easy and intuitive

The speakerphone is loud and picks up extremely well; it works better than the iPhone. However, while the calls sounded good in the sense that there was no artifacting or distortion, there was a lot of audio compression.

This means voice chats tended to have a bit of a robotic tone to them rather than sounding full and life-like – for example, calls were clear, but highly compressed.

Making calls is extremely easy – you press the green phone icon and can start typing a number. Or, you can use universal search. Here, you can just start typing the name of any contact to find the phone number for that person.

Easy operation

Once you find a contact, you just click the number to dial. The Palm Pre does not support visual voice mail - a text indicator about who called, or the fancier transcription features in Google Voice that take a voicemail and convert it into text for you – but the Pre does use alerts to let you know when you do have a voicemail.

Unlike the HTC Hero, which shows alerts in a small portion of the screen above the main apps, the Palm Pre shows alerts below the main screen, and they are quite large.

The only downside: if you happen to get an alert at the exact same time as another incoming call or when you are about to dial a number, the alerts obscure part of the phone dialer screen.

The dialer is functional and easy-to-use, although we would have preferred a dedicated hardware button for making a phone call.

Soft keys on the phone dialer are responsive enough even for fast dialers – we never had any problems dialing numbers.

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