Palm Pre screen tests: color great, touch accuracy not so much
In two independent tests conducted by CNET and MOTO Development Group (not to be confused with Motorola) pitted the screen of the Palm Pre against several competitors, and we ended up with a mixed bag of results for the flagship webOS handset.
We’ll start with the good, and that’s CNET’s test of color accuracy. CNET tested maximum brightness, black level, and contrast ratio electronically, displayed test pattern screens to check for errors and 24-bit compatibility, and then tooled around with games, photos, and the sun for some anecdotal evidence. The top-ranked screen came from the Motorola Droid, which had great colors, an impressive contrast ratio, and sharp text. Number two was the Palm Pre Plus (the Pre and Pre Plus have identical screens), which came in right behind the Droid. Color-wise, the Pre was spot on, with fuller tones than the iPhone 3GS, but not oversaturated like the Nexus One. While the Pre’s extra-bright backlight to produce some clouding, the Pre’s screen was hands-down the best outdoor sunlight performer.
MOTO Development Group took a different aspect of screen testing: touch accuracy. Previously, they had a tester trace a diagonal grid across a number of smartphone screens to test their tracking accuracy. The results for most, with the exception of the iPhone, were disappointing. But we like consistency, and consistency goes hand-in-hand with robots. So MOTO rigged up a robot with a false capacitive finger and went about tracing a test pattern on the same phones again, this time with uniform speed and pressure. While the Palm Pre performed quite well under medium pressure (with the exception of the bottom and bottom right corner), once the robot eased up to the “light” level (narrowing pseudo-finger), things started to fall apart. Granted, tracking was nearly as bad as the Motorola Droid or the BlackBerry Storm 2, but to call the light results good would be quite the stretch. General rule: More finger contact = better tracking accuracy.