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  1. akula34's Avatar
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       #1  
    For those of you who've been on these forums a while, you'll understand that I've been a long-time Palm user, who has staunchly defended Palm even through the 650 fiasco, and early 700p issues.

    I'm not a new member, but I'd like to present my opinion of the device for those that utilize their devices for business. To those that use this phone for personal use or have less demanding use cases, I'm very envious.

    Background: I own my own business. We're a service company that prides itself on service and responding to our customers needs. My business number is often forwarded to my cell phone and I'm fielding phone calls all day, plus need INSTANT availability of email. If a customer's machine is down, we have a SLA for some that require immediate response to stay within contract. I have two personal email addresses (family, individual) plus five business email addresses. I need my customer contact information plus personal contacts. (Same with multiple calendars.)

    I'll admit that I'm an EXTREMELY demanding user and will burn through two batteries in ANY phone I use daily. Most of you will not ever come near the demands I put on my phone. I break on average one-two phones a year from over-use. (Broken, smashed, and accidents not included)

    As a longtime Palm user, I was thrilled with the idea of moving to the cloud and being able to keep my busy personal and business information separate (SMB owners know that we blur the line between the two...). Those of you on these forums will remember my posts and the occasional rant.

    The Good:
    1. webOS: For a 1.0 release, all I can say is WOW! Palm spent quite a bit of time getting this as good as you can WITHOUT using a keyboard. The animations and transitions are great (though sluggish at times). As Palm continues to update webOS, I only expect it to outshine Apple's mobile OSX very quickly.
    2. Synergy: This is the KILLER feature of the phone. Not having to worry about cross-contamination of data is amazing. Anyone who has EVER tried to sync personal and business data on one device knows how difficult that can be. I was truly impressed with how well this worked on the Pre. Obviously Google, Facebook and Palm need to allow users to select a group to send to the phone instead of all, but I expect this to come quickly. I will look for other manufacturers to develop similar Synergistic systems soon.
    3. Mobile Web: The iPhone has dominated this area for a LONG time (in gadget years). Blackberry, Windows Mobile, & Android don't really compare to mobile Safari. Palm has now challenged Apple in this respect. There are minor quirks, but I fully expect Palm to work through these with software updates. (They are also discussed in detail elsewhere in the forums.)

    The Bad:
    1. Hardware: Now for those of you that love the design of the Pre, I recommend you skip this part of my review. This is where I'm most disappointed by Palm. Compared to ANY previous Treo (excluding the Centro), this is the least solid device they've created. While closed, it's not nearly as bad, but once you open the phone, it really does feel fragile. (Mind you, I abuse EVERY phone. I don't even bother with screen protectors...) The keyboard, while usable, is hindered by the fact that it's a slider. I have to OPEN it to use it. Screen seems fragile (pictures of broken screens have already surfaced. This is NOT what I expected from Palm. I also came from quote possibly the best two keyboards on any devices (755p and Curve). The Pre is not good compared to these two, though it's not the worst I've seen.
    2. Battery Life This is one of the most glaring weaknesses for the Pre. You can't have multi-tasking, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth and expect a Centro sized mAh battery to be enough. In fact, three Centro batteries wouldn't get me through the day. I had EVERYTHING off except for email (Yes, obvious killer "as it arrives") and did NOT use my phone at all on Sunday and the phone was dead by 5:00PM. That's unacceptable. No phone calls, NO internet use, no music. Just my email (about 30 messages). Doesn't work for a business owner or heavy user. You can't carry enough batteries....
    3. Software: Palm has had YEARS to come up with webOS, and while their basic PIM is decent, it's not even in the same league as Palm OS. Longtime Palm users know what I'm talking about. Ruby has gone too far towards Apple. Removing features like timezones, floating appointments, etc. really hampers business users. I FULLY expect developers to fill the void, but 12 Apps at release is very poor. Especially since most of them were pure fun apps. Nothing really USEFUL (in a business sense). I'll re-evaluate in six months. Hopefully Palm makes VERY quick strides, as I really want them to succeed.

    Biggest Disappointments:
    1. Vibrate: This is where I need Palm to shine. I keep my phone on Vibrate almost exclusively. I won't bemoan the lack of profiles since I feel that developers will fill the void soon, but the weak vibrate is a deal killer. It's weak at best, even worse than the iPhone 3G (which was terrible). I missed every text, email and phone call on Sunday while carrying it in Palm's leather case. EVERY ONE!!! As a business owner, I can't live with that. It's a matter of BUSINESS, not personal preference. This CANNOT be fixed if the vibrator is weak. Maybe a software update to make it longer and stronger, but that would merely make battery life worse. I was really upset with this on the Pre.
    2. Usability: Universal Search is not universal. I cannot look up emails or calendar items. Customer data is contained within each of these. It's just not acceptable for Palm to exclude these items. (Expect an update soon)

    The amount of presses or taps to accomplish items is also on the high side (though better than Apple.) I'll give you an example (my use of a Pre compared to a Blackberry Curve):

    Email arrives. (Assume email program is RUNNING on Pre.)
    Pre:
    1. Phone vibrates or dings (only once, not customizable yet...)
    2. Remove from case.
    3. Press power button (If off...)
    4. Swipe to unlock.
    5. Click on notification.
    6. Wait for email to load.

    Blackberry:
    1. Phone vibrates or dings (fully customizable vibrate and sound)
    2. Remove from Holster.
    3. Wait for email to load. (Magnet activates the recent message and auto-opens it.)

    Now, if both devices are off and my Blackberry isn't in the holster, I need to take an extra step to click the message icon, but this is still two steps less than the Pre. Now multiply that by 100 times a day. It ends up being a real loss of time.

    Palm has also taken away the ability to assign speed keys to applications. Big loss of productivity. Now I have to slide open the keyboard, start typing, hit enter or select the screen. That's up to five or six actions and key presses as opposed to one. Big loss of usability. I've memorized the keyboard shortcuts for all Blackberry apps and features, which makes most actions one key press.

    Overall:
    I really wish that I could have a Blackberry Curve Keyboard and form factor with webOS. I don't like the slider and KNOW that I'd break it in about a month but I'm not like most users here. Music, streaming video, pictures, and normal consumer features aren't overly important to me. I use an iPod touch for those things. I wanted a good business device with great email, reliable battery life, and functional use. Unfortunately the Pre didn't meet my needs.

    I wish those with the Pre the best of luck. I'll still be in these forums, but without my Pre. Hopefully six months to a year from now webOS will be in a form that I can move to. Until then... it's back to the Curve to run my business. I wish Pre users the best of luck!

    I wanted SMB owners who were considering the Pre to understand where I'm coming from to help inform them of the pros and cons of the device. No bashing... I REALLY wanted to like this device. It just didn't meet my needs... then again... neither did the iPhone!

    Good luck everyone...
    "Only the dead have seen the end of war" - Plato
  2. #2  
    As a small business owner I must agree that you review is spot on. Thanks for the details
  3. #3  
    Thanks for the balanced review Akula - like you I have decided to wait for a while until this dog can hunt.
  4. #4  
    For your needs, I think the Curve is a much better choice.

    Palm has, wisely I think, decided to position webOS and the Pre as a much more 'consumer' oriented product. That is where the money is right now and that is what they need to survive.

    For my needs, the Pre is barely adequate in some areas and pretty good and getting better in others. It reminds me a lot of the original EDGE iPhone, another device that surely wouldnt meet your standards!
  5. #5  
    Awesome review. The keyboard was what totally killed it for me. The other commonly reported issues on this forum have convinced me that I made the right decision in holding off from this upgrade. Whew!!!
  6. akula34's Avatar
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       #6  
    Blackberry has some limitations as well. I'm really going to miss Synergy, but like I said... this is about business, and the Curve meets my needs right now.

    I think the Pre is the start of something good for Palm.... (If they can work out the battery issue...)
    "Only the dead have seen the end of war" - Plato
  7. #7  
    Sounds like you need to wait for the Eos if you like webOS
    --Nextel Blackberry 7520 -> Sprint Treo 700p -> Sprint Treo 755p -> Sprint Pre
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by SedahDrol View Post
    Sounds like you need to wait for the Eos if you like webOS
    Yes! a smaller, cheaper model will surely solve the OP's problems!
  9. #9  
    I have to agree with those who say Blackberry is better for you. Some of your issues will be addressed through software, but some won't. Build quality remains to be seen, but I imagine it will be slightly weaker than iPhone, but comparable to other sliders. I dropped my 650, 700 and even Centro all the time, I wouldn't dream of allowing that on the Pre. The flush screen and slider make that too scary.

    As for the multiple steps, search, etc., I expect that to get fixed in OTA updates. Some soon, some later and some through 3rd parties. Garnet had the same issues, but was made with more customization in mind. That's always been the difference between the original Palm and Apple.
  10. #10  
    Fair review. I use it at my job and the battery holds up fine (14 hours and counting as of the moment), but then I only spend an hour or so using it to make calls each day, and it's definitely my secondary email device (next to my notebook). If you make a lot of business calls on it and use it as a primary email client I could see why you definitely might want to stick with a Blackberry.

    Now, if it drained and you had everything off and hardly touched it, something else is going on.

    Quote Originally Posted by treobk214 View Post
    Awesome review. The keyboard was what totally killed it for me. The other commonly reported issues on this forum have convinced me that I made the right decision in holding off from this upgrade. Whew!!!
    Everybody knows what you pretend to think about a phone you never intended to try and haven't touched yet. You've repeated it ad nauseum.
    Last edited by northside; 06/09/2009 at 10:01 PM.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by northside View Post
    Everybody knows what you pretend to think. You've repeated it ad nauseum.
    Dude, you take this WAAAAAAYYYYY too seriously. Its like you think I'm flaming your girlfriend or something.

    Do us all a favor, and relaxxxxxx.

    This is not YOUR forum. I've been here since the treo 300. I'm going to post whatever I want here.

    Deal with it.
  12. akula34's Avatar
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       #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by realistdreamer View Post
    I have to agree with those who say Blackberry is better for you. Some of your issues will be addressed through software, but some won't. Build quality remains to be seen, but I imagine it will be slightly weaker than iPhone, but comparable to other sliders. I dropped my 650, 700 and even Centro all the time, I wouldn't dream of allowing that on the Pre. The flush screen and slider make that too scary.

    As for the multiple steps, search, etc., I expect that to get fixed in OTA updates. Some soon, some later and some through 3rd parties. Garnet had the same issues, but was made with more customization in mind. That's always been the difference between the original Palm and Apple.
    I tried to make notations where I could about the items that I fully expect Palm to update in the future. I think it's a great start to the device, but for someone that uses their phone to run their business, I couldn't wait for these updates. I need to use the phone TODAY to run my business.

    And Palm's track record on updates hasn't been stellar... or timely... *cough* 700p.... Hopefully they'll change that!

    As it stands right now, I would have to agree that Blackberry is my best option (which is why I went back to the Curve), though there are things that drive me nuts about that phone! I'll save that for Crackberry.com

    Good luck to everyone with their Pre's! I'm going to be jealous of the fun you guys will have and the great software I expect to see on the Pre. Unfortunately I don't need the high-maintenance beauty (screen) they call the Pre. It takes her forever to be ready, and once she arrives to the party (6 month wait), she's tired (battery life) after an hour of dancing.

    I'll have to go with the plain yet attractive girl (Curve) you might not otherwise notice, but she's the one drunk as a skunk and still dancing at the end of the night. In fact, she's still got enough juice left in her battery once you get her home to still do some more work...

    *Note to female readers* My wife will kill me for this analogy, so you don't need to scold me for my chauvinism...she's got it covered
    "Only the dead have seen the end of war" - Plato
  13. akula34's Avatar
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       #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by northside View Post
    Now, if it drained and you had everything off and hardly touched it, something else is going on.
    The problem was that I BARELY got any mail on Sunday and it still died. I took four phone calls (less than 30 minutes talk time), browsed the web for fifteen minutes or so over the course of the day and texted about 10 times. That should have hit my battery about 30%, not 90. And that's with EVERYTHING off except email. Imagine if I had bluetooth on... Wi-Fi... GPS... All the things that Palm touts.

    Sprint didn't even have an extra battery when I bought it, or I would have purchased it....
    "Only the dead have seen the end of war" - Plato
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by akula34 View Post
    The problem was that I BARELY got any mail on Sunday and it still died. I took four phone calls (less than 30 minutes talk time), browsed the web for fifteen minutes or so over the course of the day and texted about 10 times. That should have hit my battery about 30%, not 90. And that's with EVERYTHING off except email. Imagine if I had bluetooth on... Wi-Fi... GPS... All the things that Palm touts.

    Sprint didn't even have an extra battery when I bought it, or I would have purchased it....
    You might have some hardware issues then. I run a small IT company in the Bay Area and I got my phone to last the day. Then again, I'm always in the car, driving to a job site and thus, I spend a fair amount of my time in my car, with a car charger. But on the weekends, with just light usage, I had about 40% battery life at the end of the day with no charging and just some email/phone/web/GPS usage. Excellent review though. You beat your phones harder than I do and thats saying something!
  15. #15  
    I posted this in another thread, but it was late and gone by morning...so i'm sure no one noticed Plus it's applicable to this thread.

    It appears to me that Palm has moved their priority into the personal use side of the smart phone spectrum. They seem to have lost a lot of their business status to blackberry and winmo phones. I knew when they created a treo that ran winmo that they recognized Palm OS was in trouble in the business market.

    I think that is why you see more personal centric apps to compete with the iphone. it appears that the main features marketed on this phone is the facebook and gmail integration... which are both primarily for personal use. The highest downloaded app (i know the pickens are slim in that category now) is pandora... once again an app for personal use.

    Unfortunately by focusing on these aspects to combat the iphone (which isn't a very business friendly phone either) they were left to ignore the core PIM functionality that P-OS was built on.

    This doesn't make the pre a bad phone or palm a bad company. it just means that they are focusing their efforts in a different demographic.

    Sorry for the ramble... i've read a few of these threads today and wanted to share my thoughts.
  16. akula34's Avatar
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       #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by beret9987 View Post
    You might have some hardware issues then. I run a small IT company in the Bay Area and I got my phone to last the day. Then again, I'm always in the car, driving to a job site and thus, I spend a fair amount of my time in my car, with a car charger. But on the weekends, with just light usage, I had about 40% battery life at the end of the day with no charging and just some email/phone/web/GPS usage. Excellent review though. You beat your phones harder than I do and thats saying something!
    I've had a phone disintegrate in my hand while using it. Pieces just came apart. (Treo 700p) That was slightly amusing... I was in the middle of a phone call and had to tell the customer my "phone just broke."

    I don't think it was a hardware issue either. My wife's Pre was just as bad and she only had 2 email accounts. Absolutely NO usage and she lost 55% with it just sitting around on Sunday. She's back to a 755p.
    "Only the dead have seen the end of war" - Plato
  17. #17  
    All the questions I had just answered. I am on AT&T so need a GSM phone so this is still not an option but I pound out tons of emails a day and use my corporate exchange server and "email delivery as it arrives" is a must for me too.

    Battery life is less important for me because I am in my car and office enough that I can top off but your Sunday story is concerning. My current phone is a work phone first then for fun (unlocked Treo Pro). I was excited about a better browser and internet experience and thinking when it made it to GSM I would purchase but I now have concerns over the hardware and build quality.

    I will check back to see the longer term feedback.

    Thanks again.
    PDA Lineage: Palm Pilot, Palm V, Palm Tungsten, Treo 650 (Cingular), Treo 750 (AT&T), Treo Pro GSM (unlocked), Pre Plus (AT&T), Pre 2 GSM (unlocked), Pre 3 16GB (AT&T Branded) and Touchpad 32 GB
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by akula34 View Post
    I've had a phone disintegrate in my hand while using it. Pieces just came apart. (Treo 700p) That was slightly amusing... I was in the middle of a phone call and had to tell the customer my "phone just broke."

    I don't think it was a hardware issue either. My wife's Pre was just as bad and she only had 2 email accounts. Absolutely NO usage and she lost 55% with it just sitting around on Sunday. She's back to a 755p.
    Oh wow! I think the worst that's ever happened to me was that I forgot I left my phone on the roof of my car and I didn't take it off while I was holding a conversation with my BT headset. I was wondering why the call disconnected and I went to look for my phone, and I couldn't find it for obvious reasons! Thank god for insurance though!

    Shame about your Pres though. I'm a little annoyed about the bluetooth issues(makes connecting my Jawbone a pain) but otherwise, I can't complain except for parts of the keyboard.
  19. akula34's Avatar
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       #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by beret9987 View Post
    Oh wow! I think the worst that's ever happened to me was that I forgot I left my phone on the roof of my car and I didn't take it off while I was holding a conversation with my BT headset. I was wondering why the call disconnected and I went to look for my phone, and I couldn't find it for obvious reasons! Thank god for insurance though!

    Shame about your Pres though. I'm a little annoyed about the bluetooth issues(makes connecting my Jawbone a pain) but otherwise, I can't complain except for parts of the keyboard.
    I was VERY disappointed. I had already contacted a developer to develop two webOS programs for my Pre for my business.
    "Only the dead have seen the end of war" - Plato
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by beret9987 View Post
    Oh wow! I think the worst that's ever happened to me was that I forgot I left my phone on the roof of my car and I didn't take it off while I was holding a conversation with my BT headset. I was wondering why the call disconnected and I went to look for my phone, and I couldn't find it for obvious reasons!
    You are not alone, friend.
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