HTC Hero and Palm Pre batteries

palm-pre-5I took both phones into work today as I wanted to compare how they got on battery wise. Both were fully charged when I got up this morning and were both turned on at around 7am. To cut a long story short, the Pre battery was down to 61% by 8pm after a day of fairly minimal useage which was a heck of a lot better than yesterdays limp performance but hardly great considering how little use it had during those 13 hours. The Hero on the other hand worked a lot harder during the same period with over an hour of listening to podcasts, a couple of shortish calls and a spell where it was stuck for over an hour trying to unsuccessfully uninstall an application and which I failed to notice. I also downloaded a couple of apps and updated two others via the internet Android store via GPRS and then updated my RSS feeds via wifi when I got home. My battery widget indicated that the battery was at about 70% after all that which is obviously quite a bit better than the Pre.

So, what to do? I still prefer the Pre and in particular data entry via it. I find the keyboard to be quite useable whereas that on the Hero is cramped and fiddly. Luckily it has good auto-completion built in which speeds things up but overall I still find it mediocre at best. But the Pre is not so good for listening to podcasts, which I use a lot and does not have as yet the range of apps available that the Hero does. One more small thing…..both the Pre and Hero have push email turned on. Emails from my Gmail account arrive on the Pre about a minimum of 10 seconds before they do on the Hero.

From my perspective, and this is probably unfair, I find myself trying to compare the Pre with the Treo 680 yet it is plain that Palm themselves do not and see the two as completely different. I do think however that the majority of ex Treo users will naturally judge the Pre in the same way as me. It has the modern specs that us old time Treo users craved for years and can’t be faulted on that front and it is easy, possibly even easier, to use but as yet the apps are not there, the battery life is proving suspect, it doesn’t feel as solid as the old 680 and the keyboard is not as good either. The apps thing can be solved with time, a software fix may assist with battery life but possibly not but the other two things are grin and bare it items. I just want the Pre experience to be similar to the Treo experience, which for me was a great one and hate the thought that I might end up disappointed. I almost feel a pressure to really like the Pre, a state of play I haven’t felt before with any phone. That sounds a bit silly I know but there you go…

Tomorrow, even though I am loathe to do it as it is a feature I have grown to like mucho, I am going to turn off push email on the Pre and instead set it to check every hour to see whether that makes a noticeable difference. Rather sadly, I have been collating battery useage stats on the Pre over the last few days so I will be able to tell fairly quickly if it is worth doing on a full time basis.

Updated – I actually wrote this post yesterday and thought I had published it last night…oops. Anyway, the Pre battery was good today although it was again on light use but it dropped to only 75% by about 7pm…..much better. Crikey, these are two great phones and choosing between the two is proving really difficult.


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