Palm Pixi Plus for AT&T Review

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

Certainly not the last major carrier to adopt webOS into its lineup, AT&T customers have been fortunate to see Palm's once fledgling mobile operating platform make its entrance with the Palm Pre Plus. However, customers are now given a choice with the recent introduction of the Palm Pixi Plus – it surely feels late to the game, but it's nonetheless finally here. As we've seen Android's big push with AT&T of late, it may require more than freebies to entice people to side with the Palm Pixi Plus for AT&T.

The package contains:
  • Palm Pixi Plus
  • Wall Charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Services Guide
  • Quickstart guide
  • Touchstone Charger
  • Touchstone rear cover


Design:

When we were first introduced to the original Palm Pixi, we were amazed by its light weight and remarkable compact form factor that's traditionally dominated by RIM's line of portrait style QWERTY handsets. AT&T's Palm Pixi Plus is an exact replica to Verizon's version with the exception of the obvious AT&T branding on the front. Overall, it's still a refreshing look when you take into consideration the lack of compact looking devices employing this particular form factor – but it's starting to become rather stale at this point.



You can compare the Palm Pixi Plus with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Already having to deal with some real estate issues, the Palm Pixi Plus packs a diminutive 2.63” TFT touchscreen which has a resolution of 320 x 400 pixels and support for 262k colors. By no means is it the sharpest out of the bunch with its washed out looking colors, and it may be too cramped for some people. Although it's pretty responsive to the touch, it's unable to meet the level of brightness emitted by the Palm Pre Plus as things begin to disappear when using it in direct sunlight.

The left edge of the phone is completely barren, while the right side houses the microUSB port, which can be found behind a cover, adequatly sized volume rocker, and the silent switch. To the top, you'll have access to the 3.5mm headset jack and a stiff feeling dedicated power button. Finally, the 2-megapixel camera with LED flash and speakerphone can be found on the rear. You can remove the soft touch rear cover by yanking the bottom portion off first which will then give you access to the battery.


Similar to previous incarnations, the Palm Pixi Plus offers a decent physical keyboard with its solid tactile response, but it can prove to be worrisome for those with larger sized fingers. Spacing between buttons is very limited as you'll have to rely on fingernails most of the time to accurately press a specific button. However, we did notice some back-lighting issues on our unit as the bottom row looked the most distinguishable, while the rest were faint.



Palm Pixi Plus 360 Degrees View:




Software and Features:

At this point in the game, webOS 1.4.3 on the Palm Pixi Plus is rather mundane over the experience witnessed on the Palm Pre Plus as it sometimes was riddled with some laggy performance issues. When it first rolled out, webOS looked quite impressive over the competition, but iOS and Android  have set the bar further it terms of responsiveness, functionality, and presentation. The biggest thing to plague the Palm Pixi Plus was its general unresponsive performance as we witnessed a healthy amount of choppy movements about the platform. If you want to learn more about the in-depth features of webOS, you can check out our detailed review of the Palm Pre.


If you're moving up from a feature phone, you'll probably be thoroughly surprised by the web browsing experience on the smartphone. Pages loaded up fairly quickly through AT&T's network as it also managed to render them correctly. Multi-touch gestures like pinching can accomplish basic functions like zooming while a quick double tap will zoom into a specif area appropriately. Scrolling is smooth, but you tend to notice the phone taking some time to render images and text if you scroll too quickly – still, the overall experience is gratifying.



Definitely not a multimedia monster based on its stature, but listening to music and watching videos proved to be sufficient. The music player has a decent presentation as it'll display album covers and some on-screen functions, however, you'll probably want to stick with using headphones to listening to some tunes as the speaker was weak sounding. Videos played smoothly without much hiccups, but the small size of the display and its washed out colors can make it an eyesore for some.

Images produced by the 2-megapixel camera were nothing to write home about as they looked pretty muddy in almost every scenery with inaccurate color representation. Things took a dive indoors where lighting is at a minimum – plus using the LED flash to illuminate shots didn't help one bit. Shooting videos didn't fare too well as they looked extremely pixelated when played back on a computer – granted though, it did look pretty smooth. Additionally, you can painstakingly see how colors are not
correctly captured as well when shooting videos.




There are few third party apps installed on the smartphone out of the box, but thankfully you can build your collection with the App Catalog. AT&T Navigator is available from the start to offer you a true voice guided turn-by-turn navigational experience to get you from point A to point B. Finally, you'll be presented to some native apps like Google Maps and YouTube, which fittingly work as they should on the handset.


Performance:

Calling quality was rather pleasing on the Palm Pixi Plus as voices on both ends sounded pretty distinguishable, but there was some minor sound distortion on our end – however, it didn't take away from its decent performance.

When comparing it directly to other smartphones running under AT&T's network, we didn't find any faults in reception with the handset during our testing in the greater Philadelphia region.

Battery life is acceptable as we managed to get almost 1 ? days before the Palm Pixi Plus required a recharge. Obviously this could've been increased by setting the brightness to the minimum setting and keeping to the habit of removing unwanted cards to free up memory.

Conclusion:

If this were released even 6 months ago when Verizon's version was released, this could've been one interesting handset for AT&T customers as their Android lineup was non-existent. Since then, we've been introduced to a myriad of decent smartphone offerings for the carrier that make the webOS powered device look like a distant thing from the past. However, its extremely inexpensive price point can be the thing that seals the deal for most customers as it ultimately packs some well tuned functionality under its hood which can be absorbed perfectly by some.

Palm Pixi Plus Video Review:




Pros

  • Compact & lightweight
  • Good calling quality
  • Inexpensive cost

Cons

  • Choppy performance when navigating
  • Poor camera quality

PhoneArena Rating:

7.5

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