Review: Does the Palm Pre live up to expectations?
The Pre may not be as perfect as its buzz indicated, but it's still a solid entry into the smartphone market.
PC World - The Palm Pre smartphone ($200 with a two-year contract from Sprint as of 6/4/09), along with the company's much-anticipated webOS operating system, has had quite the buzz building up since its splashy launch in January. While the Pre isn't perfect, it definitely does not disappoint: I found the WebOS interface clean, engaging, and intuitive. My main issues were with the hardware itself.
The glossy-black Pre has a uniquely curved slider body that's dominated by its 3.1-inch, 320 by 480-pixel capacitive touch display. The screen slides up and curves slightly toward you, a design intended to resist glare and make the phone feel comfortable in your hand and against your face. Especially in brightly lit environments, the slight angle made viewing the screen easier than on the average phone.
Measuring 3.9 by 2.3 by 0.7 inches, the Pre is incredibly pocketable, more so than a device like Apple's iPhone 3G; it even fits unobtrusively into a woman's jeans pocket, a rare feat for a full-QWERTY smartphone.
Unfortunately, Palm seems to have sacrificed keyboard usability in the interest of compactness. While I appreciated having a physical keyboard, I disliked the design. The vertical slide-out QWERTY keyboard looks and feels much like that on the Palm Centro; here, the keys are glossy black with orange-hued lettering and different colors to designate the embedded keypad. The keys are slightly recessed, however, and I found that the bezel lip on the sides and bottom often interfered with my typing. Furthermore, the top row is a few millimeters too close to the edge of the slider screen, so you have to angle your fingers to press those keys. Though the keyboard slides out smoothly, it also feels a bit flimsy, as if it could snap off with too much use.
The keys weren't too tiny for my small hands, but some of my colleagues found them quite cramped. On top of that, the keys feel gummy (as those on the Centro do) and lack the clickable quality you find on RIM BlackBerry devices. The Pre has no touch keyboard, either, so until a third-party developer creates an app for one, you're stuck using the physical keyboard.
A positive note: I enountered no lag between my typing and the appearance of text on screen, an annoying experience I've had with other devices.
Fortunately, the Pre has a touch number pad for making calls. Call quality over Sprint's 3G network was very good overall, though I heard an echo on one call to a landline. Parties on the other end of the line said that my voice had ample volume and sounded very clear -- even when I was on a busy street corner. None of my calls dropped, and I didn't hear any static, nor did my contacts.
Battery life, unfortunately, wasn't as good. In our PC World battery life tests, the Pre had a word score of "Fair," clocking in at only 5 hours and 17 minutes of average battery talk time. This puts the Pre slightly lower than the iPhone, which had 5 hours and 38 minutes of talk time.
Aside from the keyboard, another disappointment is the Pre's lack of removable memory: The unit comes fixed at 8GB of storage. Unlike the iPhone 3G, the Pre does not come in a 16GB model -- at least not at this time. Originally, Palm told us that users could tether the unit to a PC with a USB cable, and transfer files directly from the PC to the phone, which would be recognized as a mass storage device. Unfortunately, due to carrier limitations, this feature is not available on the Pre. (The iPhone 3G is also capable of tethering, but users can't do so because it is restricted by AT&T.)
- AT&T to carry Palm Pre Plus, Pixi Plus
- 10 must-have free Palm webOS apps
- Apple threatens to throw iTunes 'kill switch' on Palm Pre sync
- Hands on: Should you put a Pre in your pocket?
- Palm may have sold up to 100,000 Pres in first weekend
- Palm Pre fans line up in early hours to be first with the new smartphone
- Palm Pre launch is high-stakes gamble
- Palm Pre roundup: The critics have spoken
- Review: Does the Palm Pre live up to expectations?
- Five Reasons the Palm Pre Won't Prevail
- Need to Replace MS Threat Management Gateway? Read this article to learn how F5's Secure Web Gateway solution provides a full set of features that can help you successfully migrate...
- The Shortfall of Network Load Balancing Applications running across networks encounter a wide range of performance, security, and availability challenges as IT department strive to deliver fast, secure access...
- Leave No App Behind with Software Defined Application Services F5 Software Defined Application Services (SDAS) is the next-generation model for delivering application services that enables service injection, consumption, automation, and orchestration across...
- Five Key Issues for DNS - The Next Network Management Challenge Since every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup, loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS...
- Live Webcast IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!