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5/28/2009
08:48 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Palm Pre Gets The Hands-On Treatment

Somehow The Boy Genius got his hands on a Palm Pre before any official review units were distributed and posted his first impressions. His first take? It's "plasticky" and the QWERTY keyboard is "really frustrating."

Somehow The Boy Genius got his hands on a Palm Pre before any official review units were distributed and posted his first impressions. His first take? It's "plasticky" and the QWERTY keyboard is "really frustrating."I've used the Palm Pre several times. First at CES, again at Mobile World Congress, and at CTIA. I didn't notice any change in the hardware or software between CES (in January) and CTIA (in April). It felt and worked about the same.

Here's what the Boy had to say about it:

The Pre feels really good in your hand in terms of size and shape, but there's a real plasticky aura about it. Additionally, things aren't looking good for that QWERTY either. And hey, you know we take them keyboards seriously! When you try and type on the top row of keys, your finger hits the bottom part of the front piece and on top of that, you often hit multiple keys at the same time while typing. It's actually really frustrating and doesn't bode well for such a fantastic social communication/personal/business tool.
He goes on to talk about the screen, which he rates behind the iPhone's screen, but ahead of the HTC G1's screen. Based on the few moments that I've spent with the device, I'd agree with that rating.

I also agree with his feelings that the device feels "plasticky." I was not impressed with the build quality of the pre-production units I used earlier this year. The QWERTY keyboard, in particular, was a little cheap feeling. It wasn't nearly as good as the keyboards found on BlackBerries or even some feature phones. I wrote that off as a pre-production issue.

If The Boy Genius does indeed have a production unit, his initial assessment makes me very worried. I was hoping the hardware would be firmed up some by the time the Pre goes on sale. With June 6 a short nine days away, however, I have a hard time believing the unit The Boy Genius got his hands on is anything but final hardware.

We'll find out soon enough.

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