Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Palm Pre Vs The Droid

First off, let me say my primary phone for quite some time has been the HTC touch pro with a custom rom from Not great by any means compared to other smart phones but I really am happy with verizon, so I was waiting for a real smart phone by them. I have been using the HTC with the palm pre (which was a gift) for a few months, and so my Pre review is an experienced review, where as I have only had the droid two days.

Palm Pre (activated with Sprint) :

Cons :
The notifications, all the notifications fill your hold screen and often take up valuable screen space, instead of being icons they are large first and then go away when you dismiss them, which isnt a problem with one application like mail, but if you use chat, twitter, set an alarm and have your calendar reminders, soon you have more reminders than screen.

The battery life: this device will stay in standby quite some time, but use it for calls and email heavily and it will be dead in less than a day.

The keyboard: The keyboard on the bottom is nice, but very tight, I cant type quickly.. and the copy and paste functions are challenging, there are no directional keys so you have to use gestures to move across the screen which isnt very easy.


The camera is fast, it processes the photo in the background and takes bright quality pictures but it doesnt take any video, which is a huge oversight. The camera has no features either, like zoom, but the speed and quality make of for that.

Task management: The pre (webos) uses a cool task card system which makes finding a task and killing a task very easy and so intuitive, this is one of the nicest features of the operating system.

The form factor: small and sleek, this is a nice looking and relatively responsive phone.

Phone : the phone works well and is straight forward, the downside is that if you click a notification to clear it for a missed call, if immediately calls the person... this is really annoying.

Network: viewing webpages and getting email with this phone is great, I was surprised by sprints network.

Messaging: The email application on this phone is good and very easy to use. The IM/SMS system is also very nice, it has a combined contact, so if you IM someone and text them, it keeps them in the same thread.

The Droid:

What Can I say, I have only had this device two days and I am very pleased.


The camera: This is a terrible camera, my settings must be wrong, it takes very dark photos and takes quite some time to do that. Its like an early era camera phone. I am hoping there is a firmware or tweak I can do to resolve this. video is equally dark.

Task management: There isnt a good task manager by default, so you have to download one but there are plenty, and plenty of good ones, but task dont usually exit so you will need a task manager to help you clean up your memory.

The keyboard: this is a pro and a con, its great to have one but this one is very tight to the top of the screen so it can be a little challenging to type, but overall not as bad as other reviewers have made it seem.

Moving desktop icons around: if you fill your desktop you have to trash an icon and then move icons around like one of those number puzzle games, or move the icon to another desktop but this isnt a huge problem unless you are moving icons often.


Where to start

The Keyboard: it has one, I hate when I use a iphone and half the screen goes away so I can type, I cant see what I was working on which is a bit of a pain. With the droid, if you dont mind the half screen, you can use the onscreen keyboard or you can use the real keyboard.

The screen: It is high resolution and very nice to look at, switching from landscape to horizontal has little or no delay, this is another big plus. The touchscreen is also very responsive, a bit faster than the pre, but does not support multitouch at this point.

The CPU: many of these feature rich phones often are horribly underpowered, but the droid really performs here it is fast and responsive.

GPS: Another thing I am impressed with is how fast the droid locates the GPS satellites and finds its location. The HTC touch pro took way to much time to do this. Even better is with google navigation you dont need a tom tom or garmin, it gives you great turn by turn directions.

Networking: Verizon's network has always been fast but this device performs well on it.

Messaging: This also does the combined sms and IM thread that the pre does, but not a seamlessly, which i actually like, it will only combine them when you sms that particular person. Email is great for Gmail, just like any google app, it works incredibly well, I have not tried this with non google mail.

Apps: While not as many apps as the iphone, but more than the palm pre, this has a great app catalog with such heavy hitters as facebook, pandora, imeem, foursquare, and twitter, I even found a great ssh terminal application. It also has desktop widgets which are great, allowing you to see twitter et al updates from your desktop without launching the app.

Battery: I bought a spare battery because the Droids slim form factor and my heavy use tends to render a phone dead in a half day, but thus far, it seem like the droid will actually last a full day without a charge and heavy use. Again this is only after two days.


While I haven't had a iphone to compare the droid to, the palm pre is the closest contender, and while it does some things better (camera and task manager), the droid is just a more robust and functional device and operating system. It is the best smart phone I have used thus far. I would definitely recommend it. I will be keeping an eye out for a camera fix/update from Motorola, but its not a deal breaker for me.

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