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Samsung Galaxy Camera review

Verdict

The best parts of a camera and tablet combined – a compelling choice for connected travellers and social network addicts

Review Date: 13 Dec 2012

Reviewed By: Nik Rawlinson

Price when reviewed: £315 (£378 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Most cameras use proprietary firmware, but Samsung’s latest snapper bucks the trend and runs Android 4.1 instead. This means that, not only can it take pictures to shame your average smartphone, but it can also run any Jelly Bean-compatible app downloaded from Google Play or Samsung’s own store.

Under the hood there’s a 16-megapixel, 1/2.3in backside-illuminated sensor served by a 21x zoom, equivalent to 23-483mm on a 35mm camera. The maximum aperture ranges from f/2.8 at wide angle to f/5.9 at full telephoto, and around the back there’s a huge 4.8in, 1,280 x 800 display – the same size and resolution as the Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III’s screen.

Samsung Galaxy Camera

There’s 3.87GB of integrated memory for apps, data, or storing photos, and if that’s too restrictive you can expand it using the microSD slot in the battery compartment. This sits alongside a near-identical slot for a micro-SIM and it’s easy to get them mixed up. Fortunately, extracting the microSD card when you’ve done just that isn’t too tricky, as long as you have a fine penknife.

Samsung is bundling the Galaxy Camera with a SIM tied to the Three network. It has a month of credit when first installed; it’s up to you whether you want to renew it once your time is up or switch it out for an alternative network.

That’s important, as it’s the built-in 3G and Wi-Fi that makes this camera really interesting. You can't make phone calls with the Galaxy Camera, but you can use it to check your email and browse the web on the move. Of greater interest to the travelling photographer, though, is the option to upload your photos before you get home, share them directly on social networks and, crucially, back them up remotely.

Samsung Galaxy Camera

It’s bundled with a two-year, 50GB Dropbox account. Pair the two and your camera will automatically upload every shot and video as it’s captured so when you get back to your PC they’ll already be waiting in the synchronised folder. Transfer speeds will depend on your connection quality, but in an area with poor 3G coverage full-resolution images appear in a Dropbox folder 41 seconds after being shot. That’s slow, but as it happens in the background, not unusably so.

It can’t quite hold its own when compared directly with a traditional camera of similar price, such as the Canon PowerShot S110, which sacrifices resolution and zoom in favour of a larger sensor, brighter lens and greater shooting flexibility. However, the results are unlikely to disappoint in day-to-day use.

Colours are accurate, and although there is some softness in the corners of the frame, images are generally sharp. Macro mode only gets you to within 10cm of your subject, but the depth of field is impressively narrow, and the creamy blur surrounding the subject is even and attractive. There’s evidence of chromatic aberration, though.

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User comments

STUFF

talk about the consumer hamster wheel! want want want. NEED?

By gavmeister on 13 Dec 2012

I really like the look and the sound of this camera,one of the better ones I have looked at.
Bargain Electricals

By mick1964 on 13 Dec 2012

Charging

I assume it charges from USB, but it would be nice to have confirmation. Canon were crippling their cameras to try and sell accessories.

By tirons1 on 13 Dec 2012

Who wants a second mobile contact?

What a pointless device! Who in their right mind would buy this camera? If you needed to upload images instantly you would just buy a camera with WiFi transfer and use your smartphone to upload images. You then have greater flexibility in your choice of camera and have reduced your mobile costs!

By bernardm3 on 14 Dec 2012

@bernardm3

I have 3 SIMs on my contract (no extra cost)...

That said, 99.9% of the photos I take are never uploaded and the few that are can easily wait until I get home and run them through Lightroom...

By big_D on 18 Dec 2012

Cool idea (open source that is)

Today most people I know spend their time taking pictures from cellphones... while phone hardware tends to be lacking... here is an idea! Just wonder how open source it is?... Download some DVR or secondary programs from market bang your camera can do twice as much... what about editing pictures on the go?... haha there's an app for that and its free on Google Play. Lost?... might as well turn navigation on. Have a Google phone account? All this said I think It's not gonna look as geeky as a SLR outfit... your not gonna get the weird person look pulling this out in public... u might get some looks while using it as a phone though... I can't wait to try this one out.

By Robbob2001 on 25 Dec 2012

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