Palm Pixi Preview

by Reads (22,053)

Palm recently took the wraps off the second webOS-powered smartphone, the Palm Pixi. This will be a less-expensive option than the current Palm Pre, and will have a different design.

The release of this device is still some time in the future, but I got some time with a proto-type and I recorded a couple of videos of it in action, and also wrote up my first thoughts on it.

Video Preview

There’s more video in the Performance section of this review, comparing the Palm Pixi and the Palm Pre.

First Thoughts
I had less than an hour to try out the Pixi, but that was enough time to form some first impressions.

From what I can tell so far, this won’t be just a scaled-back version of the Pre, but rather a device with a slightly different focus, designed for a separate group of people.

Palm PixiThe Pixi will definitely be smaller than the current model, and while Pre’s keyboard is de-emphasized, it’s one of the main focuses of the Pixi, making this a device for people who are more likely to use their phone to update Facebook than watch video.

BUILD & DESIGN

As you saw in the video, the Palm Pixi will have a tablet shape, with a small keyboard fixed below its 2.6-inch, 320-by-400-pixel, capacitive touchscreen. It definitely feels much thinner and lighter than the Pre, but you give up some screen size and resolution to get this — the Pre has a 3.1-inch, 480-by-320-pixel display.

Whether that will matter varies from user to user. I didn’t think the Pixi’s display felt cramped in my brief testing, but I’m sure there will be at least a few situations where you’d prefer a larger, higher-resolution screen.

There can be no doubt the Pixi will be easier to type on than the Pre. That was obvious from the first moment I picked up the prototype. The current device has a sliding keyboard, so it’s sunk down a bit, and is surrounded by a “lip” that you have to work around. The Pixi, on the other hand, will have no such hassles. Its keyboard is going to be out there for easy typing. True, it’s a bit small, but unless you have unusually large fingers I don’t predict any issues.

The Pixi drops the small numb that’s in the middle of the Pre’s Gesture Area, and makes do with a small line that glows when you run your finger across it. This is a change I like, as nub looks so much like a trackball I kept expecting it to act like one.

Palm Pixi and Palm Pre Comparison Shots:

For those of you who like the exact figures, the Palm Pixi will be 4.4 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.4 inches (110 mm by 55 mm by 11 mm), and weigh 3.5 ounces (96 g).

For comparison, the Palm Pre, with the keyboard closed, is 4.0 inches by 2.3 inches by 0.7 inches, and weighs 4.8 ounces.



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