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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