The Black & White

Battle of the phones: iPhone is uncontested winner

By John Son

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The iPhone trumps the new Palm Pre in almost every category. Photo courtesy of bestdigital.com.

The iPhone trumps the new Palm Pre in almost every category. Photo courtesy of bestdigital.com.

The iPhone has dominated the smartphone category for years, and its first major competitor has arrived: the Palm Pre. But is the Pre actually competition?

Buyers need to consider a variety of factors, including the cost of monthly services and for the phone itself, the variety of applications available, call quality and reception, Internet browsing & 3G speed, battery life and other miscellaneous features.

In terms of monthly cost, the iPhone costs $109.99 for 900 minutes and unlimited voice and messaging, whereas the Palm Pre costs $89.99 for 900 minutes and unlimited voice and messaging. On this plan, you pay $2,640 for the iPhone or $2,160 for the Palm Pre for the whole year.

The 16GB iPhone 3G S retails for $199, whereas the 8GB Palm Pre (only capacity available) costs $149 after the mail-in rebate. The Pre beats the iPhone in cost again, except that the 8GB iPhone 3G is available for $99.

These prices can be misleading though, since the question remains: what kind of bang are you getting for your buck?

In terms of applications, the iPhone is a clear and uncontested winner. The iPhone currently has over 85,000 downloadable applications, while the Palm Pre has a pitiful 13 apps available to users.

However, both the iPhone and Palm Pre provide solid call quality and 3G reception.

Regarding battery life, the iPhone has an impressive 12 hours of talk time, 10 hours of video playback and nine hours of Wi-Fi battery life. The Palm Pre only has five hours of talk time, seven hours of video and 12 hours of music playback.

The iPhone 3G S (s for speed) clearly beats the Palm Pre in terms of performance too. The Palm Pre isn’t slow, but the iPhone’s 600MHz processor and 128MB of RAM completely trumps the Pre.

The largest and most obvious difference between the two smartphones is clear: features. The iPhone clearly dominates the Palm Pre, with an excellent three megapixel camera with autofocus, great video recording quality, voice recording, video editing, a compass, GPS with turn-by-turn directions, Bluetooth, cut-and-paste capabilities and of course, the superb video and music player included in the iPod. The Palm Pre features a GPS and a decent video player and a camera, but conspicuously lacks video recording capabilities.

Overall, the iPhone is a clear winner. It might cost more initially (for double the memory) and more monthly, but its features, battery life and applications outdo anything the Palm Pre puts out there.

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