HP Pixi Plus Review

A few months after the Palm Pre came out Palm launched the Pixi. Unfortunately the Pixi didn’t have Wi-Fi, so Palm came up with the Palm Pixi Plus. Read our review to see if Wi-Fi has made the Palm Pixi Plus worthy of your money.

What we like
The Pixi Plus is thin, light and it fits well in a pocket. It’s a solid device – we dropped our review unit several times and it survived. If you’ve owned a Palm device in the past, you’ll be impressed at how slim the Pixi Plus is. We also liked the fact that you can buy different coloured battery covers.

The Pixi Plus’ touchscreen isn’t the largest we’ve ever used but it’s very responsive. Although some people think the Pixi Plus’ screen is small, we found it very usable. It takes a bit of time to get used to it but we liked having a Qwerty keypad and touchscreen.

Many manufacturers have tried to create a good touchscreen interface and few have succeeded. webOS is one of those few interfaces that works well. It takes time to get used to all the gestures but it looks great and makes a lot of sense.

We found setting up email really easy and the Pixi supports most of the popular email services, including Gmail and Microsoft Exchange. The email interface is superb – one of the best we’ve ever used – and combined with the Qwerty keypad makes composing emails a joy.

One of webOS’ best features is the ability to run several apps at the same time. It’s easy to see what apps you have open and shut them if you need to. We also like how discrete webOS is compared to the iPhone’s interface – new emails and texts, for example pop up at the bottom of the screen.

Wi-Fi makes a significant difference. You can switch Wi-Fi on and off very easily by tapping the top right of the screen and tapping the Wi-Fi switch. Once on, Wi-Fi gives you the chance to browse the Web quickly without having to rely on 3G.

Getting pictures and music on to the Pixi Plus is easy, and you can listen to audio using your own 3.5mm headphones. We really enjoyed using RadioTime, a free digital radio app, which allows you to listen to radio stations around the world.

What we don’t like
The Pixi Plus’ battery life isn’t great. We charged it completely and used it normally for a day: phone calls, texts, music, browsing, etc. By six in the evening the battery was almost flat. We really hope Palm puts in a larger battery next time.

As much as we like webOS is doesn’t run particularly well on the Pixi Plus. At times apps took ages to load and there were a few bugs: calls ending abruptly and random error messages, for example.

Pictures taken with the Pixi Plus’ 2-megapixel camera were acceptable but not great. Although the camera boasts an LED photo light, our test shots in low light looked saturated and over exposed.

We can live without a good camera but the webOS’ lack of apps is seriously disappointing. We downloaded the few good ones but the selection is tiny and compared to the Android or iPhone app stores it’s a lacklustre experience.

The Pixi Plus is a very nifty phone that boasts a full Qwerty keypad, a touchscreen and it runs Palm’s innovative webOS operating system. There are bits of it that need improving, particularly battery life and the app store, but overall we enjoyed using it.

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