Samsung Galaxy Camera review: a 21x compact shooter brought to life by Android
The Galaxy Camera proves that Android on a point-and-shoot is no gimmick. But until the price drops closer to the level of other compacts, it's not a very practical purchase.
- Jelly Bean brings a lot of fun to photography
- Wide range of connectivity options
- Good stabilization
- Surprisingly big and heavy
- The 4.8-inch screen drains the battery
- You can find better image quality for the same price
There were no heckles, boos or crickets for Samsung's reps back at IFA. But it's fair to say that the atmosphere following its unveiling of the Galaxy Camera was as muted as it was polite. It didn't help that most journalists in that meeting room were there primarily to see the Galaxy Note II, which was undoubtedly the show's headline act. It was also worrisome that Nikon had recently released a half-hearted Android camera of its own -- the Coolpix S800c running on lowly Gingerbread. And finally, some folks in the room -- ourselves included -- may have been put off by Samsung's talk of "convergence," in reference to the fact that the Galaxy Camera has a micro-SIM slot for HSPA+ cellular data. After all, the whole notion of converged hardware has lost the sheen it once had. Hybridized, perhaps. Modular, maybe. But please, not a camera-phablet.
Here's the thing, though: the Galaxy Camera is not a converged device. It's a camera, plain and simple. It just happens to be one that's hooked up (in a multitude of ways) to the glorious world of Android. More specifically, we're looking at full-throttle Jelly Bean sitting astride the same optically stabilized 21x zoom lens and almost half-inch 16-megapixel sensor that have already been deployed in Samsung's WB850F WiFi camera. These are components which far exceed anything you'd find in even the most image-conscious smartphone. If you want to put a label on it, it's probably more meaningful to describe all this as software convergence. The same OS and cloud-connected apps that have so radically transformed phones, tablets and TVs are now also being deployed in a camera -- and there's no reason why they shouldn't be just as invigorating in this new role. At the very least, don't dismiss this device as a curiosity until you've read our take on it.