Samsung is no stranger to the elite 8MP camphone club, having turned out the Symbian-fuelled i8510 Innov8. But its second shooter, the M8800 Pixon, is an altogether different proposition.
Like its 8MP arch nemesis, the LG KC910 Renoir, the Pixon is an all-out touch phone. But unlike its arty rival, and indeed its powerful smartphone stablemate, this tickler arrives with some glaring feature omissions.
The first major concern is the lack of Wi-Fi. Granted, the Pixon revs to 7.2Mbps-flavoured HSDPA download speeds, but for a phone of such high ranking this omission is offensive.
Its lack of support for A-GPS for a super-speedy sputnik fix is also a little alarming, exasperated further by the fact that its built-in GPS receiver doesn’t seem to work in tandem with the onboard Google Maps. And don’t even get us started on the lack of integrated 3.5mm headphone jack.
But while you can see we have a few feature issues with the Pixon, there’s no denying it’s a great camera- and videophone. Focus on its photographic prowess and these quibbles don’t seem too irritating.
Measured against the Renoir, the Pixon is definitely more solid and robust, although its 13.8mm profile is surely not helped by the bulging camera lens. Your pocket probably won’t need reinforcing, but you’ll notice its sizeable presence.
Improved touch performance
Compared to previous Sammy models like the Omnia and Tocco, the Pixon’s touch UI also feels more settled and receptive to taps, while text input via the virtual QWERTY is also relatively painless.
That said, there are still issues with scrolling, but these can easily be remedied by the tethered stylus. Yep, the pen isn’t discreetly harboured on the phone but dangling from a piece of string. Oh dear.
Samsung is certainly very enthusiastic about homescreen widget customisation, letting you fill the spacious and bright 3.2in touchscreen with up to 20 icons. Shortcuts like favourite contacts and Google search are certainly very handy.
From the off, the Pixon shows its camera class with an automatic lens cap that flits open when activated.
Its touch UI is also very intuitive and great to work around with a host of pro-like photos mods including anti-shake, face, blink and smile detection, geotagging and Wide Dynamic Range (which automatically adjusts brightness) to call into action.
Unfortunately, the dual LED flash can’t compensate for the lack of a Xenon equivalent, but it still doesn’t stop the Pixon capturing some great shots.
It may lack the Renoir’s ability to capture fine detail but the Pixon certainly impresses with strong contrast and colour representation, while reducing excessive picture noise normally associated with CMOS sensor camphones.
The Pixon is also the first phone to capture video in WVGA (720x480 pixel resolution) quality at 30fps and the resulting footage is very fluid. Slo-mo dallies are also offered at a reduced QVGA resolution at 120fps and support for DivX and Xvid playback completes its impressive video masterclass.
So should camphone fans plump for the Pixon? It’s certainly a very accomplished 8MP camera and video recorder, but the absence of Wi-Fi and Xenon plus slight touchscreen issues could be a turn off.
The LG Renoir offers Wi-Fi but, for our money, the Sony Ericsson C905 Cyber-shot, with its built-in Xenon, Wi-Fi, GPS and all-round user-friendliness still edges out the competition.