HP Pre3 hands-on

HP launched the Pre3 at the beginning of the February. We know we’ve already brought you a first hands-on of it at the time, but now the dust has settled we were able to get a second longer play with the new flagship smartphone from HP at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and wanted to share that with you.

Like the HP Veer, the Pre3 also sports the company’s webOS 2.2 operating system that is now promised for tablets, laptops, desktops, and even printers.

It will be available in both HSPA+ and EVDO flavours, contains a 1.4-GHz processor in its bowels (the first smartphone to do so) and 512MB RAM. It can come with either 8GB or 16GB of internal storage, features a 3.6-inch 800 x 480 touchscreen display and comes with a full QWERTY slide-out keyboard.

All that power makes the phone extremely nippy as we jumped from slide to slide, and application to application in our brief hands on with the handset.

If you like the webOS you’re not going to find anything to complain about when it comes to speed here.

In the flesh and the first thing we noted was the build quality has been massively improved since the days of the Pre and the Pre 2. The phone doesn’t have the same “flexibility” to it that the original Pre had, nor the cuttingly sharp edge of the Pre 2 around the QWERTY keyboard.

Instead you get a rather softer rubber feel to the phone that means while it will grip well will, we suspect, mean it’s hard to keep clean and smudge free.

It is worth pointing out that with a screen just slightly larger than the iPhone and then the slide out keyboard beneath it this becomes a big handset in the hand, something that might be off putting to some.

There's a 5-megapixel camera around the back (plus a LED flash) with a forward facing webcam for video-calling, and it's capable of both recording and playing back HD video.

Other things to note is the incredibly shinny almost “mirror doubling” panel around the back that will come in handy for prima donnas.

While we’ve played with the phone, the bad news is that you won’t be able to to do so until the summer at the earliest when it comes out in the US and the UK giving developers plenty of time to actually make some apps you might just get excited about.