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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Camera pictures and hands-on

Taking convergence to a new level, Samsung has announced the Samsung Galaxy Camera. The new Android camera fuses the best of Samsung Galaxy smartphones, with the best of Samsung's cameras.

It might seem totally bonkers, but there must be something in it as, strangely, Nikon pipped Samsung to the post in announcing its own Android camera, the Coolpix S800c.

However, this particular example isn't a copycat move, the Samsung Galaxy Camera has a massive 4.77-inch Super Clear LCD display on the back. The advantage this brings is that it adds a glorious big-screen composition to the world of cameras.

Anyone who has used the Samsung Galaxy S III or HTC One X to take a photo will know how much fun it is peering at your scene through the big screen.

Then you have familiar and fast touch control. If you're familiar with Samsung smartphones, then navigating your way around the Samsung Galaxy Camera is easy enough.

It's early days for the new device and we found it wasn't as swift as the latest Android phones in terms of operating the UI, but we suspect this is down to early software.

Lying at the core of the Samsung Galaxy Camera is a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, so there's no lack of power. It's also running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the latest software from Google, so it's bang up to date.

Of course, Samsung has liberally slathered its customised UI over the top, but we can't help feeling that it's better suited to a customised UI than it is to raw Android.

And that's only half the story, because this is as much a camera as it is Android device, which means you have a 21x optical zoom lens on the front, with a typical f/2.8 max aperture.

You'll find that controls like flash, zoom and the shutter button are placed as you'd find them on a camera. It feels and behaves like a camera, and lifting it up to take a shot is rather glorious.

There is a downside and that's size. With that huge display on the back, this is a monster of a compact camera, a real pocket hog. If you have large pockets, then perhaps you can accommodate it, but for some, it might just be too big.

There's a wealth of smart features packed into the Samsung Galaxy Camera, like the pro effects to make it easy to take the type of picture you want. That's before you get to the advantages of sitting on the Android OS.

You'll be able to fire up apps, edit your images, or simply resort to Instagram. Then you'll be able to share them easily, use your smartphone as a remote preview and shutter control.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Camera is intriguing. There's a wealth of functions, as well as full performance tests and the question of battery life to examine. All these things we'll examine in a full review closer to launch.

But first impressions are good and who doesn't like being able to browse on the back of their camera?

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