Object-tracking capability lets you specify what you want to focus on -- your subject's face, for example -- with the tap of a finger. It did a good job of staying locked onto the subject even when we moved the camera around, as long as we kept our motion smooth and slow.
Typical touchscreen phone
Other than the camera-like looks of its rear, the Pixon 12 reminds us of the Samsung Jet. Instead of the Jet's jewel-like home button, the Pixon 12 has a staid black button, but it keeps the Jet's resistive touchscreen, and we're not fans. Resistive touchscreens require some pressure to make them respond, and they feel rather squishy, so they seem less responsive than capacitive touchscreens, like that of the iPhone. You often need to press the screen with a fingernail, rather than a fingertip, to get the phone to respond.
We wouldn't call the Pixon 12 unresponsive, but it isn't as quick and smooth as we'd like. For example, switching between the three home screens via a swipe of the finger takes too long, and it also takes a few moments for widgets to appear. The home screen can be filled with Samsung's selection of widgets, and some are fun and useful, like the widget that controls the music player. But most of them aren't worth bothering with. For example, the Facebook widget is just a link to the Web page, and doesn't help you update your status or display live updates. Unfortunately, there's no way to lock the widgets in place, and we often accidentally moved them when we were trying to slide around the home screens.
The Pixon 12's average responsiveness isn't helped by its occasionally awkward user interface. For instance, it's great to have a choice of a Qwerty keyboard in landscape mode and an alphanumeric one in portrait mode, and both keyboards worked accurately for us, but why give the button that switches languages equal real estate on the screen to the other keys, which are likely to be used much more often? If you frequently switch between languages, you might love this feature, but, for the average user, it's a bad UI decision.
The Pixon 12 features plenty of Samsung's UI innovations that we've seen on earlier phones, like the option to unlock the phone by tracing a letter on the screen, launching an application at the same time. There's also an address book that uses photos instead of text -- you tag faces and link them to numbers. But these features tended to fall flat when we actually used them, taking more time and trouble to set up than they saved.
On the other hand, we like the Pixon 12's bright and beautiful AMOLED screen, and photos look sharp and gorgeous on the display. It also packs Wi-Fi, HSDPA and HSUPA for fast data over 3G, which is great for uploading those huge, 12-megapixel photos. Our model came with a 2GB microSD card on-board, and the Pixon 12 supports cards of up to 16GB.
The camera-like appearance of Samsung's Pixon 12 M8910 flagship camera phone could tempt you to chuck out your compact snapper. But its xenon flash, which helps to produce excellent photos in low light, is also its downfall, since the phone often fails to capture a picture when the flash isn't ready. It's frustrating, and, since a camera phone's strength should be its readiness to snap that spontaneous gurn, celebrity or Loch Ness Monster shot, it's a major flaw. Besides its camera, the Pixon 12 is an average touchscreen phone.
Edited by Charles Kloet