Takes a licking?

How much abuse can the Palm Pre take?

Cyn Donnelly
3 min read
Looks a little more delicate when you open it. Cyn Donnelly

I'm single so anything I own is mine and mine alone. This is great except it gets me in the mindset that if I break something (or even just rough it up) it's all on me. So I tend to be a little tough on my electronics whether consciously or un. But when someone hands you an expensive piece of technology for free, solely for the purpose of testing it out to see how you like it, you're going to want to be more gentle with it than you normally would.

Or so I thought.

I handed my Pre to someone yesterday and his first comment was "Wow, that's heavy!". (He's also an iPhone user and used to holding something not as substantial.) It was a turn-off for him but not for me. I like being able to grip the Pre without worrying that I'm going to break it. I haven't dropped the phone (yet) but I've been carrying both the iPhone and the Pre around together and the Pre feels more like a phone and less like a delicate piece of hardware that you need to baby.

But there's a huge exception to this. When the phone is opened so you can use the keyboard the strength of the phone is compromised. This is one aspect of the Pre that I'm still getting used to. Last night was the first time I went out (since I got the Pre) WITHOUT the iPhone. Armed solely with the Pre. Having to continually slide the phone open when I wanted to text or email not only got old quickly but it worried me as well. For two reasons: One is that when you open the unit, it slides up on an angle. It feels like this weakens it and the possibility of snapping it in two isn't so crazy. The two pieces, with someone who can be rough on their possessions, could be separated quickly with just a little pressure in the right spots.

At least it feels that way. I haven't been inclined to snap it in two just yet but I worry that it'll be easier to do than I think. One absent-minded toss into my pocketbook while it's still open and I could be looking at the Palm in pieces. I realize the two pieces are what make it, on the whole, so sturdy, but it still concerns me that they might also be its biggest weakness structurally. I've never used a phone that you had to slide this way to open so I wonder how many times one can do this before it weakens the top piece and it slides right off?

The other reason I dislike the setup of opening the until to get to the keyboard is that the ridge around the keyboard is, well, it's actually kind of sharp. It took me by surprise the first time I opened it and practically scratched my wrist. (I say practically because it didn't leave a mark but it definitely was felt.) I don't think it's sharp enough to actually cut you, but you'll certainly feel it if you hit it the right way. Again, I haven't used a phone with this kind of setup before so I don't know if it's common but it sure felt odd.

You shouldn't have to put too much thought behind just opening the phone. I'm being more careful, thus far, with the Pre, but it's starting to feel a little like work to make sure I don't "hurt" it.