I was cellphoneless. Ten years ago, no big deal. It was kind of nice. I was free. But the preschool wasn’t happy, neither were friends and family who needed to find me… and after a while, it became hard to live without the contact I’ve grown used to.
After much searching, debating and determining, I decided to stay with my Sprint plan. I tried a few Sprint phones, including the new-this-summer Instinct, which compares with the iphone. While I liked the touch screen, it was, at times, difficult to manipulate. The touch-only keyboard was not ideal for me. I needed a phone that had a stellar e-mail system, one that welcomed e-mail from my many servers and kept them separate. And a QWERTY keyboard for fast typing and replying.
What I didn’t need was a million extra apps to spend money downloading. My phone was to be a phone, but as Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint says “can you believe we still call these phones, considering all they can do?” He’s right. I wanted to be able to search the internet with ease, text my friends and, more importantly, my babysitters, and make calls while keeping my appointments in line. A camera would be nice. Anything else, a total bonus.
So I tested the Palm Centro, which is available through Sprint as well as other carriers. Newly available in chic vibrant rose and olive green, the previous model (which is still available) is also available in a light silvery-pink (which is being closed out and on sale). Characteristically, I went with rose. (Other colors are available with other carriers. For example, AT&T, for example, has blue, black and white.)
The Centro is the perfect communication piece for a mom like me. The voices are clear and the contact listing/address book, very simple. You can set the e-mails to arrive in separate accounts (which many other phone’s don’t do) and it can be check at intervals you set up (for example, mine automatically checks every 30 minutes from 8 am through 8 pm.) Messaging is simple, I’m finally keeping up with the sitters and I love the 16 emoticons that are available. (Husband isn’t as into those). It has a touch screen which works with your fingernail (the finger tip works, but not dynamically). There’s a stylus hidden in the phone which makes it much easier to touchscreen.

The Centro comes with over 25 icons/apps loaded. There are the more boring “quick tour” and documents file (which include Word, Excel, Power Point, etc., but I haven’t used the files yet). My favorite and most used apps have been Facebook, Google Maps and Sodoku. Facebook is super simple. Sign on and you’ll easily read your friends status updates and your homepage. You can check your FB messages as well as access friends’ pages. You’re even able to accept friend requests and upload pictures.
Google Maps is pretty good. Basically, its much the same Google Maps that you have on your PC, but it also it gives you the ability to locate your current position and check travel. This weekend, while exploring DC, we had a bit of trouble with the position finder when it located us within 3000 feet. In the capitol city, 3000 feet can put you halfway from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. Directions from “my current position” to our destination were skewed because we couldn’t find the streets it mentioned to start. Of course, in my normal suburban housewife status, this wouldn’t have been a bother. But lost in a city with 2 preschoolers and a slew of traffic; not so helpful. Still, it’s helps us get from point a to point b without trouble on a regular basis.
Sodoku was fun. A great time waster that helped me keep my brain active. Great in the pick-up line at school. Unfortunately, it was only a sample and I’ve now overused my sample time, and I’m not about to pay $14.99 to download the unlimited play game. Not yet anyway. A lot of other games are also available at the Sprint Store, including my beloved Scrabble… which I’m more likely to download. If they had a sample, I’m sure I’d be hooked. You can also download ringtones, images and music by tapping the Sprint Store icon.
The phone also features the web, and I’m thrilled with the accessibility. Surfing, lurking and actively corresponding are as simple as on my laptop. Replying to threads, because of the QWERTY keyboard, has kept me involved even when away from my laptop and wifi.
Two other must-mention features on the Centro: the camera and camcorder. The camcorder was an unnecessary bonus. The microphone is strong enough to pick up the kids in the pool and they love seeing themselves. The camera, which shows images only so-so on the phone, actually takes pretty bright, clear shots in natural light when I upload them to Facebook. (This image was uploaded to Facebook.) And should I really want to use the phone for information, it has a mini-SD card slot to transfer files.
So after the test, yes, I decided the Centro by Palm was the right one for me. Bought it, signed the 2 year contract and now love pulling it out on the table when I’m sitting with friends. Its so pretty!


  1. I had the same Palm Sprint phone… For 1 day. Way too complicated to operate. (and I’m an engineer…) Then exchanged it for the Blackberry Curve, and I LOVE it!!! So, if you don’t love the Centro, try the Curve!

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