February 9, 2019

Verizon Combo Review: Pixel 3 and Palm

This is probably my most random review yet: Verizon sent me two devices to simultaneously review. For a couple of weeks I got to try out the Google Pixel 3 and the Palm device. You heard me correctly when I said “Palm”. Here is what I thought of these smartphones…

So why did I only post the review chart for the Palm smartphone? Because the Pixel 3 is almost 100% identical to the Pixel 3 XL, other than its appearance. If you’ve read my review on the Pixel 3 XL, you’ll recall I gave it the high rating it deserved. I gave it an 8.3 out of 10. The main factor driving that rating is, as you’d probably expect, the camera.

The one downside that I found to the Pixel 3 XL was the NOTCH. The Pixel 3 doesn’t have that sad, ugly notch, so that’s great. The negative I found with the Pixel 3 was the lack of screen brightness when I needed it, and the battery life. They both just weren’t there when I needed them. Although, the standby battery life on the Pixel 3 was fantastic.

Now that I’ve got the ugly out of the way for the Pixel 3, lets talk about why it’s still a kick ass phone and why you should buy it!

Form Factor: The Pixel 3 has an awesome, pocket able form factor that still leaves you with a smartphone big enough to complete any task. I’m the guy that always wants a phablet phone too, but the Pixel 3 somehow was enough for me.

Screen: You can probably tell that the screen isn’t the brightest if you’re looking at the below photo. I was just standing next to a window, with moderate light. Even then, I had to crank up the screen brightness. Outside on a sunny day, you’d better find a shaded area.

Camera: Obviously this smartphone’s camera destroys all others that I’ve reviewed (other than it’s bigger brother, the Pixel 3 XL). The photos that the Pixel 3 smartphones can capture in low-light (let alone a moving vehicle like this photo below) are unbelievable. I’m not kidding! Here’s a photo from my moving vehicle in downtown Detroit, MI at 2:30 am.

2:33 a.m. Are you Kidding me? My Point-and-shoot can’t do photos this well in low-light.

Conclusions: Even with the not-so-great screen brightness, because of the phone excelling in all other areas, I still recommend it. Everyone that buys a phone asks me about the camera. You don’t have to worry about the camera on the Pixel 3.

As of this post, Verizon is giving $300 off for some phones (No Trade-in Required, unlike other carriers!). Check out the Verizon Pixel 3 page to see if it’s still available!

Here’s a screen grab of that promotion I’m referring to:

Palm Phone

Palm is back: Not really. The name is though. If you’ve stepped foot into a Verizon store in recent months, there’s a chance that this little phone caught your eye (and confused the hell out of you). What is it…and…why..is it?

Let me give you a very recent history on why Palm still exists. In short, they used to be huge, they started to die off, they were bought by H.P., who then basically killed the brand, but then sold the Palm trademark to the Chinese TCL Corporation. This is the same corporation that manufacturers the Blackberry smartphones.

Why in the heck would anyone need this phone? The idea behind the Palm is that it’s supposed to act as a companion to your primary smartphone, so that you can leave your main addiction behind for a little while. Think of it as a replacement for your smartphone while you do things such as going for a run, shopping for groceries, etc.

You’re now probably wondering, “How in the heck will someone get a hold of me if there’s an emergency?”. That’s where Verizon’s “NumberShare” comes to the rescue. You can receive texts and phone calls to the same number, on both phones! That’s pretty neat.

After realizing how cool NumberShare sounds, I still defaulted back to “Why in the heck would anyone need this phone?”. Verizon’s explanation is for users to “live in the moment” and not miss out on the world around you. I have to say that this is a really good angle because, while I’m sure many of us would hate to admit, we’re addicted to our smartphones.

The Palm phone aims to help you live in the moment with its unique “Life Mode”. It’s a unique Palm feature that lets you stay connected (minimally) by minimizing digital distractions. In my opinion, it doesn’t seem too far off from Do Not Disturb mode, or something that a Google Play store app could handle, such as “Help me Focus”. Apps like this help you block out distracting apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Perhaps installing an app isn’t enough for some users, and forcing yet another device into their hands could be the answer. I don’t think it’s for me, though, and here’s why:

Form Factor: It’s tiny, and I feel like I’m going back to the iPhone 4s days (which I don’t want to relive). I get it, I’m not supposed to use this device heavily, but I can’t help myself and I’m an addict. Alright, seriously I think that the Palm performs basic functions just fine. Phone calls are clear, crisp, and the loudspeaker even sounds good on this thing. Here’s some video footage of that:

Screen: The screen is not the brightest. But remember: You’re not supposed to be using this device a lot – its purpose is to help you avoid distraction. “I can’t see my screen; Guess I shouldn’t be using it anyway”. Alright, I’m sort of kidding. It’s still a cool device and feels solid and built with quality. I’d expect that, being that it’s built from the company that works with Blackberry.

Camera: I was surprised this phone even had a camera, being that it’s supposed to not be used a bunch. Nowadays, a camera is a necessity item that just about every person has. Remember when you could often buy a phone without a camera? This camera is not good. Android Police posted a great review on this phone with some better photos than I could snap. I honestly could not get a good photo captured with this phone.

Conclusions: If you read what I just wrote above, you already probably assumed that I’m not recommending the Palm phone. It’s just a gimmick in my opinion. I am happy that Verizon carries devices that you can find for just about anyone, though. If you’re interested in the Palm phone, I do think that it’s an interesting concept, and you can buy it directly from Verizon here.

I don’t think it’d be a bad idea to visit your nearest Verizon store to check out the demo of this phone for yourself. At least try it before you buy it. Thanks for checking out my review!