Samsung M8910 Pixon12 preview 2: Some sequels are better
Music player is slightly refreshed
The music player usually found on Samsung devices has received a slight face-lift before being implemented on the M8910 Pixon12. It sports slightly different icons when browsing your tracks and a new way of displaying the album art in the Now Playing mode.
The music player allows filtering tracks by author, album, and genre. Automatic playlists (recently added, most played etc.) are also generated and can subsequently be used as filters. If that doesn't seem enough, you can create your own custom playlists. The music player can naturally be minimized to play in the background.
The equalizer offers the standard presets like pop, jazz, classic, etc. but it also has some more special options - WOW HD, music clarity and externalization. There is also a virtual 5.1 Dolby enhancement which can only be applied when headphones are plugged in.
Continuing our trip down the road, the three different visualizations are a nice touch to the music player and the album browser (quite like the one on Omnia HD) takes after Apple's Cover Flow, something we quite appreciate.
Gallery has a new face
In unison with the other recent Samsung handsets, the M8910 Pixon12 has two different picture galleries. They are both optimized for touch operation and are very user-friendly and this time each sports a cool new view mode.
The first is an inherent part of the file manager and accessing it is as simple as opening any folder that contains images. It allows sorting your images by date, type, name, and size.
The gallery offers grid, list and a nicely looking zig-zag view layouts. The last one is definitely the most fun to use of the three but it is also certainly the least functional as you need to do quite a lot of scrolling in some folders.
Going through 12 megapixel images is quite fast with the Pixon12, we're just amazed how quickly it's ticking. We've hardly seen a Samsung handset listing so numerous thumbnails in a folder so fast.
Once you open an individual image, you can sweep you fingers across the screen to see the next images without having to return to the image list. Alternating portrait and landscape modes is automatic thanks to the built-in accelerometer.
Samsung have also implemented the so-called one-finger zooming, which recently was revisited in the Samsung press materials. It's marketed as a new feature, but it's been around for quite some time already on the original Samsung i900 Omnia. This however is the first time we see it implemented on a feature phone.
Zooming is extra simple and takes only a single move of your thumb - you just need to hold it on the screen for a second and then drag up or down for zooming in or out. This method works in both galleries (and the web browser) and at first glance it even seems more convenient than the pinching gesture on the iPhone.
The alternative to the picture gallery is the Media browser (as opposed to the Photo browser found in the previous Samsung handsets). It has its dedicated icon in the main menu and is the quickest way of accessing you images.
Beside the regular grid view, the Media browser adds another cool view mode which is pretty convenient for flipping tons of images with your finger, while getting a tiny preview of each one of them at the same time.
As usual the two galleries also have another Samsung proprietary accelerometer-based feature. It lets you browse pictures in fullscreen landscape mode by simply tilting your phone to its sides.
The sensitivity of the tilt scrolling has been improved to a point that it is acceptable and normally usable. It is a great improvement over the rather annoying implementation in previous handsets that we have tested. But still, that feature is among the less practical and most meaningless things we've seen in image gallery ever since it was first introduced on the original Pixon.
Web browser closes on perfection
Samsung M8910 Pixon12 and the Samsung S8000 Jet are the two pioneers of the new WebKit-based Dolfin web browser, which is an in-house developed application. With full Flash support and the new one-finger zooming algorithm it is one of the finest web browsers we have seen so far (especially on a feature phone).
The new web browser supports allows up to 5 pages to be open at the same time. Multiple downloads in the background are also supported and there is also a built-in AdBlocker.
The one-finger zooming works like a charm too. Of course you can also rely on double tapping a block of text or an image and the handset will automatically zoom in to it. Another double tap and you are back to the previous zoom level.
In addition to the Flash and Java support, the new web browser also offers kinetic scrolling and fullscreen view mode.
In all fairness, the kinetic scrolling is somewhat bumpy and not as smooth as on the iPhone but it still does the job.