The Palm Pixi is the next experience from Palm, which is offered exclusively from Sprint for the time being. It is a follow up to the original Palm Pre for those who thought the Pre was just too thick and wasn’t pocketable. The Pixi isn’t a successor to the Pre though as some people might think. It’s just another option as mentioned above. The Pixi is in a candybar form factor that has a full QWERTY kerboard (which is very comfortable for its size) and a cramped screen on top of the keyboard which is also a capacitive touch display. The Pixi also runs Palm’s new webOS and doesn’t rear off from its predecessor. The “Cards” system runs multiple applications in the background at the same time, keeping you both in sync and in touch with your everyday activities.
The Palm Pixi reminds me of the Treo Centro. They are just about the same size. Small, pocketable and useable; you can’t complain about those three right there. The Pixi feels really, really comforable in your hands. Almost as comfortable as a BlackBerry Bold or iPhone. It is perfectly designed and shows off what a small phone should look like. The keyboard is very clackity and is arranged in four rows that gave me a hard time to type on (could be because of my hands…). The keys are tiny and have a decent rise to them so that you know what you are typing on.
Palm has a form factor that uses minimal design. The front of the phone is just as you see it: flat piece of plastic, screen, and full QWERTY keyboard. On the top of the screen it has those two main things needed in a phone now, an ambient light sensor and proximity sensor. The left side and bottom of the phone are left blank. The right side of the phone has the volume rocker and Palm’s signature ringer/vibrate switch. Also on the right side lies the microUSB charging port underneath a flap which has a magnet attached to it so it stays locked and secured. On the top, you have your most wanted 3.5 mm headset jack and power button. The power button doubles as a screen lock because the keyboard doesn’t have that shortcut like a BlackBerry.
On the back there is a 2 megapixel camera and a flash right slab in the middle. To the left and right of the camera and flash, there are two speaker grills. There is also a tiny hole where you can attach a piece of string, dog tag, or whatever so your phone will stay close to you like a female with a Louis Vuitton purse. I know what you’re thinking, is the Pixi compatible with the Touchstone charger? The answer is no, it’s not. It could be because Palm wanted to save some type of money (they are pretty much losing a lot of it right), or they felt the Pixi didn’t deserve one. Ask them, I didn’t make it.
Keyboard, Keyboard, Keyboard
I’m going to be the first one to tell you this keyboard is actually better than the Pre’s keyboard. Sounds funny, I know, but it really is. I wasn’t expecting some type of fireworks when I first laid eyes on this tiny puppy, but playing around with both handsets together you could tell the difference. The Pre’s keyboard feels more fake if you ask me. The Pixi’s, is far better in terms of comfortability. If you’ve typed on a Palm Centro, you should feel right at home, bangin emails and texts in no time. No really, you should. Palm has always had a knack for making quality keyboards and the Pixi’s size doesn’t seem to have held the company back from doing it again. Now mind you, this isn’t a BlackBerry Bold keyboard, but you have to show appreciation to those who earn it, and Palm you have mine. To sum it all up, it’s small. Eventually as all other keyboards are, it becomes second nature to type on this phone. People like myself will though have a problem typing (HINT: huge hands).
Mobile OSX, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and webOS. Save the best for last right. I feel that webOS is a highly profitable OS for Palm. It is a blend of Mobile OSX and Android to me. You have that feeling of openness and reliability in your hands. Isn’t that something we long for anyway in a device? webOS is all about connecting and that’s exactly what it does, keeps you connected. webOS hasn’t changed at all for the Pixi and it probably won’t change for a long time coming. The concept of the “Cards” system is by far the best multitasking tool on a SmartPhone to date. Text messages, e-mails, and Facebook notifications all appear on the bottom of the screen without having you losing focus on what you are already doing. It just pops up and goes right back down. Palm has done a really good job on this OS concept and hopefully they finesse it even more. Another great feature of webOS is Palm’s very own backup system which is free for everyone with a Palm Pixi or Pre device, Synergy. Synergy is just like MobileMe for the iPhone or Mac OSX, and Google’s syncing feature on the Android platform (if you don’t have an Android device but you do have a Nokia (E or N Series; Mail for Exchange is required), BlackBerry or Windows Phone, Google has there own applications or instructions for setup on their website. It is available to use for free as well. Sweet isn’t it.) Sync your phone with Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft Exchange, Facebook, or back up to your Palm profile account. Or set up accounts with all four! Good stuff isn’t it. Think about it, how many times have you lost your phone or all of your contacts while switching to another device? Sucks doesn’t it. You have to input all the numbers in one by one and it gets pretty tedious after the tenth one, trust me I’ve done that before. All in all, Synergy is a great way to have backups on everything you need to be connected on. I give Palm kudos on this one.
Call quality on the Pixi is quite good in my testing so far – clear and loud without much distortion at maximum volume. Overall the Pixi seems to pick up Sprint signal as well as any other Sprint phone I’ve tried used. I would say this phone is right on par with it’s older, bigger brother, the Palm Pre and as well as the Hero. All three phones have great reception even when you’re in an area where Sprint usually doesn’t pick up any signal, like your basement.
The speakerphone, on the other hand, isn’t anything to get enthused about. It’s loud enough for me and sounds like a cell phone’s speaker. It’s slightly quieter than the Pre’s speaker,less distorted sound, but gets the job done.
In real-world tests, the battery life on the Pixi was good, but not great. We can’t knock the phone too much, as it did seem to perform better than the Pre. My feeling is that battery life on devices like the Pixi and Pre, those always-on, always connected devices, is a nut that hasn’t been fully cracked. I was able to drain out a day’s use on the Pixi, but it was tight, and if we really went for it, a dinner time recharge was in order. I think, along with the Pre, that we’ll see some bigger after market batteries for the Pixi, but for now, you’ll want to keep your charger on hand and hope that a wall socket is nearby.
Do I think you should drop your Pre for the Pixi? No. Do I think this phone is placed at the right price range for a SmartPhone of this type of calliber? Yes, absolutely. Go ahead and become a part of the 100 other people who purchased this device. They love it. You should too. Its small, pocketable, reliable and fun to use. Now if you don’t want to purchase this because you are biased and love your current carrier (cough Verizon), you can wait outside to purchase one on January 25th for the Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus. The Pixi Plus will have Wi-Fi on it as this one doesn’t. Cool right?