Now, as with the Palm Pre Plus, the big difference between the Verizon version of the Palm Pixi Plus and the AT&T version is that the latter has a UMTS radio and support for several AT&T services, including AT&T Navigator, Yellow Pages Mobile, and can access to the carrier's nationwide Wi-Fi hot spots. The latter is in lieu of the Palm Mobile Hotspot utility that's available for the Verizon WebOS devices that lets you turn your smartphone into a mobile router. We'd love it if the hot spot utility was available for AT&T's Palm devices, but considering the nature of the Pixi Plus and its target, this is less of an issue that it is with the Pre Plus.
Other goodies include Bluetooth 2.1, a music player, access to the Amazon MP3 store, a dedicated YouTube player, and a 2-megapixel camera. The camera's picture quality is mediocre. Though objects in photos came out clear, a slightly grayish tone gave pictures a dreary quality. Video quality was also OK, and we love how easy it is to edit videos. However, when it plays video clips, we notice it has a small popping noise at the beginning of each video--strange.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz; UMTS/HSDPA) Palm Pixi Plus in New York using AT&T service and call its call quality was mixed. On our end, calls sounded fine with little to no background noise or voice distortion and plenty of volume. However, our callers experience was completely different. Some complained of low volume and echoing, while others said that our voices sounded muffled. A couple of times, we tried calling back from a different spot, which slightly improved the situation; however, our callers still said there was a bit of background hissing. The Pixi Plus' speakerphone quality was pretty much what we expected--slightly hollow but clear and with just enough volume to hear callers in louder environments. We had no problems pairing the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth Headset or the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.
We had fairly good 3G coverage throughout Manhattan, though there were spots where the signal dropped to one or two bars. However, its data speeds were respectable; CNET's full Web site loaded in 25 seconds, while CNN's and ESPN's sites loaded in 8 seconds and 13 seconds, respectively. YouTube videos took a few seconds to load, but played back without interruption.
The Palm Pixi Plus is powered by a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7627 processor, but it's definitely not the fastest smartphone on the block. Though it can handle working in multiple applications at once, there are definite lags when launching apps. That aside, we didn't run into any major performance issues during our testing period.
The Palm Pixi Plus is powered by a 1,150mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 5.5 hours and up to 14.5 days of standby time. The Pixi Plus was able to beat the rated talk time by half an hour in our battery drain tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the Pixi Plus has a digital SAR rating of 1.43 watts per kilogram and a Hearing Aid Compatibility Rating of M3/T3.
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