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Samsung Galaxy Camera

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 Samsung Galaxy Camera Available now
29th August 2012

From one side, the Samsung Galaxy Camera looks like a normal digital camera. From the other side it looks like an Android smartphone. The reason for this is simple - the Galaxy Camera really is the unholy union of a proper digital camera and mobile phone. And it's about time too.

It isn't the first time this has happened. The Nokia 808 Pureview straps an amazing 41 megapixel sensor onto a smartphone.. but in this case it's the end-of-life Symbian operating system. The Polaroid SC1630 was announced earlier this year but is beginning to look like it will never arrive. But the Galaxy Camera has a good chance of actually turning up in the shops, and it runs the popular Android operating system.

What are we going to call devices like this? Smartcams? Phonecameras? Or is this such a niche device that nobody will really care? The Samsung Galaxy Camera could either be something or nothing in our opinion. But we can certainly see the appeal of it.

Let's look at the camera part first. There's a 16 megapixel camera sensor on the back with a massive 21X zoom lens with a 23mm aperture on it. The sensor is a proper digital camera CMOS unit, not the low-grade sensor you would normally find in a smartphone. The zoom lens is a proper zoom lens that retracts into the housing of the Galaxy Camera, unlike the zoom in the Nokia which is purely digital. There's a smallish looking flash on the front of the Galaxy Camera, but its powerful image processing capabilities should help with low-light photography on top of that. Video capture is up to 1920 x 1080 pixels at 30 fps, or 720 x 480 pixels at 120 fps, which is as good as most dedicated digital camcorders. You can see the full camera specifications here.

 Samsung Galaxy Camera Samsung claim that the Galaxy Camera is 19.1mm thick, about the same as the Nokia's 18mm thickness. Unfortunately, this figure is completely misleading, which is quite disappointing. We've looked closely at the press photos and have determined that the Galaxy Camera is around 35mm thick at the lens part, it is only 19.1mm thick at the thinnest point. And coming in at a whopping 305 grams, the Samsung is nearly twice as heavy as the Nokia. But, we compared this against our office digital camera that offers broadly similar capabilities, and the Samsung is half the weight and one third of the thickness of that, so all these things are relative.

Inside is a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor coupled with 8GB of internal flash memory, plus a microSDXC slot that can theoretically handle cards up to 2TB (or 2000GB) if they ever come to market. On the back is a large 4.8" HD display of unknown resolution. Inside is a modest 1650 mAh battery, which is quite small for either a smartphone or digital camera these days.

 Samsung Galaxy Camera The key selling point here is that the Galaxy Camera runs Android 4.1, so you can take a photo or video and edit it with a variety of tools, and then upload it directly to whatever repository or file sharing site you like. The Galaxy Camera can even suggest photo editing applications to help, and all data can be automatically backed up to Samsung's data storage cloud. What's more, the Galaxy Camera is a fully-fledge mobile phone and it can take a SIM card to upload via an HSPA+ or LTE connection depending on model. And because this is an Android device then it does everything that any other Android device can do.. which includes using it as a personal navigation device, although we're not sure if it is possible to make phone calls on it.

Professional photographers are unlikely to be trading in their Hasselblads to get hold of a Galaxy Camera, but the ability to take decent quality photos, edit and upload them seamlessly will certainly attract the attention of many people who take pictures for a living and keen amateurs looking for an easy but powerful solution. These people will probably have been waiting for a device like the Samsung Galaxy Camera for some time and won't need any further selling to.

We don't know when the Samsung Galaxy Camera will be available or how much it will cost. For most people it will be too bulky to use as a smartphone, for a few it will be too basic to use as a digital camera. But we think that a decent number of people will want this right now as a compact camera they can carry around with them all the time, and these customers will probably not care too much about the price at all.

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Samsung Galaxy Camera at a glance

Available:

2012

Network:

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

UMTS + LTE (optional)

Data:

GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA +

HSPA+ or LTE

Screen:

4.8" (resolution not specified)

Camera:

16 megapixels

Size:

Compact camera

129 x 71 x 19/35mm / 00 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Memory card:

MicroSD

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Optional

GPS:

Yes (and GLONASS)

OS:

Android 4.1

Battery life:

Not specified (1650 mAh cell)

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