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Samsung’s Galaxy Camera reviewed

By Leigh D. Stark | 6:26 pm 10/12/2012

There is an upside, however, to Samsung’s choice of batteries, and that comes in the form of replacements.

Since the Galaxy S2 is now an older phone, you can grab the replacement batteries relatively inexpensively. A quick search on eBay yields S2 batteries from about $20, making these possibly the least expensive camera battery we’ve come across, and if you’re considering taking this camera on holiday, we’d suggest having one or two extra with you.

Manual control for the Samsung Galaxy Camera

Another issue stems from its speed, and while the camera is relatively snappy when you want to fire a shot if you’re already in the camera mode, it’s disturbingly less so if you’re pulling it back from standby.

Provided you’ve used the camera in the past few minutes, coming back from standby is a snappy thing, but once the phone has been left unused for a longer period of time, you could be waiting ten to twenty seconds to get back into shooting.

Not all apps will like the Galaxy Camera, either. This isn’t Samsung’s fault mind you, but one of the main reasons you’ll end up choosing the Samsung Galaxy Camera over other shooters is its ability to take advantage of downloadable apps.

Paper Camera is one of the only apps that actually supports optical zooming on the Galaxy Camera

Compatbility for apps found on Google’s Play Store are a bit of a hit and miss here, with loose functionality offered: you can always take a picture, but optical zoom may not work.

We tried to get it working in quite a few apps, including Instagram, Vignette, Camera Zoom FX, Pano, Cymera, Pudding Camera, and Paper Camera, with only the latter of these – Paper Camera – actually supporting the optical zoom.

Hopefully, app developers will come on board and support the zoom, because as it happens right now, you need to take the photo using Samsung’s built-in camera app and then process it through a specific app in order to use the zoom.

It’s also a relatively bulky camera, not helped by the massive 4.8 inch screen. That big screen sure can be useful, but not for throwing in your pocket, and while we like how it feels, complete with a big grip for your right hand, it’s not the slimmest camera on the market.

Oh, and there’s no phone support, which is surprising given that the camera supports practically everything else found in the Galaxy S3, including text messaging.

We’re guessing the hardware can probably make phone calls, but the feature has been removed from the operating system so as not to make the Galaxy Camera appear as an inexpensive alternative to its smartphones. Plus, you’d look pretty silly holding one of these up to your ears.

That said, this reviewer would give it a go with a wired or Bluetooth headset as our dedicated handset, since we tweet and send messages more than we call up people.

Standing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 23mm on the left, and zooming from the same position to see the Sydney Opera House. It's not a bad zoom range at all.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is certainly a unique proposition, and while we like it a lot, it won’t be for everyone.

Socialites who just have to share the latest thing will love it, and hipsters looking for a better camera than what’s offered by their iPhone and Galaxy handsets will more than likely find it awesome. Even bloggers and journalists can really get into it, using the camera for more than just pictures and cutting down the gadgets they really need to, well, less.

Certainly, anyone going overseas on holiday could find it extraordinarily useful, since you can Skype on it, send messages, and handle almost everything that you normally would on a smartphone, except with a semi-decent camera.

We’re into it, and since it allows us to automatically backup images to Dropbox, tweet them, and even email them directly to family and friends, it makes a lot of sense to us.

But as we said, it’s not for everyone, so if you think you need a better camera that truly connects your photos to your online social world, we’d take a look at Samsung’s option.

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Price (RRP)

$599

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Great combination of technology; You can use it to send and receive SMS; Macro ability is actually decent; Long lens;

Product Cons

Battery life is poor; Reasonbly bulky; Not exactly the fastest camera to switch on; Proprietary HDMI port; Many apps aren't really designed for a camera with optical zoom; Can send texts, but not make phone calls;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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