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Samsung M8910 Pixon 12 - Samsung M8910 Pixon 12

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


Next to the micro-USB socket is the release button for the backplate. Pressing this pops off the tough black anodised aluminium back to reveal the battery and SIM card slot. The battery is only a 1,000mAh (3.7V) unit but we found this to be enough for taking several dozen photos and a few short video clips, listening to an hour of mp3 playback, and doing a couple of hours web browsing and general faffing over the course of three days. Samsung quotes a minimum three hrs of talk time, which is quite low, but standby time is a minimum of 250 hrs. With heavy use we think you'd have to charge this phone every other day.

The M8910's 3.1in screen uses resistive touch sensing technology so has a soft flexible surface that will be very prone to scratching. To counter this, Samsung includes a fitted case that protects the screen and most of the body of the phone, leaving just the lens and camera controls exposed. This means you could theoretically take shots without removing the case but you'll have to guess the framing of your shots and you won't be able to use the flash or LED as theses are all covered.

Responsiveness of the screen is acceptable, so typing using the onscreen keyboards is reasonably easy and the various flicking and tapping gestures required for navigating other features work well. However, it's not a patch on devices that use hard, capacitive touchscreens. Largely making up for this (though the two features don't have to be mutually exclusive) is the quality of the display. It uses AMOLED technology so delivers a really bright, vivid picture that really brings pictures and, in particular, videos to life. The 480 x 800 pixels also provide plenty of sharp detail and viewing angles are exceptional so framing scenes with the phone held above your head is quite possible.

In use the camera feels as intuitive and quick as many a dedicated compact camera. Pressing the camera power button gets you ready to take a photo in about two seconds while shot to shot time is about three seconds, though with flash this drops to around six seconds as the flash takes a while to recharge. Incidentally, lowering the picture quality doesn't seem to speed things up a great deal.

There is a continuous mode but this is a special high speed version that takes up to nine photos at 6fps and results in pictures that are only 640 x 480 pixels. There's also a panorama mode that provides a guide for taking each shot then stitches them all together automatically. Again, the end result is woefully small at only 1,280 x 960 pixels.

The Pixon 12's camera also has object tracking. This is activated by touching an object on the screen which sets the focus and exposure for that object and then dynamically maintains them as it moves around. It works well if the object is moving quite slowly but we can't imagine it being all that effective in truly fast-paced situations.

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Daniel Gerson

September 14, 2009, 4:29 pm

What about some low light/flash sample pics?


September 14, 2009, 4:49 pm

Quote: "Overall results are pretty impressive with a level of detail (in good lighting) that noticeably surpasses my own compact camera. Exposure is generally accurate, the flash is well-metered, and colours look natural."

Can you please explain what camera phone are you talking about in these two sentences, as I fail to agree on your observations looking at included sample photos? If your first sentence is correct, I'd suggest your next purchase to be a new compact camera (any but the one you already have, really), not the 500 pounds camera phone like this. Wonderful world of photography seems to have many positive surprises left on store for camera phone enthusiasts. Personally, I'm appalled by how bad the IQ is with this whooping 12MP cam phone. Exposure is only half right on the focused subject, other 8/9ths of the picture are extremely over/under-exposed with extreme chromatic aberration, using flash results in uneven lighting across the picture even at closer ranges and produces awful colour shifts, and colours don't look anything natural to anyone not suffering partial or full colour blindness. I've seen way better pictures taken with a 5 pound or less worth disposable cameras.

iain coghill

September 14, 2009, 5:56 pm

Why can't manufacturers just bung some phone electronics into one of those dinky little compact cameras that can be had for < £200? I can't see why you couldn't get decent quality pics and an ok phone for well under £250.


September 15, 2009, 5:34 am

Never mind the quality feel the megapixels.


September 15, 2009, 1:30 pm

@miha: I've added the shots I used for comparison taken with my Canon 850 IS so you can see for yourself. It is a slightly older compact camera so doesn't have some of the more sophisticated chromatic aberation removal features of many new compacts but it's still a very good camera. The Pixon clearly beats it for raw detail and pretty much equals it on every other level. Again, though, this only really counts in good lighting.

As for flash, considering the size of flash you can expect to get on a phone, its results are very impressive (the sample shot was taken in a nearly completely dark room).

Obviously the Pixon's not perfect but is it good enough to replace a basic cheap compact? Arguably, yes. Your comment to the contrary (better pictures taken with a 5 pound or less worth disposable cameras) is utter rubbish.

@Iain: Three things:

1. I'm not sure that many people would actually buy such a device.

2. I think it really is easier said than done. You'd end up with quite a bulky device.

3. It would cost a damn site more than £250 if you wanted half the features of a modern phone. You could argue that they drop all the fancy stuff and just make it have really basic phone features that do only add £50 to the cost of the camera but then who would want such a basic device? I'd personally rather just have the camera and a slightly more feature rich phone.

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