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Palm Pixi Plus

Palm Pixi Plus
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The Palm Pixi Plus is nearly identical in design to the Sprint Palm Pixi, sharing the same dimensions, 2.63-inch multitask screen, Wi-Fi connection (enable faster speeds for Web browsing, streaming media, or downloads, especially when a carrier's 3G network is overloaded by users; it provides another method for getting online when you're out of a 3G coverage area.), featuring a program called Palm Mobile Hot spot (App that lets you turn your Pixi Plus into a mobile hot spot or Wi-Fi router and tether up to five devices to share a mobile broadband connection using Verizon's EV-DO Rev but it comes with a service fee), and full QWERTY keyboard.

Aside from Wi-Fi and 3G, the Pixi Plus also offers Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support and built-in GPS. As with other WebOS devices, the smart phone comes preloaded with Google Maps, which offers maps with satellite view, real-time positioning, business searches, traffic data, and simple text-based instructions. However, if you're after voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, you'll have to subscribe to Verizon's location-based service, VZ Navigator.

The rest of Pixi Plus features are pretty much in line with the original Pixi and runs the same version of WebOS (1.3.5.1). As a phone, the Pixi Plus offers a speakerphone, speed dial, conference calling, airplane mode, a silent ringer switch, and text and multimedia messaging. Voice dialing still eludes the WebOS devices, however. For contact management, the WebOS's Synergy function allows you to seamlessly sync and merge contact and calendar information from your Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft Exchange, and LinkedIn (contacts only) accounts as well as view your e-mail and calendar appointments in a unified view or separated by account.

The Pixi Plus also ships with a number of personal information management and productivity apps, including Documents to Go for viewing Microsoft Office files, a PDF reader, a memo pad, a task list, a clock/alarm clock, and a calculator. If there's something else you need or desire, head on over to the Palm App Catalog on your device, where you can explore for the apps by category, popularity, or specific title. While it still trails the iTunes App Store and Android Market in terms of number of apps, the Palm App Catalog is starting to fill out quite nicely, and we expect it to grow even faster now that the Palm developer program is open to everyone.

The Palm Pixi Plus built-in media player supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, WAV, and AMR music files and MPEG-4, H263, and H264 video formats. Music and video files can be transfer onto the Pixi from computer via a USB cable. The Palm Pixi Plus does not offer an expansion memory card slot but has 8GB of storage space with about 7GB available to the user.

As before, the Pixi Plus is equipped with a 2-megapixel camera. Though there is a flash, you don't get any editing options such as white balance, and picture quality isn't all that great. Images came out grainy and a bit dark, while the flash sometimes just blew out the picture completely. On the bright side, video recording will be added soon to all Palm WebOS devices. Palm is scheduled to release a WebOS 1.4 over-the-air update sometime in February, which will bring not only video recording and editing, but also a Flash plug-in for the browser.

Performance of dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO Rev. A) Palm Pixi Plus call quality was good. Speakerphone quality was acceptable, providing decent sound with enough volume to hear even in louder environments. We had no problems pairing the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset or the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.

The Palm Pixi didn't knock our socks off with its general performance, and the Pixi Plus doesn't either. There are still pauses when launching apps or switching tasks, but the smartphone does feel a bit snappier than the original, as the delays didn't feel quite as crippling as it did on the Pixi. The Palm Pixi Plus is equipped with an 1,150mAh lithium ion, user-replaceable battery with a rated talk time of 5.2 hours and up to 14 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, we got 5.5 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge. According to FCC radiation tests, the Pixi Plus has a digital SAR rating of 1.47 watts per kilogram.

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