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The Palm Pre for music....don't bother

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
All,

I was able to pick up one of the new Palm Pre's yesterday. While it's a pretty good PHONE and web device as a music player it leaves a lot to be desired. I didn't get an extensive test with it but I did get about and hour and a half of music time with it.

The only phones I had were my shure e4's and the buds that came with the phone. So the problems:

Hissy: more so that even the original 2nd gen shuffle and small beeps and chirps as the phone syncs etc.

No Gapless playback- the wall had noticeable 1 second sound drops between songs that I never heard on any ipod

No eq: at all, none, zip nada

Overall sound: bass heavy (tubby) with highs a bit lacking

Playback controls: bare bones, start, stop, pause. If a call comes in the song just stops (no fade like on the iphone) and only restarted about half the time

Video Playback: on a par with the iphone except if an email comes in which causes a noticeable pause

Volume: the one possible plus, it can get uncomfortably loud

As a music player it comes in WAY behind the iphone 3g which itself is only adequate to begin with.

So now I have a quandary: the phone and the web browser and email are superior to the iphone and it has a (small) real keyboard. I have never liked the virtual keyboard of the iphone.

One of the main reasons i have the iphone is to have minimal device load when i travel and the iphone while not at the level of the best ipods in terms of sound quality is good enough to allow a one device solution. The Pre isn't.

I'm hoping/wondering if a software update can fix some of these issues. Obviously they could upgrade the player, but I'm not sure if they can fix the sq issues.

So...... that being said, I'd love to know if anybody else has heard one and can comment on the sound. As it is for this crowd, definitely try before you buy (if the sprint folks will let you, they would not when i was in store).

Sprint does have a 30 day trial period so it's not going back yet but probably will :9
post #2 of 31
later os or firmware updates might help with the hiss issues as i have heard hissy sources clear up with firmware updates. however, deficiencies in the actual internal design cannot be fixed. i hope they get it all working to a much better degree so you can enjoy the whole package!
post #3 of 31
Wait and see what Apple announces tomorrow. There will be new iPhones and v3.0 of the iPhone OS is coming. Except for the virtual keyboard (which I kinda like and am using right now ), the new ones might be what you're looking for.

Though I wouldn't be surprised to see something else hacked onto the Pre pretty soon.
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Wait and see what Apple announces tomorrow. There will be new iPhones and v3.0 of the iPhone OS is coming. Except for the virtual keyboard (which I kinda like and am using right now ), the new ones might be what you're looking for.

Though I wouldn't be surprised to see something else hacked onto the Pre pretty soon.
I intend to do just that. I do have the iphone 3.0 OS already (our company is a developer) and it's a nice update but doesn't deal with what for me is mostly a hardware issue.

I do expect a new iphone tomorrow however I expect it will be a minor hardware update (video, whoopee!)

I did email Palm's support about the sound quality and they emailed me back with a bunch of specific questions including the model of my phones and the source and type of music so who knows.
post #5 of 31
well, considering that in phone land, the iphone is one of the better, if not the best sounding phones with proper dedicated hardware... it will be hard to put a better face on what really is a machine that is made with audio quality as second-string at best intentions.
post #6 of 31
EQ could be added as a firmware patch though... and I hope it does, as I despise apple and want this thing to succeed.
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post
well, considering that in phone land, the iphone is one of the better, if not the best sounding phones with proper dedicated hardware... it will be hard to put a better face on what really is a machine that is made with audio quality as second-string at best intentions.
You could argue that multiple ways. Jon Rubenstein who is the new CEO of Palm was a big factor in the creation and marketing of the ipod when he was at Apple so you would think he took away some of ideas of what made it successful, nice design, good software good ease of use and good audio quality.

The point I guess I'm making i guess is that if you want to challenge a market dominant player like Apple, you have to be more than "as good". In some ways they have gone past the iphone (for the moment anyway) with the web os and phone call quality.

I am very much the demographic that wants a convergence device. But i dont want to make too many compromises for that. I am an apple fan (but not a fanboy) because of the good design and features of some of their products. In fact the iphone was the first smartphone and music player good enough to be the only device i carry when i want to go light. But again just barely and it was a step back compared to some of the smartphones on the market like the blackberry as a smart phone.

Who knows, maybe apple will release a new iphone today that makes me go "what was i thinking" with the Pre. However the only way innovation truly happens is when there is serious competition in the market place.

end of whine
post #8 of 31
It's true, the music player on the Pre doesn't really compare with the music player (software) on the iPod Touch (iPhone). Obviously this is a department Apple is seasoned in with their legacy of iPods. It's sufficient, though I would prefer gapless and maybe EQ (sometimes find that I want a little boost on the high end / treble). Perhaps down the road we'll see a third party music app (since this isn't an iPhone).

I just ran through the Pre teardown on iFixit.com and get the impression that this is not the same Palm who made my Treo 755p-- for the most part the hardware is pretty impressive. I don't know enough to really discern much about the hardware used for audio.

I'll have to give it a spin with my Shure E500s. I haven't used those in a while, but I've not had any issues with hiss or other noises with what I have used (Philips HP460, Sony EX90, Darth Beyers-- and obviously the beyers are where I really felt a lack of highs, haha.) I do really enjoy the Pre with the HP460, amped and unamped (RSA Predator). Need to try amping it with the Beyers and then try the Shures out.

I actually had low expectations for the Pre as far as music is concerned based on previous experiences with Palm devices, I just wanted a new phone. I've been pleasantly surprised at how usable the Pre is for music, and that sound quality hasn't been much of a deterrent. However, for this to be a convergence device, I think the music experience does need polish, and I want more than 8gb. Maybe next year. Until then I may still continue to use my iPod Touch.

Note that it does play back Apple Lossless. That's a win for me as a Mac user who's been sorta limited to iPods since I switched to Mac in 2006.
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
I still am debating this. As a phone and messaging device it beats the snot out of the iphone. The size and the multitasking capabilities are great

I can live without eq and maybe gapless playback but the hiss and chirps are driving me nuts.

I am going to try some other phones this weekend when I get back home. Hopefully i can find a set that pairs well and be happy enough to keep it.
post #10 of 31
X2 for NO GOOD!
post #11 of 31
Just wanted to address one point:

Quote:
Playback controls: bare bones, start, stop, pause. If a call comes in the song just stops (no fade like on the iphone) and only restarted about half the time
I received a call the other day while listening to the Pre through my car stereo (via AUX input jack). I noticed that the music *did* fade out-- but it was a very brief fade. Perhaps the iPhone's is more gradual-- I've not used an iPhone.

Anyhow, I find I still go to my iPod Touch as a music device, the overall feel of the iPod is more polished and responsive. But I could be satisfied with the Pre if it were my only device out of some necessity (if I could only carry one device, that is.) I mean... I already carry around 2 iPods due to the limited storage capacity of the Touch

(I seem to have misplaced my Shure E500s. Oops.)
post #12 of 31
Why do you think the Pre is so much better for web browsing? The iphone seems amazing already, but I don't own one....yet
post #13 of 31
That's too bad. I feel like Apple as a company has gone down hill the last 7 years or so. I know they have made tons of money, but I miss the quality. My first gen iPod was fantastic. I remember opening the box and feeling like it was something special.

I'd like another company to step up and produce a quality product. I do however love my iPhone 3G, and will be getting a 3GS in the next few days.
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post
Why do you think the Pre is so much better for web browsing? The iphone seems amazing already, but I don't own one....yet
two main reasons i prefer the pre over the iphone for web browsing.

1. Speed- it's about twice as fast as my iphone (that could be network and/or processor) I have not tried the new 3gs yet which is supposedly faster too

2. The cards interface and multitasking- I tend to have multiple browser windows open and its faster and more intuitive for me to just drag the cards around then page back and forth. Additionally the fact that if they are running even in the background, they still get refreshed where on the iphone they don't.

I have talked to Sprint and Palm about the gripes I have with the music player. They have stated that a firmware update and a new player are coming soon. They even offered to extend the 30 day return policy beyond that so that I can make an informed decision. I guess they want to keep me as a customer.

Still mulling it. Love the phone as a phone/web/email device just hate the media player.

and BTW; there is considerable variation in the hiss and chirps with different headphones. Unfortunately it tends to be worse on my better phones (shures and etys)
post #15 of 31
that is a nice return policy. i would really like to route for palm, but they have done so many bad things to their own developer market and to the wonderful BEOS platform (they killed it) that i don't want them back in a position of power and watch other great innovations die by the road.
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