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Palm Pre and Apple iPhone 3GS: side by side

Posted: , by PhoneArena Team


Performance – everything under the hood

The Palm Pre has the T.I. OMAP3430 processor and the iPhone 3GS has the ARM Cortex A8. Both phones have 256MB of RAM and the Pre maxes out at 8GB of storage and the iPhone 3GS has a top end of 32GB. Neither phone allows for user memory expansion. The new iPhone 3GS and the Pre have very comparable speeds for accessing applications, retrieving email, and loading web pages.

One big difference between the Pre and iPhone is a user-replaceable battery. The Palm Pre’s battery can be replaced so that if you are a heavy user, a spare battery can be just the thing you need to get you through the workday and night. The iPhone 3GS, like the previous iPhone models before it, has an internal battery and can only be replaced by the factory. With moderate use, the iPhone 3GS, which sports an improved battery, can get you through the whole day with power to spare. The Pre, with moderate use, is less power-friendly and needs either recharging or a fresh battery by the end of the workday.

Palm Pre's Touchstone charger - Palm Pre and Apple iPhone 3GS: side by side
Palm Pre's Touchstone charger - Palm Pre and Apple iPhone 3GS: side by side

Palm Pre's Touchstone charger

Charging the Pre with the Touchstone accessory (not included) is a delight. Just place the Pre on the Touchstone and it is charged inductively and wirelessly while being held in place magnetically.

The sound quality and reception during calls is rather average on the iPhone 3GS. Reception quality will vary depending on your coverage area, but the sound quality itself is a little better with the Pre on the Sprint network, but not by much. Both have decent call volume, but the iPhone is a little weaker in this area.


Both the Palm Pre and iPhone 3GS are on the cutting edge in the smartphone market and offer innovative technologies and features that have raised the bar and caused other platforms to stand up and take notice. They share many similarities and have some distinct differences. The iPhone has the benefit of raising the bar a couple of generation ago with the first iPhone 2G, and each subsequent iPhone and firmware update has added more features and improvements.

The Palm Pre is a good start. Palm has learned a great deal from their past and from the success of the iPhone and has a great opportunity to build on the Pre’s early success and offer future firmware updates and device upgrades. Either device is a winner in our book, so it’s best to research and compare all features and what Sprint and AT&T networks have to offer as far as capability and calling plans and see which suits you better.

See also:
Palm Pre Review and Specifications
Apple iPhone 3GS Review and Specifications

Palm Pre and Apple iPhone 3GS: side by side Video comparison:

Palm Pre and Apple iPhone 3GS: side by side


  • Options

posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. panacea224 (Posts: 19; Member since: 20 Dec 2008)

Great comparison Phone Arena. They're both impressive devices with their own stark drawbacks. If I had to pick one I would go with the Pre.

posted on 17 Jul 2009, 19:35

10. durkadurkha (Posts: 10; Member since: 10 Jul 2009)

Agreed, the only thing I would have liked to see are the pictures cropped with a side by side so we could compare a little easier than downloading them to my CPU and the doing it myself- but other than that it makes me wonder why they gave the PRE a 9.9 an 8.5 when they conclude the phones are so close to each other

posted on 19 Jul 2009, 15:08

15. Kedar (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Jul 2009)

I think it's because they compare each phone to others in the same carrier. So, I think the Palm Pre is compared to other Sprint phones... ... whilst the Iphone is compared to other AT&T phones. Here's what PhoneArena says in their "How Do We Rate?" page: "Carrier: If a phone is offered by a carrier, it is only compared to the rest of the devices that fall in the same class and are offered by the same wireless provider. This means that you shouldn’t compare the rating of a Verizon Wireless cell phone with the one of a phone from Sprint’s or T-Mobile’s lineup, for example."

posted on 16 Jul 2009, 16:37

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

sorry... but i am a die hard WM fan... the Pre is a nice addition to the competition, but I like my Vogue too much. Palm's webOS (Nova) is a nice step in the right direction for them, I hope they do well and regain some of the market share they once dominated. I am an apple hater so I will never have an iPhone, therefore I will not comment further about it.

posted on 16 Jul 2009, 17:56

4. jovel16 (Posts: 53; Member since: 05 Oct 2008)

Yeah, no one can compare to HTC's TouchFLO 3D. Don't have to worry about running a separate app to look at stocks or the weather.

posted on 17 Jul 2009, 13:31

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

The home screen is the main thing WinMo people miss if they have switched to the Pre. The nice part is one is already in the works for the Pre and I hope to load it next week once the beta is launch. http://apps.forwebos.com/ahs/

posted on 18 Jul 2009, 08:36

12. durkadurkha (Posts: 10; Member since: 10 Jul 2009)

Have you ever used an iPhone? the UI is at least 9-10 times more responsive than any WM phone, the copy and paste works better AND quality of the graphics make the iPhone feel like you are moving the page across a layer of air, TouchFlo is slow and buggy- it lags 1/2 the time on my co-workers Fuze. Touchflo is just a front to how horribly unintuitive actual WM is!

posted on 30 Jul 2009, 01:02

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

well the Fuze isn't quite the touch pro... it is like vzw's pro, i.e. it sucks.. The sprint and alltel pro are nice. But like I said, i truly despise all apple products, call it a personal bias, which is why i don't comment on them, apple would have to pay me to use an ipod, or an iphone, like in the area of a few thousand dollars a month, even then, i would still buy windows products.

posted on 09 Sep 2009, 14:26

31. shgam2 (Posts: 42; Member since: 08 Sep 2009)

It's true, I used to have a HTC Diamond and my bro had Apple iPhone 2G. iPhone's touch response is soooo much better and my phone was a lot more laggy. The only thing that I liked about my phone was that the picture quality was better. Oh also I like the HTC Touch Flo 3D. It just looks very neat. What I like about the iPhone is that it has millions of apps available and its touch response. There is no phone that can beat iPhone in those areas. The thing about the apps is tho, tons of apps exist because there are tons of users of iPhone so if some other phone takes over the market, this is definitely going to change.

posted on 16 Jul 2009, 17:27

3. stuntz (Posts: 178; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

why doesnt phone arena say who they like better? well lets see they rated the Pre a 9.9/10 and the iPhone 3GS a 8.5/10... hmm who do you think they like better...

posted on 16 Jul 2009, 19:48

5. MTLance (unregistered)

You can't say which one is better because they both have pros and cons so it is up to the user decide in the end. But since there is no Pre in my country that I am living in I choose iPhone even though I'm a Apple hater and I kinda like it tbh because of WiFi and on normal phones it is only bluetooth. I really like the web browsing experience on iPhone even though I haven't played with other phones yet but the touch screen experience is really good, meh I hate interacting with plastic keys. Apple did a great job with iPhone 3GS staying ahead of competition otherwise I would be very pissed for paying so much for my brand new iPhone 3GS 32GB Black.

posted on 19 Jul 2009, 15:10

16. Kedar (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Jul 2009)

This is why Pre got a 9.9 and Iphone 8.5. Here's what PhoneArena says in their "How Do We Rate?" page: "Carrier: If a phone is offered by a carrier, it is only compared to the rest of the devices that fall in the same class and are offered by the same wireless provider. This means that you shouldn’t compare the rating of a Verizon Wireless cell phone with the one of a phone from Sprint’s or T-Mobile’s lineup, for example."

posted on 17 Jul 2009, 09:24

6. friscochris (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Jul 2009)

Dang,... I write a big write up in the comment section giving a consumers opinion and they erase it... Thanks Phone Arena, thats the last time I visit here.... Summary of what I said... get the iPhone, the pre is still in beta.

posted on 17 Jul 2009, 10:59

7. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 258; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)

We sorry for this, it has been deleted by mistake, we'll try to restore it ASAP.

posted on 17 Jul 2009, 14:05

9. artz1986 (Posts: 453; Member since: 11 Mar 2009)

lol..... Dang.....I came by Phone Arena's office to drop off a 'thank you for doing a great job' cake, but I forgot to actually bring the cake and turned back home, but I must have dropped my wallet at PhoneArena's door step. Dam, I had like a $1Million in that wallet, that's the last time I visit there....... Summary, phone arena owes me a money.

posted on 18 Jul 2009, 08:40

13. durkadurkha (Posts: 10; Member since: 10 Jul 2009)

I saw you drop your wallet, I tried chasing you but I got distracted on my iPhone reading about the Pre.

posted on 20 Jul 2009, 18:31

21. matistight (Posts: 552; Member since: 13 May 2009)

i am so sorry you looked at the pre. you should stay home and get some rest because seeing the pre is like seeing everyone blow up into pieces

posted on 18 Jul 2009, 07:13

11. sonisoe (Posts: 434; Member since: 06 May 2009)

i hate head-to-head articles on best devices..the conclusion is always "no winner... each has strengths and weaknesses....its up to the consumer..."... take a stand... pre is easily the winner as a couple of features far outweigh what it trails from the iphone, that is synergy and multi-tasking....both are smooth in terms of swiping and zipping, web experience is equally good if pre is not better, pre's battery is expected more but its replaceable so we can bring a spare, camera shots are also equal despite pre hhaving a built-in flash... all in all both have similar features as laid out above except pre has synergy and great multi-tasking capability...

posted on 19 Jul 2009, 16:50

17. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)

I don't think Pre is the obvious winner at all. I think that the Pre's operating system is the obvious winner, but when you put everything together, its down to a matter of opinion. The Pre's build quality is not as good as the iPhone. I don't consider excellent quallity as having the hinges of your phone's keyboard moveable. The camera is in no way equal (Were you serious? I think you should look at the pictures again. Plus the iphone has stuff like touch to focus and video capture with touch to focus and editing capabilities). The youtube application is tons better than the Pre's. The one for iphone has all the stuff the Pre has and more like subscriptions, viewing comments, adding comments, uploading your own videos, etc. And the itunes store has a whole lot more to offer. Music, podcasts (most if not all are free), music videos, TV shows, movies, rentals, audiobooks, etc. The Amazon store will never be as good as the iTunes store. And its good to have the #1 music retailer in the U.S. (itunes) on your phone. And don't forget about memory. Download all the movies, funny clips, and tv shows from the internet and you probably won't have to worry about running out of space. Plus that means even more space for applications. Some people even have a large collection of music and the 32 gig of space allows for even more songs. And the 3GS is faster than the Pre in web browsing. I could write about lots more but I don't want this to be an advertisement because that's what it is starting to sound like. But I really think that the Pre has a lot of good stuff going for it like multitasking and synergy like you said. Plus the integration of contacts and messaging is probably #1 on any smartphone right now. (I thought the calendar was the best too until I found out a few weeks ago that my iPhone also supports multiple calendars as well). But there are a lot of faults as well. I really don't like the keyboard. I've seen some Pres in person and I was so surprised to see how small and cramped it was. And some users even say that the keys feel plasticy and fake. Also, how are you suppose to browse through the internet when in landscape mode? I mean I guess some people can use the keyboard sideways but I don't think that everyone else is that talented. And I also read that if you have many friends that you don't talk to on Facebook, they are still synced to your phone without the ability to delete them, which kind of sucks if you have like 800 friends on Facebook. But that's probably okay since you users usually search for contacts instead of scrolling for them. But anyways the thing that would make me choose the iPhone over the Pre anyday is the applications. I don't think Palm will ever have as many applications as the iphone. There are just too many iphone 2Gs, iphone 3Gs, iphone 3GSs, ipod touchs, ipod touchs 2nd Generations, and probably a new ipod touch this september. If I was a developer, I would easily choose the making applications for the iPhone OS than the Pre OS just because I can expect a lot more sales and a lot more advertisement. Its kind of common sense. And for example, the article said that the iPhone has no true tasks application. But I downloaded one for $2.99 and I have to say it does a lot more than the task application for the Pre. *And the article forgot to mention how the iphone's universal search works a little bit better because it can search content of written notes and also email subjects, To, and From. And it also didn't mention how Pre's memo application can only be shown in icons. So if you had like 200 memos, that's how you would see all of them. All that was said is "memos on the pre are colorful"

posted on 09 Sep 2009, 14:35

32. shgam2 (Posts: 42; Member since: 08 Sep 2009)

yea I thought the article sounded a bit biased. The thing about apps is that pre is a developer's favorite device since it's made in such that it's the easiest device to develop apps for. Heard they made some app and took them a day for iPhone and 3-4 hours for Pre but sure, iPhone's got MILLIONS of apps so thats hard to beat :) The thing I'm dissappointed about Pre is the battery. I heard that Pre doesn't even last a day in general.

posted on 18 Jul 2009, 21:37

14. Bawt (Posts: 17; Member since: 22 Dec 2008)

I love the Pre, it's very sexy and "fresh." I'm sick of my iPhone 3GS already after owning a 3G and first gen. I was going to buy a Pre but the lack of being able to sync it to iTunes hits me hard. I need my movies for the plane rides! Also, after owning an iPhone for years I have because completely dependent on apps and games to play with, something the Pre will lack for quite some time. Lastly, I hate how the Pre's screen is glass. I cannot stand my products having nicks and scratches! Oh well, good try Palm, like your work.

posted on 19 Jul 2009, 16:54

18. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)

Yeah I kind of agree. One of the coolest things about the Pre is that its new, fresh, and does something that most phones don't. I am also getting a little bit too use to my iphone 3G. I decided not to get the 3GS mainly because it looked exactly like the 3G. And there are some things that I like too much on my 3G and some things that I really don't like about the Pre that's keeping me satisfied with this phone. But anyways my iphone is the first phone that I've kept for over a year and it will probably be the first phone that I will have for two years, so I guess Apple is doing something right.

posted on 20 Jul 2009, 13:19

19. Bawt (Posts: 17; Member since: 22 Dec 2008)

Oops, meant the Pre's screen ISN'T glass.

posted on 20 Jul 2009, 18:32

22. matistight (Posts: 552; Member since: 13 May 2009)

Bawt, i bet you were either really high when you said you liked the pre or really drunk. You should go to rehab and then rethink your decision. Good day.

posted on 20 Jul 2009, 13:25

20. Striker13084 (Posts: 128; Member since: 30 Mar 2009)

what was the omnia tomuch compitition for them to compare to?

posted on 20 Jul 2009, 18:32

23. matistight (Posts: 552; Member since: 13 May 2009)

It wasnt. It was a typo : P

posted on 29 Jul 2009, 03:34

24. wHiTeSoL (Posts: 4; Member since: 29 Jul 2009)

@ whoever mentioned apps. I have one question for you. How many apps are there for the Pre? Last count was 30,000+ and that was years ago, well before the pre was announced. I hate it when apple fan boys yell and scream that the iphone has all these apps and the palm has none. Do your homework before saying something.

posted on 29 Jul 2009, 20:57

25. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)

wel actually the iphone has thousands. a sheet somewhere on this site (who knows where) shows that there were about 18 apps for the pre at launch. then 30 a week or two later. i don't think that the pre has that many. the iphone stil has its developers makin apps all the time but dammit i dont think that the pre has as many. "maybe u should do ur homework before sayin somethin"

posted on 30 Jul 2009, 16:28

27. wHiTeSoL (Posts: 4; Member since: 29 Jul 2009)

Correction. There were only a few apps in the store at launch. Every app that worked on palm garnet also works on webos. And like I said earlier, last count there were over 30,000 plus

posted on 03 Aug 2009, 17:45

28. NDPTAL85 (Posts: 1; Member since: 03 Aug 2009)

So you're counting all of the extremely old looking apps that ran on the previous Palm OS as apps for the Pre? Thats stretching it a LOT. The classic environment on the Pre is extremely unstable and provides for a horrible UI mismatch between the two different OS's.

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