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Samsung M8910 Pixon 12 - Samsung M8910 Pixon 12

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


The latest favourite, Smile Shot, is also present and works a treat. This detects faces then waits for everyone to break out a lovely smile before taking the shot. The last two modes are Beauty, which is essentially conventional face detection that adjusts exposure and white balance to make skin look as beautiful as possible, and Natural, which applies a vignetting effect to make pictures look like an antique photo.

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. We still maintain that 12-megapixels is excessive for a simple point-and-shoot camera, though. While detail may be better than my 7-megapixel compact, the quality is still not good enough that you'd actually use it for anything more than casual snaps, in which case you could easily get away with half the resolution.

As for video, the quality is again quite impressive and the single LED has enough power to sufficiently light up close objects (i.e. enough to show up your mates' awful dancing in a dingy night club).

The overall interface has had a bit of an overhaul since the last Samsung handset I looked at, though it retains much of the same style and functionality. The main changes are in how it handles touch input, with proper finger scrolling now implemented; both portrait and landscape keyboards are supported; and menus now have a more intuitive layout. It's all subtle stuff but they combine to make a big difference to the phone's usability. If only the touchscreen itself were a little more sensitive it would be quite impressive.

One thing that lets the party down is Samsung's insistence on using widgets. These are little apps that you can fill the main screen with to give you instant access to notes, emails, favourite contacts, etc. In theory they sound quite useful but we generally find that bar a few basics like music playback controls and a Wi-Fi switch, it would be preferable to just go into the full app rather than faff around in a miniature version. This is where we think Android phones trump all others in finding this right balance of simplicity and functionality.

The web browser works well, correctly displaying complicated full size web pages. It is, however, a little slow and doesn't support flash.

While this is far from a smartphone there is email support and Microsoft Exchange syncing is possible. There's also a document viewer while other features include an FM Radio, several Java games, timer, stopwatch, world clock, calculator, converter (currency, weight, etc.), video editor, and voice recorder.


The Samsung M8910 Pixon 12 is undoubtedly the best camera phone we've used. It produces great pictures, is easy to use and has all the modern features you'd expect. However it's scratch-prone touchscreen, and a few other niggles mean it's not a phone we'd outright recommend.

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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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