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Palm Pixi Plus review

Barry de la Rosa
7 Jul 2010
Palm Pixi Plus
Our Rating 

Smart design and the intuitive webOS interface are let down by awful battery life and a lack of decent apps, and at £30 per month it's also over-priced

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Specifications

webOS, 2.6in 320x400 display

The new Palm Pixi Plus is a compact smartphone running Palm's innovative webOS. The case is sturdy, with a rubberised back shell, and the front of the phone is edge-to-edge clear plastic, so the screen merges with the glossy black surround. It's not as pretty as the larger Palm Pre, but the design will certainly stand out.

Underneath the screen is a swipe area where you can perform gestures to control webOS, and beneath this is a QWERTY keypad. It's not as precise as a BlackBerry's keyboard, but the clear rubber buttons have a distinct click which provides good feedback.

WebOS is a multi-tasking OS built for touchscreens, and it's intuitive and smooth. A small ribbon at the bottom of the display holds four main shortcuts and the application launcher, and it can be activated at any time by swiping upwards from the area beneath the screen.

Palm has bundled some decent apps to start with - there's a copy of DocView for office documents and a PDF viewer, as well as Google Maps, although without support for turn-by-turn navigation. Palm's App Catalog offers more apps, but the choice is limited and far inferior to Apple's App Store or Android's Market in both quality and quantity.

WebOS's strength however is in social aggregation. The Contacts, Email and Calendar apps integrate data from various accounts including Microsoft Exchange, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Yahoo!, and you can merge contacts from these accounts easily.

There's 7GB of usable internal storage (out of 8GB fitted), but no memory card slot. The 2-megapixel camera doesn't take brilliant shots or videos, but at least there's a flash to improve low-light snaps. Battery life is extremely poor, lasting only eight hours in our light usage testing, so you'll need to plug the Pixi in at every opportunity. Most annoyingly, when the battery is too low, you can't turn the phone on without charging it first.

Palm's excellent hardware and clever social aggregation software is undermined by the poor battery life and the lack of decent apps to expand the phone's utility. It's only available on contract with O2 currently, and at £30 per month there are far better phones you can get for your money, such as Samsung's Galaxy Portal.

Details

Rating**

Hardware

Main display size2.6in
Native resolution320x400
Second DisplayNo
CCD effective megapixels2.0-megapixel
FlashLED
Video recording formatMP4
ConnectivityBluetooth, USB, WiFi
GPSyes
Internal memory7168MB
Memory card supportnone
Memory card includedN/A
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless dataEDGE, HSDPA
Size112x56x11mm
Weight94g

Features

Operating systemwebOS
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email clientPOP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format supportMP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
Video playback formatsMPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV
FM Radiono
Web BrowserWebkit
Accessoriescharger, USB cable
Talk time5.5 hours
Standby time14.6 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback)8h 1m

Buying Information

Price on contract£30-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplierN/A
Contract/prepay supplierwww.o2.co.uk
Detailswww.palm.com

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