My webOS Experience and Thoughts- Verizon Wireless Palm Pre Plus/Pixi Plus

Posted on 04. Mar, 2010 by in Product Reviews

I was lucky enough to get my hands on both a Pre Plus and a Pixi Plus on Verizon Wireless for a few weeks.  During this time I used them as if they were my main device, really giving them a chance to win my heart (see above).  Could they do it? How do they fair with a BlackBerry user through and through?  Read on and find out.. it may surprise you and it may not.

I am going to do try and separate out where the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus are truly different, but for most of the webOS stuff I am just going to assume you know that it is the same on both devices.

Look/Feel- The Pre Plus, when closed, actually feels really nice in your hand.  It reminds me of a smoothed over rock with rounded edges that fits perfectly in your hand.  Once it is open and the keyboard is exposed it takes some adjustment.  The angle that the screen lays at as well as the keyboard when the phone is open is awkward at first, but after a few days I got used to it.  Also, if the Pre Plus times out and locks itself while you have it open with the keyboard exposed I found it very difficult to press the power button to wake the phone up.  Most of the time I had to close the phone, press the power button, and then reopen it.  I would have thought this button would have been a little easier to access with the phone open or closed.

The Pixi Plus is a candy bar style phone with a decent size.  I actually preferred the form factor of the Pixi Plus over that of the Pre Plus.  The main reason would have to be that the Pixi Plus did not have the weird angle that the screen and keyboard would sit at.

Keyboard- Both the Pixi Plus and Pre Plus have a keyboard that can best be described as feeling like you are typing on gummy bears.  Coming from using a BlackBerry for the last 5 years it is a big adjustment getting comfortable with this kind of keyboard.  The keys are also shaped slightly different depending on what phone you are using with the Pre Plus having the best keyboard out of the two.  If I had to rate the keyboard on a scale of 1-5, 5 being highest, I would rate the keyboards on both devices a solid 3.  After some practice they get easier to use, but they still could use a lot of improvement.

Screen-The screens on both devices are bright and colorful. The brightness, color saturation, and clarity on both units was up to par with anything else on market right now.  The touchscreen portion, which is a huge portion at that, performed as needed most of the time.  I found around the edges of the both devices I had a hard time getting the screen to register.  The area I am talking about is right along the top where you press to drop down the menu.  I was able to duplicate this on both devices, not just one.

Battery-  Depending on what device I was using I could expect different results in terms of battery life.  With the Pre Plus I was lucky if I could get 8 hours of medium use out of it.  Now, I realize that having 4 Gmail and 1 Exchange account set up is going to have some effect on the battery life, but 8 hours is not a whole lot of battery power for the amount I was using it.  The Pixi Plus would get me about 4 more hours of use, far more acceptable in eyes.  I highly recommend picking up a spare battery if you decide to get a Pre Plus.

webOS- I have mixed feelings about webOS overall.  I see some great points to it, and yet I feel like it is an OS that just needs some more development. Navigating through webOS from one app to the next is amazingly simple, almost too simple.  The phones I received were already set up for me so I wasn’t aware there was a brief tutorial of how to use the gesture bar to navigate the phone until I reset one of the phones.  Had I had that brief tutorial the learning curve would have been pretty small.

I found Palm Synergy to be a great way to combine all of my contacts, calendars, and email into one easy to use place.  I was hesitant to have all of my different accounts merged, fearing my contacts and calendars would get blurred together and I would be missing information which wasn’t the case.  Email sync was spot on as well.  More often then not I would hear my email tone on my Pre Plus before I would on either my BlackBerry Tour or my Nexus One, even when it came to Gmail or Google Apps accounts.

The web browser was fast, formatted pages correctly most of the time, and was something that a BlackBerry user longs for.  Switching back and forth between “cards” and browsing multiple sites was almost addictive.

The App Catalog is full of webOS apps, as expected. But the, quality, for lack of a better word bothered me.  It almost felt like the apps available came from the .99cent rack of left over iPhone apps.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of well put together applications, Facebook just updated and is done really well.  However, the overall feel of the apps is lacking.  This isn’t the developers fault, this is a direct reflection of webOS itself.

My favorite application was by far the Mobile Hotspot application that turns your device into a Wi-Fi hotspot allowing up to 5 devices to be connected to it.  I used this a lot and found the speed and dependability to be exceptional.

Which brings me to my mine gripe about webOS.  It simply feels like an OS that is still young, granted it is, but Android has made huge strides in its infancy whereas webOS still has that brand new “beta” OS feeling to it.

Overall-  My overall feelings and impressions about webOS and the Pre Plus/Pixi Plus lineup with Verizon Wireless are mixed.  WebOS has SO much potential, they have nailed email/contacts/calendar with Synergy.  In my opinion it is one of the better implementations of consolidating PIM data out right now.   For an average user webOS and either of these phones are perfect.  For someone who considers themselves a power user, who relies on a lot of apps and emails/IMs all day long the BlackBerry is a better option.  Verizon knew what type of device they had, and who it was best designed for.  I hope that Palm isn’t in as much trouble as reports have been claiming and that they keep investing and developing webOS.  The more competitive they get, the more competitive everyone else will get.

You can view the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus on Verizon’s website

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3 Responses to “My webOS Experience and Thoughts- Verizon Wireless Palm Pre Plus/Pixi Plus”

  1. weedalin

    01. Apr, 2010

    “Which brings me to my mine gripe about webOS. It simply feels like an OS that is still young, granted it is, but Android has made huge strides in its infancy whereas webOS still has that brand new “beta” OS feeling to it.”
    That’s really strange, because I feel that it’s the other way around.
    Android just FEELS really, really raw and rough, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing (and granted, I somewhat too; I use Linux), I just get an overwhelming feeling of that while using Android.
    webOS, on the other hand, feels polished and smoothed.
    Could you clarify or expound upon exactly WHY you thought what you thought (you said webOS felt ‘beta,’ but never explained WHY).

    • weedalin

      01. Apr, 2010

      Additionally, I can’t believe you reviewed webOS without mentioning HomeBrew/PreWare at all.

      • Jason Cipriani

        01. Apr, 2010

        I do not have the phones here with me at the moment to go back in and give specific examples as to why I felt the OS was rough, and honestly I haven’t touched a webOS phone since the day that review was published. I just remember feeling like I wanted more from it, to each their own. As for homebrew/preware that was intentionally left out, we don’t have the means to give people instructions on how to do stuff like that, and ultimately they will come looking to where they heard about it for help instead of going and finding out about it on their own. Or if they do figure it out, they will come to us when there are issues. The average user doesn’t even know that modding the Pre is an option, and that is who the review was geared towards. thanks for reading!