Samsung Pixon Preview

Introduction and Design
This is an unlocked GSM phone which can operate in the
US on AT&T (without 3G) and T-Mobile (without 3G).

It’s an 8-megapixel camera, it’s a multimedia player… it’s the new Samsung Pixon. The latest model from the Korean company falls in the highest-class and is a direct rival to the Renoir by LG. It’s also one of the many contenders for the title “King of the multimedia phones”, which is currently held by the iPhone. Under the Pixon’s hood you’ll find many features, including an 8-megapixel camera marketed as “better than an actual camera” and multiple video file formats in order to play clips without having to convert them.

Since we have a prototype, we’ll make preview instead of a review and will not get into details. Expect our review as soon as we get a final unit.


The Pixon is advertised as the slimmest 8-megapixel phone, though certainly not the slimmest of all. iThough it shares the same form-factor as the iPhone and OMNIA, the Pixon is considerably thicker than its two rivals. Unfortunately today’s technology has not reached the level needed to hide an 8-megapixel module and a whole bunch of extras in an extremely slim body. Do not think that Pixon is “fat”, but it doesn’t have the same profile as the fashion conscious phones on the market. Since the lens and the bottom are also protruding (resembling a regular camera), when placed next to INNOV8 it is nearly as thick, but feels slimmer in the hand.

You can compare the Samsung Pixon with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The overall appearance of the phone is characterized by its form factor and reminds us of other models with large displays, taking up most of the face of the phone. In our case, it is 3.2”, with a 240x400 resolution standard for a wide screen and support of only 262k colors. It’s kinda strange that Samsung, known for its beautiful displays, doesn’t offer 16 million colors as in iPhone, and 64 times less.

The Pixon primarily uses touch for its input method, but there are physical SEND and END keys. They are small but protruding and very well distinguished by touch. There’s a small round button between them, which in contrast to OMNIA’s optical mouse can only be pressed. In most cases, it is used to take you a step back.

The majority of buttons are located on the rugged sides. On the left we have the Hold (used for locking) and Shortcut keys.  There is also a microSD card slot, covered by a lid. The right side houses the only easy to spot side key – the camera trigger. You’ll see the rest of the camera buttons; one for switching to different modes, and the digital zoom rocker (also used as a volume rocker of course). The top side houses the charger connector, which surprisingly is not microUSB but Samsung’s proprietary one also used for headphones and data cable.

Samsung Pixon Video Preview:

Samsung Pixon 360 Degrees View:


In contrast to OMNIA, the Pixon is not a smartphone and uses software similar to the one used in F480. We weren’t happy with it when we did the review, but at first glance here, we noticed some changes so we’ll see what’s the story now. 

The homescreen has widgets, which have the same functions as in previous models, but some of the applications have been modified. There are also a few additional ones, which act as shortcuts to various applications, including alarms, messages, calculator and Bluetooth.

The menu style is almost identical to the one seen in the TouchWiz phones with colorful icons, reminding us of the “Care Bears” cartoon. You’ll have to “live in the cartoon”, because there is no option to change the theme. It looks like the discontent we expressed from the F480’s interface has been addressed, and now scrolling in the lists is done in the same way everywhere. Moreover, the phonebook not only has more options but is much more user-friendly than before, although still a few steps behind the competition. The text input methods have also been enhanced with a large QWERTY in landscape mode and handwriting recognition.

Anyways, we won’t get into details about the boring menus in this preview. This phone should be bought for fun, right? The Pixon’s key features are the camera, video, music, Internet.

In the first aspect the Pixon is a serious contender, breathing down the necks of the leaders. It not only has an 8-megapixel camera but is also equipped with a plethora extras, and its interface- identical to OMNIA’s- is very good as well. Despite being somewhat unpolished and not fitting the rest of the software, it is very convenient to use and should be an example for all other touchscreen cameraphones. It is loaded with options that will play nicely to the high tech junkies:  face detection, smile shot, 13 scenes, panorama, macro, white balance, effects and ISO adjustment. Even though we will not rate the productivity, we would like to mention how surprised we were with the almost instantaneous recording of the 8-megapixel pictures. We hope this will be still present in the final models.

The camera is top notch, but how does the phone perform as a personal multimedia player?  The iPhone’s key feature  is that it’s “the best iPod ever” and the quality video playback on the 3.5” screen.  Despite its many options, the Pixon’s music player is not that attractive. It’s relatively easy to use, but it looks rather old-school and will not wow anyone. We are sure that you want to know about the sound quality but we’ll wait for a final unit to give our opinion. Good news for all music fans is the presence of a 3.5 mm adapter for headphones. Just like the BEAT Еdition phones, here we have the music recognition; like TrackID in Sony Ericsson, a short sample is recorded from the radio or via the mic and is sent to the web for analysis. Then, the server sends you the artist and song name.

The OMNIA has an advantage over iPhone with its video codec support, allowing the user to play many different video formats without having to convert the files. The Pixon,  which Samsung wants to be the ultimate fun phone, also includes generous file format support. The preliminary information did not mention XviD support, but it came out that it is available for playback as well as DivX. We have to mention that although there are Google applications in the menus, there’s no built-in YouTube player. What a pity!

We were hoping to see a good web browser that would be competitive with  iPhone and Windows Mobile phones using Opera Mobile 9.5, but the Pixon fails to deliver. The browser is not user-friendly and had some rendering issues, including it with PhoneArena. We hope this is only a problem of the prototype, which will be fixed by mid October when the phone will be released in France. Right now, the browser performs worse than the Symbian S60 browser (seen in INNOV8) and even some mid-level Internet oriented models.

We are optimists about the future of Samsung Pixon. It may not be slim and it lacks a WOW factor, but the camera has the potential to be the best of the best, the multimedia capabilities seem to be very good and the rest of the functionality is OK. Unfortunately, there are some elements such as the mediocre browser, the ugly musical player and the lack of customization/personalization options of the menu.

Expect our review of Samsung Pixon once a final unit becomes available!

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