Samsung Galaxy Camera (EK-GC100) Review
Samsung's latest experiment is the first camera to support both Android and 4G mobile broadband.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
What we would normally call Scene modes are contained within the "Smart" mode menu, which seems inaccurately named. Here you'll find a pretty average selection of scene mode settings like Landscape, Macro, and Sunset, plus a few more compelling choices like Beauty face and Best photo. There's also a Continuous shot mode here, but it's rather redundant and doesn't seem to offer any advantages over the drive mode setting of the same name, which can be used outside of "Smart" mode.
The camera features a built-in GPS transceiver which works exceptionally well (even indoors, to our surprise), but is underused. From what we can tell, in camera mode GPS functionality is limited to simple tagging of EXIF data with latitude and longitude data. This is combined with some of the camera's Android mapping features, so basic street address information is included in EXIF data as well. Otherwise, the best use of built-in GPS will probably come in the form of an app that can take advantage of this hardware.
Every other manufacturer should be ashamed, because the Galaxy Camera features easily the best in-camera WiFi adapter we've ever used. We had zero issues authenticating and connecting to nearby hotspots, even those with less than a perfect signal. It takes the Galaxy Camera roughly one second to connect to a new network, making this device considerably faster than the wireless adapters in our office MacBooks. Amazing.
If you're not within WiFi range, all of the Galaxy Camera's best features will still be fully functional thanks to 4G mobile broadband support. If your wallet can weather a new data plan, then simply insert a SIM card and you'll be ready to go. The camera is intelligent enough to swap back and forth from 4G in the absence of a WiFi signal, and all of Android's tools for managing data limits are handy for those looking to keep their bills in check.
Just remember, the Galaxy Camera can't make phone calls. This is data only.
If you were expecting some modified version of Android to coexist politely with camera hardware, you'll be pleased to know the Galaxy Cam includes full fledged Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" software on top of the camera interface. This is a robust operating system known for superior customization and "nuts and bolts" configuration over Apple's iOS. Thanks to an internal 1.4GHz processor, all the same apps are available for download and use, and the interface is just as smooth and buttery as what you'd find on a brand new Galaxy S III. This is really the first device to earn the title of "Smart Camera."
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