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Centro or iPhone 3G?

Wed Jun 11, 2008 - 10:41 AM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell


The Palm Centro is selling like hotcakes and has actually boosted Palm's market share recently. Verizon will soon be launching the Centro, and I imagine that many of you Verizon customers are anxiously waiting to get your hands on one.

Maybe some of you can't decide between getting a Centro or the upcoming iPhone 3G that was announced Monday. Naturally I want one because, well, ... I'm just a hopeless gadget addict. Once I hear about an interesting new device, the ole drool glands get all stimulated and the "Gotta Have It!" mode kicks in and won't cut off. Ah yes, I do believe I see some heads nodding. Many of you know exactly what I'm talkin' about, huh? It's okay, you can admit it. ;-)

I already have the original iPhone and wrote about my thoughts on that device compared with a Treo 680 back during our Smartphone Round Robin last year.

Of course I don't have an iPhone 3G right now to compare to my Centro. I do however know from using my Centro for a few months what I like about it. To me, the Centro is the perfect size. I think back to my Treo 650 and it now seems so brick-like in comparison. And I think back to one of my other older cellphones that was a flip phone. It was too small and so easy to lose. On a side note, I've read about a lot of people accidentally flushing their small cell phones down the toilet. I would hope that the Centro isn't that small, but I'm sure not about to go and test it in my toilet!

The keyboard on the Centro is smaller than the keyboard on the Treo 680, but it's not too small for me. I actually can't tell that much difference. I have rather small hands though. I really appreciate the Centro's physical keyboard with the tactile feedback too. I like the iPhone's keyboard but not as well as the Centro's built-in keyboard. I like actually being able to feel the keys as I press them and not have to guess if I'm touching the correct key/letter. I like the fact that the keypad is backlit too. Plus the rubbery, sticky feel of the keys helps to keep your fingers from sliding off.

I think both the Centro and the iPhone 3G are beautiful devices. The Centro is one of the best looking Palm smartphones to date in MHO. Color wise, my Black Centro and my iPhone are similar since they're both Black with Silver trim, which looks great. I have to admit that the first generation iPhone and the new iPhone 3G look great with that smooth, uniform design. The big screen with the one button on the front looks pretty sweet.

The iPhone and the iPhone 3G win hands down in the internet browsing experience. Safari is just awesome! And with the built-in WiFi, surfing the internet is a breeze here at home where I have a WiFi router. Sadly, the Centro totally loses in that area with the snail-paced Blazer. And there's no WiFi to make things any faster either. Surfing Safari on my iPhone via EDGE isn't the fastest but at least I have the option of using the WiFi connection to speed things up. Not so with the Centro.

And as great as the Centro's screen looks, the iPhone's huge screen makes for a more enjoyable experience when it comes to photo viewing, web browsing, and watching videos.

A Few iPhone 3G Reservations

Anyway, Monday's news about the iPhone 3G was exciting and I was all psyched about it after waiting so long to hear the details. Well, I'm not quite as excited now after the thrill haze has worn off and I've read more on the iPhone 3G.

Putting aside my gadget addiction for a moment (I can at least pretend, can't I?), I need to examine some areas that might give a potential buyer some reservations about getting the iPhone 3G over the Centro. There are some things we didn't get on the iPhone 3G that we really hoped to get.

One of my concerns is that the iPhone 3G doesn't include A2DP support. I'm really at a loss as to why Apple still hasn't included this. I mean, the iPhone is the big music player. Why on earth would Apple not have A2DP bluetooth on this thing? I recently bought the Jabra BT3030 Bluetooth Stereo Headset for my Treo 750 and just assumed that I'd soon be able to use it with the 3G iPhone too when it came out. Nope, not gonna happen.

I can however use my Jabra BT3030 and other BT stereo headsets with my Centro and Palm OS Treos thanks to the app Softick Audio Gateway.

Another feature that I thought the iPhone 3G would have is the ability to cut and paste. Nope, that one is missing too. But you can happily cut and paste with the Centro. Plus you can attach docs and files to your emails. That is a huge deal!

The iPhone 3G is also missing MMS, but the Centro has it. I personally don't use the MMS but I know that many people do.

Although the iPhone 3G isn't capable of doing video, it does have a 2 megapixel camera whereas the Centro only has a 1.3 megapixel camera. The iPhone takes great photos but it was surpising that Apple didn't put in a better camera this time around.

I'm not as giddy about the price of the iPhone 3G as I was at first either. That $199 price for the 8GB does seem pretty good, but not as good as I previously thought. Turns out that the iPhone 3G data plan will cost $30 per month, which is $10 more than the current iPhone data plan. Plus current iPhone owners will have to sign a new 2-year contract to use the iPhone 3G. At least AT&T doesn't plan to count the remaining years on our current iPhone contracts to the new iPhone 3G contract. You won't get the option of getting the iPhone 3G as a Gophone though. Gotta sign that two-year contract. This may be a deal breaker for many potential buyers.

Decisions, Decisions

I'm sure that many of you have already made up your minds about which device you want. Sometimes it simply comes down to your desired platform of choice, which makes the decision a no-brainer. You stick with what you've used for years and what you know.

But for many, the choice is a harder one. It can especially be more difficult for the first time smartphone buyer. There are so many smartphones on the market these days that it's just mind boggling. If you've at least narrowed it down to the Centro and the iPhone 3G, you can read all you can on both devices. Of course the Centro is already available now so you can head to your nearest Sprint or AT&T location and get a hands-on experience. And there are a number of Centro reviews out there available to read. Plus our forums are chocked full of Centro threads. There are plenty of iPhone 3G articles out there to read too, with the list of articles growing daily.

So search and weigh your options, and do your homework. There's no hurry (hopefully not anyway), so take your time and find out all you can about both devices. Naturally, in order to get the iPhone 3G, you'll have to be an AT&T customer or switch over to AT&T. However, if you want the Centro, you have the choice of AT&T and Sprint, and Verizon will be an option in the next few days most likely. Some of our forum members have already ordered a Centro from Verizon.

Both the Centro and the iPhone 3G are great choices, but you'll just have to decide which one has the features that you want and need. The Centro is small, yet very powerful and has lots of features and comes in at a great price. There are already tons and tons of 3rd party apps available for the Centro. You'll still have to wait a bit for the 3rd party apps for the iPhone 3G, but not very long.

Whichever device you choose, I hope you love it and have lots of fun using the device. Good luck! ;-)

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