Palm Pre Versus iPhone

Category: Mobile

I'm a Sprint customer, and thinking about buying a new smartphone. I like the iPhone, but it's only on AT&T. Sprint's Palm Pre also looks good, but how does it stack up to the iPhone?

Palm Pre

Comparing the Palm Pre and Apple iPhone

The iPhone has been out for a while now, but if you're currently a Sprint customer, the Palm Pre is definitely worth a look if you're in the market for a smartphone. Which is the better choice? Let's compare...

Obviously, Mac users and those who first went gaga over the iPhone jumped at the chance to get one when they first appeared. Others that waited were seduced by the hype of the Pre. When you break down the pricing, features and service it looks like this:

The Palm Pre, available on Sprint, costs $200 after a $100 rebate. For a fee of $70 a month, you get 450 minutes of talk time with unlimited messaging and data. For $90 per month, you get 900 minutes and unlimited messaging and data. Splurge with $100 and you get unlimited everything.

As for Apple's latest iPhone, the cost ranges from $200 to $300. AT&T is the sole signal provider, and $90 per month entitles you to 450 voice minutes, unlimited messaging and data. $110 gets you 900 minutes and unlimited voice, messaging and data will cost you $150.

Both require a two-year contract and when you add up the numbers for unlimited plans, iPhone owners will pay $3,600 while Pre users will only spend $2,400. That's a savings of $600 per year. But is that enough to convince you to buy a Pre over the iPhone?

Feature Showdown

Let's look at features. Both have Bluetooth compatibility, camera, video player, speaker phone and music player. They both provide access to email, 3G speed, Wifi and GPS. But there are also some differences. The Pre has a real slide-out QWERTY keyboard, as opposed to the iPhone's virtual one. That's a big plus for fat-fingered people like me who have trouble pecking out the keystrokes on a touchscreen. Pre owners can access Sprint's 4G network in some areas while AT&T will not have that speed until next year.

The Pre's 3 megapixel camera has an LED flash while the iPhone 3GS has a 3mp cam with autofocus, auto-macro and improved low lighting performance. When it comes to video recording, only the iPhone has the capability and basic editing is available.

The Pre is shorter and thicker than the iPhone while the Apple smartphone has a slightly larger display. The iPhone can be purchased in both 8GB, 16GB and 32GB models, the Pre only comes with 8GB of internal memory. How much memory do you need? Here's a rule of thumb: 8GB will allow you to store about 1800 songs OR 10,000 photos OR about 10 hours of video. Mix and match any way you like.

The Pre comes with an easily removable battery -- not so with the iPhone. The Pre but doesn't support Flash video, which means no YouTube for you. But Palm has promised to support the Flash 10 Player by the end of 2009. Both phones can be synched with iTunes, but the Pre is restricted to tunes that are not DRM protected. But most songs on iTunes are DRM-free now, and of course you you can download MP3s from Amazon and other places. The Pre allows you to combine phone numbers, calendar entries and email from MS Outlook, Gmail and Facebook in one place and the multitasking WebOS allow multiple apps to be open at once.

It goes without saying that iPhone App store is way beyond any other competitor's. Palm has its own online app store but it will be some time before the applications can catch up to Apple. And of course the "There's an app for that" campaign is far superior to the creepy young woman on the Pre ads.

It still comes down to personal choice, where your loyalty lies and what you think about Sprint and AT&T. Talk to your friends, ask them to let you play with their phones before you decide on either the iPhone or Pre. Oh, and if you're a Verizon customer, both are non-starters.

Here's my bottom line... the Palm Pre is sleek, slick and designed well. But the biggest problem with the Pre is that it's not an iPhone. Apple has created a cult of coolness around the iPhone, while the features of the device speak for themselves. Any device that's serious about playing the role of "iPhone killer" will have to make coffee in the morning, take the dog for a walk, and predict winning stock market picks. I mean, the iPhone actually makes people smarter and sexier. How do you compete with that?

Got something to say about the Palm Pre? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Palm Pre Versus iPhone"

Posted by:

Pam
28 Sep 2009

Love the article. As a die-hard T-Mobile customer, though, I'm hoping the G3 or the Motorola Cliq will stand up to either of the above. Here's hoping, once the above two phones are both out (around the holidays 2009) you'll find yourself with some time on your hands and an interest in stacking either or both up against each other and all other comers.


Posted by:

Fred
29 Sep 2009

Palm Pre for Verizon will be released in about Jan 2010. Palm Pre GSM for use in Europe will be released starting Oct 13, 2009. There are more and more apps for Palm Pre, and some are REALLY innovative. My only hesitation is that Palm has a history of dropping support for their devices - as witness my T|X right now.


Posted by:

dsdurkes
29 Sep 2009

The Pre, an admirable effort to be sure, will die the death of a 1,000 cuts. The App store is a formidable obstacle. The UI is a keeper and the culture seems unassailable. With Android being the only viable force (read: money) it bodes ill for the Pre. Too little, too late.


Posted by:

Bill
29 Sep 2009

I use the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition. Does anyone know if the Palm Pre for Verizon will have the capability to be used world wide?


Posted by:

Anne
01 Oct 2009

I also heard from Verizon that the Pre would be available this Dec or January, so as a long-time Verizon customer (and part of a multiphone family plan), it's easy to wait to upgrade from my Treo 750wx. I'm curious about the Pre GSM, though. Is that provider-specific or ??


Posted by:

carmenuch
01 Oct 2009

Palm people have come up the ranks. They started with maybe the 515 graduated to the trio and then the pre. The pre has had some problems, but any new product will have some bugs until they are worked out. Palm knows they must make good on their product....and I am sure they will but it may take some time. Most everyday we get updates. There is a group on Yahoo that has the most updates being presented. There are a lot of troubleshooting sites and places to go with problems. Give them a chance to make good and they will. A loyal fan


Posted by:

J. B. Van Wely
01 Oct 2009

Now there's another Sprint choice. The HTC Hero will be available from Sprint on October 11. It's Android-based, with no physical keyboard. Basically the same price structure as the Pre, a much broader app base, 5 megapixel camera, and mini-sd slot.

Sounds like a better deal than the Pre, if you can live without the keyboard.


Posted by:

jeff
01 Oct 2009

Is Pre backward compatible with Palm OS's and does it support "Graffiti?"


Posted by:

jason
01 Oct 2009

There is a built in you tube app on the pre. It's a fantastic phone - wouldn't call it perfect, but it's pretty awesome.


Posted by:

Holly
01 Oct 2009

I'm an Iphone user and your numbers are way off for me! I pay $110 a month for unlimited text and data, and I don't remember how many minutes of call time, but because of roll-over minutes, I've got hundreds banked. My phone was not the latest with the movie abilities but because of that it was $99.00 rather than the $200-$300 up front you listed. It's actually quite affordable and at this point, I can't imagine living without it!


Posted by:

Dan
04 Oct 2009

I don't know which is better, I only know 1 thing. As a blind user, the only option for me is the Iphone. It's the only touch screen phone that works with speech. Furthermore, it's the only Smart phone that works with speech without a third party application. Hopefully, other manufacturers will follow Apples lead on this. I don't necesarily love AT&T either!


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