A Geek With Guns

Views from a geek gun nut

Palm Pre

If you look back to a time before I had my Evo the phone I was drooling over was the Palm Pre. Finally after roughly 15 months I found somebody willing to sell me one on the cheap (and it wasn’t even from a suspicious truck in the parking lot). Needless to say I dinked around with it last night and compared it to my Evo.

GSM technology allows you to swap SIM cards between phones which gives you the ability to easily use multiple phones without much hassle. The Pre is not a GSM phone meaning you have to swap your ESN registration. I found out that you can do this for free via Sprint’s web interface so this is actually damn easy. If you log into your Sprint account they have step-by-step instructions on activating a new phone and it’s pretty easy.

First let me say one thing, WebOS kicks levels of ass that can not be described in words. The interface for multi-tasking is friggin’ amazing. Applications have a clean and consistent look to them, and everything you want to do can be accomplished with little or no hassle. I can say I still think WebOS is the best of the four current smart phone operating systems (iOS, Android, WebOS, and Blackberry OS) with Android coming in at a decently close second.

Of course a great OS doesn’t make up for poor hardware. The hardware in the Palm Pre isn’t poor per se but it is long in the tooth. The Pre only has something like a 600Mhz processor while the Evo has a 1Ghz processor leaving the Pre feeling sluggish. Applications actually take notable time to open whereas I can’t remember the late time I had to wait for an application on my Evo to open. Even with the diminutive hardware the Pre is pretty capable. The Pre certainly can multi-task but if you have too many applications open there is a noticeable slowdown. Being the phone came out 15 months ago this wasn’t surprising to me in the least.

One thing I absolutely loved about my Treo 755p was the hardware keyboard. The Pre has an almost identical keyboard which was a plus but after using the on-screen keyboard contain within the Evo I can see I’ve moved to the point where I no longer need a hardware keyboard to be flexible. I won’t go so far as to say I prefer an on-screen keyboard but they are pretty flexible as they allow you to hold the phone in either landscape or portrait mode and still be able to type. Certain applications on the Pre can go into landscape mode but most are restricted to portrait mode as that is the only method you can hold the phone and type on the keyboard.

An aspect of the phone’s construction I don’t like is the shiny plastic backing. Although my Evo picks up finger prints on the screen the Pre picks up finger prints everywhere. The Evo has a rubberized back which improves a holder’s grip while also not showing every place somebody has touched the phone. Beyond that the volume up and down rocker on the Pre feels incredibly cheap as does it’s micro USB port cover. Speaking of the USB cover that little tab of plastic is a huge pain in the ass. It’s cheap, fragile, and prevents you from easily connecting any micro USB cable. The edges of most of my cables actually bumped into the tab preventing it from seating all the way into the port.

I can’t comment on the battery life as the battery in the Pre I have is probably as old as the phone. Needless to say I found out buying new batteries for the Pre is actually damn cheap so I’m going to pick one up and do a full battery life test at some point.

Either way you can expect some Palm Pre and WebOS related posts in the future as I dink around with it. Now I just need to get an old iPod Touch on the cheap and I’ll have reference hardware for every major mobile phone besides the Blackberry (which I’m not wasting my time writing applications for).

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Written by Christopher Burg

September 16, 2010 at 9:00 am

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