Palm Pixi Review
The Palm Pre was arguably the most anticipated device of the year, and for the most part it hit the mark. So how do you follow up the device that is supposed to turn your company around? Meet the Palm Pixi. This little sprite takes almost everything we love about the Pre and wraps it up in a smaller package. Much smaller. Like, sets a new standard small. Some features are lost in translation, most notably Wi-Fi, and the screen has shrunk a bit, but the Pixi still embodies what we love about webOS and at $99 we can’t really complain.
Like we said this thing is small, and it feels amazing. Few CDMA phones have dove into GSM size, phones like the SLVR and UpStage, but never a smartphone. When the Centro came out a few years back we were impressed with the size, but Pixi takes this to a whole new level. The only phone that compares in size is the E71x, and while Pixi is a touch thicker it is shorter and more narrow. It’s also nearly an entire ounce lighter.
You can compare the Palm Pixi with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
With no moving parts the Pixi has a much sturdier feel than the Pre. It is so small and light that it effortlessly slides into the pockets of even the skinniest of jeans. One casualty of the size is the display, which measures in at 2.63” and has a resolution of 320x400 pixels. It also has only 262K colors, whereas the Pre has 16M, but the difference is not terribly noticeable. The capacitive display seems more responsive this time, sometimes too much as panning and zooming on the web results in unintentional link clicks at times. It is plenty bright though, and very usable.
The physical button found in the Pre’s gesture area has been replaced with a capacitive LED stripe on the Palm Pixi, but pressing it still minimizes the current app. Below is the keyboard, which has again shrunk, but is more usable than the Pre’s. Keys have a much better feel, and offer a very positive click. We didn’t have many issues with the Palm Pre’s keyboard, but found ourselves enjoying the one of the Pixi much more. We were immediately typing quicker and more accurately. Unfortunately correction software is still sparse, though we needed it much less now.
The Palm Pixi (down) and the Palm Pre (up)
The Pixi (left) and the Pre (right) side by side
Like the Pre, there are only a few buttons on the sides. Along the right is the volume rocker, above that is the vibrate toggle and on the top left is the power button. Towards the bottom of the left side is the covered microUSB port, which is quite frankly a pain to open. Touchstone recommended. The back door is more of a cover than a door, and wraps around the sides of the phone. It is also a pain to get opened, but thankfully it is coated in soft touch paint like the Pre’s Touchstone back. There will be several different designer doors offered. The layout is simple: the 2MP camera and LED flash are centered at the top in-between two speaker cutouts, only the right of which is functional.
We love the Palm Pixi’s design, more than the one of the Pre actually. The Pre is definitely the premium device of the two with a larger, more vibrant screen and better specs, but the Pixi just feels so wonderful in the hand. We can’t quite believe just how small this thing is, and as much as we tell you it can’t be appreciated until you actually hold one in your hand. Despite being the low-cost alternative, Palm has knocked the design out of the park with the Pixi.
1. Doakie (Posts: 737; Member since: 06 May 2009)
Well Pixi is tempting. I just returned my very($278 after tax) expensive Instinct HD. Now I'm back on the market to make a good companion to a sexy phone. The Pixi is actually what got me to solidify my return. The IHDs expensive price combined with the still buggy instinct ui made me angry, but the option for a $99 Webos phone made me return it. I'll be getting it in a few days. My Centro with its unstable version of JVM running Opera Mini just doesn't cut it anymore. Good thing I still have the G1 as a work phone.
2. InstinctDemon (Posts: 74; Member since: 09 Nov 2009)
The Pixi is a good phone for a person on a budget!
3. jhoff80 (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Nov 2009)
The Pre does not have a 1400mAh battery, but a 1050mAh one. I believe the Pixi does use the same 1050mAh battery though.
12. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 238; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
Hello! We apologize for the mistake. Indeed, the battery of the Pre is not 1400mAh; however, it is 1150mAh. The Palm Pixi uses the same 1150mAh battery.
13. jpdaballa (Posts: 3; Member since: 13 Nov 2009)
However, you can purchase a bigger battery for the pre without changing the back cover, you can buy a 1400mah battery from either amzer or mugen, or a 1350 to the more known seidio...... The reason I belive palm does not originally sell with this size battery is so the phone could be sold for cheaper prices, so you are not entirely wrong :P I am currently using the mugen 1400 mah battery for the pre and it adds about 2 hours of life time throughout a days use. Just thought that I would add my .02 Btw these batteries can be used in the pixi to
4. cyberbullet (Posts: 12; Member since: 27 Apr 2009)
Palm just loves this tired old form factor dont they? Its like they have some 70 year old man who is set in his ways designing most of their phones. The Pre was the only change in form factor from this company in half a decade! And now we get more of the same Small screen on top of "ok" kb. I dont care what Palm is doing with devices out there from HTC, Samsung, Nokia, even Blackberry that have better form factors. One by one all of the legacy Palm users are being won over to other devices. Palms future is very uncertain IMO
5. dwaynewilliams (Posts: 4; Member since: 11 Nov 2009)
I don't see the market for this device. It isn't better than the Pre and the Pre is selling for $99 in most places. Why would you buy a device with less features for the same price? Plus, there are a lot of devices selling for $99 or less that are better than the Pre. I think that it will be a disappointment fir Palm. If the form factor were bigger and the keyboard was a lot better with the features of the Pre, it would have been able to compete with the BlackBerrys on the market and some of the new WinMo devices. The Pixi will be competing with lower end messaging devices with a slightly higher price. Doesn't make sense.
6. cyberbullet (Posts: 12; Member since: 27 Apr 2009)
exactly! Someone is going to be forced into paying for monthly data plan for a phone with the same or maybe less capabilities than the samsung rogue, or the env touch. And with a very tired form factor.
9. mr. anderson (Posts: 92; Member since: 16 Apr 2009)
um, really? the pre, pixi and any webos phone is infinitely more capable than dumphones like the rogue and env touch. its a true smartphone, with advanced features like multitouch and true web browsing. and as for a market for the pixi, you only need to look at the centro. its small, touchscreen and has a full keyboard. most people don't know how to use it, at least the pixi is more consumer-centric
14. jpdaballa (Posts: 3; Member since: 13 Nov 2009)
I think the candy bar styling of the phone will attract consumers that don't like the fact that the pre is a slider.... just look at how well the Palm Centro did
15. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
Neo, I mean Mr. Anderson, I agree with you bashing the blatant vzw rep stating the samsung rogue and the enV Touch offer the same capabilities. The pre's webOS is infinitely better than and BREW/Feature phone available. He wouldn't say that if VZW had the Pre of the Pixi, but he has to bash a great phone b/c it isn't on the VZW network. But let the Apple bashing continue as I hate apple so I could care less who gets the phone when at&T is the exclusive US carrier anymore, I will hate everyone that owns one ,independent of carrier, equally. Microsoft>Apple HTC>Apple Pre/Pixi>iPhone Android>Apple Feature Phones>Apple
19. smartypence (unregistered)
I know that with Verizon the Palms are great options because of mandatory plan changes happening at the change of the year. A data plan will be mandatory HOWEVER the Palms are also the only phones that you do not have to pay for the service of using as a mobile hotspot. So it does make sense to go with the Palms (and I've been a loyal LG customer for ever- I'm in the process of 'testing the upgrades' I'd gotten b/c if they dont work well as phones out in the middle of nowhere as LG can than I'm just going to scrap the idea for now) just because you can use to go online w/your comp. and not have to pay a separate ISP. As for the 'form factor' I like that the keyboard is within your prime thumb area (moreso for the Pre) and as for the form factor not being different just about every phone has a very VERY similar form save for the dimensions. Its long enough to fit comfortably in the hand and does have a great talking tactility while being held. The TPE cover is also pleasing to the hand. The Pre is pretty different especially when open, the contour is quite nice and there are no 'death grip' issues in any way you hold it. I hope Palms can make a comeback- BBeries are attractive but have so many extra charges for this that and the other...not worth it. I wound up
7. joshwithachance (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Nov 2009)
the mean reason people would choose this over the pre is build quality. the pre has been out for a while now and there's massive issues with the hardware still: like dead pixels, light leaks, oreo effect, etc. with no moving parts the pixi is going to be more stable and lots of people LIKE candybar style phones. i for one am going to pick one of these bad boys up on sunday (:
8. Ebonyks (Posts: 20; Member since: 10 Nov 2009)
Note to pre users: the oreo effect can be fixed by firmly pressing on all four corners of the pre, and gently sliding the slider back and forth a few times. It fixed mine in a jiffy. It seems some of the build problems have been resolved with the pre, but the idea of reducing physical hardware is tempting. Any slider is going to endure wear, and opens up an opportunity for mechanical problems. I like the pixi's build, but am still sticking with the pre personally.
16. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
I agree a slider no matter how good it is built, will ultimately fail, the more moving parts (i.e. Keys, buttons, sliding mechanisms) the higher the prbability of error because even if all parts are 99% reliable, 30-50 parts = like a 70% reliable device). Palm needs to make a HTC HD2 clone of the WebOS phone and like a 1500mah battery. That would be sick. Lose the keyboard and focus more on the OS.
10. AZNphoneGeek (Posts: 200; Member since: 15 May 2009)
i didn't read this article all the way through and skimmed most of it. what stood out as a great point though is the keyboard feels really great. it has a lot of feedback for the key depressions, more so than the pre. good work on this palm. now FIX the next gen of pre's
11. testman22 (Posts: 336; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)
I understand Phonearena's reviews aren't meant for comparison... but honestly, how did the pixi get a higher score than the droid??? No wifi, 2 mp camera, tiny screen, etc... I am no longer putting any stock into these scores, they make no sense
17. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
If you would just read their review guidelines, they write review for the phones for carriers compared to other phones by type and by that same carrier. So when the Pre got a 9.9 rating it was becuase it blew away anything sprint had in its line-up and it was a revolutionary OS. The pixi got a 9, becuase the only addition to sprint's line-up worth mentioning since the pre wer the TP2 and the Hero. If the pixi or the Pre were on VZW right now, I bet they would get a lower rating, but not by much. And honestly, the droid is cool, but the Pre is still a superior phone.
18. krusenkevin (Posts: 7; Member since: 29 Oct 2009)
The specs state that Pixi allows for voice commands, dialing, and recording, which I don't believe is any more true of Pixi than it is of Pre.