Palm Pixi Plus review

The Pixi Plus is the Palm Pre Plus’s little brother and the natural successor to Palm’s last budget smartphone, the Centro. It exchews the sliding keyboard of the Pre in favour of a BlackBerry-style Qwerty layout with the screen above it, and it’s a lot slimmer and lighter too, measuring a mere 11mm thick and weighing 94g.

The downside to this design is that it’s much more fiddly to use. The screen’s rather small 2.6in diagonal makes viewing websites tricky, especially as the webOS browser doesn’t reformat text to fit the width of the screen.

It does make the most of what screen real estate it has, boasting a high resolution of 320 x 400, and as with its sibling the screen boasts both capacitive touchscreen technology and good sunlight readability.

It’s hardly surprising to find the keyboard is smaller too, so don’t expect to reach the same speed as you would with a BlackBerry Bold 9700. But again there’s an upside: the slightly rubbery feel of the keys makes it easier to use than it looks, and after a few days we took quite a shine to it.

Aside from the physical differences, the phone features a different processor to the Pre – a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7627 rather than an ARM Cortex A8 – and it has half the storage space at 8GB. The camera is also not as good, producing lower resolution 2-megapixel pictures.

Palm Pixi Plus front view

The rest of the specification is familiar, featuring quad-band GPRS, HSDPA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, plus a proximity sensor and accelerometer. The Pixi Plus runs webOS, too, just like the Pre, and despite the different processor it doesn’t feel significantly slower or less responsive in any way.

We like webOS a lot for the way it handles multitasking and for its excellent messaging, contacts, calendar and social network integration. It also loaded the BBC homepage over a fast Wi-Fi connection in an average of nine seconds, which is right up there with the best smartphones.

In short, the Pixi Plus manages most of what the Pre Plus does, give or take the odd minor feature, and it isn’t a bad smartphone taken in isolation. Alas, it also has all the same flaws, including a meagre selection of apps for download and absolutely atrocious battery life. As with the Pre, the Pixi failed to complete our 24-hour test, running out of juice an hour short; that’s way short of most of rivals, which routinely have more than 60% remaining at the end of the day.

The price is a little more reasonable, with free phone contracts starting at £30 per month from O2 at launch, but with all its problems we find it difficult to recommend.

Details

Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £30.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider shop.o2.co.uk

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 5hrs 30mins
Standby, quoted 15 days

Physical

Dimensions 55 x 10.85 x 111mm (WDH)
Weight 94g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard Physical

Core Specifications

ROM size 8,000MB
Camera megapixel rating 2.0mp
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 2.6in
Resolution 320 x 400
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family webOS

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