The Palm Pixi arrives as a streamlined successor to the Palm Pre, lighter on features, weight and your pocket. But has it got the power to compete with the heavyweight Motorola Droid and Apple iPhone? Read our Palm Pixi review to find out.
The Palm Pre awed everyone with its post-angular smoothness and impressed nearly as many with efficient multi-tasking and universal search. The Palm Pixi strips away the Pre’s ho-hum slide-out keyboard and goes candy-bar in a way Nokia and Sony Ericsson could only dream of. Wearing its smart rubberised Touchstone back for wireless charging (an ‘optional’ extra that only the terminally cash-strapped should forego), the compact, tactile Pixi looks and feels better than any other smartphone out there.
Instead of a sprawling display trying to colonise your hand, the Palm Pixi’s 2.6-inch 320×400-inch capacitive touchscreen feels restrained but rarely cramped. Web pages flicker into life with excellent detail and you get pinch-to-zoom as standard. The universal search and single inbox (now with improved support for Yahoo!) looks less revolutionary since the Milestone debuted but are still incredibly easy and practical to use.
Beneath the screen a subtle touch-sensitive strip navigates you out of apps to the home screen, where you can shuffle through app cards and discard those you’re not using. The Palm Pixi’s QWERTY keyboard is, despite its size, simply perfect. The keys are raised and give a reassuring click when pressed, so that writing a long email feels like an extended popping session with a roll of bubble-wrap. Mmmm.
As you might have heard, the Palm Pixi is noticeably slower than the Pre and lacks Wi-Fi. As frustrating as these might be for power users and stress monkeys, they didn’t spoil our enjoyment of the Pixi. Sure, we had to wait a few seconds for an app to boot up, and there is the occasional glitch with multiple apps running, but it’s no worse than many feature phones already on the market – and what do you expect from a phone that’s selling for under $25 (£15) on Amazon?
Other notable features on the Palm Pixi are a sub-par 2MP camera that can’t match even the iPhone’s average optics, decent enough sound quality (but no iTunes syncing) and battery life that will only make it to a full day if you’re tucked up in bed well before closing time.
Don’t kid yourself: the Palm Pixi is not going to be popular with users looking for a latest, greatest rival to the iPhone 3GS or Motorola Milestone. Where it promises to succeed, though, is among people eager for a simple everything-phone with the ability to look great, install a few key apps (Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Pandora) and still fit neatly into a handbag or jacket pocket.