By October 31, 2009

Samsung Pixon12 Review

The Samsung M8910 Pixon12 is deemed to be one of the best camera phones around at the moment. Taking great photos with a mobile phone is a huge bonus but can the Pixon12 deliver in other areas or is the camera all its good for?

Pixon12-angled-left

Samsung M8910 Pixon12

What’s in the box:

  • Samsung Pixon12 Handset
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Plastic Case
  • Manuals/Software
  • Headphones
  • 2GB MicroSD Card and adapter

See also Matt’s Samsung Pixon 12 unboxing video on site.

 

The ten second review:

Device: Samsung M8910 Pixon12

Price: £454.25

Summary: A fantastic camera phone with lots of other features too.
Best of: Camera, Wi-Fi, 3G

Worst of: No 3.5mm headset jack

 

Samsung Pixon12 specification:

  • Display – AMOLED, 16M colours, 3.1"
  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 (Quad-Band)
  • 3G: 900/2100 HSDPA (Dual-Band)
  • Connectivity – microUSB
  • TV Out
  • Bluetooth (2.1)
  • WiFi
  • MicroSD
  • Camera – 12 Megapixel resolution
  • Xenon Flash
  • 5 x Digital Zoom
  • Auto Focus
  • Brightness Adjust
  • Video- Hi-Resolution DVD Video Recording 30fps Video Recording (720 x 480)
  • Supported formats: MP4, 3GP, H.264, H.263, DivX & XviD
  • FM Stereo Radio (RDS)
  • Windows Media Player Sync
  • DNSe (Digital Natural Sound engine)
  • Battery – Capacity: 1000 mAh
  • Dimensions – 107.9 x 53 x 13.8 mm
  • Weight – 119g with battery

 

General:

On the top of the device is the USB slot and a small clip for removing the battery.

Pixon12-top

Samsung M8910 Pixon12 Top

The left hand side houses the microSD card and also the lock button.

Pixon12-left

Samsung M8910 Pixon12 Left Side

Situated on the right side of the handset is the camera activation button, the camera function button and also a rocker which serves as the camera zoom and also the volume up/down.

Pixon12-right

Samsung M8910 Pixon12 Right Side

The front of the Pixon12 looks fairly typical Samsung with send/end keys, a menu button and on the top a second camera lens.

Pixon12-front

Samsung M8910 Pixon12 Front

A huge camera lens and the Xenon and LED flash are located on the rear. (Sticker can be removed).

Pixon12-back

Samsung M8910 Pixon12 Rear

 

Highlights:

  • Camera
  • Wi-Fi/3G
  • Music Player

 

Lowlights:

No 3.5 mm headset jack

 

Review:

Taking the Samsung M8910 Pixon12 out of the box for the first time I was amazed how much it looked like a digital camera. I suppose that’s the idea though! The device feels okay in the hand but not great as it has that blooming great camera lens on the back which protrudes. The phone feels fairly weighty and sturdy. Its mainly made from plastic but has a nice chrome strip around its outside which adds to its looks.

Now, I would imagine that most people who are reading this are probably interested in the camera so I am going to cover this first.

It was terrible. Only joking, sorry!  It was actually pretty amazing. It took pictures very quickly and was easy to use. The camera interface is the same as on other Samsung devices and you have a big selection of settings options. Within the “shooting mode” you have the choice of Single, beauty, smile, continuous, panorama and vintage. In the “scene” settings you have even more. These include portrait, landscape, night, sports, party/indoor, beach/snow, sunset, dawn, fall (autumn), firework, text, candlelight and against light. Samsung clearly want you to produce really great photographs and I’m sure all the options will help but I tend to just stick with the auto mode and get reasonable results.

The flash works in two parts and works really well. Initially when you press the camera button half way down to focus, the LED flash illuminates the target. When you press the button all the way down to take the shot the Xenon flash then kicks in and gives fantastic results. Its without doubt the best flash I have used on a phone.

Like most cameras on phones you don’t have to use the highest mega pixel setting and there are plenty of lower options. The higher the mega pixel the more space the photo takes up on your storage card. This also means that emailing a 12MP photo will use more data than emailing a smaller sized photo.

Below is a couple of sample shots taken at the full 12MP. Click on the thumbnail to see full size.

Geese Goose

Photos taken with Samsung M8910 Pixon12

The macro setting was also impressive. Samples below.

 Photo0051

Macro

The video camera option was not as good as the actual camera but still one of the best I have used on a phone. My favorite bit was that it had a slow motion setting.

For a sample video please click here.

 

On to the rest of the device as it does quite a lot.

The Samsung M8919 Pixon12 uses Samsungs Touchwiz interface which is nice. I’m not going to go into too much detail as its been around for sometime and if you are a regular reader of the site you would have seen it included in my Samsung Jet, Omnia HD and  Omnia II review. But like these devices the Pixon12 has three home screens that are all customizable.

Like on the other TouchWiz devices the menu on the Pixon12 is made up of three screens and the icons look bright and colourful set on a black background. Its a fantastic menu.

The device as a phone is good. The onscreen dialer takes up about three quarters of the screen so dialing is easy. The screen is super responsive and makes light work of typing really quick.

The phonebook is pretty nice too. There are two ways of searching for contacts. The first is by part typing the contacts name and the second is to use the scroll bar on the right hand side of the screen. This lets you zoom down your contact list from A-Z. If you haven’t got a million contacts this second way is really nice.

Each contact can have a good amount of information stored and also a photo.

The Pixon12 comes with a plastic case supplied. It smells of fish! It feels really cheap but the strange thing about it is that it has a cut out for the camera lens so you can take pictures with it in the case. Now this sounds great but while its in its case the screen is hidden. Why would you want to point the camera at something and not be able to see what you are taking a picture of. Well I thought its was odd anyway!

Messaging on the Samsung Pixon12 is fairly pleasant. Setting up email is easy and the email client does its job. You can only download a maximum of 5mb per email so big files are out of the window but 5mb is big enough for most things emailed.

Text messaging is as expected. The big bonus when messaging is the Pixon onscreen keyboard. Not only can you use it in portrait mode but also in landscape and when you switch to landscape the keyboard turns from the standard phone pad into a full qwerty. The keys are slightly smaller in this mode but still a decent size and I was able to type with few mistakes. The screen also gives you some haptic feedback which feels great.

The web browser on the Samsung M8910 Pixon12 is not the best but its not bad. It can be used in portrait or landscape mode and the screen scrolls smoothly. The browser does not support flash so some moving images will not appear on the screen which is a shame but this is not a smartphone. One thing I was impressed with though was that you can have five different pages open at the same time and tab between them. I cant do this on my smartphone!

As the Pixon12 supports 3G and also Wi-Fi this ensures you will be getting the best browsing speeds possible.

Listening to music on the M8910 Pixon12 was just as good as I thought it would be. Using the external speaker the quality was not great but using the supplied headphones was fantastic. I have mentioned this before but I think Samsung make amazing in-ear headphones. The only downside on the Pixon12 is there is no 3.5mm headset jack. Samsung have kindly supplied an adaptor so at least you can use your own headphones if you want to, but again the Samsung ones are cool. It also comes Bluetooth A2DP which means if you have a pair of wireless headphones you can use there to listen to your music.

The music player interface is fairly standard. The on screen buttons are a decent size and its really easy to use.

Watching videos on the Pixon12 is pleasant. The interface is the same as on other Samsung devices and is dead simple to use. The picture quality is reasonable but not amazing. The bonus here is that it does support DivX. I didn’t have any videos in this format but I’m sure this will improve the quality immensely.

The device comes with all the normal features you would expect to find such as a converter, calculator, Memos, a time etc.

 

Conclusion

Overall the Samsung M8910 Pixon is a decent handset. If you take a lot of photos with your phone and want the best quality then this device is well worth a look. Its not as good as a digital camera but its by far the best camera phone I have used.

I personally feel that this device is most suited to someone who wants the camera features more than the phone. As a phone its no way as nice as the Samsung Jet or Omnia II but it does have a great camera. If Samsung put this camera on other devices they would be kicking butt!

Review by: James

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

Five year veteran of the site. BlackBerry specialist, but experienced in most operating systems. Enjoys flower arranging and cross stitch.
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