My Pre vs. Sprint Hero review

fossill

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First some background. I?m a pretty big tech nerd and I switch devices fairly frequently. In the last 2 years, I?ve been on AT&T and Sprint, I?ve gone from the original iPhone -> iPhone 3G -> Blackberry Bold -> Palm Pre -> Sprint Hero.

In the last 5 years I?ve gone from T-Mobile -> Verizon -> AT&T -> Sprint as well.

Out of all of the devices, so far all around my favorite through both the first impression to daily usage has been the Hero.

Out of overall usage, customer service, reliability, and overall cost, my favorite wireless service provider would have to be Sprint. T-Mobile was fine, Verizon was WAY overpriced as well as impossible to get a hold of along with horrible phones (in the past), AT&T is way overpriced as well, and their service is no better or worse than Sprint. Sprint has been fantastic so far. I may not have the overall ?bars? I had before, but my overall service in my office has been better with lower bars than I had with AT&T with higher bars. Even with 1 bar, I get fine reception in the lower levels of our building compared to AT&T which had 2 bars or more, but had far more dropped calls.

The only downfall to the lower reception of the Sprint service has been battery life. It does necessitate my phone working harder and using more power to give me the call quality and reception I receive.

Now with that out of the way, let?s get to the perceptions of the phones.

I owned the Pre for 2+ months, I used it daily, I still own the phone and I am in the process of selling it. I wasn?t sure the transition would be as smooth as it was, but I am happy with my decision to switch.

I will make the overall review simple. I will list what I think the Hero has over the Pre, and what the Pre has over the Hero. This review is highly objective and should be taken as such. Your mileage may vary.

Hero ?
*I love the widgets. It really does put information at your fingertips.
*Menu?s, really overlooked, but the menu button on the Hero makes it much easier to access information, options, and features than the Pre.
*Expandable storage. If you like your music/video, this is really the only option.
*Email client, both the Gmail and regular have a lot more options, and are easier to access than the Pre?s.
*The larger screen isn?t really all that physically bigger, but it seems a lot bigger when using the phone.
*I LOVE the keyboard features, adding custom words is so easy, and the ability to have predictive inline suggestions is huge when typing a lot.
*The phone has a considerably more solid feel than the Pre. It?s lighter to me than the Pre, but feels better built.
*Battery life is infinitely better. I make it easily through a whole day compared to 7-8 hours before I hit 20% on the Pre due to low reception. (Yes you can buy a larger and MUCH uglier battery, but that defeats the purpose)
*Programs launch MUCH faster, upwards of 3 times faster I would say. Most of the time they are instant where the Pre, it was literally (select program, look up to say something to someone, look back down and it was just opening).
*The program options at this point are much more robust and most of the really useful apps are free. Android Marketplace has a lot of apps. Not as much as the iPhone, but most are more useful.
*Having hardware buttons are a nice touch and make things more useful overall.
*The integration of Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Gmail, etc etc is infinitely convenient.

**There are likely more I am not thinking about.


Pre ?

*The hardware keyboard is a nice feature and makes typing one hand possible. Impossible to do with the soft keyboard of the Hero.
*Cards, makes multitasking extremely easy and I will miss the cards.
*Swiping back and forth, I still find myself trying to do this on the Hero to delete things etc. Really is a great concept.
*The hardware silence button. Why all phones don?t have this beats me.
*Conductive charging ? I will miss this immensely. It was a first and a fantastic addition to the Pre although severely overpriced at ~70.
 

dannzeman

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I'm kind of in the same boat as you. I've had 4 different phones in the past four months. I started with the Pre, then the Touch Pro 2, then the Hero, and now the Moment.

Some of the items you have for the Hero over the Pre are just due to it being a more recent phone. It has a faster processor so of course apps should load faster. And the Android Market Place has had a pretty big head start of the Pre's. I do wish the Hero/Android had a better multitasking system. I would like to be able to switch between more than my last 6 apps. I do love not having to worry about managing which ones I close and which I leave open though. Android does a great job with memory management.

I am curious why you think one handed typing on the Hero is impossible? Thats about all I do, and its blazing fast. After you calibrate the keyboard and get the dictionary to your liking it is incredibly easy to bust out messages and even long emails with one hand. The only thing that kept me from keeping the Pre was the tiny keyboard. It was the deal breaker for me, especially with the release of the Touch Pro 2 and its giant keyboard right on its heels.

Overall, very good comparison. Thanks for the insight.
 

Hammer28

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Nov 9, 2009
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I too am in the same boat, perhaps maybe a little worse. This past year I have had a HTC Touch, Samsung Instinct, BB Curve, BB Storm, HTC Diamond, Palm Pre and now the Hero.

I really appreciate you taking the time to type that out, very good review and comparison. I am still torn between the two and haven's parted with my Pre yet. I miss the universal search and prefer the way the pre handles email, all three of my email account in one place. My Hero suffers from the 100% awake bug, even with Handcent or ChompSMS. It will be fine for a couple of days, then stay awake until I do a reset, I have spent countless hours on the forum trying to fix it. This has really taken away from the Hero and made me reconsider the Pre, but then I use Shazam or the Barcode Scanner on the Hero, and I forget the Pre ever existed.

I find one handed texting on the Hero a lot easier than the Pre, especially if its a quick reply, perhaps not having to slide it open plays a part in this for me. On the Hero, I switched to 'compact qwerty' and use the T9 function, which is still one of my favorite ways to text, if I need more, a simple flip and I have the full qwerty.

They are both wonderful phones, the best I have had in years. The Samsung 900m and Sprint HTC Touch years were the best from me, though having a StarTac, at the time, was pretty cool as well.
 

unixpsycho

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I would have to disagree a little bit...

Coming from my beloved Treo 755p, to a hideous Treo 800w, then to a Pre, now with a Hero; I would say the Pre is my favorite. I demanded a real keyboard but totally despised sliders. I like the form factor of the Treos but after having the big screen there was no turning back.

I moved to the Hero for a more stable phone; Oreo effect, USB door broke off, battery life, etc. While I grew to like the Hero (and Android), it wasnt better as originally thought from the Pre. I noticed right away the WiFi radio is much weaker on the Hero. Basic features we were spoiled with on the Pre like full HTML email, push email, multi-touch, browser speed, lack of an easy way to switch between apps that are not just the last 6 apps; are suspect. But i kept the phone and dealt with the shortcomings due to the gigantic app store.

I recently moved back to the Pre due to the Hero constantly FAILing. Icons changing, widgets disappearing, apps renaming themselves to some hideous name, sluggishness, etc... but what made me throw it across the room was the phone app kept dying for unknown reasons and leaves me with no phone functions. FAIL!

I'll deal with my heavily r00ted Pre and wait for next Hero update to see if things get better.
 

daniel2744

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Nov 12, 2009
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Thanks for the review of both phones. I'm kinda in the same boat as the first two posts. I have had the pre since mid-August and i order my hero last night. I got the pre cause i couldn't wait for the hero to launch. The last few days i have been seeing the hero and started to like stuff about it. The app store for once is what made me switch i think. the pre only has like 360 apps and it is just taking forever grow. yeah i know webOS is still new but still. In addtion, i just couldn't take the slider on the pre anymore. everytime i would open it, it would move around. at first i overlooked it but i just couldn't take it anymore. I do like the deck of cards concept. it makes multitasking so easy. to be able to switch and delete open cards with a swipe of a finger is so cool. the patches that were available for the pre made me from switching for the longest time. people developed some very cool patches that should already come with a phone such as the pre. but with that said, I'm looking forward to using the hero and android OS. I have heard such good things about it.
 

doublebullout

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Some of the items you have for the Hero over the Pre are just due to it being a more recent phone. It has a faster processor so of course apps should load faster.
Not to beat a dead horse, but the Hero is the phone with the older, slower processor. The Pre's chipset is more powerful than the Hero's and it is underclocked to conserve battery life. The real problem is that webOS, in its current incarnation, does not use the full potential of the chipset. The Pre has a V8 for an engine, but it's only running on 4 cylinders.
I do wish the Hero/Android had a better multitasking system. I would like to be able to switch between more than my last 6 apps. I do love not having to worry about managing which ones I close and which I leave open though. Android does a great job with memory management.
I also wish Android handled program switching as elegantly as webOS does. But I much prefer the way Android handles memory resources.
I am curious why you think one handed typing on the Hero is impossible? Thats about all I do, and its blazing fast. After you calibrate the keyboard and get the dictionary to your liking it is incredibly easy to bust out messages and even long emails with one hand.
Definitely. I've tried all 3 portrait keyboards and the fastest one is the compact QWERTY with predictive text enabled. It's very good for one-handed use.
 

doublebullout

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Here is my breakdown:

HERO PROs:
  • Build quality
  • Calendar speed
  • Calendar search
  • Trackball/one-handed use
  • Predictive text
  • Apps
  • SenseUI + home screen (I really don't like how the Pre is a blank slate unless you leave something running all the time)
  • OS responsiveness
  • Phone quality
  • Speaker quality & volume
  • Virtual keyboard choices
  • Notification lights (no patch required!)
  • Hardware-based buttons (Home, Menu, Search, Back)
  • Expandable memory
  • Android resource management
  • Battery life
  • Glass screen
  • Attached documents view correctly

PRE PROs:
  • Screen quality & sharpness
  • Gestures to delete or go back
  • Exchange support for tasks (the task app isn't very good, but at least there is one that syncs with Exchange)
  • Browser speed (but this is arguably due to webOS not supporting flash at all)
  • Camera quality & flash
  • Notifications are more elegantly handled in webOS
  • App switching/closing/multi-tasking
  • Touchstone inductive charging
  • CPU/GPU chipset
  • Homebrew/patching community

In the end, the Hero's advantages convinced me to switch. Maybe webOS will be worth revisiting someday.
 

jbc28

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I currently use a Treo Pro and Pre on 2 separate lines. I just bought a Hero for my wife to replace her Centro. I have been playing with the Hero for a few days, and I really like it. However, I don't think that I would replace my heavily patched Pre with the Hero. I feel like messaging and email is handled much better with the Pre. I do like it enough to replace my Treo Pro. I think my wife is gonna to choose the Pixi over the Hero due to ease of use. The apps available for the Hero sure are nice, though.
 

mrothschild

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I too am on Sprint. Sprint has excellent coverage, they are always upgrading there network and they are the cheapest as well. Not only that they are the first to offer a 4G wireless network. Pretty soon we'll all be getting our internet from our wireless carrier.
 

akarol

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I too am on Sprint. Sprint has excellent coverage, they are always upgrading there network and they are the cheapest as well. Not only that they are the first to offer a 4G wireless network. Pretty soon we'll all be getting our internet from our wireless carrier.

...and cable (well, it technically won't be cable, but we'll get our TV services as well. Everything is going wireless).
 

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