Also noticeable straight away (though it was difficult to capture in our video review) is that the screen is much more visible when turned off than that of the Palm Pre. The display of the latter became almost invisible when not in use, creating the illusion that the display and the phone were as one. It also meant the rounded off corners of the software merged nicely with the surface of the bezel. On the Pixi, however, the screen is clearly visible at all times, as are the gaps between the screen’s pointy corners and the software’s rounded corners.
So, not the best start then, but thankfully the Pixi does have plenty of redeeming features. Like the Pre, it has all the external features we’d expect and they’re all conveniently positioned. There’s a 3.5mm headphone socket and power/screen lock button on the top edge, volume rocker and mute switch on the top right edge and a microUSB socket below, which is hidden behind a magnetised flap – we still can’t quite decide if this is clever, annoying, or both. Meanwhile, on the back is the camera with its LED flash and two grilles that like the iPhone actually hide a speaker and second microphone, rather than two speakers. Despite this, the speaker delivers surprisingly loud and clear audio.
Thanks to its rubber back, nicely curved design, and modest dimensions the Pixi Plus feels nice in the hand with most of the controls, the screen, and the keyboard falling within easy reach.
The keyboard is one thing that is actually better on the Pixi than the Pre as it has a more pronounced click to each key, giving your more feedback on when a key has been pressed. Otherwise we have to say it’s not the best keyboard we’ve ever encountered. The layout is fine, but the keys are a tad small and their rubber finish isn’t the nicest to type on. Most pressing, though, is the lack of any predictive text facility meaning that whatever mistakes you make are taken as read. There’s also no option for an on-screen keyboard.
As for the camera, it’s fairly easy to use, is quick to load, takes shots quite rapidly, and there’s an LED flash. Its lack of autofocus does of course limit your options somewhat – it’s especially annoying for closeups – and with only 2 megapixels on offer, results aren’t amazing, but it’s enough to get by. Video is present and the LED doubles as a lamp in this mode, but the results aren’t anything to write home about.