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Hands On: Palm Pixi

Article Comments  54  

Sep 9, 2009, 5:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Phone Scoop takes Palm's new Pixi webOS phone for a whirl. The Pixi earns high marks for its small footprint and usable operating system, but Palm had to make too many compromises on certain features.

Palm Pixi 

The Pixi is the latest webOS phone from Palm and it takes things in a somewhat new direction. As the Centro was a step back from the full-powered Treo line of smartphones, so, too, is the Pixi a step back from the Pre.

The size and weight of the Pixi is incredible. So small. So light. Fantastic feel in the hand. The small form factor is thin and will certainly go anywhere you want it to.


The front of the Pixi has a 320 x 400 pixel capacitive touch display. The display looks great, very bright and colorful. Similar to the Pre, below the display is an area where users can swipe up, down, left or right to perform different actions. Below this is the keyboard.

The keyboard feels very similar to the Palm Centro. The buttons are tiny nubbins that are very hard to tell apart. The keys are smaller, and more compressed when compared to the Pre, but they do have better travel and feedback. This device is not for the fat fingered. The keys offer a nice click, but I felt that the entire design was a bit too cramped for my tastes.

The backplate — which has a toughened soft touch coating — is removable and can be replaced with a backplate that is compatible with Palm's inductive Touchstone charger. Palm is also offering five customized backplates that were designed by up-and-coming California artists. They'll let users make the Pixi a bit more personal and expressive.

The ringer mute switch, volume toggle and mircoUSB port are all on the right side of the phone. They were easy to find and felt good. The hatch covering the microUSB port was a bit tricky to open.

The Pixi comes with 8GB of internal memory. There's no microSD slot to make that any bigger. Some might be disappointed by this. I know that I am definitely disappointed that Palm deleted Wi-Fi. They told me that it was to keep costs of the device down (Pixi will most likely retail for $99), and Palm also doesn't believe that the targeted user segment (teens) is all that interested in Wi-Fi. I beg to differ.

The Pixi also downgrades the Pre's camera to 2 megapixels. It still works very fast (even with the flash on), but 2 megapixels seems to be the bare minimum for smartphones these days. Again, price point came into play here. Another, less-talked-about downgrade is the processor. Palm is using a Qualcomm chipset in the Pixi that has a lower clock speed than the Pre, but it does offer better power management.

The Pixi will be sold via Sprint at some point before the holidays. It will come with a new Facebook application developed for webOS, as well as better integration on the software side of things with respect to contacts management.

Pixi Video 

Here is a video tour of the new Palm Pixi. We take an in-depth look at the hardware and the new Facebook application for webOS. You can watch it here:

Or visit YouTube for more viewing and sharing options.

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About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.

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Sep 20, 2009, 10:14 PM

will this phone will be same as palm pre?

to be honest i tried the palm pre, and i hate it. so my questions is as follows: those this phone is the same as the palm pre? where you can't use sync software?

Sep 10, 2009, 8:54 PM

Will this phone require a "Simply Everything" plan?

I am on a $29.99 employee plan that includes everything I could ever need to use this device to its fullest potential (unlimited data, unlimited text/picture messaging, GPS included, etc.), but Sprint has required its customers to use a Simply Everything plan on many of its newer devices (Instinct and Pre). Does anyone know if this phone will be available to those without a Simply Everything plan?
you don't need an SE plan, just an everything data plan, which is what your employee plan is... sorta (it rolls all the data in the plan in other words). you'll be fine.

Sep 14, 2009, 3:43 PM

Wi-Fi really that big a deal for teenagers?

I know at this point it's heresy to not include every little feature a phone can carry. Adults MAY use it, business use it?
But from my experience teens don't really use wi-fi as often as people think. Teens mostly care for messaging.

Why would teens need wi-fi? Most of them text, IM, Facebook, Twitter.
Is a teen willing to pay Starbucks for wi-fi to check their Facebook faster?
Is a teen going to use their phone at home instead of their home computer?
Is a teen going to go to a sports bar really going to connect on wifi?

Sep 10, 2009, 1:11 PM

oh you do?

"They told me that it was to keep costs of the device down (Pixi will most likely retail for $99), and Palm also doesn't believe that the targeted user segment (teens) is all that interested in Wi-Fi. I beg to differ."

oh you do? of the hundreds of phones i've sold to teenagers i can count on ZERO fingers how many of them asked me if a phone has wi-fi. and if they want it, there's the Pre....

seriously, sometimes phone reviewers assume every new phone has to have 100% feature sets or they're disappointed. real world use =/= phone nerds like us and our expectations.

for $99 with 8gb of storage, 2mp camera with flash, rev A data speeds, this thing is loaded and the slim form factor is awesome.
I happen to be a teen and I don't like this phone and a major thing is NO WI-FI. also the tiny keyboard.

Sep 9, 2009, 11:41 PM

Gesture Area = Waste of Space

I understand that this is supposed to be a low-end smartphone, but that screen could be much bigger if they did away with the gesture area.

I would've liked WiFi, but again ... value phone.

They have no excuse for not having a microSD slot. Wouldn't that have been cheaper than the cost of 8 gigs of memory? I know SD cards are way more convenient for me.

Maybe I'm just sore AT&T isn't getting this ☚ī¸
"Maybe I'm just sore AT&T isn't getting this"

hehe could be 🙂. i agree, the SD card slot would be nice, but i've found for the majority of people, an SD card slot = something to spend another $40+ on, 8gb is plenty, and they'd never know what that...

Sep 9, 2009, 7:10 PM

Need a new hand model.

I got sick looking at those pictures. Maybe wear a glove to hide the leprosy/psoriasis? 🤭 .
bluecoyote said:
I got sick looking at those pictures. Maybe wear a glove to hide the leprosy/psoriasis? 🤭 .

DID you just seriously say that? Your brain isn't even connected to your mouth is it?
Wow, if I worked for phonescoop I would trace your ip address and smack you! After following Cartmans example of turning your parents into chili and feeding it to you!
thats mest up dog what if it is rich brozy lol he can probably ban you đŸ˜ŗ
Now, Im not going to try and be funny and say leprosy.. but seriously, thats majorly disconcerting and they should have thought about that before putting the pictures up.

And also, get some farking cream or salve or something.

Sep 10, 2009, 1:46 PM


The device looks great, however the guys hand that is giving the presentation does not.
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