Some Early Impressions and a Word about Authenticity

Some of my earliest comments after playing with the Pre I purchased.

Catherine Gouge
5 min read
[Some of my earliest comments after playing with the Pre I purchased.]

Though I understand the skepticism some might have about the sincerity of positive user reviews of the Pre made by folks given free Pres to "test drive," I can assure you that everything I write in my posts--both Pre positive and Pre negative--will be sincere. And not only because I actually chose to purchase the Pre over the iPhone before I was asked to guest blog.

Also, you should know that, as far as I can tell, our posts for this test drive are not being edited at all by anyone at Palm, Sprint, or CNET. We paste what we write into the CNET blogging tool, save and "publish" there, and what we have written goes live almost immediately.

When I purchased my first Pre before receiving one to write about in this test drive, I was really excited. For months, I had been reading everything I could find about all new cell releases on Engadget, Boy Genius Report, CNET, Pre Central, Gizmodo, and Mac Rumors (because I had expected to purchase the iPhone) and so my enthusiasm was palpable. So much so, in fact, that I really can't recreate it now.

So...what follows are some of my first impressions of my Pre experience--impressions posted to Pre forums in the first few days after I made my purchase, before I knew I would be guest blogging here on CNET, and before I was given a free phone.

I have added a bit of intro commentary for your reading pleasure.

Screen shot showing multiple (live) card view. [Tip: To get a screen shot on the Pre, hold "orange + sym and tap P"] Catherine Gouge

Day #1: Beautiful phone!

My excitement in this first post led me to write a genuinely unselfconscious double negative. Yes, that's right. And I'm an English professor. I correct these kinds of things for a living. So, think what you will, but I choose to see this departure from my ordinary grammar-policing verve as a sure sign of my unbridled, sincere enthusiasm.

Been reading the forums here since launch, and I finally got my very own Pre. I now understand why everyone seems so surprised by the multitasking. It is so freakin' great, along with notifications, I could never not have these functions again.

Note here that when I say I could "never not" have notifications again, what I mean is that I love the way that Pre notifications works: a small preview bubble appears for each kind of notification below the main card/screen view when it first comes through and then minimizes itself to a single icon until you are ready to look at it again (see screen shot). Of course, the BB Pearl notified me when I had a message, but the way it did it was much less helpful and seamless because the phone couldn't multitask and different kinds of message notifications were lumped together.

Day #2: I think the thing I love most about it is that it is so dynamic.

This post has a bit more content to it, but like the last one, I think it reveals my enjoyment of multitasking with the Pre. I'm sure the degree of my pleasure was intensified by my unsatisfying BB Pearl user experience for a year and a half prior to getting the Pre, but in any case, there it is.

I'll definitely be psyched for some more apps and WebOS update with some tweaks and minor fixes, but even without more apps, the beauty of the Pre is that it is so much more than an applications launcher.

As much as I prefer to multitask in other areas of my life, I can't believe I haven't been able to do that on a cell phone until now--and so intuitively and seamlessly as we can now on the Pre: listening to music while SMS and MMS-ing and surfing the net, get a phone call, return to playing and surfing. Awesome.

See the screenshot above for what multiple, live "cards" look like when the cards are minimized. They are usually a size bigger, but I minimized them to show you how many live cards you can see at a time if you want.

Day #2: I just got my Pre two days ago and LOVE it.

Here I express some concern about the hardware because of issues I saw reported on the forums. This was two weeks ago and the original Pre hardware (which I still have and use--yes, I currently have two Pres) is still as solid as the day I purchased it. The ALL CAPS emphasis you see here is original to the post.

I needed a phone mostly for messaging, sometimes for calls, often for light web-browsing, weather, news, to keep information and appointments handy, a calendar. I can't say enough about how seamlessly and intuitively the Pre multitasks. Messages come in while you are doing something else, you glance, decide what to do, go in and out of stuff like it was nothing. It's SWEET.

My only on-going reservation is will the hardware hold up. I am nervous as hell about dropping it or the halves getting loose (they have a tiny bit of give now). The hardware is gorgeous today, but I'll be so bummed if it doesn't hold up because I LOVE THIS PHONE.

Day #3: I love my Pre.

As you can see in this post, the honeymoon happy is still in effect on Day 3. And I can confirm that two weeks later (a.k.a. now, as I write this), I still feel as I did then about how "breezy and cool" interacting with WebOS is.

I feel released from the chains of my cumbersome BB Pearl (open this menu to choose this so that you can do that, press trackball, now open that menu so you can choose X so that you can go to Y and download Z--ahhhh!).

The Pre is just swipe, swipe, send. It's breezy and cool. And with OS updates, it's just going to get better and better. The OS is so smooth and intuitive and dynamic at the same time: multitasking, notifications, look and feel.

I'll def. be psyched for a few updates, but just small things...even without them, amazing phone!!

Okay, there you have it. It's real, it's honest, and it's just a tad embarrassing.

Fast Forward: Now

Though my experience of the Pre in the past couple weeks has continued to be mostly positive, it has not been 100% positive. My less positive experiences have been pretty minor, but they have been nonetheless. As I have figured out how things work in WebOS, for example, I have "accidentally" called and hung up on people (multiple times), I have prematurely sent text messages, and I have had trouble accessing (of all things) this CNET "Test Drive" blog page. I will blog about the details in a future post.

NEXT UP: My favorite accessories.