What the Honda Civic is to the Accord, the Pixi Plus is to the Pre Plus. While not entirely hobbled, the Pixi flutters in the shadow of the Pre with a smaller screen, a slower processor, and a lower-resolution camera, but balances the handicaps with a lightweight, easy-to-use form factor that finds fans in nearly everyone who handles it. It will have to be the body that sells it. Even with Wi-Fi added for the Plus variant, we find it hard to recommend the stripped down Pixi when the much more capable Pre stands only $70 away.
Where the Palm Pre underwent very modest changes in its transition from Sprint to Verizon and subsequent “Plus” badging, the Pixi sees even fewer. Memory remains unchanged at 256MB, storage stays stagnant at 8GB, and the processor hasn’t found any more pep. However, one of the biggest magnets for criticism on the original Pixi has been corrected, as it now has built-in Wi-Fi, just like its older brother.
Pre Plus vs. Pixi Plus
So if the Pixi has Wi-Fi now, just what separates the Pre and the Pixi at this point? The biggest and most considerable differences can be discerned from a simple glance over. The Pixi ditches the sliding keyboard in favor of a flat “candybar” design, getting both longer and thinner in the process. It measures just 0.43 inches thick to the Pre’s 0.67 inches, and 4.37 inches long to the Pre’s 3.9 inches, while also dropping 33 percent of the Pre’s weight to get down to just 92.5 grams. If these phones really were river stones, as Palm’s marketing likes to draw analogies, rock skippers would definitely reach for the Pixi over the Pre.
Besides the obvious physical differences, including a 2.6-inch LCD rather than the Pre’s 3.1-incher, the Pixi packs an older Qualcomm MSM7627 processor, while the Pre uses a newer Cortex A8 chip. Both run at 600MHz, but the brawnier A8 provides a significant boost to the Pre, along with twice the RAM for multitasking, twice the storage (16GB rather than 8GB) and a superior 3.2-megapixel camera to the Pixi’s 2-megapixel shooter.
Just about everyone who has wandered into Digital Trends and toyed with the Pixi has commented on what a likeable size, weight and general feel the phone provides. As one person simply put it, “this is what a smartphone should feel like.”
The hockey-rink-shaped face has a 2.6-inch LCD sunken in up top, and a four-line keyboard bubbling up below. The keys, much like those on the Pre, have a transparent gelcoat that makes them soft to the touch, but still responsive and clicky under the press of a finger.
Palm wraps this flat face in a single-piece rubber shell that encompasses all four sides, and the back. A power button sits on the top left shoulder, while a 3.5mm stereo jack occupies the top right. Swing down to the right side and you’ll find a silence switch, right above volume rockers. Further down, the microUSB port has been cleverly hidden by a flap that looks like it has been literally sliced from the rubber with three swipes of an X-acto blade. Dig your fingernail into the slot provided, and it swings back to reveal the jack, then claps back down with a magnetic force.