The guys and gals at Engadget are the first out of the gate with a review of Palm’s budget Pixi handset, and overall, they’re pretty positive about it.
Describing the Pixi as “an incredibly sexy piece of hardware,” the reviewer suggest that consumers would be “hard pressed to deny the sheer attractiveness of this phone.”
Aiming at the same kind of market as their earlier Centro handset, the webOS powered candybar sports a piano black, high-gloss coat, with soft-touch material on the back meaning you’re the phone is less likely to be one of the 850,000 dropped down the loo every year.
The Pixi comes with a 2.63-inch capacitive touchscreen supporting 320 x 400 pixels (80 less than the Pre) and a tiny, full QWERTY keyboard, with a power/sleep button on the top along with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
On the side is a volume rocker and concealed MicroUSB port, with the camera lens, small flash and speaker on the back.
Engadget declared the keyboard to be “awesome” saying it was, “kind of like using the iPhone keyboard – they have a similar size, shape, and spacing – but of course, you’ve got the advantage of physical keys with the Pixi.”
Measuring just 0.43-inches thick – thinner than the iPhone – users can customise their Pixi with a set of five interchangeable backs from Palm’s “artist series” which, we have to say, all look rather natty.
Call quality was described as good, with the lower spec’d (2MB) camera taking decent quality pictures at the same snappy speed as the Pre.
Running the new WebOS v1.3 firmware, there’s also a new rudimentary Facebook client onboard, plus full Yahoo! integration added.
Performance and battery
With the Pixi running a totally different chip than the Pre, some performance issues were reported in the shape of freezes, extreme lag, and an unresponsive screen which suggested that “the phone was being asked to more than it could really handle.” This may, however, be fixed via a software update.
The Pixi, like its bigger brother the Pre, is also Touchstone-compatible letting users forgo the ‘plugging cables in’ experience, and the battery performance was described was ‘good but not great.’
update: PreCentral review
Hot on the heels of Engadget comes PreCentral’s review, and they were very keen indeed, concluding:
Now that I’ve worked all of the gripes out of my system, it’s time to come back to the main thing. The Pixi is a marvel of a little smartphone. It’s tiny, fun, and does more than a lot of phones at its price. That price is just very close to the ever-lowering cost of high-end smartphones.
If the Pre didn’t woo Palm Centro owners, the Pixi has a much better shot. The only question is whether or not it will achieve its real goal: winning new users who have never used a smartphone. I think it has a shot.
Plus: What’s new in webOS 1.3?