- Very small size
- Gorgeous display
- Excellent for email and web
- Cramped keyboard
- Barely acceptable camera
The Palm Pixi is the second webOS device, and is in many ways a successor to the Palm Centro. It isn’t meant to be a high-powered smartphone, but for just $99 it’s a good performer that can help keep you organized and connected while on the go.
Sprint released this model over the weekend, and I haven’t had much time with it yet. I’m giving my first impressions now, and a full review will follow in a few days.
Update: Our full Palm Pixi Review is now up!
BUILD & DESIGN
The Pixi is aptly named, because this device is svelte and rather petite. It’s tall and narrow, very thin, and amazingly light. When I first took it out of the box I started looking around for the battery, because I just couldn’t believe it was already in the phone — but it was.
This device is made entirely of plastic, with a minimal design aesthetic. The exterior is all black, with clear hard-plastic keys on the keyboard located underneath the screen. The sides and back of the device are finished in matte black, with a soft texture that improves grip and combats fingerprints.
The display really is nice. It’s relatively small, but text and graphics are crisp and clean. Colors are vibrant, and photos look really great.
The keyboard is very, very small, and the keys are very close together. I’ve only had the phone for a few hours now, and I have been reduced to using my fingernails for text entry at this point. Hopefully some more practice will allow me to become more familiar with the keyboard, and therefore faster/more accurate.
The only buttons aside from the keyboard are the power button on the top edge of the device and the volume controls on the right side. The headphone jack is on the top, and the charging port is on the right side.
I really like the fact that the charging port is covered, providing some extra protection against dust and accidental splashes, but it is a bit frustrating. When I pry it open with my fingernail, the seamless, seemingly spring-loaded port cover just snaps closed again before I can get a grip on it. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice, but it was a surprising annoyance.
The Pixi is quite snappy, opening and switching applications without any noticeable lag. Large attachments download quickly, even though Sprint’s network service is relatively weak at my office.
Voice quality is good in my testing so far, though the volume really isn’t as loud as I would like, even with the setting turned all the way up. Calls are clear, with no major issues, though I haven’t had the opportunity to try out the device in a noisy environment, such as outside or while driving.
Productivity features include great email with POP, IMAP, and Exchange options. The included Document Viewer is surprisingly robust and very fast — even large complicated Excel spreadsheets scroll smoothly. You won’t find any advanced features here, and no editing options, but if you just need to view Office files on the go the Pixi does a good job.
Calendar and contacts are freaky good — when I first turned on the Pixi I set it up with my Gmail account and everything got pulled in from the cloud automatically, and in the background. All of my calendar appointments are here, including events on calendars I share with other people, all nicely color coded and ready to go. My contacts included phone numbers and email addresses, as appropriate, and it’s nice to see that the webOS does seem to work exactly as advertised.
The Pixi includes a camera, music player, video player, and photo viewer, as well as a memo pad, task list, and Google Maps. All of those applications will be tested thoroughly for the final review.
The Pixi is a fun little device, and very well priced. At this point more testing is required before I can give it an unqualified recommendation, but my first impressions are generally positive. My main concern is the tiny keyboard, but since text entry isn’t a big concern with this device the main issue is whether it will work well enough for texting/IM and general email use.
Stay tuned for a full review.