Head to head: iPhone 3GS vs Palm Pre

The latest in our head-to-head review series sees how the iPhone matches up to the latest so-called iPhone killer, the Palm Pre.

You can pick up the Palm Pre for free, provided you're willing to shell out 30 or so a month and commit to O2 for two whole years, which is a long time to be stuck with one phone. For the iPhone, however, things could all change very soon.

Orange will be making the iPhone available on its network by the end of the year, followed quite soon after by Vodafone (although it will only say early 2010 at this stage). This flurry of activity is likely to result in better pricing for users.

The Apple App Store is maturing nicely and growing in popularity every day. As such, Palm's App Catalog looks barren in comparison. But, due to the age factor, we'd be comparing apples and oranges here by suggesting it was fair to make a call. So we won't. Although Apple's is clearly superior at this stage. For obvious reasons.

Winner: Tie. At this moment in time, the Pre could well be better value. But tomorrow is another day. The same could be said of apps. With thousands of apps already and more arriving every day, Apple's App Store runs rings around Palm's. That said, its App Catalog is only just getting started and, with developer support, could gain momentum quite quickly.

Verdict

It is a tough call. The Palm Pre offers users who are scared of saying goodbye to their keyboard the best of both worlds. But for that safety blanket they have to compromise a little on the comfort of the keys. It’s also got lots of business-focused goodies on board, but lacks the support network of a big app portfolio.

The iPhone, on the other hand, is more of a finished article as it stands now. Particularly when you consider that there’s an app for pretty much everything, whether work rest or play, waiting for a loving home in the App Store.

In some respects, the Pre may well be a caterpillar waiting to butterfly, but in those areas it’s not there yet. But when it comes to features we can’t really argue with the facts.

So, two ties and a win for each handset. The ultimate winner will therefore depend on whether inner beauty or aesthetics are more important to you.

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