Samsung Pixon12 M8910 Review

Introduction and Design
The review unit was provided by

This is a global GSM phone. It can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile USA, but without 3G.


About a year ago, Samsung introduced the world to one gadget that aimed its attention on photography - the Samsung Pixon. In the digital camera industry, the race to see who can out do the other in trying to pack as many megapixels into their casings seems to be a trend. Although the digital camera revolutionized the way we take and view photos, the mobile phone industry is about to embark on a similar quest. Roughly one year later, the spotlight is set on the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 to become a true all-in-one gadget. Its 12-megapixel camera might be way more than what most people can swallow, but let's hope that it can penetrate the market and take off the stigma of poor image quality from camera phones.

The package contains:
•    Samsung Pixon12 M8910
•    User Manual
•    Samsung PC Stuido CD
•    2GB microSD card with adapter
•    Charger
•    USB Cable
•    Hands-free Headset
•    3.5mm headset adapter
•    Slip case


Fittingly enough, the design remains true to the original – except that it's a tiny bit slimmer (2.09” wide). At the same time, you can see some of the design elements used to make this phone imitate the standard point and shoot digital camera. The jet black plastic used for the front mixes well with the chrome border going around the phone. When you flip it over, the milled aluminum back cover and faux leather lip exemplifies its guise. We're glad to see that the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 is lighter (4.04 oz) than its predecessor (4.27 oz) and at the same time gives it a balanced weight. The quality of the materials used and overall construction is top notch – we suspect a lot of time and love went into designing this beauty.

You can compare the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Surprisingly enough, one of the few specs that was reduced on this handset from the original is the screen size. Nonetheless, the 3.1” resistive AMOLED touch screen doesn't cease to amaze us thanks to its brilliance and deep colors. Its bump in resolution to 480 x 800 pixels with 16 million colors truly makes it a sight to behold – just like what we witnessed with the Samsung Jet. Although that plastic feel is noticeable as you touch the resistive screen, we found ourselves accurately touching specific locations without any mis-presses. Dark rooms will instantly glow whenever you turn it on. Conversely, attempting to view the screen outdoors in direct sunlight posed some problems – you'll have to shield it to get a decent view.

The layout of the buttons on the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 doesn't deviate from what we've seen in the past. You'll find the milled aluminum send and end buttons on the front with the back key placed squarely in the middle – all well sized with good feedback when pressed. There's a front facing camera also found near the speaker on the front. The lock button and microSD card slot are found on the left. Most of the camera's functions are located on the right edge of the phone where the shutter, camera, and digital zoom (also used for the volume control) buttons are found. Just like what you find on a point and shoot, there are two levels to the shutter key – slightly pressing once to auto-focus and pushing it down all the way to take a shot.  Tucked away at the corner bottom is a spot to attach a lanyard so you'll always know your phone is tethered to you. On the top side is the much needed USB port to charge the phone and the latch to remove the back cover. Flipping the phone onto its back will make you realize how much it emulates the look of a regular camera. The speaker phone is hidden under the faux leather lip while the xenon and LED flashes are found next to the obvious circular shape hiding the lens. When the rear cover is removed, it exposes the battery (1000 mAh) and SIM card slot.

Samsung Pixon12 M8910 360 Degrees View:


As we've seen with the Samsung Jet, the widget-friendly TouchWiz 2.0 interface brings back some of the old with a mix of new features. The Samsung Pixon12 M8910 has to be one of the smoothest running TouchWiz handsets we've used because there is little slowdown or lag during operation. From placing widgets to the home screen to the transition effects used in moving through the menus, it's responsive and quick with little wait time. Even unlocking your phone has a unique experience attached to it because you can make a gesture on screen instead of pressing the dedicated button – it's a nice touch and beats having to hold down the button to unlock. In addition, you can assign the gestures to perform other tasks like launching an app or speed dialing a number from the locked position. We  enjoyed how well Samsung utilized transition effects throughout the phone – it adds some eye candy to the polished interface.

Speaking of home screens, there are three to move through by swiping the screen from side to side. Widgets that you place on specific screens will be retained if you go back to it – so you can essentially group them depending on your taste. The list is ever growing when it comes to the amount of widgets now offered – you can download additional to really personalize your phone.

Similarly to the latest TouchWiz devices we've used, the main menu separated into three different screens that are switched between by sliding a finger. All phone functions are available in them, which eliminates the need of sub menus (say, Organizer to host the Alarm or Calendar etc.). If you don't like the default locations of each icon, you can press the top right corner button to move them around.


There are a couple of ways you can call specific contacts in your phonebook – either the standard way of accessing them through the menus or using the photo contacts. The latter of the two makes for an alternate way of calling people by using a photo, which can be tagged for specific contacts, and then touched to make the call. Flipping through the photo contacts was smooth and responsive – requiring swiping gestures to move through the photos. The memory of the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 allows for up to 2,000 contacts with an eclectic mix of information such as phone numbers, email addresses, web sites, and nicknames, which can be added.


As with other recent TouchWiz 2.0 devices, we are greeted to the same tools that are expected to be on the device. These items include the Calendar, Alarm Clock, Timer, Stopwatch, Voice Recorder, Converter, Calculator, Memo, Task, and Wold Clock. We won't go into much detail with each one because they are the same exact ones we've seen on the Samsung Jet. Best of all, most of these tools have widgets associated to them so you can quickly launch one directly from the home screen.

Now the Samsung Pixon12 blurs the line of almost being a smartphone because of its multi-tasking capabilities. Pressing and holding down on the middle hardware button launches the task manager which shows the current running applications. There are two views that you can choose from – either the 3D view that allows you to swipe from window to window or the grid view. Being able to move between applications on this device is a plus and we found ourselves constantly using the 3D view just because it's neat looking.


Texting someone is a simple step to perform on the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 – even a novice user can pretty much figure it out after some try. The touchscreen allows for a mix of ways to input text into your message. The traditional keypad can be used when using the phone upright – turning it to its side will display the preferred QWERTY keyboard. Typing specific characters was accurate and we didn't find ourselves struggling to type away with the resistive screen. Using the alternate handwriting recognition system makes us wonder why they still allow for it to be an option. It's fairly accurate for the most part, but we did find ourselves struggling to keep pace. So we highly recommend staying away from having to resort to this form of inputting text. Finally, you can add media like sounds, pictures, or video to give it a personalized touch.

We're sometimes spoiled with certain email applications loaded on a device – they typically require you to input your email address and password. From there, it would automatically find the settings for the email client and you're complete. For the Pixon12, there are additional pieces of information needed, like server addresses, before it's completely set up. Once we got past all that, using email on the phone was a simple process.

There's an Exchange ActiveSync app on the phone which can be used to synchronize contacts and email. Unfortunately we were unable to use it during our testing. It's a nice touch and goes hand in hand with the phone's smartphone like capabilities.

Sadly though, the lack of having any instant messaging applicationsloaded with the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 leaves us with a sour feeling. Granted there are a few social networking widgets, like Facebook and Myspace,  which launches the browser to get into the mobile friendly version of the sites. You can even access additional sites like Friendster, Flickr, and Photobucket from the Communities icon.

There isn't a true turn-by-turn GPS application preloaded with the Pixon12. Instead, you do have Google Maps on there for a simple solution – it provides directions to specific addresses or find points of interests around your location.


Seeing we were using an unlocked version of the Samsung Pixon12, its quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and dual-band UMTS (900/2100 MHz) allowed us to use it on AT&T's network. Although it doesn't support the US 3G bands, we were still able to use EDGE on the device.

Samsung has made some improvements with the web browser, which we can confidently say makes it an enjoyable experience. Putting aside some minor issues like requiring double taps to launch a link, the overall experience made it stand above the crowd. The Webkit based browser provides for Flash support, smooth scrolling, and manual zooming enabled by holding down the screen. With the crisp AMOLED screen and high resolution, web pages were meticulously loaded perfectly which rivals some of the best mobile web browsers. Even on EDGE connection, it took under a minute to load complex web sites like ours – while Wi-Fi produced faster load times of course.

The Wi-Fi application of the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 uses the same layout as the Bluetooth app that we've seen on previous TouchWiz  phones. After enabling Wi-Fi, you can search for nearby networks which pop up according to your location. From there you can select one and input specific settings to connect to it. Similarly, the Bluetooth app runs the same way and enables you to connect wireless headsets or send information to another device.


So we've finally come to the part where the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 is probably going to leave its mark. The manufacturer has somehow managed to fit in that 12-megapixel sensor and lens into the phone and has still kept the size of the whole thing quite similar to the original.

From an off or locked position, you can quickly get into the camera application by pressing the dedicated camera button – it allows for catching the perfect moments instantly. It loads up in 3 seconds and we are then greeted to the interface we've seen used on other Samsung TouchWiz phones. There's a good amount of options you can modify to fine tune your picture taking – from shooting and scene modes, resolution, ISO levels, effects, white balance, and image quality. There are some things thrown in that can be considered as a novelty feature like blink detection and smile shots. Even when taking photos at the maximum resolution, the Pixon12 manages to take them in a timely fashion so you can quickly take another one right after. With the flash on, it took a mere 3 seconds before the camera was ready to take another photo.

We predominantly used the camera on automatic setting and compared it to an 8-megapixel Canon PowerShot A590 IS camera.

For the most part, we were impressed with how the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 accurately reproduced colors – boasting more subtle colors in almost every lighting condition than the Canon. We're amazed at how well the Xenon flash aids in making photos look realistic – very rarely did images look too over-exposed and worked great in pitch black condition indoors. Photo quality was on par with what the dedicated Canon camera produced – so images were extremely detailed. Even after taking a picture and then zooming into the image, you can clearly view almost every detail without any loss in clarity. Setting the phone on macro mode will enable just about anyone to take closeup shots that look professional – believe us when we say that every nook and cranny of an object is painstakingly detailed. Overall, we did enjoy at how versatile the Pixon12 proves to be a quick point and shoot camera – It's more than capable of capturing the moment elegantly.

With the bump in specs, as well as the addition of a Xenon flash and Power LED, photos taken on the Pixon12 are definitely good enough to replace your typical standalone point and shoot camera.

The fun doesn't stop with taking images, as video quality more than lived up to our expectations. Sure you can take low quality videos for MMS use, but the Pixon 12 allows for video recording up to 720 x 480 pixels. While it would have been totally cool if it supported HD resolution video capturing,  even at that level, videos came out smooth with no stutter when transitioning from various lighting conditions. They were highly detailed and colors looked rich – we were just blown away at how usable it is. Samsung throws in some other goodies for the wanna be movie maker in you – there's an option for slow motion that records video at a high frame rate. All the while the usual laundry list of video options are available to you as well. Sound from the recorded videos was audible without any background distortion.

Samsung Pixon12 M8910 sample videos at 720x480 pixels resolution - Sample 1, Sample 2


There's an obvious change in the presentation of the music player that Samsung aimed to modify in order to catch up with the times. At its core, the standard player is found which has on-screen commands to fast forward, rewind, or pause/play a song while displaying the track title, artist, elapsed time, and cover art.  You can opt to turn some nice visualizations as a song is played or fine tune how it sounds with the equalizer settings. When you turn the phone to its side in landscape view, it changes it to a familiar cover flow-esque mode – enabling you to move through album cover arts to play a track. It's a nice fit, but lacks the smooth scrolling found on the iPhone. Audio sounded a little weak with the speaker phone, but you can manually select a specific equalizer option to get the best results. Even though it didn't pack any punch in power, it was still audible and didn't produce too much crackling on the highest volume setting.

After loading up two movie trailers in MPEG4 320 x 240 and H.264 720 x 306 formats, we found them all to run quickly without any hiccups. They were detailed, colors looked rich, and the frame rate was steady during the entire playback. The video player is the standard one we've been accustomed to seeing on more TouchWiz phones. Tilting the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 will automatically play it in landscape view.

If you're going to be using the phone for its media features, you'll need to get yourself a microSD card for storage. It will accept cards up to 16GB in size.


This might not be one of its strong points, but using the handset for phone calls provided for a sub-par experience. It's not the worst, but voices sounded low in tone and lacked any vibrancy. There were times when we asked our callers to repeat themselves because it sounded low – even after placing it on the highest volume setting. Our callers stated that our voice on their end had a faint echo to it, but there wasn't too much distortion. We gladly preferred using the regular speaker instead of the speaker phone because voices sounded faint; as though they were far from the phone. Being labeled as a premier camera phone has its advantages, but calling quality isn't on the top of the list for the Samsung Pixon12 M8910.

The Samsung Pixon12 managed to retain a decent signal throughout our testing in the greater Philadelphia area – no giant spikes in losing or gaining bars with AT&T's network.

You know what'll happen when friends find out this phone has a great camera – you'll be taking candid shots left and right. During our time using the phone, we were able to get 3 days of normal use before the battery died. That may be a good or bad thing depending on which point of view you take. For a handset packing an AMOLED screen, 12-megapixel camera with Xenon flash, and smartphone like capabilities, it held up well and we find the 3 days more than adequate. We were even able to take 50 consecutive shots with the Flash going off every time – not even a single bar disappeared. Samsung has it rated for 3.0 hours of talk and 250 hours of standby.


Let's face it, the Samsung Pixon12 M8910 is by far probably the best camera phone on the market – hands down. It packs some improvements in hardware and software over the original to really make this a worthy successor. With such robust offerings like a stellar camera quality, quick interface and a gorgeous screen, the Pixon12 has everything going the right way. We are confident to say that this will leave a mark on just about anyone who uses it. One of the best things about it is that it combines two handy products into just one that has an overall pocketable form factor. We're not going to say that it will replace high-end digital SLRs, but point and shoot cameras will have to bow down and hail the Samsung Pixon12 as their equal.

Samsung Pixon12 Video Review:


  • Great photo quality
  • Beautiful AMOLED screen
  • TouchWiz 2.0 Interface
  • Smartphone like abilities
  • Quality video recording


  • Rather poor call quality
  • Email setup lacks automatic settings

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

7 Reviews

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