I am hoping that this post will be of some use to someone that may be in the situation that I was. I was offered an extremely discounted phone on another line through Verizon, and the person that used the line was perfectly happy with being paid off for the upgrade, which I graciously took advantage of.
I ordered the Palm Pre Plus via telesales, and it arrived the next day. I immediately noticed how small the phone was (and somehow it smelled like paint, must have been the box). I took the phone out, booted it up, and activated it.
My initial thoughts weren't great. I immediately noticed how "laggy" the device was. Launching simple (albeit necessary) apps like the phone, browser, and email all took more than two seconds. The menus on the operating system are terrible. To access a menu, you must tap the upper left corner of the app, there isn't a dedicated button that exists for this.
I noticed that the device was light. I can't consider this positive or negative, maybe a matter of preferance, but not a determining factor in my decision. The device was light because the build was cheap. I actually thought of the Droid of being a little cheaply built (and I still think that quality control is the issue with Motorola). The slider on the device was okay, but not of one of preferance for me. It would slide extremely easy for first part of the process, then (I assume) a spring would kick in and slide it the rest of the way for you. If you look on just about every Palm Pre forum, they refer to a condition with the slider and screen being used as the "oreo effect". I did not have this, at least I don't think; my device was a little loose when the keyboard was exposed.
The power button is in an extremely un-comfortable, un-preferable place. Many people have complained of the Droid's power button location, yeah, try the Pre Plus. The battery cover was steady, didn't move, as it has on some previous phones.
The camera took decent pictures for a phone, and showed much clarity with very few pictures that turned out blurry.
The screen is definitely the phone's biggest hardware let down. After coming from a Droid, which had a large, vibrant, strong, glass screen, the Pre Plus is a major downgrade. The screen is made of plastic, and while this isn't necessarily a problem, I found that it didn't feel quite as nice as the Droid. The LCD screen is no where near the quality of the Droid. The Pre Plus's screen was not as nice for reading, viewing pictures, or video (which I only tested with the Pre Plus demo video and YouTube).
My major issue with the screen was one that, again, many people have noticed on Pre forums. There were many dots (laid out via a grid) over the screen. As anyone who has ever had a touch screen phone before and paid attention to the screen, you will know that these are touch sensors, and "sense" your finger's touch and tell the software to respond. I have had quite a few touch screen phones (Storm, Storm 2, Droid, and Pre Plus) and none of them had dots as visible as the Pre's Plus's. After about two days, this really began to annoy me. I put a screen protector on, and they were still noticeable.
As a final note on the hardware, the best description I have is cheap and not well built. I would question if this phone could last a full two years (as some people keep their phone for).
As a final note on the software, the best description I have is not ready for prime time. The frequent lag and in-accessibility were enough to turn me off, and the email and browser were at best sub-par. I did the equivilant of rooting/jailbreaking the phone, and there were few benefits, besides an on-screen keyboard which was terrible, wouldn't close when I wanted it to, and caused even more lag to an already laggy system.
In my final notes, there were a couple things I liked. I liked the phone's use of cards. Being able to view all programs open at once was nice, but again was a source of lag in certain instances. I also (not directly, of course) liked the call quality of the Palm Pre Plus to other people. I find, on my Droid, people ask me "What did you say?" and "I can't hear you!" quite commonly. I have had the phone replaced for this very reason to no avail; I don't know rather an update can fix this.
As stated above, I hope this review will be helpful for somebody. I have had the opportunity to test both phones in daily use, in a non-biased way. It is now back to the Droid.