Pros: Multitasking, Compact Size, Social Media Tie-In, Full-Time Search, Excellent Music Player, Good Speakerphone
Cons: Sound Quality, Tiny Screen, Limited Apps, Odd Keyboard, Difficult Numberpad
To give an accurate review of the Palm Pixi Plus, I have to provide a little background. I was an early adopter of the iPhone (1st generation). After two years, I was ready for a change.
To make a long story short, I didn't want to deal with the bulk and time-wasting temptations of a smartphone anymore, but I did still need to be able to access web/email on occasion. After a lot of research, I decided that WebOS - with its emphasis on function over style - was a better fit for me than the other mobile operating systems. That narrowed the field down to the Palm Pre and the Palm Pixi Plus. The Palm Pre is larger and more powerful, but I was looking for something smaller and closer to a "basic" phone.
Enter the Palm Pixi Plus. It's as small and light as a voice-only phone, but it has a "real" keyboard, multimedia capability, and a good web browser. After using it for a couple of months, I can honestly say that the phone is exactly what I wanted. It even has some interesting features that I didn't think I'd like, but that have turned out to be quite cool.
Sound quality on the Pixi Plus is pretty good, but not great. For some reason, higher-register voices - particularly children and soft-spoken women - sound very tinny and are difficult to understand. The more you turn up the volume, the worse it gets. The sound quality for those types of calls is actually better with the speakerphone turned on. The speakerphone, by the way, is nice and loud, and works very well.
Placing calls is very easy. Not only can you assign any contact to any keyboard button as a speed-dial, but the phone has full-time search, so you can simply start typing a name, and the phone will automatically pull up a list of matching contacts. This is great if you have several hundred contacts.
Speaking of contacts, another interesting feature of WebOS is that it ties your phone to your social media accounts. So, if somebody's phone number appears on their Facebook or LinkedIn account, it'll show up on your phone, even if you've never entered it. This is very convenient. The social media tie-in is also fun, because when somebody calls you, his or her profile photo will pop up on the screen. Another reason to be careful when you select your Facebook profile photo!
The music player on the Pixi Plus works very well. I actually find it easier to use than an iPod. I wouldn't bother trying to watch video though; the screen is VERY small. That goes for web browsing too ... Possible, but not particularly enjoyable. But, that's not what this phone is for, and I knew that when I bought it.
There are a reasonable number of apps available for WebOS, although they're mostly big-time ones like NY TImes, Pandora, weather, etc. Even though I'm not a heavy app-user, I do miss some of the smaller and more useful iPhone apps, like Shazam and EatRight.
The biggest feature of the WebOS is the ability to multitask: you can have your contacts list, email, calendar, news app, and camera all open at the same time, and switch between them with a flick of your thumb.
The Pixi Plus has a decent camera with still and video capability, and sends multimedia SMS messages with no problem.
The keyboard on the Pixi definitely took some getting used to. I intensely disliked the virtual keyboard on the iPhone, and really wanted to feel buttons under my fingers. The Pixi does deliver a nice, tactile typing experience, but the keys are very tiny, so if you have big fingers, this might not be a good choice for you.
One of the odd things about the Pixi keyboard is that it's just the alphabet: you have to press an option key to type numbers. When you make an actual call, a virtual keyboard pops up on the screen, and I found that, for the first couple of weeks, I tended to accidentally press the wrong keys very often. This is particularly annoying when you're trying to enter your voicemail password.
The battery on the Pixi Plus is okay, but not great. It needs to be charged once every 36 hours or so, with normal use.
Overall, though, the phone does everything you'd expect it to. It is small, which means that it's compact and convenient, but that the keys and screen are tiny. You can do everything on this phone that you could on a bigger phone, you just have less room to do it in.
In short, this is a great phone for somebody who wants "just a phone," but does need or want to access internet content and basic apps.