I absolutely love my Palm Pre. There is no doubt about that. But as in every relationship (at least with a “toy” it is good to have some objective reality about its strengths and weaknesses.
Several of my criticisms come straight from my previous use of a Palm Centro and only one of them is a quasi-response to the dreaded i word.
So first – System Sounds are pretty annoying. So far the only sound I’ve been able to change is my ringtone. All the other notifications, except for an upcoming event, use the same monotone ding sound. So I have no idea if it is a new text, a new e-mail, a new set of tweets, or if it is a battery-low warning.
Next and this is kind of a big one, is the lack of data while roaming. I don’t actually roam a lot, but for the data parts of the phone to work, you must be using Sprint‘s cell signal. We’ve found random dead zones in the Twin Cities, fortunately you can switch to wi-fi and continue on your way. However, this is a major drawback if you need to use Google Maps in the middle of no where Minnesota (which is actually quite a bit of the state). I found the below coverage map. So this is pretty annoying.
Updated: Thanks to a commenter I was given this tip on data roaming:
If you open the phone dialer app, and click on the Sprint button in upper left, choose Preferences. From there, Network allows you to enable voice and data roaming. By default, data roaming is turned off.
I miss having a video camera like on my Centro. I think the quality of pictures is slightly better and really like having the flash. But sometimes you just need a video camera to capture a funny scene and a still picture just won’t do it justice. Along with this is the lack of zoom. Granted the Centro only had a 1x zoom, but it was nice. With the higher quality picture you can zoom in a little bit, but that takes a lot more work!
Arrow Keys made typing a lot easier. It was much easier to use the arrow keys to navigate around the text. It provided much more precision than my clumsy large fingers. You do have some ability to use the shift and function key to navigate text sections, but it isn’t the same.
Updated: Another tip:
Here’s a good analog to arrow keys: Instead of just stabbing where you want to move the cursor, hold down the orange key and drag your finger left and right anywhere on the screen to emulate arrow keys.
Another fairly personal (I think), is the mail handling app is a little clunky. The phone is designed and integrated for using Google programs including Gmail. I am a little anal about having my Gmail sidebar showing everything as read, yet with the way the app handles mail it often either doesn’t mark them as read or doesn’t archive them. Which means if you spend a day or two, or even a few hours working through your inbox on the Pre, you then have a mess to clean up when you go back to your webmail. I suppose if you were using Gmail through Outlook or something then it is fine, I don’t know. And I do really like being able to access your e-mail without having to go through the browser. It also doesn’t keep conversation together. If you are familiar with Gmail, you know that it keeps all the conversations together in one “column” so that 5 replies to one e-mail can be read together, yet the mail app isn’t capable of doing that.
I almost forgot about the battery life, but it seems like everyone has already hit on this issue. It seems to have gotten better with the new OS update. It also depends on what apps you have running and what kind of back-end processing they are doing. We’ve had some really odd experiences with battery life, like my wife’s phone has stayed on all weekend while we were roaming. Roaming traditionally runs a battery out quickly, but this has happened twice now. I have mine setup with Gchat, which is always on so mine runs down fairly quickly. But I’ve noticed that there have been times where it isn’t dead or near dead at the end of the day. I think this just means that my usage just ebbs and flows.
Finally, the lack of apps is really getting me down. I enjoy the ones that I am using, but I wish there was more variety and just more. It would be nice to see if someone came up with a better mail app or a Google reader app. Or some different games. I personally am ready.
I’m sure there are more criticisms I could offer, but these stand out as the biggest.
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