So do the Pre's perks (beautiful hardware and software, compact size, keyboard, swappable battery, flash, multitasking, calendar consolidation) outweigh its weak spots (battery life, slow program opening, ringer volume, Sprint network)? Oh, yes indeedy. Especially when you consider that last weak spot might be going away. Verizon Wireless has announced that it will carry the Pre ''in the next six months or so.''
Steven Levy, at Wired:
It's a huge win ... The Pre emphatically shows that Palm has not reached the stage of suffixes. And multitasking rules!
Walt Mossberg, at the Wall Street Journal:
The Pre is a smart, sophisticated product that will have particular appeal for those who want a physical keyboard. It is thoughtfully designed, works well and could give the iPhone and BlackBerry strong competition -- but only if it fixes its app store and can attract third-party developers.
Joshua Topolsky, at Engadget:
To put it simply, the Pre is a great phone, and we don't feel any hesitation saying that. Is it a perfect phone? Hell no. Does its OS need work? Definitely. But are any of the detracting factors here big enough to not recommend it? Absolutely not. There's no doubt that there's room for improvement in webOS and its devices, but there's also an astounding amount of things that Palm nails out of the gate.
Jason Chen, at Gizmodo:
The software is agile, smart and capable. The hardware, on the other hand, is a liability. If Palm can get someone else to design and build their hardware--someone who has hands and can feel what a phone is like when physically used, that phone might just be one of the best phones on the market.
Mark Spoonauer, at Laptop Mag:
We've seen many smart phones come and go since the original iPhone, and the $199 Palm Pre is the first device we've tested whose user interface not only matches up well to Apple's offering, but also beats it in some areas. ... Palm and Sprint have a hit on their hands with the Pre, and the webOS is a smart phone platform to be reckoned with.
The OS is great. There's no ifs ands or buts; it's really refreshing to see something that's brand new with a UI unlike anything else out there. The only problem with this is, Palm's never been a hardware company that anyone's really cared about. ... Couple that with the nation's underdog carrier at a $299 price-point (before rebate), and we're not sure how many people are going to be lined up overnight, yet we're pretty confident once people are able to play a real unit themselves, there will be more than a lot of happy Palm Pre customers.
Bonnie Cha, at CNET:
Despite some missing features and performance issues that make it less than ideal for on-the-go professionals, the Palm Pre offers gadget lovers and consumers well-integrated features and unparalled multitasking capabilities. The hardware could be better, but more importantly, Palm has developed a solid OS that not only rivals the competition but also sets a new standard in the way smartphones handle tasks and manage information.
Ginny Miles, at PC World:
The long-awaited Palm Pre lives up to the hype with a responsive touchscreen and an engaging interface, but a few hardware design flaws keep it from being the perfect smartphone.
Stephen Wildstrom, at at BusinessWeek:
If the Palm Pre had appeared a year ago, it might have turned the smartphone market upside down. It would have beaten out Apple's iPhone 3G and the iTunes App Store, Google's Android, the BlackBerry Bold and Storm as well as BlackBerry App World, and possibly taken the spoils. But the field has grown so crowded with clever entries in the past 12 months that the Pre, ingenious as it is, seems evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
Sinead Carew, at Reuters:
The long-awaited Pre has nice new touches, but Palm Inc has a lot of work to do if the device is to be a serious competitor to the iPhone.
...it is a pretty good-looking device, but it feels a little plasticky and is lower in build quality than a BlackBerry. It is squat, has a nice screen, and is easy to grip. It is round in the right places. However, the slide-out keyboard seems flimsy and cluttered.
Peter Svensson, at the Associated Press:
Move over, iPhone. You've had two years on top of the smart phone world. Now there's a touch-screen phone with better software: the Palm Pre. In a remarkable achievement, Palm Inc., a company that was something of a has-been, has come up with a phone operating system that is more powerful, elegant and user-friendly.
Ed Baig, at USA Today:
The first Palm Pre will certainly give the iPhone and other rivals a run for their money. To be sure, there are areas where it could improve: Bring on the apps. But Palm has delivered a device that will keep it in the game and give it a chance to star in it.