Samsung Pixon Preview

Software:

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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