Alternate title: Why “Mac people” shouldn’t review tech gadgets. In this Gizmodo review of the new Palm Pre, Jason Chen loses much credibility as soon as he gives himself away as a Mac Person by criticizing the Pre’s address book system: “I was able to pull my contacts from Facebook and Google into the phone quite easily, despite the Pre not supporting syncing to OS X Address Book, so it was a near-seamless transition.” The fact that this software is only available for iPhones, is the first clue of Chen’s bias. But in my humble opinion, simply using a Mac product does not make one a “Mac person”. I use a MacBook primarily, but I also appreciate PCs and operating systems oriented towards PC users, and can adapt to virtually any piece of technology if necessary. To me a “Mac person” is someone who values “user friendliness” above all else — even above the ability to use the technology to its full potential and craft it to her own specifications. Mac people generally want everything pre-packaged and don’t care if they don’t have the option to customize or modify specific features. Being a Mac person isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does limit one’s ability to analyze new technologies, much like Chen’s perspective is in his review. Though he gives it pretty good ratings overall, he is obviously iPhone-centric and has several petty complaints about features that sound like they would be a plus for someone like me:
The first thing you’ll notice as you slide open the Pre is the absurdly sharp ridge digging against your palm. Nowhere—not on the iPhone, the G1, the G2 or any of HTC’s other smartphones—has a phone been so threatening to the integrity of my skin.
Cry me a river, Mac Boy. I like my phones like I like my analyses: sharp. If you cut your finger, it’s your own fault for making a classic Mac person mistake: NOT READING THE DIRECTIONS until after the fact. At least you learned the error of your ways and realized that you’re supposed to push up from the screen to open. I may be a rarity in that I enjoy reading instruction manuals cover-to-cover, but IMO it’s like voting: If you don’t do it, STFU and stop complaining.
It’s one of those small things that are inconsequential, but extremely annoying to people who own the phone—like the back battery cover requiring you to pry off three different points in order to get it off.
Since when is removing the battery a necessity in daily phone operation? It’s much more annoying (and common) to drop a phone on the ground and have the battery cover and the battery fly off in opposite directions. Unless you want to go for the tape-on-the-back look, this doesn’t strike me as a problem. I think most people would agree that child-proof lids, while they may be annoying to the toddler who wants to see what’s inside that bottle for no particular reason other than to satisfy his own curiosity, are a good thing. If you don’t have the tools to take off the battery cover easily, you probably should not be taking it off.
Each of my thumbs take up the width of four keys, ensuring that only a fingernail approach would get me anywhere near accurate typing.
Total plus for me: I have fingernails and am quite efficient at typing with the on my current beloved phone:
I’ve tried to type on my friends’ iPhones and the fact that you have to use the whole pad of your fingers to type ON the screen makes me want to accidentally drop them.
After using the Pre for a week, I’m able to get a respectable word-per-minute rate on the keys, but the fact that there’s no word prediction—the kind that saves your ass on the iPhone or Android G2—negates some speed you may have gained from using a hardware keyboard.
Many editions ago, I learned from Wired Magazine that there are now text messaging competitions. You know what they don’t allow? Word prediction. Not only because predictive text is for n00bs, but because one simply cannot compete with straight typers in speed tests using predictive text.
It’s not all bad, though. And to be fair many of my criticisms may be the product of my fail boat of a day. So here are some things in this review that make the Pre sound pretty sweet:
-“The text and email notifications are informative without being intrusive.”
-The battery is “at the very least on par with the iPhone 3G and G2 battery life, and is way better than the G1’s.”
-“Camera doesn’t suck.”
-“Syncing to Facebook and Google Contacts via Synergy works flawlessly, and merges contacts from both services together so you don’t have duplicates of contacts floating around. A manual merge or a manual split can solve any quirks from this function quite easily. Synergy also combines your SMS and IM conversations into one window, so you can seamlessly text someone and then switch over to IM when he reaches his desk.”
And especially appealing to me is the description of the Pre’s Operating System:
The OS is really where the Pre shines, and manages to create a coherent internet-based platform that’s even more “connected” than Google Android… There are a few particularly commendable features. The little notification bars on the bottom of the phone for new emails, texts, system actions and song changes are wonderful, and can be dismissed with a swipe. The swipe is also slightly different than on the iPhone, allowing you to just delete list items without having to confirm them. The font they used for emails also seems fat and generous without being overly large, and allows the same five emails to be visible at once as on the iPhone.
I do like me a nice font.
Judging from this review, it seems as though Jason Chen should run home to his precious iPhone and send the Palm Pre to me!