Between playing an unhealthy amount of Diablo 3, spending the weekends out of the house, and a more recent article on hit points and healing surges, I had almost forgotten about paladins.
I am glad to see that paladins will follow codes that reflect on their deity. Having a singular code regardless of god was kind of silly, and I would love to see codes for paladins of a gnome god (Garl, I think?). I like that paladins of neutral and evil gods will still stick around, too. My only complaint is that I would also like to see paladins that champion causes, though given that gods tend to have portfolios it would probably be an easy thing to re-skin and flavor.
I loathed detect evil in past editions for its ability to simultaneously overcome and be overcome by the
plot magic items/spells. The new direction seems to be a vague, strange disturbance in the force, as opposed to a distinct radar ping (or aura). I like this. The paladin gets the notion that something is afoot, but does not know the precise source. As someone on RPG.net put it, "the paladin gets to hear the background music". The bit on smiting implies that a paladin will not be wasting smites, which is also nifty.
Paladins have always major access to weapons and armor, as well as immunity to fear, so the third point is nothing new. I liked how 4th Edition paladins could shield and take hits for allies, which also seems to be sticking around for the good guys at least.
And last but not least, they still seem to be getting lay on hands, divine magic, and have the option to summon a horse. The spells diverge from what a cleric gets, which was how it worked in 3rd and 4th Edition, and summoned mounts might grant kicker effects to other mounts. I guess boosting the stamina and speed of other horses is good for traveling. The bit on turning demons along with undead is nice, though I think clerics should get that, too.