Trying to decide between a Palm Pre and an iPhone 3G S? These smartphones have plenty in common: Both sport sleek touch screens, offer high-speed data access, and are buzz-worthy devices. So how do you know whether the Palm Pre or the iPhone 3G S is the smartphone for you? One way to decide is to compare costs.
Paying for the Phone
The upfront costs of the two phones are similar.
The iPhone 3G S (which runs on the AT&T network only) will cost you $199.99 for a 16GB version and $299.99 for a 32GB version, as long as you are a new AT&T customer, or an existing customer who qualifies for an upgrade. See "How Much Does the iPhone 3G S Cost?" for more information.
The Palm Pre, meanwhile, costs $299.99 upfront, but Sprint (the exclusive carrier) is offering a $100 mail-in rebate.
Paying for the Service
Monthly service fees, though, are where you end up spending the bulk of your money. So, which phone is cheaper, on a month-to-month basis? It depends on how much you use your phone, and how many phones you use.
AT&T, the only carrier that offers the iPhone, sells voice and data plans separately. But ATT&T only offers one data plan for the iPhone: A $30-per-month unlimited plan. The data plan is required for each iPhone you purchase. If you have two iPhones that share a family plan for voice, each will need its own $30-per-month iPhone data plan. For more information, read my detailed description of AT&T's Voice and Data Plans for the iPhone.
Sprint (the exclusive carrier of the Palm Pre), sells its voice and data plans together, calling them "Everything" plans. In many cases, this leads to a lower price...unless you're hoping for a family plan that combines a Palm Pre with another voice-only phone. That's because Sprint's family plans require data plans for each of the phones.
Here's a breakdown of just how much you can expect to spend on the iPhone 3G S and the Palm Pre.
|iPhone 3G S||Palm Pre|
|Cheapest Monthly Plan||$69.99 (450 voice minutes, unlimited data)||$69.99 (450 voice minutes, unlimited data)|
|Most Expensive Monthly Plan||$129.99 (unlimited voice and data)||$99.99 (unlimited voice and data)|
|Messaging Plan||$5 (200 text messages) to $20 (unlimited texts)||All plans include unlimited MMS and text messages|
|FAMILY PLANS||Two of the Same Phone|
|Cheapest Monthly Plan||$119.99 (550 voice minutes, plus unlimited data on two iPhones)||$129.99 (1500 voice minutes, plus unlimited data on two Pres)||Most Expensive Monthly Plan||$259.99 (unlimited voice and data on two iPhones)||$189.99 (unlimited voice and data on two Pres)|
|Messaging Plans||$10 (200 texts on each iPhone) to $40 (umlimited texts)||All plans include unlimited MMS and text messages|
|FAMILY PLANS||One iPhone/Pre, One Voice-Only Phone|
|Cheapest Voice Plan||$59.99 per month (550 voice minutes to share)||N/A (Sprint only offers family plans when you purchase two data plans)|
|Cheapest Data Plan||$30 per month (mandatory iPhone data plan)||N/A (Sprint only offers family plans when you purchase two data plans)|