Palm Pre Customer Satisfaction Hot On iPhone 3GS Heels

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The Apple iPhone 3GS asserted itself to the top of Consumer Reports’ newest smartphone rankings, with the Palm Pre was close behind.

The Apple iPhone 3GS topped Consumer Reports’ newest smartphone ratings, according to its blog. But it was not a runaway winner, with the keyboard-touting Palm Pre following close on its heels.

“The phones vary significantly in how they achieve their high scores,” wrote Paul Reynolds on the blog. “The iPhone 3GS edged out high-scoring competitors such as the Palm Pre and BlackBerry Storm thanks to a superior display, reinforced by top-notch multimedia, navigation, web browsing and battery life.”

However, he added: “The Pre, the Storm and other BlackBerry models bested the iPhone in messaging, and the Pre, with its new deck-of-cards handling of multiple applications, is a superior multi-tasker.”

Testing smartphones this year caused Consumer Reports — the US equivalent to Which? consumer research — to rethink its measures, Reynolds explained. To better emphasise the differences he detailed above, he said Consumer Reports has added more attributes to its ratings system. Additionally, it put more emphasis on display, ease of navigation, and multimedia and messaging capabilities, and reduced the ratings weight of talk time and voice quality.

“The iPhone 3G and some other older phones have moved up due to these changes,” wrote Reynolds, “while others, including the Samsung Blackjack II and BlackBerry Pearl Flip, have dropped in their ranking.”

Consumer Reports has also stopped testing smartphones for “sensitivity,” deciding that the real-life reception experience of each phone can no longer be accurately re-created.

The editors are keeping it in mind, though, as well as how to more thoroughly evaluate phone speed, versatility, operating systems and third-party applications. Reynolds explained that “smartphones are among the most complex products we test,” and he encouraged readers to offer their feedback.

Regarding the winner, the iPhone 3GS, in a “video shootout” the editors commend its speed — both on the web and in apps — as well as its voice control features, the Spotlight search, improved camera and updated software, which finally makes cut and paste possible, among other features.

The Palm Pre was called “a true multi-tasker,” and its touchscreen was described as “one of the best we’ve ever seen”.

The iPhone recently also topped a smartphone satisfaction study by J.D. Power and Associates. While it emerged this week that UK operator, O2 is likely to be the sole retailer for the Palm Pre when it goes on sale here later in the year.

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