BXG Blog

A Quick Palm Pre Review

Now that I’ve owned the Pre for over a day, I thought it would be appropriate to post my impressions.

The good:

  • It’s pretty.  This is hands down the prettiest phone I’ve ever used, both physically and software-wise.
  • Managing multiple open apps.  Having used PalmOS-based smartphones for many years, it’s amazingly powerful and convenient to leave apps running in the background and have them come back exactly where I left them.
  • Notification system.  New messages, alarms, etc arrive at the bottom of the screen without interrupting my work.  Compared to the usual idea of having popups that cover whatever I was doing, it’s fantastic.
  • Classic.  After some (limited) testing, Classic seems to run all my old PalmOS apps just fine, and most of them are faster, too.  I love being able to move to a new phone without re-purchasing all the software I’ve already bought and learned.
  • Physical keyboard.  For texting and emailing, the slide-out physical keyboard is way superior to any virtual keyboard I’ve ever tried.

The not-so-good:

  • Charging port cover.  This little piece of plastic does help make the phone look smooth and unmarred by edges, but it’s really difficult to pull out and feels fragile.  Given that the phone has to be charged every day, I have a feeling it isn’t going to be too many months before that cover breaks off.
  • Sluggish response.  Most things slide and glide around very smoothly, but a few areas are noticeably slow.  In particular, launching new apps and responding to notifications take way too long.  This is partly mitigated by leaving my favorite apps open all the time, but could definitely be improved.
  • Limited storage.  8GB is pretty big for a phone, but it isn’t going to replace my iPod at that size.  Having an expansion slot of some kind would have helped here.
  • The proximity detector that turns off the screen during calls seems overly sensitive.  The shadow of my hand apparently activates it just as much as my ear, so it’s a bit challenging to enter my voice mail password or navigate menu systems.  Palm should deactivate the feature when the phone is held horizontally.
  • Lack of a virtual keyboard.  Even though the physical keyboard was a major selling point for me, there are times when I just want to enter a couple of letters or maybe a URL and I would love to not have to slide out that keyboard to do it.