Okay, so I finally got my hands on a Pre today (courtesy of a friend who was able to lend it to me for about 30 minutes) and dare I say that I came away feeling underwhelmed.
Now before anyone jumps up and says that I’m being biased, let me make clear that I’ve been wow’d by almost evey Pre demo I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot), and I was really hoping to like the Pre a lot more than I did. It seems to be a pretty solid offering from Palm, but an iPhone killer it ain’t. Here’s why.
For starters, navigating through the OS wasn’t nearly as fast as various demo’s seemed to indicate. Apps took longer to open, and the OS doesn’t let you sift through cards speedily. No matter how fast you swipe your finger from either the left or right, the card selection moves at the exact same speed. The cards feature, though, is admittedly cool.
Second, the Pre displays its apps via a grid system, similar to the iPhone, but does so in a much clumsier way. If you’re on an iPhone, and you have a lot of applications, you simply swipe to the left to see a new page of apps. On the Pre, for whatever reason, each display page contains icons that exist below what can be seen on the actual screen. So in order to fully see what apps are lurking on each page, users must swipe downwards to bring up the hidden apps. So if you’re looking for an application that happens to reside at the bottom of the second page of apps (only you’re not sure where to find it), you have to swipe 3 times in order to access it (one swipe down to see if its on page 1, a swipe to the left to see if its on the top half of page 2, and finally, another swipe down to finally launch it). What’s the point of that? Doesn’t Palm know that my delicate fingers need all the rest they can get?
Another annoyance in regards to apps is that Sprint is doing all it can to market its own apps on the Pre. Is Sprint TV really that useful? Does it need to be on the first page of apps that I see?
There were a few other gripes I encountered, but I want to make clear that overall, I did like the Pre, and the gesture area below the screen, in particular, is pretty intuitive. But, I just don’t think the Pre is in the iPhones league, despite some assertions to the contrary. Pinching to zoom in and out seemed sluggish, and the smaller screensize of the Pre was noticeable when browsing on the web. And while some are hyping up the ability to multitask, what good is it if there really aren’t any worthwhile applications for the device?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the Pre, and it’s a lot better than the vast majority of phones currently out there. It’s just not enough to give the iPhone a run for its money. It’s a solid phone, and finally gives Sprint users a cool smartphone.
And as a final note, and while I’m busy dissing iPhone competitors, the BlackBerry Curve and Bold both seem antiquated after using devices like the iPhone or Palm Pre. RIM, however, is selling a lot of them, and my question is.. how and why?! I get that it has a qwerty keyboard, but come on, unless you’re a somewhat high-level employee who needs great email functionality 24/7, why even waste your time?
Let the hate mail commence.