Peer Review: Critics find Palm Centro to have small buttons, declare it cute as a button

Palm's new smartphone, the Centro, hits Sprint stores today. Palm's pitch: it's the fun smartphone for the masses. The Centro is smaller than Palm's Treo, and it's significantly less expensive: $100 (with a two-year contract and after the mail-in rebate, of course). It comes in red and black. That's it! Otherwise, it's a lot like the Treo: it has a keyboard as well as a touchscreen and stylus. Reviews started coming in this week, and the phone has been getting high marks for size and price.

Still, it's a good bet that people avoid smartphones because of their extra monthly fees, not because the initial cost is high. Prove us wrong, America! Are you excited for the Centro? Do you think it will catch on or woo users from the old-fashioned cell phone category? Let us know. Excerpts from reviews after the jump.

It's cheap, and hooray for 3G!
"All but the most demanding users should find the Palm Centro to be highly satisfying to use. Value-hunters will like it, too; you can spend a lot more to get less, at least when it comes to specific features. For instance, it supports 3G, something that the iPhone and many other higher-priced smart phones don't support." , Computer World

So what? Isn't it just a mini-Treo?
"The [Centro] creates a totally different impression [from the Treo]. It feels less fragile, less formal, less like a piece of Expensive Corporate Equipment. To use the technical term, it’s perkier." , The New York Times

Speaking of mini…
"That keyboard is seriously tiny… it's significantly more cramped than a Treo." , Gizmodo

Even the camera is awesome
"I love it...I have a Helio Fin with a 3MP cam, and a Moto Q with a 1.3MP cam with flash. The Palm Centro, in my opinion, took a better picture than either of the other two." , SlashGear

But can it beat the Blackberry Pearl?
"The Centro is lacking in multimedia, especially compared to competitors like the RIM BlackBerry Pearl 8130. That phone has a better Web browser, better music player, and uses a 3.5mm headphone jack, while the Centro is stuck with a 2.5mm port.", InfoSyncWorld

Red is for the ladies
"Palm hopes the [red Centro] will help attract more female customers and, in fact, a female colleague passed by and said, "Oh, I like the red." … That said, the design fails to impress us; shrinking the size and adding a splash of color wasn't exactly the type of innovation we were looking for.", CNet

Palm's OS can eat Windows Mobile for dinner, even if it is kind of old
"Like most Palm OS devices, the Centro feels really fast. Applications respond quickly to taps, and the screen redraws instantly, especially when compared with much slower Windows Mobile gadgets. , PC Magazine

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