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Palm Pre vs iPhone which is better

Palm Pre vs iPhone which is better

I have the great option of owning a Palm Pre, and getting to work with iPhones on an almost daily basis. So I often get asked which device I prefer, which one is the better phone the Pre or the iPhone. Obviously this is something that is going to be more based on opinion, as there are only a few things hardware wise that seperate them. So I'll get those out of the way and then get to the more opinion based comparisons.


Winner: Pre
ATT gets horrible coverage and has just recently started with 3g. While Sprint has had 3G coverage for quite some time, and in general covers more areas than AT&T does. I never used AT&T where I live because I don't even pick up their service, while Sprint and Verizon always get at least something where I am at.

Playing Music

Winner: iPhone
In short, the iPhone is a supped up iPod, and the iPod was designed for playing music, has more asseccories for playback of music, and works with iTunes. The Pre offers pretty good sound quality, but needs something to win over here. I would suggest a way to play music through your car via bluetooth. Also the iPhone trumps the Pre in storage capicity on the device. Where the Pre has only 9gb, the iPhone has 16gb and 32gb models. However with some people 32gb still is not enough and they opt to go with a dedicated iPod instead.


They both have Wifi and with equal support for the standards. With wireless N finally approved and finalized it can be expected in the next generation of phones soon.


Winner: Pre
The Pre edges out on this because of ease of use. The iPhone takes more getting use to, and involves more steps in some areas. For example to delete a message without opening it the Pre lets you do a single swipe on the subject off the screen and it's deleted. The iPhone requires you to swipe and then press delete. One more example is in the setup of the email accounts. The Pre handles this all within the email app itself, where the iPhone requires you to go to the settings app to configure it, and another spot in those settings to configure if you want it to push, fetch, or manually sync. Otherwise they support the same standards, and in generally work the same.

Battery Life

Winner: iPhone
The Pre eats up battery life like no tomorrow, generally getting only 10 hours of battery life in my daily use, including hourly email, and web use.

Battery Replacement

Winner: Pre
The Pre wins this simply because you can replace your battery without sending it in. ALL devices should have user replaceable batteries, and it should be illegal to make a device where you cannot replace it yourself. Your battery will wear out, it will break down, and eventually fail. I should be be able to go out, buy a $20 battery and put it in to fix a problem like that, no excuses here Apple.

Multi Tasking

Winner: Pre
The pre is the only phone that supports true multi tasking. You can run and switch between multiple apps at the same time. No other phone does this, however it is the main cause for the Pre's short battery life. No other phone will let you switch between a browser, map, and email while being on the phone at the same time all running at once without having to close one to start over. It might not seem like much, but after using it for a few days and then using a phone without it; you see how much more productive it really is to use.


Winner: iPhone
The reason I pick the iPhone is because there is just more variety at the moment for the iPhone. The Pre is slowly unleashing it's app store, however the apps that are released on the pre tend to run better than their iPhone counter parts. The iPhone does better for games, while the Pre is geared more for business applications.

Data Entry

Winner: Pre
There are two reasons why I choose the Pre here. First is the physical keyboard, meaning that I don't accidently hit keys that I don't want to, and that I can type with one hand easier than I would with an on screen keyboard. Second is the overall control of where the cursor is at. For example I can press anywhere in a sentence or word with the Pre and jump right to that spot. I can also hold down the orange key, and drag the cursor to anywhere I want. This lets me select a specific set of text as well instead of all of it.

Application Navigation

Winner: Pre
What I mean by application navigation here is just the actions need to navigate in a normal application. Menu's options, buttons, etc. The Pre beats the iPhone here for a couple of reasons. One is that the Pre does have menu's allowing you to jump to settings, or advanced features easily without having to back out of screens or close the application altogether. Second is the guestures feature on the Pre. This is something best seen to understand, but basically instead of hitting a back button, you back make a right to left swipe at the bottom of the Pre and it will go back a screen, go back in browsing history, go to the previous application, etc.

Web Browsing

The web browsing experience on both devices is about the same. I prefer the Pre myself on this one because of the bookmarks thumbnails, but other than that they are the same browser, and work the same way with the zoom and text fields. I do find that I have less issues with the Pre browser than Safari on the iPod and iPhone. However the issues I have at present are minor and not enough to make me sway heavily one way or the other.

Settings Management

Winner: Pre
While the two devices offer a similar amount of settings to configure, the Pre handles settings better in my opinion. Every application has it's own settings managed by itself The iPhone basically forces you to go into the settings app to configure things, while some applications on the iPhone don't. It makes you forget to look in the other location because of it. Further the Pre wins out here due to a major feature of the WebOS itself... All your settings get stored in your Palm profile. Meaning if you wipe and reload your Pre, or get it exchanged for a new one all your settings will download right into the phone just by logging into it. All your purchases, apps, email settings, contacts, etc. will transfer to whatever phone you link your Palm profile with.


Winner: Pre
Yes, that's right the Pre is actually cheaper than the iPhone 3GS by $50. That of course is comparing the two with each on a two year contract on the price of the phone. Without going into the details for each plan and only the price of the phones the Pre is cheaper. Buying the 16GB iPhone without a plan will run you $599 and the Pre would cost you $549. You save just as much buying the phone outright as you would getting it with a plan between the two.


My biggest issue with the iPhone and why I did'nt get one was the network that it lives on. AT&T does not cut it at all in my area, poor coverage means I am always in roaming, and while in roam, you get no data. So that is a HUGE negative for me, second is the fact that the Pre came after the iPhone this gives it the chance to improve on many things the iPhone could use improving on, a big one for me is multi-tasking. It is not uncommon for me to have someone's service record in my web app up, when I call them, and to make a note, while checking my calendar all while on the phone with someone. Every phone I have seen to date has made me start those tasks all over when I switch to them. However the Pre lets me keep them running, and knows where I was at.

There is also the coolness factor with the Pre when you get the Touchstone and matching back for the Pre so you never have to connect the Pre to your computer via wires ever again... That is unless you want to Sync pictures, videos, and music.


Last Updated: 01/01/2010 11:51 PM

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