So how’s the build quality on your Palm Pre? My particular unit is solid, but I’m reading more and more accounts of people complaining about their Pre handsets. Some folks have experienced cracked screens. Others see issues with the sliding hinge mechanism. Here are just a […]


So how’s the build quality on your Palm Pre? My particular unit is solid, but I’m reading more and more accounts of people complaining about their Pre handsets. Some folks have experienced cracked screens. Others see issues with the sliding hinge mechanism. Here are just a few of the several examples from a forum thread over at PreCentral to illustrate:

“I’m on my THIRD pre (yellow box). Over the last two weeks, I’ve noticed an increasing amount of play with the screen. I’ve also noticed that on the left side of the device the two sections are separated enough that i can almost see the innards. When I push them together, you can hear squeaking. On top of that, the device came with a loose power button that doesn’t click nearly as firmly as that of other devices.”

“I already exchanged my first one due to a faulty screen, and will likely also exchange my current one because of a wobbly/loose slider. Hopefully third time’s a charm.”

Then there’s the picture shown above of a gap between the two sliding halves of the unit. The owner of the pic claims that he’s not creating the gap with his thumb; he’s just using it to show the gap. If true, there’s clearly an issue with the slider on his particular unit.

What makes these issues particularly interesting is the lower-than-expected supply of handsets at launch and not a peep from Sprint or Palm on the return rate of the devices. Note that a question about sales and return rates was posed on the Palm investor call last week, but it wasn’t answered. It could well be that the number of poorly constructed handsets don’t equal a significant amount, so I’m not drawing any conclusions just yet. But accounts like those above in combination with limited supply have me wondering if there’s a quality control issue behind the scenes.

I know we have a few Pre owners out there. Have any of you exchanged your unit due to a defect of some type or is your hardware in perfect working order? Thanks to LucaMorandi for the tip via Twitter!

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  1. Yeah I will be exchanging mine as well. It is squeaky when i type on it, and I have found that if you squeeze thew pre in a weird way OR slide the screen down a tad to hard my unit just turns off in a blink of an eye…..

  2. My unit seems pretty solid. There is a little play/gap between the two sliding pieces, but I think it’s normal. I do wonder how it will hold up over time. But as of right now, it’s good.

    The only issues that I’ve experienced is on a couple of occasions, when my battery died, the unit locked up on the charging screen (charging battery icon fills the entire screen) and would not come off of it, even after removing the phone from a power source. It’s been a while since I experienced that, so I’m not sure if that’s something that was fixed in one of the updates for if I just haven’t been depleting my battery to the necessary level to cause that to happen.

    Every once in a while I’ll have to do a soft reset, either because it won’t open new cards when I only have a couple open at the time or because I can’t access EVDO.

    Overall, considering the overall power and smoothness of the phone and OS, I’d classify the issues I’ve experienced as minor quirks that I’d expect to be fixed over time.

  3. I love my Pre but noticed that I either had a weaker signal than my Mogul or was roaming. I took the Pre to the Sprint Store an it failed the tests. They didn’t have a replacement. Waiting to resolve.

  4. My pre is starting to wable from side to side. I hope this loosening does not get much worse. Maybe the warranty will cover it.

  5. Have had zero issues with my Palm Pre. Been a great unit, very solid. You should do a story on how new iPhone 3GS owners are complaining about the battery life… Twitter search it…….. it ain’t pretty!

    1. Yeah and the 3Gs is overheating so bad its causing unit to turn brown. my pre thought is great but like andrew said a few quriks. but my slider has gotten looser then it was originally but still okay for now will c what happens after more time. but my mogul was same way with the slider but way worse. and i went through 4 of those in a year bc defects.

    2. Daniel Wharton Dan Monday, June 29, 2009

      I have both a new Pre and a new 3GS and they are both in great working condition.

      No heat or battery issues. I found with both units that some conditioning over a week or so made huge improvements in battery performance.

      The Pre get’s much better signal on average in NYC but the 3GS definitely wins in battery life and overall performance outside of network performance. There is no comparison in network performance as the pre won in around 45 out of 50 side-by-side tests.

    3. @Daniel – depends on the location. Sprint trumped ATT for me for years until they upgraded the network here in Austin TX. The 3GS kicked my Pre’s butt – at worst they were even, but most of the time, the 3GS was faster…and not as hot!

      Agree, the 3GS has the best battery of the two – actually the best battery of a smartphone I have owned other than the Moto Q9c with the extended battery.

  6. When I bought 3 Pres on release day, one of the 3 had an extreme rocking motion to the screen section, pivoting in the center, so when you clicked at the top of the screen, the entire front “clicked” — I immeditely went back to the store (because I was concerned there wouldn”t be any stock left) — although one employee gave me some grief about it not being a serious problem, the store manager was extremely nice, and accomodating, and got me a new Pre within 20 minutes (even with lines of people already waiting). However, when the sales guy was taking out my replacement Pre, I tested it out, and sure enough, it had the same problem as the first, so they gave me yet another. I have noticed that all 3 of our Pres have some give in the screen, this is seriously unfortunate, and makes me feel like the build quality is really poor, but, because it’s present on all three, I feel it’s unlikely that it would be worth trying to get them replaced.

    I just hope Pre v2 will have these manufacturing/build quality issues better worked out.

  7. Jeff Springer Monday, June 29, 2009

    Mine is perfectly solid. Best phone I have ever had…. It is hard to tell from the TERRIBLE picture (iphone camera?), but how do I know that this is not simply the battery cover popping up.

  8. The Pre I have now – no problems whatsoever. Great device that gets used quite a bit throughout the day.

    The original Pre I purchased on Launch Day – went defective a day after purchase. The sensor that recognized finger swipes wasn’t working!

    At first – I panicked because the local store had NONE in stock to replace it with. I began calling various Sprint stores – and I found a Sprint Store 30 minutes away who after hearing my case – finally admitted that they just got new PRE’s in stock, though they didn’t want anyone to know. These Pre’s weren’t even inventoried yet at the store – but a great store employee called me back (though he probably shouldn’t have) and told me to come down immediately – and he exchanged the broken for a new one!

    If yours is broken and needs replacing – call various stores and tell them of your issue and plead your case.

    Good Luck

  9. Mine’s been working great since day 1. It’s getting a slight side to side looseness. But nothing too drastic.

    Looking at the picture above I can pry it open with my thumb/fingernail just like it shows. But then they say they’re not using the finger to hold it open.

  10. I will be on my third Pre. My first was solid but had 10 stuck pixels and a large hotspot on the bottom of the screen. I exchanged it for one that had 7 stuck pixels and a wobbly screen.

    Problem is they require the exchange first, scan the barcodes, then you get to see your phone.

    I’ve heard of some people getting bubbles on their screen, too!

    Palm, get it together!

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