Palm Pre review

Palm's great hope finally makes its debut on UK shores

Palm Pre
The Palm Pre was the most hotly-anticipated phones of 2009 - it is coming to the UK very soon

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Palm figures you will rarely physically connect the Pre to your computer, but if you do, it works flawlessly.

There's a prompt to use the device to sync data, as a USB storage drive or just to charge it. The only slight glitch we found here is that, if you really do drain the battery dry, it takes quite a while (upwards of 20 minutes) before you can even use the phone again, because it needs to charge up for a while first.

We had no trouble using the Pre with a Lenovo X301 laptop, a home-built desktop and a Mac Mini we had laying around. For media sync, the Palm Pre worked flawlessly with iTunes – even though it is weird to see iTunes recognize the device as an iPod – but only for music, not movies.

Comparison versus iPhone and G1

In the end, we enjoyed using the Palm Pre. It's different from the iPhone and the Hero in a good way, acts more like a computer (which is ideal for power users), and syncs contacts from Facebook and Gmail automatically.

iphone and pre

CLOSE CALL: They're similarly matched but the iPhone still comes out on top

After two years of living with the iPhone, we're ready for a new interface and recommend the Palm Pre for those in a similar situation – wanting to multi-task apps, explore a new interface, and even get inspiration in their own job from how the Palm Pre operates as a smartly designed gadget.

That said, the Apple iPhone is still a better device.

Compared to the HTC Hero, there are some interesting differences. Sure, the Palm Pre has a minimal set of apps, but that could change quickly.

And the list of decent applications available for the Android OS is grwoing all the time - from the cool Layar browser to Twidroid, the excellent Twitter Applicaiton. And that's before we even look at the gamut of goodies from Google, as well as the likes of Spotify for Android.

In a grudge match competition, we'd pick the Hero over the G1 but not by a wide margin. And the Pre is a much better touch phone than the HTC Touch Pro, the Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition, the Blackberry Storm and the Nokia XpressMusic N97.

It is not, however, a better business phone than the Blackberry 8900, due to the small and overly curved keyboard and the fact that the Blackberry is already an accepted, trusted device at many large companies.


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John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.