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By Hanleigh Daniels 31 March 2010

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Not all smartphones are created equal; some run on WinMo for instance. Then there are those that take better photos than others, which is the case with Samsung's new Pixon. The Pixon 12’s snapper offers a dozen megapixels, almost eliminating the need for you to get a compact digital camera.    
 
Capable Snapper
The follow up to the M8800 Pixon boast a whopping 50% more megapixels than its predecessor, upping the ante from 8 to 12. Located on the back of the smartphone is the wide angle lens (28 mm) that allows for the taking of good looking photos. Even at night, its single xenon and LED flash ensure that you have enough light to capture your Kodak moment. The camera is auto-focus but also features face detection, image stabilisation, geo-tagging and smile shot. Geo-tagging allows photos to be labelled or ‘tagged’ with the geographic location of where they were taken via the phone's GPS. You can then view the location on mapping software like Google Maps. The camera makes use of an automatic lens cover that works rather well protecting the lens. There’s also a secondary camera at the front of the phone to allow you to make video calls.
 
Design
All Samsung’s touch-screen smartphones look fairly generic, which probably boils down to ‘design DNA’ just like the 3-, 5-, and 7 series BMWs all carry similar design elements. Its compact dimensions (108 x 53 x 13.8 mm) means it fits snugly in your hand and is easy to operate, although there’s one too many buttons on the right side of the phone, with two zoom buttons for the camera, a dedicated camera button (that allows you to take pics even if the camera’s screen is locked) and another button to capture pics. On a couple of occasions we pressed the camera button, instead of the capture button to take the pic, so the shutter actually closes meaning you miss out on the opportunity to capture that memory.  
 
Other features
Samsung’s Pixon 12 is powered by the same 800 MHz processor that does duty in the Jet S8003, as well as the same excellent 3.1" AMOLED touch-screen with its very good 480 x 800 resolution. Whether you’re watching a movie or browsing internet pages, the screen delivers bright, vivacious images. Browsing is also quick thanks to 3G HSDPA and zooming in and out of pages is easy thanks to the phone’s one-touch zoom function. Wi-Fi and aGPS are also present. For business purposes there’s a viewer for Microsoft Word, -Excel, and -PowerPoint documents as well as PDF files, but no editing can be done on those.   
 
The phone has a microSD slot with support for cards with a capacity of up to 16 GB and you get a 2 GB card included with the phone. There isn’t a 3.5 mm jack, but like other Samsung’s, such as the Star, the earphones supplied with the mobile, can double as a 3.5 mm headset adapter (with the downside that you have to carry this adapter everywhere to use your headphones). The mobile OS of the phone incorporates Samsung’s Touchwiz user interface which might not be the best mobile user interface around, but is user-friendly and easy to navigate through. It also boasts a good media browser allowing you to easily sort, manage and share your multimedia content. There’s also a video editor app that enables you to add some nifty effects to your videos for added fun, as well as the Dynamic canvas app making it easy to edit and crop your photos.
 
Verdict
Th Pixon 12 is the world’s first mobile to make use of a 12 MP camera and we found it to be the best camera we’ve ever tested on a mobile phone. Apart from lacking optical zoom, it competes on an almost equal footing with most compact digital cameras in terms of its picture quality. You can get it for a recommended retail price of R6 665.

PROS
The photo quality and its gorgeous AMOLED display.
CONS
No optical zoom for such a great onboard camera.
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