palm pixi

The Palm Pixi mirrors the Pre in terms of voice calling options. The device has a good speakerphone that picked up another party on a test call with good clarity.

We used a Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth headset and, over two days of dialing, never had any problems with the Pixi dropping calls or causing problems over Bluetooth.

We also used an Altec Lansing BackBeat 903, a stereo Bluetooth headset that supports A2DP and the Pixi worked perfectly for every call. In fact, call quality and the basic voicemail options are quite adequate on this phone.

The only glaring omission here is voice-activated dialing, but that's not a major complaint. There are plenty of headsets that support voice prompts for initiating a call, including several models by BlueAnt.

calls

What is a major complaint is that, given the small-but-growing app selection for webOS, there are not that many options for voice calling beyond the basics.

Palm is off to a good start by including the P2 Google Voice app that lets you dial out with the phone using the Voice service, even though the app is a bit clunky.

The Pixi needs something to set it apart from the field for voice calls to match the Synergy functions that combine mail, schedule and IM – as is, the Pixi is a capable but not outstanding voice device.

google voice palm pixi

GOOGLE VOICE: The built-in Google Voice app allows you to place calls using the 3G carrier service (not over Wi-Fi)

Messaging

Unlike the Palm Pre when it launched, the Pixi can forward text messages (a webOS update has now added this feature to the Pre).

This may seem minor, but it is a good differentiator compared to other smartphones that seem to treat SMS as an outdated technology (which it is) that never behaves quite like email.

Forwarding is handy because it means, if you receive an important phone number or address as an SMS, you can quickly forward the message to another party and not monkey around with copy and paste or even writing down notations just to email or text them again.

message forwarding

FORWARD: A unique twist on the Pixi: you can forward text messages you receive on the device

The Pixi also supports media files as part of the messaging client, so you can start a new text message, click an option to take a photo, and then add the image to the text message and send it as an MMS message. Or, you can add an existing image from the camera roll to a text message.

It's worth noting here that the keypad on the Pixi improves on the Pre in many ways. The Pre keypad always felt cramped, the keys are too close and they had a spongy feel that never felt like you could power type a text message.

The Pixi still has slightly bulbous keys, but they are not quite as spongy and feel a bit harder and more like a real keyboard. This meant we could type faster on the Pixi than the Pre. Even the key layout is improved, with a white ALT key for accessing special characters and numeric keys that is just a hair easier to find and use in daily texting and emailing.

As with the Pre, the @ symbol is also easy to find right next to the spacebar and the delete and return keys are also ideally situated.

True, the Pixi could never compete with a real keypad like the slide-out on the Droid or just about any recent BlackBerry model, but the Pixi is also much lighter and thinner. It is an acceptable compromise: the keypad is small, but at least it is adequate for typing short messages and keeps the device small and light.