The world's first commercially available 12 megapixel GSM handset, Samsung M8910 Pixon12, sports a maximum image resolution of 4000 x 3000 pixels. It's an autofocus unit, of course, and there is both xenon and LED flash unit on board. Those give the Pixon12 both the extra light output in extreme darkness and the video light functionality that's otherwise impossible with the xenon flash. You asked and we delivered - we've prepared a quick flash comparison between the Samsung Pixon12 and the Sony Ericsson C905. The photo is taken at a 2-meter distance.
Samsung M8910 Pixon12 is the second handset to sport 28mm (in 35mm terms) wide-angle lens after the Nokia N86 8MP. Again, for those of you unfamiliar with the material we will explain that the 28mm lens gives you roughly 20 percent larger angle of view when looking through the viewfinder. Due to the multiple requests, we will do quick comparison between the two cameraphones in the full review that's due next week despite the fact that we don't consider the N86 8MP fit enough for a heads-to-heads.
The Pixon12 is pretty well geared when it comes to software features too. The anti-shake digital image stabilization, geotagging and viewfinder gridlines are all here and so are face detection, smile shot and blink detection. The ISO sensitivity can go as high as 1600 but you will hardly end up with any usable photos at that setting.
The Pixon12 sports a Smart auto mode, which picks the best scene preset according to the shooting conditions and the subject much like the LG GC900 Viewty Smart (it was called Intelligent shot by LG). Compared to the regular auto mode the Smart auto gives the phone control over many more of the phone settings such as contrast, color balance, saturation, etc. thus tweaking the output (probably favorably) to a far greater extent.
Finally, the Samsung M8910 Pixon12 is the first handset to feature tracking touch focus. All you need to do is hold your finger over the subject you want to focus on and watch as the crosshairs follows it on the viewfinder. Once you press the shutter key, it will focus on it and proceed to capture the actual shot.
The user interface is about camera interface is just about the same as on the original Samsung Pixon. Nicely touch optimized and surely one of the most comfortable camera interfaces on a touchscreen device so far, it also excels in terms of speed.
Furthermore the image saving process is also very quick as a 12MP photo only takes slightly more than a second to be recorded. With the automatic preview turned off, this could lead to some remarkable shot to shot time.
We are pretty impressed with the Samsung M8910 Pixon12 image quality. We even had the nerve to make an impromptu shootout between it and the good old Canon 350D DSLR camera. The point-and-shoot A610 was also thrown in the party. You can check it out over here in our yesterday's article.
Having spent an extra day with the Pixon12 now, we are able to put it against some more proper competition. Of course a more proper shootout is still planned for our upcoming review but those comparisons should be enough to give you a first impression. Ours seems positive with no major defects visible anywhere (except perhaps the unusually increased noise in the darker parts of the sky) and the well balanced output. Compared to its S8300 UltraTOUCH and i8510 INNOV8 siblings it does look like a winner.
And here go some more Pixon12 camera photos for you to enjoy.
We also took a couple of shots to test Samsung Pixon12's camera low light performance. Seems pretty good for a cameraphone, right?
The video recording of the Samsung M8910 Pixon12 failed to impress us as much as its still image quality. It manages D1 videos at 30 fps but the quality isn't anywhere near the best Samsung have pulled off recently.
And we aren't even talking the HD-capable Samsung Omnia HD here. The Samsung Pixon12 isn't even close to the S8300 UltraTOUCH, which is admittedly one of the best in the D1 category. We can pretty much say the VGA@30fps video by Nokia N86 8MP is also better than the Pixon12 results.
Now don't get us wrong here - it's not that bad with the videos turning out usable on most occasions, it's just that we were in for a "wow" rather than an "oh" effect. The colors are washed out, and the resolved resolution can hardly be called high (and you can tell the video bitrate is almost 4x lower than the one of S8300 videos). We guess the still camera raised the bar too much for us.
Here is a sample video taken with the Samsung M8910 Pixon12 camera so you can see for yourselves whether you like it or not.
Samsung are clearly on the hunt for the top all-in-one mobile and the Pixon12 seems a nice step forward. And when you consider it should hit the European market this very month, we can understand the users excitement and the pressure is all on us and our fellow tech journalists to make it clear what the Pixon12 is worth. The steep price (rumored at 639 euro in Spain) puts the Pixon12 in a quite unfavorable position of either ruling all current high-end handsets (Samsung's own inclusive) or fade into oblivion as a mere proof of concept than anything else.
The Samsung Pixon12 is not a smartphone such as the Sony Ericsson Satio or even the Omnia HD. Instead it runs the all new TouchWiz 2.0 interface. More beautiful and user-friendly than ever before, the new user interface is pitched by Samsung as "smarter than a smartphone". And they might have a point there - much like the Samsung S8000 Jet, there's some serious hardware in there and the whole device is as fast as you may want. There's full featured multi-tasking as well, along with a GPS navigation software and the spanking new WebKit-based web browser developed by Samsung themselves.
We gotta admit, camera or not, the Pixon12 packs quite a punch, but if you are really into expanding your handset capabilities with third-party applications, a non-smartphone won't do it. For everything else, the Samsung Pixon12 and its TouchWiz UI 2.0 is pretty much enough by our books.
Now we know we may have stepped over the line here and produced a rather elated preview (much like the one yesterday), but that's partly due to the fact that we really excited by the Pixon12 (something quite rare for a bunch of tech editors that have mobile phones for breakfast and lunch), and also because we tend to leave our nit-picking goggles behind when we're working on such preview articles (those do come up when we do our reviews).