By May 11, 2009

Hands-on review of Palm Pre


palm-pre-1 Prethinking have an excellent Hands-on review of the Palm Pre. Covering most of the aspects this is an essential read for anyone interested in this device. Check after the break for the review.

I would like to preface this hand’s on review of the Palm Pre with a special thank you to Mr. James Stephen, the area’s Business Solutions Specialist. James had kept in touch with me since early 2008 when I wrote my lettermanifesto to CEO Mr. Dan Hesse (and others within the company hierarchy), regarding my concerns over the lack of quality Smart Phone handsets Sprint had to offer. The letter made the rounds of managers and sub managers and James was appointed to me by the higher ups at Sprint to handle my concerns. I wasn’t even close to blogging about anything at this point, but I was upset with my phone choices and I got sick of being envious of all of my friend’s cool phones. I even had a friend tell me that I should get a Tattoo on my ass that with the Sprint logo because I was loyal to the quality of their network. Sprint has always seemed to get the hand-me-downs of phones and that made me quite upset. James had told me he heard about my letter manifesto and that he would help me out. James consistently followed up with me about my service, even though he was not the retail division. He introduced me to the Instinct which I felt was lacking true smart phone capability, so I decided to wait and see what was around the corner before I bailed on Sprint.

I recently had a problem with my current handset which kept rebooting while I was on the phone, amongst other problems. I explained to James that I did not want to purchase a new handset since I was waiting for the Palm Pre. The retail store I spoke with decided I should buy insurance for my crappy phone and then file a claim after 24 hours. I thought that was just cheating the system. James called me to say he located a slightly used Treo by a former employee and within a couple of weeks, made arraignments to meet me near my office to give me the newer handset. We spent some time going over success of Boost and Nextel’s IDEN network it uses, and the customer service direction of Sprint but he had no information on the Pre but to say it was a hotly anticipated device and that Sprint was really looking forward to this relationship with Palm. James in no way whatsoever offered me any information on the Pre. If he knew anything, he was the best poker faced player I’ve ever met because James emphatically stated he did not know anything except that the device was coming out soon. Trust me, I grilled him.

James should be an example of how the customer service division has changed at Sprint. Yes, we have all heard of the problems in the past and dealt with them too, but this was a great example of when a company listens to its customers, what it can truly accomplish. With the lure of many free phones, including the Blackberry Bold, in which my girlfriend just got one and loves, I am loyal and holding out for what I believe is the best device to come on the market since the iPhone, only better in several ways. Mind you, I left Sprint for the iPhone and switched back after a few days later when the iPhone crashed on me three times in one day. It is my business phone and I couldn’t afford to lose calls and messages.

Again, thank you James for taking the time out of your busy days to answer my calls and track down a phone I can use until the Pre comes out. You demonstrated a remarkable customer service work ethic. You are the poster boy for how Sprint customer service is and this should be an example to the rest of the company of how to take care of your customers and to win over market share.

Now, on to the good stuff.

By not getting a phone call or email on May 8th, 2009 notifying me as the lucky recipient of the new Palm Pre for my review, I had to resort to sleuthing tactics to locate an opportunity to get my hands on this phone. Well, the sleuthing worked, and I had a meeting yesterday with an individual that had access to a fully working Palm Pre. This took lot of convincing on my part, and I had to agree with many conditions set forth regarding the review of this new handset for Sprint.

First off, I was not allowed to take any photos, which I heard happened in Canada at Sequentia last week with several people who were chosen in a Customer Service survey to get a preview of the Palm Pre. Secondly, I was not to discuss certain specifics (apps and other things) of the device and all its capabilities. This review also cost me a few rounds of drinks $$$- with the little time I had hands on with the phone.

Feel in hand:

The phone feels solid, just as they advertised like a smooth river stone. This particular phone had the Matte back cover and I was told that the owner does have a touchstone and loves the  charging device. The overall feel is solid. The slider was responsive and not loose, which is good. I had opened and closed it several times to see if I could get a feel for how the Pre could become loosened over time, but I have to say that the slider mechanism is solid as a rock (no pun intended). Time will tell how this hold’s up to the daily grind but to my understanding, this particular phone has been through some heavy use  as text messages were popping up like crazy (busy owner of the Pre I guess). The guys keys are small and a little rubbery but in a few minutes, I had no problem with blasting out a couple of text messages. They work fine. Yes, the qwerty works fine. If you know how to type, you know the Pre.

Ease of Use:

Selecting to run any of the programs was very easy to accomplish. The interface was very intuitive and it felt as I had already owned or played with one before. It was very simple to navigate the phone’s apps and made transistions between other applications without a problem. The overall look and feel is similar to the iPhone but mix that in with Windows 7 and kick in a good dose of speed of the Linux OS and that is exactly what you get. One badass, easy to use phone that makes you wonder "Why wasn’t this built sooner?"


This is where the phone excels like no other. It truly Multi-tasks and does it with amazing flair. Putting it through a real world test, I started to launch app after app. Pandora, Webpages, email, among a few I cannot name), and the phone had NO LAG whatsoever. The ability to switch between apps using the cards interface was great and you could actually see everything running in the background. This has truly made this phone a revolutionary step in the next direction with operating systems for cell phones.

Furthermore, notifications kept popping up with emails, texts, etc. and the phone didn’t miss a beat notifying or allowing me to switch between the applications when new notifications popped up. I fell in love with this right away. All too often on several other phones, you have to stop what you are doing to accept an incomming call, text message or email. Not on this phone and it does it with some horsepower and slicker unlike any other device on the market. Apple is going to have a seriously hard time trying to play catch up to the Pre.


I am not able to go into great detail of the ‘types’ of applications that were available on this particular individual’s Pre but I will say, they are certainly extensive. And if the apps contained on this phone gives us any indication of ‘what is to come’ in the App Catalog, I will say with certainty, that the Pre will be the Phone to beat, even though it has a lot of catching up to do with the iPhone and others. The applications are rich with color and the speed at with which they move is ferocious. Several other phones aren’t able to hold a candle to the Palm Pre in it’s speed of the apps loading and overall usability. Not to mention, that you can multi-task with such fervor! This sets the Pre in a class by itself.

Overall assessment:

The Palm Pre is going to one of the best phones for 2009 in its class. It is truly a Smart Phone and not a dumb phone made to look smart by overlaying apps upon apps on a system that was not designed for Multi-Tasking. This phone will be your phone, a communication device with email and phenomenal text messaging, music, movies, camera, calendar and a whole slew of other applications I am not at liberty to mention.

Just one thing is left for Palm/Sprint to perfect this phone: Release it soon!

UPDATED: In response to your questions

Battery life: I truly can’t comment on it because I had a about an hour to test out the phone and ask questions. I did do quite a bit of multi-tasking, at one point I had about 10 appz open, it didn’t seem to juice the battery life much – which is a GOOD thing.

Booting: I did turn off and turn on the phone. Typical Palm/Blackberry/iPhone but it does boot a lot faster than my 700p!

Keyboard: If you have used a Blackberry or Treo, you will easily get used to the keyboard.

Greg: I said "like a smooth river stone", I than said "solid as a rock." Perhaps you need to look up the word ‘pun’ again.

jayhoward: I guess it would appear that I am cheer leading for this phone, which I am not. If the phone was not decent, I wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of writing a review. I wanted to give everyone a clear thought out review. Again, I do not own the phone and had about an hour to test it out. From what I could tell, the overall quality and expectations seem very good. Only time will tell when the phone is released on how end users like you and I feel about the phone. I can honestly say that if this phone weren’t coming out, I would have switched to the Blackberry Bold on AT&T because you can do so much with phone and watching my girlfriend become addicted to her ‘crackberry."

Alex: I apologize for my misuse of words in the review. I wrote it late at night and did not go over it twice which I should have. Thanks for correcting my mistake.

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Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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