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Palm Pre Review

Palm Pre

Posted: , by PhoneArena Team



What has propelled iPhone sales into the stratosphere is the App Store, and any modern smartphone must have an answer. Palm gives users the App Catalog, an elegant solution that allows for easy searching, previewing and downloading of apps. A huge bonus that the App Catalog has over the App Store is that every app is free for now, and Palm has said that in the future every app will have a trial version. At launch there were only about a dozen apps, but that number has already doubled and as Palm opens up the Mojo SDK that number will only grow.

Palm Pre Review
Palm Pre Review
Palm Pre Review

Some of the more useful apps we’ve mentioned in the review already (or will shortly) but we have to give a shoutout to AccuWeather, Sporting News Pro Baseball, Tweed, Flixster, FlightView, Express Stocks and many others. Classic is a Palm OS emulator that will allow users to run their old Palm apps on the Pre.

Thus far apps are very high quality, just as Palm wanted it. We’re sure that as it gets opened up more we’ll see plenty of the pointless applications that now overrun the App Store, but instead of wasting $0.99 to make a few fart sounds, the App Catalogue will allow you get your likely fill with a preview before you purchase.

The most important of the included software is the Google Maps we all know and love, complete with GPS capabilities. Sprint Navigation is also on board to provide audible turn by turn directions. Another important one is Docs to Go, which allows the user to read but not edit Office documents. Others include a .pdf viewer and Sprint’s NASCAR mobile app. Standard system tools such as a calculator and clock (for those who upgrade their firmware) are present as well.

Palm Pre Review
Palm Pre Review
Palm Pre Review
Palm Pre Review


There is no Sprint Music Store support in the Pre, which kind of surprised us. In its place is the Amazon MP3 store, a very worthy replacement. Amazon, with two major mobile operating systems now on board, seems to be making a big push into the mobile space. The user can download tracks OTA, but only over Wi-Fi, which is also surprising to us. The only reason we could come up with is that Music Store tracks are highly compressed, whereas Amazon gives you real, and larger, mp3 files. Still, especially over Sprint’s impressive 3G network a 3-5MB file isn’t very big. Users can queue downloads using cellular data and the Pre will download them automatically when it connects to Wi-Fi.

There is no Sprint Music Store support in the Palm Pre - Palm Pre Review
There is no Sprint Music Store support in the Palm Pre - Palm Pre Review

There is no Sprint Music Store support in the Palm Pre

The music player itself is very polished, though fairly cliché. You can sort by Artist, Album, Song, Genre, or Playlist. It is very reminiscent of the iPod and BlackBerry interface function-wise, but with its own visual uniqueness. The player can of course be sent to the background, and from the notification area the user can control playback.

Music player - Palm Pre Review
Music player - Palm Pre Review
Music player - Palm Pre Review
Music player - Palm Pre Review

Music player

YouTube app - Palm Pre Review

YouTube app

Pandora - Palm Pre Review


Video playback is very similar to touchscreen interfaces we’ve seen in the past. Tapping the screen will toggle on-screen controls, otherwise the video plays at full screen. 640 pixels wide video clips in both H.264 and MPEG4 part2 format played flawlessly, delivering very good image quality. There is a YouTube app that brings the entire YouTube universe to the Pre. The interface is not as clean as the HTC program, or even the iPhone/iPod Touch interface, but it’s still easy enough to search for and view videos.

Pandora is an amazing app, bringing streaming internet radio to the Pre. Much like the music player, it can be sent to the background and controlled via the notification area, to an extent. The user can rate the song, and pause it, but not skip forward to the next track, but a thumbs down rating is in effect a track forward button. Pandora may indeed prove to both a landmark and measuring stick app for the Pre; not only is it awesome, but the developers made a point to note that it took them six weeks to develop their iPhone app. It took them four days to develop for the Pre.

Palm surprised us all by announcing iTunes syncing for the Pre, though it doesn’t support earlier DRM iTunes content. The user can not only sync music, video and pictures with iTunes, but can purchase and download songs via the service as well. When in this Media Sync mode the Pre shows up as an iPod to iTunes. The Pre also has a Mass Storage mode, and when plugged in it allows the user to simply drag and drop files to and from the phone to your PC or Mac. It took us a 1:30 minute to transfer 117MB of files, which is rather good speed.
The camera interface of Palm Pre - Palm Pre Review

The camera interface of Palm Pre

The 3.2 megapixel camera is complimented by an LED flash. Unfortunately, like the iPhone and Android before it, the Pre does not offer video recording out of the box. Like Android before it, we expect to see an app that enables this very soon. The camera results were pretty good, all things considered. The camera interface is as simple as can be, the user simply has a flash option (Auto, On, Off,) the album icon and the shutter button. The picture album is simple; gestures like pinch, double tap and flick are in effect and it works just as you’d expect.

Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review
Camera samples - Palm Pre Review

Camera samples

The picture album - Palm Pre Review
The picture album - Palm Pre Review
The picture album - Palm Pre Review

The picture album

  • Options

posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55 4

1. AVCOC (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Jun 2009)

9.9!!!! thats too high,the palm pre is a good phone but not that good to be the highest rated one!

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 19:18

6. legionsreturn (unregistered)

Well what do you expect when phonearena accepts cash for good reviews?

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 20:28

8. secondcor517 (Posts: 94; Member since: 06 Oct 2008)

i was thinking the same thing legion.... how much did they make from this review.

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 21:19 1

10. mr. anderson (Posts: 92; Member since: 16 Apr 2009)

first off, how stupid are you two? secondly, everyone knows sprint doesnt have the money to pay for anything much less reviews! im a vzw user, but have used my friends pre extensively. i assume you guys have not, because the score is well deserved. this is a game changer, plain and simple.

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 08:51

11. legionsreturn (unregistered)

So how much did you charge for that score? Im just curious, it must have cost all of 20 bucks!

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 13:27

2. legionsreturn (unregistered)

Oh come on! Reallly? Are you really that mallible in the face of corporate sponsorship? We already knew objectivity is a joke to you people but youve really outdone yourselves this time. Guess all you have to do to get a good review on phonearena is pay for it.

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 15:13

3. metalpoet (unregistered)

as a representatitve of verizon i must admit that sprint and palm did a really good job with the release of the pre and i truly hope it shuts up the iphone users!

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 16:35

4. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)

I agree... iPhone users are the worst.. has anyone seen the South Park episode where Kyle's dad gets a "hybrid" and then moves to San Francisco and there is a "smug" storm? Everyone I know thinks they are superior and so incredibly hi-tech just because they own it, even though none of them use it for anything more than they would an ipod touch. Let's just hope that Pre users don't fall into the same line of "Smug"... otherwise George Clooney's speech from the Oscars could make a supercell that would wipe out all of what is left of sprint's network... (if you don't get this comment just watch the episode).

posted on 16 Jun 2009, 20:35

28. ser3nitynow (Posts: 1; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)

HAHAHA so true... By the way that episode is hysterical.

posted on 17 Jun 2009, 01:07

30. legionsreturn (unregistered)

Southpark is indeed enjoyable.

posted on 13 Nov 2009, 03:02

44. jpdaballa (Posts: 3; Member since: 13 Nov 2009)

lmao that episode played tonight....

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 17:17

5. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)

Not trying to be an ass but if you average up the scores you get an 8.9. There probably is some different way of calculating the total score though.

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 10:57

13. McMillian (Posts: 29; Member since: 07 Apr 2009)

Phone Arena is ignorant and they don't make any since. they obviously choose favorites when it comes to phones and their OS. Don't get me wrong I think the Pre looks like a great phone but I think Phone Arena completely over hyped the Pre in this review.

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 11:43

14. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)

After about a while theyll be wanting to change some of this stuff. Any phone that ive had I loved for about a month or two and i got tired of it. One more thing, wouldnt the Pre be a little complicated for the Average Joe?

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 15:15

15. legionsreturn (unregistered)

I got a good laugh out of the average joe reccomendation, this was review obviously a foregone conclusion paid for by the corporate interests that birthed this phone.

posted on 15 Jun 2009, 10:20

23. martycota (Posts: 28; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)

Wow, seriously, are you all iphone users bashing the review?! The phone has recieved generally positive reviews from all major reviewers and just because PhoneArena's is super high doesn't mean they were bought off?! Should I say that they were bought off by Apple for giving the Touch Pro a lower score then many sites just because they say that after the diamond it felt old?! And seriously, for average joe, this is probably the best smart phone out there. It offers an easy to use interface and is a smart phone unlike most smart phones that are blackberry or window which offer very little in user friendly handling.!!! Average Joe doesn't always have to be about having the dumbest phone out there, they obviously rated it based on how easy it is to use for a smart phone that offers just about everything, or will offer soon enough!!! Read the reviews before asking Steve Jobs what kind of demeaning comments you can post on the competition's reviews. Yes the iPhone might be a great phone, but it is in no way a smart phone and if you read the review you can see how the phone deserves quite a high rating on its own merits...

posted on 15 Jun 2009, 14:29

25. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)

i dont know about everyone else but im not an iphone user and never have been and probably never will be. As you can probably tell by my name im with Verizon. I read the review from here and other websites and i know this is a good phone. I was just saying that the unweighted average of scores is 8.94 to be exact not 9.9. And also WebOS looks a little too complicated to me so i don't think it would be for the average joe. I also never said that average joe had to have the most basic phone around. I just wouldn't see one with a smart phone.

posted on 15 Jun 2009, 19:51

26. mr. anderson (Posts: 92; Member since: 16 Apr 2009)

if webos is too complicated for you i dont know what to tell you man. have you taken an iq test lately?

posted on 16 Jun 2009, 05:16

27. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)

no but im not stupid ciz i have 5 honors classes in school. The whole gesture bar is a little unnecessary to me.

posted on 29 Jun 2009, 19:04

38. sprntfanboi02 (Posts: 41; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)

i was going to take your post seriously but then you used since instead of sense....really? are you serious?

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 19:19

7. SellPhones82 (Posts: 569; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)

I sold my iPod Touch because it was not longer needed now that I have a Pre. For people that want games iPhone/Touch will always be king IMO. I want something that would replace the need to get on my laptop to do simple things and the Pre does that and then some. The web browser is almost perfect for a v1.0 as well as the media player. WebOS is just incredible...like the review said it is missing some pretty key features at the moment but some Palm has already confirmed they will come in future OTA updates. I think my favorite thing it the way SMS and email notification come through. It is just so well done and I can't imagine not having it now. The hardware build is my biggest concern. I think I will be exchanging mine because the keyboard slider does not slide out like it does on my wifes Pre. Battery life is really the only other issue which is why I picked up the Palm car charger which come with an extra data cable so I can charge at home, work and in the car. I look forward to the SDK being released to the public as well as the software updates from Palm. Once it has Flash support, notification light, video recording and soft keyboard I will be set with my dream phone!

posted on 12 Jun 2009, 20:36

9. bigdog805 (Posts: 20; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)

I agree, this phone is awesome. I wish it already came with the ability to shot video but I guess it isnt that big of a deal since the updates will be OTA. I was really excited Sprint took on a phone that will actually live up to its hype and be competitive in the wireless industry. My main concern though is when Palm is gonna push out its WebOS to other providers. I'm glad its release to AT&T was just delayed. Hopefully for a while!

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 09:39

12. joolian (Posts: 19; Member since: 25 Dec 2008)

Im an iPhone user, and I dont find myself criticising other phones. There are a lot of features on the pre I would love, multi-tasking looks amazing, and the screen looks a lot more impressive then the iPhones. After 3 generations, it's time for apple to update the look and feel of the iPhone software, the screen could use an update as well. If the Pre were offered at Rogers, and had more than 8 GBs, and after expansion of the app catalog, I could see myself buying it.

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 19:27

16. bigdog805 (Posts: 20; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)

Finally a level headed iPhone user! People like you are hard to come by. Almost all iPhone users treat their phones like its their child and get soo defensive if anyone says anything negative about the phone or trys to compare to another phone. But I do agree the iPhone should change the look on it but then again they haven't needed to update it because it sells. But now that they might actually be getting competition they may have to do something more then just update the software.

posted on 13 Jun 2009, 23:12

17. zyxwv88 (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Jun 2009)

It's funny the rivalry between the Pre and the iPhone. The Pre people consider it to be superior to the iPhone, and the iPhone people think that it's not even close to as good (of course the iPhone people don't want a phone to be better or they lose their perceived superiority over everyone else). Well, I'm a Pre owner, and I used to have iPhone envy until I got my Pre. I still think the iPhone is a good phone, and without it, the Pre probably wouldn't have been as good as it is. That being said, I have always considered myself open minded. I want the best technology, and what the best is tends to change constantly. For those of you complaining that the Pre can't possibly be as good as the iPhone and it can't possibly rate a 9.9, you really need to get one in your hands and really see what it does (with an open mind), and I think you'll agree that it is really that good. Synergy is just pretty amazing. It's never been so easy to combine information from so many sources before. I was blown away by how easily it syncs with Facebook, Google, and Exchange (although it took a little work to get it figured out at first, although I hear they will be working on that one). All of those sources just combine into one place so nicely it's almost like a dream. The few things that there are to complain about can be fixed with updates, so although it does have a few rough edges, I still think this is the most amazing phone I've used. iPhone people might be unhappy that their phone now has a serious contender, but just as the Pre took a lot of great ideas from the iPhone, I'm sure that iPhone will take a lot of great ideas from the Pre, so the Version 4 of iPhone will likely be a much bigger and better update than ever before as they try to compete with Synergy and the multitasking that the Pre offers. iPhone is built on a good OS, and I think they can probably do a lot more with it than they have, but they have been content to sit on their butt and only offer trivial upgrades to the iPhone for the last few years. Pre has topped them (IMO), and now iPhone will have to fight hard to come back on top. Basically it's good for everyone concerned. Competition is a good thing. iPhone sitting on it's butt is exactly what Palm did back in it's heyday that almost put it out of business. Apple brought it on themselves to be one-upped because they didn't keep their edge.

posted on 19 Jun 2009, 11:48

33. cphorn15 (Posts: 6; Member since: 21 Apr 2009)

Well, a 9.9 suggests a nearly perfect phone (ideally anyway), so I'm hesitant to agree with their score (which doesn't jibe with their review) entirely. I think it deserves to be in the 9s but not so high. It's obvious from previous articles that Phone Arena just absolutely has fallen in love with the Pre so it's no surprise that they over-hyped themselves prior to the release and then while holding it in their hands. Remember when we all first over-studied that one exciting thing finding out every single thing we could about it and then when we got it, it was still so exciting? I think that is point and case here with Phone Arena. After a month or two, a new shiny toy that is going to revolutionize the world is going to come into view and they are going to drop their Pre like a hot rock. On top of that, their review sounded very similar to the Touch Pro 2s so I wonder why that is an entire point lower than the Pre... something to think about.

posted on 14 Jun 2009, 01:19

18. pathmarkpolice (Posts: 102; Member since: 05 Feb 2009)

I agree that the review seems as if it's over-hyping the phone, but when I tried out the phone, and then read a whole bunch of reviews (engadgets, gizmodo's, and now phonearena's) I am taking the "cons" of the device into consideration and I personally can't think of anything that really irks me as being a deal-breaker. The mobile OS palm has created is one of, if not the best (takes a steaming dump on the iphone's). THe only thing that bothers me is the lack of a micro sd card slot, but I'm sure other palm devices with the webOS will end up being amazing :-)

posted on 14 Jun 2009, 16:39

19. baldilocks (Posts: 831; Member since: 14 Dec 2008)

Yea, the 9.9 seems like a VERY biased score. I am calling foul on this review.

posted on 18 Aug 2009, 00:33

41. nathandavid13 (Posts: 6; Member since: 22 Jul 2009)

i bet it was just a typing error. It's supposted to 8.9 and they are kinda close on the keyboard

posted on 15 Jun 2009, 01:45

20. ralph_denicia (Posts: 14; Member since: 30 Apr 2009)

I like how it get's a 10 for multimedia and local connectivity; yet it doesn't support WMV format and it doesn't support object/file transfer over bluetooth... I tried to transfer a customer's contacts from his old sanyo over bluetooth and the Pre was unable to receive them! Come on, even a crappy sanyo phone has better bluetooth handling!

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PhoneArena rating:
Display3.1 inches, 320 x 480 pixels (186 ppi) TFT
Camera3 megapixels
Single core, ARM Cortex-A8 processor
Size3.96 x 2.34 x 0.67 inches
(100.5 x 59.5 x 16.9 mm)
4.76 oz  (135 g)
Battery1150 mAh, 5 hours talk time

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