Samsung M8910 Pixon12 preview 2: Some sequels are better
Shiny new TouchWiz user interface
Samsung M8910 Pixon12 comes with the latest and coolest implementation of the company proprietary TouchWiz user interface. Supported by a great performance and excellently responsive screen, the UI is probably the highest we have seen a Samsung feature phone go.
As has become customary for Samsung recently, the Pixon12 comes with a rearranged homescreen. This time around you get three different screens that you can alternate by swiping your finger to the sides. The currently selected one is indicated by the three thin lines at the top.
You can fill up each of those homescreens with as many widgets as you like but unlike the final version of Samsung S8000 Jet, which we also have handy, you get one and the same wallpaper for all screens.
Now remember those cool transition effects we shot on video in the Samsung S8000 Jet preview? Well a good portion of the styles available on the pre-release Jet back then are now available to the Pixon12 as well. The ones that lack, have not made it to the production Jet either, so the Pixon12 has all bases covered. Still, whatever has been left of them, they are still more than welcome as they give new life to the user interface, without lagging at all, which is a really nice achievement.
It's once again obvious that the Samsung Pixon12 is using hardware, which is at least as powerful as the one on the Samsung Jet.
With the Pixon12 the Photo contacts application is no longer accessed directly from the homescreen but we hardly consider this a major loss. The bunch of photos that you can add and latter use as references to your phonebook looks trendy and cool, but its practicality is arguable.
Samsung M8910 Pixon12 also comes complete with the Smart unlock feature, previously known as Gesture lock. First featured on Samsung S5600 and Samsung S5230, Smart unlock allows users to simultaneously unlock the phone and open a menu item or an application, or even dial a contact, just by drawing an alphabet letter on the unlock screen.
Each alphabet letters from A to Z can be set as a gesture by the user to perform the various actions in question. For instance, you can use it to start apps like the music player, messaging menu, the web browser, Java apps or the dialing keypad.
Unfortunately, there's no sign of the 3D cube that Jet has - we believe it was called something along the lines of… 3D Media gate. Well, we actually know it's named that way for sure as we went and checked it specifically, but still we wanted to make a point of that it's a name that hardly sticks to a cube. 3D Media... Cube, we guess, would have made a much better title. But we digress.
Text input options
The Samsung M8910 Pixon12 has all text input methods duly covered with three different options. The first one is the traditional thing - typing on a customary (albeit virtual) 3x4 alphanumeric keypad.
Tilting the phone on its side automatically converts that keypad to a full-fledged on-screen QWERTY keyboard. The 3.1" display provides enough space for this layout, especially given that the number keys and symbols are in a separate screen that toggles on and off upon a tap. Typing is really comfortable by touchscreen standards, once again the very sensitive display counting big time.
The final option is to rely on handwriting recognition. While very intuitive and precise on most cases, the lack of embedded stylus is almost taking it out as an option. If you like to have your stylus dangling on the side of the phone, it's a whole different story.