The latest Palm phone, it’s a sequel to last year’s Pre Plus, now brandishing the latest version of webOS, and both a touchscreen and sliding keyboard. The back now has a matt finish, but the shape is unmistakably Palm.

What we like.

We liked the reassuring feel of the handset; the whole phone has a high quality build-something that is sometimes missing in other phones around this price. The sliding keyboard is smooth, and the keys are backlit.

The Palm Pre 2 improves on the Palm Pre Plus in all areas; the battery-life is respectable, lasting over a day and a half after heavy calling and internet use, and the camera has now been upped to 5 megapixels

WebOS 2.0, the latest version, is clear, functional and intuitive, and the Palm Pre 2’s ‘card stack’ system means that anything you are doing on the phone is shown as a card, and similar ones can be grouped together and easily switched between them with a few finger swipes.

We also really liked the “Just type” box, which is visible at the top of the phone. Typing anything here will lead to contacts, previous messages, google search, google maps and much more. You can even start emails and messages from this box, and choose how to send once you’ve finished.

Tapping on the signal and battery icons leads to options and settings. Though sometimes a little fiddly, it’s a common sense touch that works.

The gesture bar, highlighted by a Nightrider-esque light below the screen works generally like a giant back or forward button, moving you between emails, apps, and the rest. Flicking upward will close the app, which is far easier (and more satisfying) than tapping on a tiny x in the far corner.

The Palm Pre2 also has flash packed into its web browser, and like Android phones, anything flash has a huge play arrow that has to be touched to start the animation.

What we don’t like.

Given that this is the latest version of the Palm Pre, we were expecting far more changes and improvements. There isn’t that much here to differentiate it from the Palm Pre Plus. We’d have liked an expandable memory slot.

While webOS is speedy, it still lags far behind its Android and Apple rivals when it comes to what apps are available. We had a play on Angry Birds, used the map app, but there isn’t nearly as much choice available.

You may find that an app you’ve been itching to use simply won’t be available on this phone. The screen gets mucky very quickly, we continually had to wipe the screen to clear our own fingerprints and smudges.

Note that none of the networks are offering the Palm Pre 2, which means you'll also have to fork out the money upfront for a sim-free handset.

Conclusion.

Though not a big leap from earlier Palm Pre phones, it is an improvement in everyway.
How you you use this phone makes a lot of sense, and as a smartphone, it’s simple, in a good way.

It misses out on the impressive range of apps available on other phones. If you’re not a massive app user, and want a phone that’s easy to use, this is it.