Palm pixi plus

All things considered, the Palm Pixi Plus is the best second-tier, affordable smartphone on the market.

It takes everything that's good about its more illustrious sibling and squeezes into a tighter package, even improving in some areas, and it's more than a match for phones like the HTC Smart.

The keyboard is more reliable and somehow easier to master than the Palm Pre Plus', despite the further diminished size. Without the cheese-cutting rim, it's also a more comfortable device to take charge of.

Palm's web OS is present in all its glory, and only the slightly less powerful chip prevents it from boasting exactly the same experience.

If you're a newcomer to the smartphone arena after years of toiling away on the Nokia or Sony Ericsson phones, then web OS is the perfect introduction. It's straightforward, easy to use and intuitive.

The device has limitations, but these are wholly acceptable. It's impossible to complain about a slightly slower experience (and sometimes it is very slow) or the smaller camera lens, or the smaller screen, when you have such a well-functioning device at a much lower premium than the big brother.

Usually these budget devices leave us craving for the real thing, but the we were wholly satisfied with continued use of the Pixi Plus. Having just reviewed the Pre Plus, we didn't miss it at all.

Of course, the Pre Plus wasn't perfect either. The chronic lack of apps undermines what how brilliantly original web OS is, and there seems to be an inherent problem in pushing these devices to the masses.

O2 failed to gain any traction with the original Palm Pre, despite having exclusivity. It has the same deal again with the tweaked Palm range so let's hope they can do better this time around.