Sun, 12 Jul 2009 Palm Pre (US) review
New operating system has a lot to like, but is coupled with sub-standard hardware
- Manufacturer: Palm
- Distributor: 02
- Pros: Multitasking card interface lets you run many programs at once; unified email Inbox; message flagging; iTunes media syncing; excellent notifications system; multitouch gestures; Synergy contact system good when it works.
- Cons: Often unintuitive interface; cheap-feeling hardware construction; poor hardware user interface design; physical keyboard is difficult to use; Synergy contact system doesn't always work as advertised; touch screen is not always responsive.
- Min specs: UK pricing to be confirmed, Palm Pre will only be available on O2.
- Price: TBC
- Star rating:
Macworld Buying Advice
All things considered, the Pre is actually a pretty good phone. Despite my mostly minor gripes, it’s got a pretty slick operating system, a boatload of features, and it’s very usable. Not all the pieces are in place yet, but like all of the other smart phones, it’s a work in progress. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a worthy device, and most people coming from a non-smart phone will rightfully see it as a huge upgrade. The real star of the production, of course, is webOS. From a hardware perspective, the Pre is little better than many of the sub-par smart phones that have come before. The webOS has a real chance to be a serious competitor to the iPhone. Apple’s philosophy is to ship no software before it’s up to snuff—Palm seems to have gone the other direction and thrown in many features, not all of which are ready for prime time. The choice of networks plays a big part in whether you’re going to pick the Pre or the iPhone; right now Palm has an exclusive deal with Sprint, which is slated to run through 2009, though there are already rumblings about the device appearing on the Verizon network next year. Of course, the Pre’s not the only webOS phone we can expect to see, just as there are more Android models to come in the future. The big question right now is whether the Pre can do well enough to keep Palm afloat in the meantime. More to the point, though, let's address the question of whether the Pre can "beat" or "kill" the iPhone. The problem here is that the question itself is based on a false premise. Just as in the interminable argument over Macs versus PCs, the smartphone market is not a zero-sum game: Apple doesn't have to lose for Palm to win. More important, by having two robust, competitive platforms, we, the consumers, are far better served than if one company were to dominate the market place all by itself. In that sense, by creating a product that's even comparable to the iPhone, Palm has succeeded, even if the Pre isn't holy grail of smartphones. It doesn't have to kill the iPhone—it just has to put up a good fight.