Palm Pre Build Quality Issues Continue to Slide Out

61 Comments

palm-pre-slider-gap

So how’s the build quality on your Palm Pre (s PALM)? 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 (s S) 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!

61 Comments

gerard6656

My Pre has worked well out of the box. It does feel cheap and the edges are still a little sharp. I like the idea but the software is very immature needs considerable improvement. e.g. when keying in a phone number it does not search contacts or recent calls to find a number for you; some apps turn on the side, some don’t, Lumosity Speed Brain is so slow it is almost pointless to use it.

Still deciding if I should keep it or go back to my Touch Diamond. Neither phone is perfect but the Diamond’s features are more stable.

Beelicious

Both my gf and i bought have pres, absolutely zero problems whatsoever. i read up on the problems it was having but either we both got really lucky or the problems are getting blown out of proportion. both do give a little bit more side to side after a week or so but i don’t see it being an issue. we both check facebook, gmail, calenders, gps, all that fun stuff, and get about a day and a half or so with HEAVY use. with minimal calling and surfing we can easily get two full days out of them. absolutely love this phone.

Pre-Pre Purchaser

Where is the Pre manufactured and assembled? I would assume the preproduction units were of a much higher build quality to get past QA.

Reter

really Brian?! 4 people all while you were there!!!

Brian is the perfect example of people going around making up claims in order to hurt a companies rep. whatever company he’s a fanboy of, who knows(probably Apple). but its just generally pathetic the loyalism people feel. i guarantee you NONE of these companies care about you unless you give them your money.

i was fully expecting all of this as the Pre got a level of hype for 6 months prior to it’s launch like i have never seen before, even rivaling the iPhone. which royally pissed off the fanboys of other platforms.

Ricardo

This is very inmature. Under what grounds you blast people who are having problems with the device? There are people having problem with the device and other’s don’t. Whether there is a trend, that is something that is difficult to say at this time. I guess every company has had its shares of issues with 1.0 devices, including Apple and BB.

brian

I was at the Sprint store today checking out buying a Pre. While I was there I saw four people come in and return their Pre’s because of hardware problems. The sales rep just shook his head and said the best they could do is swap them out for new units but one guy was very vocal saying it was his third trip to the store and he was now on his third unit.

I walked out. Keeping my BB which is 2 years old and still solid as a rock. (The Pre did feel kinda cheap in a plasticky way when i handled it in the store)

Me

All you have to do is look at a Pre to see it is poorly made from cheap plastics. The OS deserves better than that junky hardware.

Glenn

I’m on my third Pre. This is absurd. The quality of the device is a joke, it feels like it was made by Mattel. RIM and Apple make their hardware with heavy duty components and tight manufacturing. Palm is producing plastic toys that can barely last a month of hard use. Mine gets returned ( not exchanged ) this week.

Mike

Sounds like they’ll be a lot of refurbed Pre’s on the market next year…

Josh

I bought mine on launch day- had a frozen pixel on the screen. I returned it a few days later. The one I exchanged it for has a few problems with the slide out sections- feels a bit less secure than my first one.

Hayden

I bought 3. Two the first day and one last week. They’re all just fine. No quality problems at all.

Joe

Launch day (black sleeve, 1.0.2 at the time) Pre, and I’ve had absolutely no build quality issues here either.

Tara Anne

I am on my 3rd Pre. I really have no complaints with the general operation of the phone, but the construction is a little flimsy. My first Pre would shut off repeatedly and require I remove the battery and both Pre 1 & 2 had the screen become muddy looking and then the unit shut off and require a restart whenever I slid the phone shut. Pre 2 also slowly lost volume.
I have noticed that the slide on all three became looser & looser. My current has a gap somewhat comparable to the picture above on the volume side of the phone.
Ironically I baby my phones & my husband who is really rough with his phones had not had one problem with his Pre.

rijc99

My first 3GS was exchanged due to an air bubble that was trapped in the case material during molding. It was exchanged immediately by The Apple store for a new in box replacement. And now my replacement has problems connecting to wifi networks. It sees them and can even give me the signal strength but it just refuses to connect to them. The bubble wasn’t a widely known problem but this wifi issue is.

Philip

hey thats a problem that most macs have even there computers mine does it all the time and i know other people who have same problem u have to just click back on it so it connects again kind of a pain in the arse

HSK

We’ll probably never see any real return numbers, will we? I don’t recall seeing any Storm return numbers and we know a lot of those came back. Or we think we know just like we think we know there is a problem with the Pre.

With that said – I am taking mine back today. For me the unit was pretty good, but I did not have much faith in the longevity of it. My slider was getting looser by the week. I also was getting pissed at the phone app itself – it just seemed to be less consistent overall. Crashed or locked up on me. While I love webOS, the Pre’s hardware and current state of webOS 1.03 needs improvement. It was the first time I have been in line on release day for a phone. Should have stuck to my usual plan of waiting a few months.

Also – I am testing out a 3GS right now. No real heat issues for me – certainly not as hot as the Pre gets when you are doing a lot on it. And ATT has certainly improved the 3G network here in Austin TX – I am getting about 50% faster 3g speeds on the 3GS than I was on the Pre – or my Touch Pro.

HSK

We’ll probably never see any real numbers, will we? I don’t recall seeing any Storm return numbers and we know a lot of those came back. Or we think we know just like we think we know there is a problem with the Pre.

With that said – I am taking mine back today. For me the unit was pretty good, but I did not have much faith in the longevity of it. My slider was getting looser by the week. I also was getting pissed at the phone app itself – it just seemed to be less consistent overall. Crashed or locked up on me. While I love webOS, the Pre’s hardware and current state of webOS 1.03 needs improvement. It was the first time I have been in line on release date for a phone. Should have stuck to my usual plan of waiting a few months.

Also – I am testing out a 3GS right now. No real heat issues for me – certainly not as hot as the Pre gets when you are doing a lot on it. And ATT has certainly improved the 3G network here in Austin TX – I am getting about 50% faster 3g speeds on the 3GS than I was on the Pre – or my Touch Pro.

Reter

i can understand returning the unit once, but these people on there 4th/5th unit are suspicious. how many of them have OCD or are actually just Apple zealots “making up” posts in order to create a bad image? i wouldnt trust ANYTHING i read like this until i saw official numbers.

Jahan Khan Rashid

I dont mean to be nasty but im quite glad you lot in the US are the guinea pigs! Hopefully when the european version hits it will be revision 2!!
One jealous palm pre wannabe!

B Driver

How about the build quality on the iPhone 3Gs. I never realized how many people sleep with their iPhone. Many people are reporting getting BURNED by 3Gs while sleeping on it. This phone may have a serious overheating problem. The Net is flooded with people getting toasted by their new iPhone 3Gs. It’s getting ugly out there. Rumor has it that the 3Gs has a built-in heat sensor that records temps and you can use this DB to get a free replacement at your nearest Genius Bar. Good Luck.

The Bus Driver
“I take everyone to school”

Daniel Wharton

Many people are reporting getting burned by 3GSes while sleeping on them? How many? I think one comment on PC world and that’s it.

Its really a few reports getting recycled by many different places. The best place to gauge the severity of an issue with an apple product is the discussion boards and there is very little on this topic there.

oliver

No problems here with the two Pres I have access to. On my iPhone 3G on the other hand the mute switch broke off within a week (google it, I wasn’t the only one with the problem).

Alan

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!

David

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.

Jeff

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

Jeff Springer

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.

Chris

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.

Dan

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!

Philip

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.

Daniel Wharton

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.

HSK

@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.

rob

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.

Ldeskins

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.

Andrew

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.

Henry

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…..

Comments are closed.