Palm Phone review: Tiny phone riding on a big reputation

Palm Phone review: Tiny phone riding on a big reputation

Keep in mind Palm? It was the creative model behind extensively beloved telephones from the early 2000s just like the Pre, Treo, and Pixi, whose webOS software program continues to be credited to this present day by tech pundits and nostalgists alike for being far forward of its time.

No matter it’s, Palm did it first and did it higher.

— Derek Kessler (@derekakessler) Might 20, 2015

Seven years after the discharge of the final cellular units to run webOS, the Palm whose phone I am holding at the moment is … not the Palm we knew and beloved. Palm was purchased out by HP all the best way again in 2010, who launched a whopping three units — together with the notorious HP TouchPad — earlier than successfully killing off the model and ultimately promoting it to TCL in 2014. Yep, that is the identical TCL that purchased and revived the BlackBerry model again in 2016.

All of that’s to say that this is not a “true” Palm system, and I am going to say proper off the bat that if that is what you have been hoping for, you will be disillusioned. This is not the Pre four, and it should not be seen that means. As an alternative, that is a phone from what’s ostensibly a completely new firm, and you already know what? That is okay.

Hilariously small

Palm Phone

A phone intentionally restricted to encourage you to spend much less time on your phone.

The Palm Phone is a phone on your phone, constructed inconveniently small on function for these with poor self-control. Sadly, Palm might have gone too far and restricted it to a fault.


  • Lovely, easy design
  • IP68 water resistant
  • House display well-optimized for small display


  • Horrible battery life
  • Fast to lavatory down
  • Poor mobile and WiFi connectivity
  • Unimpressive digital camera

Palm Phone The Evaluation

Spec Palm Phone Specs Working system Android eight.1 Oreo Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor Display Three.Three-inch 720p IPS LCD RAM 3GB Storage 32GB (expandable) Rear cameras 12MP Entrance cameras 8MP Speaker Earpiece Water resistance IP68 Safety Face unlock Battery 800mAh Colours Titanium, Gold Dimensions 50.6 x 96.6 x 7.4mm Weight 62.5g

I am going to begin by saying that that is in all probability the smallest system I’ve ever reviewed, and perhaps even the smallest phone I’ve held. It is exhausting to completely absorb simply how tiny it’s with out holding it for your self. I knew it would be tiny, however I used to be nonetheless baffled once I first took it out of its field — made particularly jarring as a result of I had simply come from reviewing the big RED Hydrogen One. It is narrower than a bank card, although it is a bit taller and, in fact, thicker.

When you get previous the phone’s miniature stature, you will begin to discover that it is truly a lovely and well-crafted gadget, as nicely. The back and front of the phone are shiny black panels of Gorilla Glass Three, separated by a plastic rail within the center that homes the microphones, antenna bands, USB-C charging port, and energy button.

Sadly, there is no headphone jack, and the facility button is definitely the one bodily management on the Palm Phone; quantity is dealt with strictly via the software program. Presumably this is because of area limitations, given how small the phone is, however it’s inconvenient both approach. On the again, there’s nothing however the digital camera, flash, and a few slick Palm branding — no ugly certification labels. The phone is IP68 water resistant, as properly.

We additionally have to take a second to speak concerning the phone’s branding, as a result of its official identify is type of ambiguous. Verizon’s website calls it each the Palm Palm and the Palm Gadget, whereas the phone’s consumer guide merely calls it Palm. In my communications with Verizon PR, it has been known as the Palm Phone, which is what I am sticking with for the course of this evaluate.

“What is this, a phone for ants?!” — Derek Zoolander, in all probability

No matter what you name it, it is essential to know that the Palm Phone is supposed to function a companion system, somewhat than a standalone product. Consider it as a non-wearable mobile smartwatch; it attaches to the identical quantity as your main phone, permitting each units to ship and obtain calls and texts with the identical phone quantity. In reality, Verizon will not even promote you the Palm Phone with out an present gadget.

In case you’ve ever used Google Voice, this works in about the identical method. Every time somebody dials your quantity, each the Palm Phone and your most important phone will ring, and choosing up on one gadget will routinely mute the opposite. You’ll be able to sync textual content messages throughout units too, although you will have to make use of Verizon’s terrible Message+ app to take action. Fortunately, should you do not thoughts having separate data, you’ll be able to all the time obtain and use Google Messages or one other texting app as an alternative.

It is value mentioning that whereas the Palm Phone can technically be used at the side of an iPhone, iMessage will not work with quantity cloning, so you are going to need to revert to common previous SMS messaging. In different phrases, you in all probability should not get this phone in case your important phone is an iPhone.

Briefly, the Palm Phone is a phone on your phone; the entire concept is to deliberately restrict you with a tiny show and battery to maintain you off your phone as a lot as potential. If you end up spending method an excessive amount of time needlessly scrolling by means of social media or enjoying cellular video games, this might be a viable option to reduce down on wasted time with out giving up necessary options like maps, calls, and experience sharing.

The show on the Palm Phone is a Three.Three-inch LCD panel that will get fairly shiny and has good colour copy. It isn’t overly saturated like a lot of OLED panels, and to my eyes, that is nice. The 720p decision does not sound like a lot in 2018 till you keep in mind that it is packed into such a small show that the Palm Phone truly has a barely denser show than the Pixel Three I have been utilizing alongside it — 445 ppi, to be actual.

With how large telephones have gotten in the previous few years, it is easy to overlook how cramped having such a small show can really feel, which is why Palm constructed its personal launcher that lays out your apps into a giant, round grid that is virtually harking back to the Apple Watch interface. In fact, you possibly can rearrange apps as you please, however there isn’t any app drawer, folders, or different small particulars right here — which might be for the higher.

Launchers apart, that is a fairly calmly themed construct of Android eight.1 Oreo. You’ll be able to nonetheless entry the Google Feed by swiping to the left of the house display, and the included apps and settings menu are virtually solely inventory. Since there is no fingerprint sensor on the Palm Phone, you possibly can arrange facial recognition for safety, although it simply makes use of the entrance digital camera fairly than a extra concerned and safe system like Apple, Oppo, and even Samsung with its iris-scanning tech.

So far as navigation goes, there’s a small collection of dots beneath the show that is harking back to the gesture bar discovered on older Palm telephones — although this depends on faucets moderately than gestures, and I did not discover the format to be terribly intuitive. You faucet as soon as to return, faucet twice to go residence, and press and maintain for current apps. It isn’t my favourite, however you possibly can all the time revert to the normal Android buttons on the backside of the display in the event you do not thoughts dropping a little bit of area to the navigation bar.

The Palm Phone comes with the Fleksy keyboard out of the field, which is … high-quality, nevertheless it does not help gesture typing, which I feel is a should with such a small show. Putting in Gboard (and selecting the utmost keyboard peak) made typing a lot simpler, nevertheless it nonetheless is not what I might name superb; typing on a tiny touchscreen simply is not a nice expertise, it doesn’t matter what keyboard you put in.

Sadly, whereas having a phone that encourages you to make use of it much less is good in principle, the Palm Phone falls brief on the fundamentals. LTE sign power is fairly weak, as is WiFi connectivity — my Pixel Three carried out a lot better in each respects, and the Palm Phone solely helps WiFi 802.11n, relatively than the quicker ac. Calls aren’t nice, both; as a result of the phone is so small, the microphone is fairly distant out of your mouth and finally ends up choosing up a lot of background noise.

For common media playback, the Palm Phone makes use of the earpiece as a front-firing loudspeaker, fairly than a bottom-firing unit. It is surprisingly loud, however as you may anticipate, there’s principally no bass. It is serviceable for watching movies, nevertheless it’s too shrill for my ears with regards to streaming music from Spotify.

I used to be fairly let down by the phone’s efficiency, too. The Snapdragon 435 is not a notably high-end processor to start with, however the Palm Phone is remarkably straightforward to lavatory down with even easy duties; putting in updates for 16 pre-installed apps after preliminary setup managed to convey the phone to a crawl, and it acquired surprisingly heat by the top of it.

Battery life is about nearly as good as you’d anticipate from an 800mAh cell — which means it is dangerous. Operating these app updates dropped my battery by almost 20% in a matter of about 10 minutes, and I have never been capable of make it by means of a full day even as soon as. In equity, Palm solely claims as much as 7.5 hours of utilization, however even that is fairly beneficiant; I have been capable of watch the battery proportion trickle down in actual time simply by scrolling by way of Twitter. That is undoubtedly not an all-day phone, neither is it meant to be.

I like the thought of this phone a lot greater than the implementation.

You’ll be able to prolong that battery life a bit by enabling Life Mode, which turns off mobile and WiFi connections each time the display is off, then mechanically re-enables them if you flip the display again on. It isn’t fairly airplane mode, because it leaves Bluetooth on for music streaming, nevertheless it considerably improves standby time. It additionally means you will not get notifications till you verify your phone, which could possibly be a profit or a drawback, relying on the way you take a look at it.

Do you have to determine to snap some pictures with the Palm Phone, its 12MP digital camera takes alright photographs, however it’s undoubtedly not a fundamental focus of this phone. Colour copy is definitely fairly good, however wonderful particulars are misplaced and dynamic vary is unremarkable. Notably in low mild, highlights are blown out most of the time, and the digital camera is vulnerable to lens flare.

I additionally discovered it irritating that there isn’t any strategy to shortly launch the digital camera, since double-pressing the facility button launches Google Assistant as an alternative of the standard digital camera shortcut. Generally, you are going to be higher off pulling out your important phone should you’re trying to take any type of memorable pictures.

Do we actually want a Palm Phone?

Finally, it is a bit unclear who this phone is actually for. You possibly can’t use it as a standalone gadget, and including it to your present Verizon plan will add $10 to your month-to-month invoice — all to get a phone that is particularly designed to encourage decrease utilization. It really works precisely as marketed with NumberShare (Verizon’s quantity cloning), however it does not actually do something that may’t be carried out with a mobile smartwatch.

Positive, it has a digital camera, which most smartwatches do not, however it’s so mediocre that I would not belief it to take necessary pictures anyway. The identical goes for battery life — the Galaxy Watch can final for days at a time, whereas I can not even make it by way of the afternoon with the Palm Phone. To not point out a smartwatch sits neatly on my wrist and may double as a trend accent, slightly than occupying more room in my pocket.

The Palm Phone is made to assist individuals cease utilizing their telephones a lot, however is spending $350 on a supplementary phone actually higher than simply studying some self-restraint? Let’s not overlook that Android 9 Pie’s Digital Wellbeing options handle the identical considerations with out the necessity to buy a secondary gadget.

If something, I can see the Palm Phone being handy for exercises and fast grocery runs, if you’d be completely high quality with primary communication options and do not thoughts leaving your costlier phone behind. Once more, it is principally filling the identical position as a smartwatch, however some might want the smartphone type issue, and typing on a tiny phone can nonetheless be extra strong than typing on a good tinier watch show.

Palm Phone Do you have to purchase it?

If you cannot inform, I am fairly ambivalent concerning the Palm Phone in its present state. $350 is not an insignificant quantity for a phone that may’t be used on its personal, particularly one which falls brief on the fundamentals of a smartphone. There simply aren’t many causes to purchase this phone, until you actually worth the novelty of its measurement or the considerably disingenuous Palm branding.

out of 5

I like the concept the Palm Phone represents; the thought of detaching out of your phone each as soon as in a whereas and being extra within the second, with out giving up your digital life solely. I additionally love that it brings Verizon into the quantity cloning recreation, as a result of frankly it is mindless in 2018 that the majority phone numbers can solely be hooked up to at least one system at a time. However for now, I feel your cash is best spent on a smartwatch or a while administration apps.

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