Motorola Backflip or Palm Pre Plus?

This is a discussion on Motorola Backflip or Palm Pre Plus? within the Motorola Backflip forums, part of the Motorola Android Phones category; VS So I have been patiently waiting for the Palm Pre to arrive at AT&T ever since it was unveiled at CES 2009. I have ...

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Thread: Motorola Backflip or Palm Pre Plus?

  1. #1
    Member vasekvi's Avatar
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    Motorola Backflip or Palm Pre Plus?



    VS



    So I have been patiently waiting for the Palm Pre to arrive at AT&T ever since it was unveiled at CES 2009. I have had many Palm OS devices, from a Handspring Visor to a Sony Clie SJ30 to a Treo650 to a Centro. I've had an upgrade available for AT&T for almost six months.

    I work at Fry's Electronics in the telecom department, so I keep an eye on all the phones that came in. I always liked the Motorola Cliq and told myself that if it were available for AT&T, I would be tempted to get it. The only thing I did not like about the Cliq is that it had no camera flash.

    Along comes the Backflip. We sell it for $299 no contract. Our normal activation discount for new service is $250 and $150 for upgrade customers. For the Backflip we upped that to $300 discount for new activations and $200 for upgrade customers, making it free for new customers and $99 for upgrades. A $99 Android phone for upgrade? I was very tempted.

    Then Fry's corporate dropped the bomb. Free Backflips for new AND upgrade customers. That was it. I got the Backflip. After playing with it for a day, I returned the Samsung Jack I upgraded my wife into and got her a Backflip too.

    So I like the Backflip quite a bit. But I have always liked the Pre. A cowerker has a Pre and I play with it all the time. Just this week AT&T announced that the Pre (as expected) was coming soon to their network. When I upgraded this phone, I kept that in mind, thinking that if I did not like the Backflip or liked the Pre Plus that much better, I could always return my Backflip within the 30 day return period. This is what I am facing right now, and here are my considerations.

    A. Operating System

    Android has so much support and so many apps. Almost every app I can think of is available for Android. I am a little concerned about how well the Backflip will perform when 2.1 officially hits. I have spent some time playing with the Droid and am honestly not all that impressed with that phones responsiveness, since its supposed to be "Fast, Scary Fast" It is no secret that the Backflip is not supposed to be the fastest Android phone, and for $299, no one should complain.

    WebOS has the best multitasking capabilities I have ever seen in any phone. Android comes close though, with the ability to use the notification system to go back and forth between apps along with the six recent apps list.

    I do like the reconfigurable home screens on Android. The Pre doesnt do anything like that. MotoBLUR is incredible in the way it integrates everything together. The Pre does still have excellent capabilities with Synergy, allowing multiple sources of information per contact, and being able to seamlessly switch back and forth between messaging systems, such as email, sms and IM all in one threaded chat view. Motoblur comes close, but because it does not integrate the GMAIL app, it leaves out the email. Yes you can set up Motoblur to check GMAIL, but it does not retrieve mail as it arrives, which is a shame.

    Going back and forth between apps in Android is second only to WebOS. The back button is quite handy in returning to the previous app, but once you find yourself on the home screen, you have to launch the app or go to the six recent apps list.

    If I switch to the Pre I am going to miss seeing pictures of my contacts from their Facebook or being able to see their status message when I place or receive a call. I am, however going to love being able to use multitouch, which the Backflip does not have.

    The calendar on the Backflip is pretty good, though I do wish it had a go to date feature. The WebOS calendar is easier to read to me though, and I love how it compresses free time allowing me to see more time slots on the screen at one time. One advantage the Android OS has is that you will be able to send meeting requests using the calendar. This is not yet available with the 1.5 version it currently has, but will comes on 2.0. I saw it when I was playing with a Friends droid.

    B. Hardware

    Although the processor clock speed is close on both devices, the Pre is simply in another category when it comes to speed. With double the RAM and its powerful graphics, the Pre is so much smoother when scrolling through menus and general use. While the Backflip supports a 32GB MicroSD card, it only has 256MB or system memory vs the Pre's 16GB. However, the Pre does not have any removable storage, which is ridiculous, IMO.

    The keyboard is a matter of preference. I know some people have huge fingers and cannot see themselves using the keyboard on the Pre. Coming from a Centro, I found myself typing very quickly on its keyboard and I did not even have to look at the keys. I have gotten quite used to the Backflip keyboard. I prefer the numbers on the Pre in the telephone orientation instead of on the top row, and I prefer not having to move my fingers around as much on the Pre keyboard. Lastly, the Pre is easy to one hand type on, while the Backflip can really only be typed on with one hand using the on screen keyboard in portrait mode. The autocorrect on the Backflip is impressive, when using the on screen keyboard. There is no on screen keyboard as part of WebOS, but one is available third party and all you have to do is double tap the gesture area to call it up.

    Every Palm Smartphone always had a physical toggle switch for the ringer, so you do not have to look at your phone to put your phone on silent. With the backflip you have to turn on the display before you can change the ringer volume.

    Battery life. The Backflip has a 1380mAH battery vs 1150 for the Pre But since the Pre uses the same batteries as the Palm Centro, I already have three extra batteries and 2 spare battery wall chargers to charge the batteries while not in the phone. So to me, the Pre has a battery advantage, since I already know that I will not be able to even make it to noon with either device on a single battery. And I only have the one battery in my Backflip right now and I am finding myself always plugged in. Ugh. But I do love the low battery/charging light on the microusb port that the backflip has. Too bad it is only green.

    I think the phone speaker volume on both phones should be comparable. I did notice some distortion at full volume on the backflip that I have not encountered on the Pre.

    The Pre is known to run hot. I have felt some heat come off the backflip but nothing like the Pre. It mostly happens when I am charging the battery. There are those who have successfully overclocked their Pre CPU to 800MHz, which I very well may do, and it is reported that the phones naturally will run a few degrees even hotter. I am not too concerned about it though.

    I did notice that the backflip has a compass, which I do not think the Pre has.

    C. Camera

    The 5 Megapixel Camera on the Backflip is very nice to have. I love how the camera is on the same plane as the keyboard so it faces you when the keyboard is out. Self portrait shots with this phone are possible in a way no other phone with a single camera can do. Just make sure you look at the camera and not at the screen when you actually do press the shutter.

    Both the Pre and Backflip have autofocus cameras. The Pre only has 3MP to the Backflips 5MP. The Pre also has no camera button, so it relies on the touchscreen to shoot a picture. The flash on the Backflip is also very bright, making for shots that are quite well lit when it is darker. The Backflip has a two position shutter switch, allowing you to focus before shooting, which is nice. The Backflip also has a shutter button on the screen to shoot pictures, but the physical button results in much better quality pictures.

    The Pre shoots pictures much more quickly than the Backflip though, and I think the quality of video recording on the Pre is better. Even though the Backflip has a 2MP advantage over the Pre, since the Pre shoots pictures more quickly you run less risk of missing a shot, and the Pre does better with shots that are in motion.

    D. Web Browser

    Both phones have great web browsers, and even though neither phone has flash support, it will come to both platforms by this summer, hopefully. When comparing phones side by side, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Backflip will continue to load web pages in the background, even when the display is turned of or if you leave the web browser and go to another application. The Pre, of course, can already do this since its card system keeps all apps live and running, and you can load as many web pages at a time as you want. But the Backflip will keep loading web pages even if you switch windows in the browser. The Backflip will not load web pages in the background if you are in window view though. I still have yet to figure out when and why the Backflip loses some of the windows I have created in the web browser, or chooses to use an existing window to go to a new link from another application. This may just be me though, I may just need a bit more time with it.

    Multitouch on the Pre is an advantage, making scrolling and zooming very quick.

    E. Applications

    No comparison, really, except for the fact that the hardware on the Pre supports some very impressive 3D games. Some apps I would very much miss from my Centro that I could put on my Backflip but not on the Pre:

    - Callrec - Phone call recording - there are a few available for android but I have yet to see one for the Pre
    - Google Maps Latitude and Navigation - The Centro did not have this, but the Backflip will support Google Maps Navigation and already has Latitude and Street View. The Pre does not have Latitude, Navigation or Street View, although Latitude is being worked on for release in the near future.
    - PDANet - an excellent tethering app. It is available for PalmOS and Android, but not WebOS. There are other 3rd party tethering apps to use, and I hope they prove to be as good as what I have used already on three different platforms.


    There are a few little things that I have come to love about the Backflip, that I hope the Pre will do should I switch to it.
    - Astounding bluetooth range. With my Centro, if I get a call and I leave my phone upstairs while I go downstairs, the call is very staticky and unintelligible. With the Backflip I could not believe how well the call quality held up even with the phone on another floor. I hope that the Pre has similar range.
    - Excellent sheilding from electronic data noise. My Centro used to wreak havoc on any speakers that it came close to, especially a baby monitor. I have not heard so much as a peep of this type of noise interference with the Backflip, and I hope the Pre would be the same way. I installed bluetooth stereo receivers in my wifes car and my own car, and my Centro would make electronic noise whenever an email would come in or some sort of data transfer occurred. Not so with the Backflip
    - Excellent Music Streaming- I always listen to Pandora in the Car with my backflip, and it never misses a beat and sounds very very good. I tested a Palm Pre and I think the quality may not have been quite as good, but it also could have been the type of music I was listening to.
    - Notification sounds over bluetooth when using the phone. I love that I can hear when an email comes in through the bluetooth headset or car kit, or when it receives any other type of notification.

    So if anyone bothered to read all this, what do you think? What should I do? I love the Backflip but I also love the Pre Plus. I like that my wife and I have the same phone right now, but I really think I want the Pre, even if that means returning this phone and waiting till the Pre hits our store. As I said, I already have three spare batteries ready to use with the Pre, so I am ahead of the game in that regard. All that has to happen now is the phone has to come out so I can decide.

    Decisions decisions.......

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  3. #2
    Senior Member montREALady's Avatar
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    You can sign up to be notified when the phone comes out on the AT&T site:
    Palm webOS? - PalmŪ Pre? Plus & PalmŪ Pixi? Plus - Wireless from AT&T

    I always liked the look of the the Palm phones. I wonder what the price point will be? Is it me or is the memory not expandable on them (I guess like the iPhone)?

  4. #3
    Member vasekvi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by montREALady View Post
    You can sign up to be notified when the phone comes out on the AT&T site:
    Palm webOS? - PalmŪ Pre? Plus & PalmŪ Pixi? Plus - Wireless from AT&T

    I always liked the look of the the Palm phones. I wonder what the price point will be? Is it me or is the memory not expandable on them (I guess like the iPhone)?
    You are correct. The Pre Plus has fixed memory with no expansion. I will know when it goes on sale because I will be carrying this phone in my department at Fry's.

  5. #4
    Senior Member montREALady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vasekvi View Post
    You are correct. The Pre Plus has fixed memory with no expansion. I will know when it goes on sale because I will be carrying this phone in my department at Fry's.
    Just called my guy at the AT&T store about exchanging my phone for a new one (same phone, just been having some probs with it) and mentioned the Palm and he said he wouldn't hold his breath because they keep pushing back the date, the latest he "heard" was November. Dell has an Android coming out too and that got pushed back from May to September as well.

  6. #5
    Member vasekvi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by montREALady View Post
    Just called my guy at the AT&T store about exchanging my phone for a new one (same phone, just been having some probs with it) and mentioned the Palm and he said he wouldn't hold his breath because they keep pushing back the date, the latest he "heard" was November. Dell has an Android coming out too and that got pushed back from May to September as well.
    I van assure you it will not take till november for the Pre to hit AT&T. It will be between may and June. If it does not come out by then then Palm may go under.

  7. #6
    Junior Member wilkinte's Avatar
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    I too have been with Palm forever, up through the centro. I tried a pre on sprint for 2 weeks and gave it back. (mostly due to bad sprint coverage and I was not ready to dump ATT) Have had backflip for 2 weeks. My thoughts:

    - the pre is sex on wheels. It feels so good in the hand, and the web os is truly great. Movement between apps and knowing when you quit an app is something that is just cluncky in android. My contact database (in a package called goldmine) is over 4k contacts, and syncing with companion link worked great. The pre was also much speedier in searching contacts than the backflip. The pre screen seems to be sharper than the backflip too. The other really nice thing that palm has kept is when you are on a call you can switch between Bluetooth, speaker, and regular phone mode while in the call. In android that's clunky too

    - Being pre-disposed to love the pre, now the bad. Battery. In similar use on backflip I can last the day, pre less than 4 hrs. I too have a bunch of batteries, but frankly the pre plastic case felt so cheap I'd be afraid of removing the back twice a day to replace the battery.
    - While comfortable with the centro and pre keyboard, the pre is very unbalanced when you slide the keyboard out. This I didn't like. The BF keyboard is great, (love the arrows on it too), just can't quite work with one hand like you could with centro.
    - I've become attached to widgets on the screen and the notification bar in android. That's something I have to have now
    - My last concern is with palm itself. Webos was too late. They are going to be buried in 2010/11 (IMHO). While likely not a huge impact on users, it will limit apps and support in the future. My wet dream is that android 2.x incorporates some webos features.
    Good luck!

  8. #7
    Member vasekvi's Avatar
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    Well I am rockin my Pre Plus and could not be happier.

    I remembered the Backflip I had today when I activated one for a customer who was upgrading and after setting it up with her, I do not miss it.


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    Junior Member michael95gt's Avatar
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    I've got the Pre Plus(had it a week tomorrow) and the BackFlip. The Pre is a very sweet device, EXCEPT for battery life; it is horrendous compared to the BackFlip and I'm in an EDGE only area 90% of the time. It just downright SUX!!! The free TouchStone charger is really coming in handy. LOL WebOS itself is AWESOME!!! GoogleMaps on the Pre is a joke, it sorely needs an update; at first I thought the GPS chip was defective, GM simply would not get a lock. I activated the AT&T Navigator App and it locked almost instantly IN THE HOUSE as has every other location based apps I've tried. I'm gettiing used to the Pre's tiny keyboard, though I will install the onsreen KB if I decide to keep it. The Pre takes good pics, but it's camera IS NOT Autofocus(Yeah, I know several sites state otherwise), which is why it snaps pix quicker than the BF.

    Even if I do keep the Pre, my Backflip isn't going anywhere. When it comes to FaceBook, Twitter, etc. the Pre can't compete with Blur.

  10. #9
    Member vasekvi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael95gt View Post
    I've got the Pre Plus(had it a week tomorrow) and the BackFlip. The Pre is a very sweet device, EXCEPT for battery life; it is horrendous compared to the BackFlip and I'm in an EDGE only area 90% of the time. It just downright SUX!!! The free TouchStone charger is really coming in handy. LOL WebOS itself is AWESOME!!! GoogleMaps on the Pre is a joke, it sorely needs an update; at first I thought the GPS chip was defective, GM simply would not get a lock. I activated the AT&T Navigator App and it locked almost instantly IN THE HOUSE as has every other location based apps I've tried. I'm gettiing used to the Pre's tiny keyboard, though I will install the onsreen KB if I decide to keep it. The Pre takes good pics, but it's camera IS NOT Autofocus(Yeah, I know several sites state otherwise), which is why it snaps pix quicker than the BF.

    Even if I do keep the Pre, my Backflip isn't going anywhere. When it comes to FaceBook, Twitter, etc. the Pre can't compete with Blur.
    Just like I stated in my OP, there is tons to like about the BF. What I understand about what you posted is not that you are getting bad reception but that where you live there is not a whole lot of 3G coverage?

    Battery life. I am sorry but I have to say that neither the BF or the PPP seem to have better battery life. That advantage the PPP has is that it has an easy way to charge with its Touchstone. My advantage with my PPP is that I already have 3 spare batteries and two spare battery chargers from my Palm Centro that I am using for my PPP. When I got the BF I could not seem to find any spare batteries and chargers for the BF but now I see one here for $16.00

    BN80 BATTERY+Wall charger FOR MOTOROLA BACKFLIP AT&T - eBay (item 250637982912 end time May-24-10 09:51:38 PDT)




    But in comparison, the BF has a 1400mAh battery to the PPP's 1150mAh. To me, that gives the Pre little room for being power hungry. But compared to my Centro, which due to my usage made me need to get extra batteries, did not last much longer on a charge than the Pre. That is saying quite a bit since the Centro does not support 3G, GPS or WiFi.

    The keyboard on the Pre is easy to criticize upon initial use, but given only a few days becomes very useable and likeable. It supports one handed typing which you cannot do with the BFs landscape keyboard.

    Yes the BF does have an autofocus camera that worked reasonably well. I did expect better pictures with the 5MP camera it has, but the pictures were quite good. I definitely liked the dual position shutter switch on the BF, that allows you to prefocus before taking your shot. Even then, the BF still takes way too long to take a picture. I missed many good shots with the BF.

    Motoblur is awesome, but it is also what cuts the battery life of the BF in half, with its constant updating and what not. But it really was nice to have all those updates on the home screen. But the Pre will use the FB (I do not use twitter so I cannot comment on it) app to give you notifications on the bottom of the screen. Do not forget that the Pre lets you not only upload videos to Facebook, but it also lets you view videos on Facebook as well, right on the device. Flash will change that for the BF though, and both devices are set to gain flash this year.

    And when it comes to merging different sources for contacts information, the PPP has the BF beat. It is so much easier to link and unlink profiles with the PPP than the BF. The BF made it a chore, and formatting changes did not update properly.

    Also, looking for a contact on the PPP is much easier. With either the PPP or BF, you can type "john" or "jmith" to find "John Smith" in the address book. But the PPP, like former Palm devices, will let you type "jsmith" to narrow down to searches that put first letter of first name with last name. And the BF seems to need to load contact information from the web every single time a phone call comes in or a contact is looked up, which sometimes meant having to answer the phone without knowing who was calling other than having the number displayed. The PPP loads contact information instantly.

    Web browsing on the PPP has the BF beat soundly as well. I don't mind making forum posts with the PPP, but with the BF it can be irritating, especially if you accidentally navigate away from the page you entered alot of text in

    Yes I am a Palm fanboy. But I gave the Backflip a real shot and wanted to love it. But it would not let me.

    Oh and just try taking screenshots on an android phone. I didn't think so.....



    Gaming? I will not even get into it.


  11. #10
    Junior Member DackParis's Avatar
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    Great discussion.
    My 2 pennys. . . .

    I am totally sold on the Android platform. Even with AT&T's stupid restrictions. I would choose to support Google and Open-Source any day. . .

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