PRE vs DROID (honest review from Pre user)


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Dec 21, 2009
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Hello all!
I decided to go ahead and purchase the Droid to go ahead and test it out and decide whether I should switch over from the Pre. Here's my comparison, coming from a person who has been using a Pre since launch day.

Design: I personally like the Droid's design, but my understanding is that I'm in the minority on that. The Pre is more elegant, with rounder edges, and more pocketable.

The Droid is sharp and angular, and looks like a very European product to me. It also looks extremely masculine, which might be a mitigating factor to some.

(Off topic really quick: When did 'soft edges' become the new design du jour? I mean, looking at reviews for the Hero/Eris, people seem to love the round edges and hate the Droid's square ones. I think the square edges give it a cooler, futuristic look and the soft ones give it a bland look, but that's just me-- either way, the Pre is irrelevant here, since it's not really a rectangular phone to begin with. It's more ovular.)

One thing that I noticed is that the Droid is considerably heavier, but also feels better in the hand since there's no slippery plastic. However, I really feel like I could drop the Pre and it would be okay. In fact, I have. Several times. The Droid seems more fragile/breakable to me, but I do love that glass screen. It just feels high-end.

User Interface:

There's no denying the Pre is 'prettier' than the Droid. It has an overall cleaner look that just seems more consumer-friendly. The Droid, with all the icons on the home screen, can get a bit messy. However, widgets are awesome. Both have notification systems that are the best out there, but the Droid has a slight advantage, because when notifications arrive on the Pre, they shrink the screen space and often slow the phone down, whereas the Droid's pull-down shade is a little more unobtrusive. Another thing to note is the whole gestures vs buttons thing. I think gestures to go back is a cooler concept, however, on the Pre sometimes I feel like my gesture to go back doesn't register, especially if I'm in the middle of a particularly CPU-heavy action. On the droid, the capacitive button helps me ensure that every time I press it, it registers.

This is really the big difference. The Droid is at least 3 times faster than the Pre. Literally-- no exaggeration. A task that might take about 4-6 seconds on the Pre is INSTANT on the Droid. I mean, opening emails, replying to texts, searching for Contacts, etc.

The Droid also renders lists and web pages faster. I mean, can you imagine scrolling through your music library or contacts lists on your Pre? It literally makes me cringe thinking about it. All this is smooth as butter on the Droid.

When I try using the Pre after using the Droid, it just feels so slow. I don't know if I'm impatient or what, but waiting 4-6 seconds for any given action to execute is just painful for me.

The Pre really shines here. Though it's slow, the multi-tasking is much better. Even though Android can do the exact same thing, it doesn't feel as cool. For example, say I want to check my flight info on, and then compose an email with that info. On the Pre, I can have the two cards side by side and flip back and forth (whether the Pre will freeze or slow down is a different story). On Android, it's more of an unseen multitasking process, which has less of a wow factor.

Battery Life:
I've noticed that they are both pretty equal on moderate use days. However, with heavy use, the Droid outlasts the Pre.

I think Android succeeds over the Pre largely because of the apps. For example, the Droid has no multitouch implementation in the browser or photo gallery or maps. There are apps which fix that. Should it be available out of the box like the Pre? Yes. But at the end of the day, it's there, for users of both platforms. I don't necessarily appreciate the Pre any more because it has the functionality natively.

I think Android also has a lot more usable apps, for me. The redundancy of tip calculators/location-based finders/information aggregators (Sports score for every city in the world!) is just amateur in comparison to the Droid.

The Droid has excellent games (I love racing games which use the accelerometer), and much more functional apps that are free. That's another difference. Apps which should be free (and are on the iPhone or Android) are generally at least .99 on the Pre. Should we really have to shell out for an air hockey game which is free on the other two platforms? Or a remote for the computer? I don't mind shelling out for apps that are unprecedented and one-of-a-kind (I am t-pain anyone?), but for basics, it's a little annoying.

The other benefit is the ability to replace stock apps like SMS, Email clients, Dialers, and browsers. Android has had this functionality since a month after the OS was out. Why WebOS doesn't yet is beyond me.

No question-- the Pre's camera is amazing. Though the Droid's is 5MP to the Pre's 3MP, it's just crappy. The one amazing thing about the Pre's camera which I haven't seen on ANY other cell phone camera is the instant capture of photos. On any other platform, it seems that it takes between 3-5 seconds at least to capture a photo. About 4 seconds on the Droid. Thus, if you want to capture your friend jumping off a huge rock or trying to balance something on their head, you're out of luck, except with the Pre, which is quick enough to capture these things.

Overall, I think both phones are equal in many respects. Email, SMS, Phone calls, etc. I think they're both great. The reason why I think I'll keep the Droid over the Pre is mainly because of two things: the speed and the apps.

I know as an early adopter that first-gen products often have bugs and missing features. However, it just seems like those two aspects of the Pre, which are the most important to me as a user, are not even being attempted to be fixed. I think the fact that there's no hope on the horizon for either of these two aspects is frustrating to me. For example, when Android was first released, there were many key features missing. But they were better at updating their community. They said 'Hey, there's this update called cupcake, and it fixes a, b, and c, and it will be out around this date. It gave current users who had shelled out their hard-earned money more incentive to stick around. With Palm, it's silence. When is video-recording coming? Better apps? Speed improvements? There's nothing concrete, just the promise of 'someday'.

Palm is not opening up the SDK enough for developers to truly USE the phone's amazing processor to it's fullest. Hell, there's not even a timeline as to when we can have voice recording apps.

Additionally, the speed seems to only be a concern for a minority of Pre users, if this forum is accurate in it's depiction of the general user population. Most people are fine with it being a little slow since most Pre owners are coming from feature phones or basic phones. However, for someone like me, coming from a Blackberry, waiting those additional 5-6 seconds for an action to register just seems ridiculous.

If anybody has any direct comparison questions, I'd be more than happy to help!

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