Recently a few early reviews started trickling in, including three mini-reviews and most notably, a review by NYTimes' David Pogue. Now the floodgates have finally burst, and the Pre reviewers seem to have all come streaming out of hiding at once. Detailed reviews of Palm's new webOS handset were posted within the span of a day by the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, USA Today, CNET, Gizmodo, Engadget, PCWorld, Precentral and more.
So what is the verdict on the Palm Pre? For the most part, fears of scathing reviews can be put aside, as overall the Pre is considered a worthy iPhone rival. iPhone killer, maybe not - there tended to be ongoing gripes with the battery life and so-so QWERTY keypad. But every reviewer had good things to say about the device as well, especially the new webOS platform. Below are a few points from each of the major reviews, including some of what each reviewer liked and disliked. What are your expecations of the Pre?
Wall Street Journal (Walt Mossberg): - Link
I consider the Pre to be potentially the strongest rival to the iPhone to date...whether the Pre is better than the iPhone depends on your personal preferences.
The Pre's biggest advantage over the iPhone is that, in addition to sporting an elegant touch-screen interface that matches or exceeds Apple's, the new Palm device has a real physical keyboard that slides out from its curved body...the Pre delivers.
It is thoughtfully designed, works well and could give the iPhone and BlackBerry strong competition -- but only if it fixes its app store and can attract third-party developers.
Associated Press (Peter Svensson) - Link
Move over, iPhone. You've had two years on top of the smart phone world. Now there's a touch-screen phone with better software: the Palm Pre...now, webOS comes along and does multitasking right.
The Pre is well put together, but not exceptional...less screen space means it's harder to hit the right area with your finger, but the Pre makes up for this a bit by making the surface just below the screen touch-sensitive.
Whether you get a Pre or not, its brilliant software will leave its mark on the phones you buy in the future, just like the iPhone did after its debut.
More after the break.
USA Today (Ed Baig) - Link
I've been testing the Pre for more than two weeks and like it a lot. Pre is easy on the eyes. I can't think of a more comfortable cellphone in my hand.
There's no virtual keyboard to complement its physical equivalent. At times, I would have liked the option.
The first Palm Pre will certainly give the iPhone and other rivals a run for their money. To be sure, there are areas where it could improve: Bring on the apps.
CNET (Bonnie Cha) - Link
The Good: The Palm Pre's multitasking capabilities and notifications system are unparalleled. The smartphone features a vibrant display with multitouch functionality as well as a solid Web browser and good multimedia integration. The Pre offered good call quality and wireless options include 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
The Bad: The Pre's keyboard is cramped. Battery life drains quickly and the smartphone can be sluggish at times. Lacks expansion slot, video-recording capabilities, onscreen keyboard, and Flash support. The Pre App Catalog is still in beta with a limited number of titles.
Gizmodo (Jason Chen) - Link
The device felt great in my pocket and in my hands, and the text and email notifications are informative without being intrusive.
But the multitouch! The touch is more accurate, more responsive and just plain better than the iPhone's.
The software is agile, smart and capable. The hardware, on the other hand, is a liability...Keys are too small, plasticky and don't give enough feedback...Build quality is only so-so.
Engadget (Joshua Topolsky) - Link
It's a really great looking, reasonably solid device that we'd be happy to show off to friends and loved ones. The keyboard...it's actually pretty good.
We love the Pre's camera....the image processing is backloaded when you're shooting. What this means is that you can snap away without having to sit through the shutter lag you're probably used to.
Our experience on Sprint's network has been excellent, and its pricing more than competitive, though being mostly limited to North America is certainly a major factor.
PC World (Ginny Mies) - Link
Lives up to the hype with a responsive touchscreen and an engaging interface, but a few hardware design flaws keep it from being the perfect smartphone...Palm seems to have sacrificed keyboard usability in the interest of compactness.
For the most part, though webOS is zippy to navigate through, apps sometimes loaded slowly and the organization and placement of certain features was a bit confusing or counterintuitive at times.
Its eye-catching design and smooth operation make this smartphone the most exciting device I've seen in a while. (83/100 - Very Good)
PreCentral (Dieter Bohn) - Link
I've been using QWERTY keyboards on phones for over seven years now and I had no problem adjusting to the Palm Pre...for 90% of people it's going to be much better than the iPhone's on-screen software keyboard.
The battery is just barely enough to get me through a full day of moderate use, but with anything more than that I find I need to top the battery off or replace it.
Palm has packed so much innovation into the Pre and webOS that it's easy to miss the forest for the trees. Synergy, HTML-based applications (not just widgets), Multitasking with Card View, Universal Search, the list goes on.