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Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side

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Messaging:

Smartphones can do so many things that can aid you on a daily basis, one of them being email ready right out of the box. All of three have the ability to setup just about any kind of email service right on the phone; including support for Microsoft Exchange. At the core, all work relatively the same in being able to compose and send out messages.  Apple has been perfecting its email application with each new update – it can even search for keywords in your folders to narrow down specific messages. On top of that, you can use certain finger gestures to easily delete multiple emails. The Palm Pre takes a similar approach to what’s offered on the iPhone 3GS – everything is intact including the search function to browse emails. The one advantage it does have is just the flexibility to open multiple cards to read or even reply to an email – it takes the hassle of having to close one thing out just to look at another. The Motorola DROID steers off the path with two separate applications to access your emails. Hands down the DROID implements Gmail to the fullest thanks to its superb replication of the desktop experience.  Your emails in Gmail are viewed in a threaded format which makes it really simple to view messages you’ve replied to and read. In addition, there’s a whole separate application to view your other emails – we still scratch our heads as to why this is so. You can choose to combine your inboxes to one which is broken down by a color coding system. Now on the downside is the fact that the DROID requires to constantly pull emails from the server to view them on the phone. Unlike the Pre and iPhone 3GS where messages are downloaded and stored locally on the handset, the DROID has to download them on the go as you move through your long list of messages. Even though it’s a champ when it comes to Gmail, the Pre and iPhone 3GS have a much more versatile email applications.

E-mail on the Apple iPhone 3GS - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
E-mail on the Apple iPhone 3GS - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
E-mail on the Apple iPhone 3GS - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side

E-mail on the Motorola DROID - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
E-mail on the Motorola DROID - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
E-mail on the Motorola DROID - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side

E-mail on the Palm Pre - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
E-mail on the Palm Pre - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side


The iPhone 3GS may not sport a physical keyboard, but that doesn’t stop it from being able to dish out messages in a heartbeat. When it comes to on-screen keyboards, the iPhone 3GS is still the leader in that category. Not only does it have the most responsive and usable on-screen keyboards, but its predictive text is also the smartest – it’ll literally know what you’re trying to say even with all the mispresses you might do. When the S stands for speed, you can recognize that the iPhone 3GS flies when you’re trying to type a long message.

It may seem a bit unorthodox to see a touchscreen phone missing an on-screen keyboard option, but the Palm Pre’s compact form factor will reveal a decent tactile physical QWERTY that shares some commonalities with its older siblings. Buttons are a bit smaller and just slightly raised from the surface, but don’t let its looks fool you because it works well for the most part. However, you’ll still rely on using the tip of your fingernails to really make out each button press. We’ve seen a hacked Palm Pre sporting an on-screen keyboard before, but we hope that Palm will release one down the road as WebOS matures.

When it comes to messaging, we feel that the best balanced out of the three is the Motorola DROID. Combining both a physical and virtual QWERTY keyboards, the DROID takes some key points from the other two handsets in its implementation.  The QWERTY is a lot roomier than the cramped confines on the Pre, but its decent tactile feel makes typing a breeze too. It’s really tough to gauge which physical keyboard is better just for the fact that one is in portrait and other in landscape. Whichever one you decide to go with, you’ll eventually get adjusted to the feel and layout after a period of time. The DROID’s on-screen keyboard is one of the better ones offered for the Android platform, but still not up to the level in terms of responsiveness that the iPhone 3GS exudes.

Apple iPhone 3GS - Landscape QWERTY - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
Motorola DROID - Landscape QWERTY - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side

Apple iPhone 3GS

Motorola DROID

Portrait QWERTY keyboards of the Apple iPhone 3GS (L)and Motorola DROID (R) - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
Portrait QWERTY keyboards of the Apple iPhone 3GS (L)and Motorola DROID (R) - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side



Web Browser:

Data usage has exploded since the original iPhone arrived on the scene with its smooth looking WebKit based web browser. Throw in a fast processor to easily make scrolling a smooth experience and support for multi-touch; you get the market leader in mobile web browsing that still manages to impress just about anyone with the iPhone 3GS.

Surfing the web with the Apple iPhone 3GS - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
Surfing the web with the Apple iPhone 3GS - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
YouTube video - Surfing the web with the Apple iPhone 3GS - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
  

YouTube video



The Pre follows a similar path with its web browser - although it doesn’t quite have the pep in speed to rival what the iPhone 3GS offers. You can visually compare the intuitiveness of scrolling long pages at every direction and see that the Pre has a somewhat choppier experience. Still it doesn’t deter us from the overall experience and easily name it as the best device on Sprint’s network for web browsing. Of course switching between multiple pages is better visually on the Pre thanks to its multi-tasking prowess and the fact you can rearrange them in any order you want.

Surfing the web with the Palm Pre - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
Surfing the web with the Palm Pre - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
YouTube video - Surfing the web with the Palm Pre - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
Surfing the web with the Palm Pre - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
  

YouTube video

 


The Motorola DROID is easily, of course, the best Android phone to date for web browsing. Omitting multi-touch support may be glaring at first, but its lightning quick page loads and seamless scrolling makes for a decent experience. With some impressive hardware powering the handset, the DROID is capable of also opening multiple windows without a hitch in performance.

Surfing the web with the Motorola DROID - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
Surfing the web with the Motorola DROID - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
YouTube video - Surfing the web with the Motorola DROID - Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
  

YouTube video



So far there is no true Adobe Flash support for all three handsets, but both the iPhone 3GS and Motorola DROID displays YouTube embedded links to watch videos. The iPhone 3GS does the best to resize a web page for the most optimal viewing on a touchscreen. In addition, it loads up pages super fast which is closely rivaled to the Motorola DROID. These devices are the cream of the crop on their perspective carriers, so they perfectly emulate the desktop experience on a mobile level.

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