Samsung Galaxy Camera (EK-GC100) Review
Samsung's latest experiment is the first camera to support both Android and 4G mobile broadband.
Lens & Sensor
What distinguishes the Galaxy Camera from your Android smartphone is the big fat lens on the front. It's a 21x optical zoom barrel, and seems to be identical to the one found on Samsung's WB850F, so we'll be interested to see how these two models compare. Zoom is slow to respond, and the action of the motor is slow and imprecise. Minimum focus distance is worse than average, and construction quality seems flimsy.
The CMOS sensor is small, only 1/2.3-inches, but it still weighs in at 16.3 megapixels which, again, is still much better than your average smartphone.
Every manufacturer knows that nothing sells a smartphone more than a sexy screen. Samsung has apparently leveraged this knowledge for use in the Galaxy Camera, because the rear LCD is a thing of beauty. This is a high definition panel, and at almost 5-inches diagonally, it's much larger than any on-camera monitor we can think of. Brightness is fantastic, saturation is vibrant, and color accuracy is lifelike in camera mode.
But...and this is a big "but," since the entire rear panel is dominated by the screen, this can mean only one thing: the dreaded all-touch control interface. Aside from the flash release, the Galaxy Camera has only two physical buttons, leaving all remaining control to touch. This is sure to cause problems later in the review.
There are only two connectivity terminals on the Galaxy Camera, a USB port underneath a rubber stopper on the right side of the body, plus a tiny microHDMI port adjacent to the battery slot. There's even a small HDMI pass-through door in the middle of the battery compartment door.
Our opinions of camera batteries are usually simple comparisons of their CIPA ratings, but for a model with so many extra features, this is hardly adequate. The same restrictions that apply to smartphones also apply to the Galaxy Camera: processor-intensive apps or heavy network usage will all drain your battery more than usual. In the end, it seems like the Galaxy Camera's battery life will be about one day for varied, general use. More if you only use the camera.
The camera has both a microSD card slot, as well as a SIM card slot for data plans. Managing memory requires a few extra steps, like choosing where you want files to be stored, or deleting files by hand, and this is a process that would've been much faster and simpler on a traditional camera.
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