Gizmo Guru: A smarter camera

Samsung’s latest digital point and shoot adds Android and 3G connectivity, but a short battery life and a high price might deter customers
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First Published: Sat, Dec 08 2012. 12 44 AM IST
Samsung Galaxy Camera
Samsung Galaxy Camera
We’re living in a time of hybrids and the Samsung Galaxy Camera is just the latest in multipurpose designs. Basically it’s an Android Phone minus the voice calling mashed together with a Point and Shoot camera. It looks like a normal digital camera from in front, but if you flip it over, you’ll see a huge 4.8 in viewfinder that covers the entire body.
The camera itself is a basic digital point and shoot. There is a 21X telescoping lens which pops out when you switch on the camera, and it’s backed up by a 16MP sensor, so the image quality is pretty good, though as is often the case with a lens that’s used for both macro and telezoom photography, the best results are in the middle distance.
That’s not a big issue because people with specialized requirements are not likely to buy this kind of a point and shoot, and most people will actually enjoy the camera’s results. Also, since the whole back is a touchscreen, changing the settings is really easy—one touch brings up a huge screen full of options, making it much simpler than other digital cameras which have multiple menus to search through.
However, the fact is that a camera with these features is usually priced at around Rs15,000 or less – so how does Samsung justify the Rs.30,000 price tag?
Essentially, the Galaxy Camera is a full Android device, with processing power to rival the Samsung Galaxy SIII. There’s a home button in the corner of the viewfinder, which takes you to the Android home screen, where you will see your apps—Facebook, Instagram and Dropbox are loaded by default but you can install any app you want. You could even install Skype and use this as a phone, though voice calling over the cellular network is not possible, only VoIP.
There’s a SIM card slot for 3G data and a WiFi radio as well, so you’re going to be connected, and taking a picture, uploading a copy to Facebook while the high resolution version is automatically saved to the cloud on Dropbox, and instantly seeing the comments as they come in is great, but all this eats up the battery—interestingly, while the camera has the processing power of the SIII, the battery could belong to the SII. It’s rated for 100-150 photographs, and if you’re using it as an Android device for gaming, web browsing etc, then it runs out in just a few hours, which is a serious drawback.
And every email you send, every game you play and every website you browse eats into the number of photos it’ll support.
Overall, the camera is all right, and the new interface is amazing, but at Rs30,000 rupees, and with the short battery life, it feels like Samsung needs to evolve this device further.
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First Published: Sat, Dec 08 2012. 12 44 AM IST
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