Pairing android with cameras isn’t an entirely new idea but others prior to Samsung didn’t try hard enough to make it viable. Samsung managed to make a legitimate point and shot camera with the sharing power of Android at its core. Whether or not you would be willing to spend $500 on a camera of this nature is yet to be seen, but you have to admit that it is pretty awesome either way. Is this android camera worth your time and money? Find out in the full review!
I know Samsung gets a lot of flak for using plastics over other materials but design of the Galaxy Camera looks really nice. Colors choices include Black, Blue and White and this is obviously the white model. On the top you have from the left you have the area where the flash is hidden, power button and then your shutter button/ zoom in and out switch. On the left side you have the button that pops out the flash and the speaker grill. On the bottom, you have the opening to dock the camera on a tripod. Next to that you have the slide compartment that houses the 1650 mAh battery, MicroSD card slot, SIM card slot and Micro HDMI port. On the right side where you also have a nice grooved grip, you have a lanyard port, Micro USB port hidden under a flap and 3.5mm headphone jack. On the front of the camera you have the beautiful 16MP Samsung lens with 21x zoom. This camera is a little bulky compared to most other cameras it is supposed to be rivaling but you get used to it after a while. Also I can’t forget to mention the beautiful 4.7 inch Super LCD screen that you have as your viewfinder.
As stated in the previous paragraph, you have a 4.7 inch Super LCD screen through which to view your photos and all your content. It’s no AMOLED screen but you honestly have no reason to complain.
The Galaxy Camera isn’t lacking in the hardware department. It has a 1 GHz quad-core processor, Bluetooth 4.0, HSPA+ radios for AT&T’s network and Wi-Fi. For what it is, I was honestly impressed that all of this is powering a camera.
This section of the review will be the most in-depth because considering this is a camera, this will be the deciding factor for most. I am by no means a professional photographer but I have fallen more in love with just taking pictures in general. That being said you have a 16 MP camera with 21X lens to deal with and so did that end up playing out? Photo quality was overall decent. I think that my Cannon PowerShot does a better job at taking pictures but relatively speaking, considering that a majority of the photos will be quickly posted to Facebook, image quality isn’t that huge of an issue. On normal camera’s you would need to change lenses to take certain pictures but since the Galaxy Camera has a fixed lens, there are many “Smart Filters” that Samsung has included to make up for that fact. All of the previous being said, I have a swath of picture samples to show off in the gallery. Take a look at them and tell me what you think.
The Galaxy Camera can also record video in 1080p. You can see that video sample as well.
The Galaxy Camera runs Android 4.1 Jellybean, making the value proposition of this camera very high. This camera does have the Nature based TouchWiz running on top of it and you have access to everything you would on something like the Galaxy S3. I will take to focus on what Samsung has done for the camera app on the Galaxy Camera. When you launch the app, what you have to expect from Samsung’s camera appears but you have several other options. On the right side you have a button to take a picture, below that a “MODE” option and then below that the option to start recording video. When you hit the “MODE” option, three new options appear. Auto, Smart, and Expert. Auto is just the default shooting mode. Smart is where things get interesting. When you hit that button you get 15 different shooting modes (19 after the update to Android 4.1.2) that you can choose from. You get options like Action freeze that allows you to take pictures of fast movement to Sunset which allow you to take pictures that emphasize the sunset by making the colors more intense. The Smart mode is one of the coolest features about this camera and there is something in there for everyone.
Last but not least is the expert mode, which upon pressing that option brings up a UI mimicking a lens on a DSLR camera. It’s here that you can tweak every setting manually from shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. For those of you who know a thing or two about camera will probably live exclusively in this setting.
Data Speeds and Battery Life
I must say that I am spoiled by LTE that the Galaxy Camera not having it is a little disappointing. The Galaxy Camera supports HSPA+ which is fine for most things you will end up doing. Data speeds were slower that LTE by comparison but still, it’s nice to have to option of data to enable the instant sharing ability of Android. Battery life was a little of a mixed bag. I used this camera exclusively during CES week, meaning lots of pictures and 720p video and I would get 4-5 hours consistently. The battery life isn’t a deal breaker but it’s just something you should be keeping in mind if you want to use this camera as your main go to.
Should you get the Galaxy Camera? Well if you have the extra $499 to spend, then I highly recommend it. It’s a v1.0 product and I expect the Galaxy Camera II to be even better but for a first gen product, you get a lot. You have a decent point and shoot camera with the power of Android 4.1 running the show. I expect the software to get even better as later versions of Android and Touchwiz add to the experience. Samsung, you continue to lead the field when it comes to Android, and with products like this, you continue to define it.