30
Nov
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Samsung's Galaxy Camera, the manufacturer's first entry into the world of dedicated shooters powered by Android, was announced with little warning at IFA earlier this year. Besides Nikon's foray into the market, the Galaxy Camera is one of the only Android cameras we've yet seen. Frankly, of the two, Samsung's entry is the only one that seems worth looking at.

The question of how much longer point-and-shoot cameras can see success is a fair one – after all, DSLRs are becoming smaller and more affordable all the time, while smartphone cameras are reaching to fill the gap point-and-shoots would leave behind. Samsung's entry into the P&S market with the Galaxy Camera is an interesting move – it attempts to fill the aforementioned gap not with a better smartphone or a cheaper SLR, but with a third category born from the union of a smartphone (namely the Galaxy S III) and a P&S.

What Samsung needs to prove with the Galaxy Camera is that it has the answer to a dwindling P&S market. After spending some time with the device, I'm not sure it's succeeded, despite being a well-made device.

At A Glance

Before we get started with the in-depth review, we'll take a quick look at the Galaxy Camera. First, its specs:

  • 16MP 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor
  • 21x optical zoom lens (4.1mm-86.1mm) at 1:2.8-5.9
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Pop-up Xenon flash
  • 1080p video recording
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Exynos 4412 quad-core processor at 1.4GHz
  • 8GB Storage (expandable via microSD)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4.8" 720x1280 Super Clear LCD
  • 1650mAh Battery
  • AT&T "4G" HSPA+

Most of these specs are borrowed from the Galaxy S III. The important thing here is the sensor, but we'll discuss that later. The other thing that stands out is the 1650mAh battery pack. In a world where most smartphones are doing okay with 2000+ mAh batteries, many were stunned by this decision. It isn't all bad news, though, and we'll discuss why soon. For now, let's take a quick look at the overall plusses and minuses offered by the camera.

The Good

  • Build Quality – The Galaxy Camera, while somewhat thick, is (for the most part) well-made. The body is solid, the grip feels great, and – so far – the screen remains unscratched.
  • Display – The Galaxy Camera's display is a much-welcomed LCD panel that is spacious, bright, and a pleasure to look at.
  • Manual Adjustments – The presence of manual adjustments and priority modes is great, especially with the camera's display reflecting exposure adjustments in real time.
  • AT&T HSPA+ – This has little to do with the actual device, but AT&T's HSPA+ is still one of the camera's strong suits – syncing and uploading photos is a snap from anywhere.

The Not So Good

  • An Unclear Market – The primary concern with the Galaxy Camera is that it's a weird device. It isn't a smartphone or tablet, but it also isn't purely a camera. While the idea of combining the Galaxy SIII with a point-and-shoot camera sounds great, I don't see the proposition as providing enough added value to justify a $500 price point.
  • Unnecessary Apps – Surprise! There's bloatware. Thankfully, there's not much. And the non-core apps that do come preinstalled (like AT&T Locker) are at least marginally useful.
  • Inconsistent UX – Sometimes you've got a system nav bar, sometimes you don't. The disappearance of the system bar is at least somewhat predictable, but still takes some practice to get used to.
  • Sketchy Battery Door – The battery door is truly the Achilles heel of the Galaxy Camera. It seems flimsy, doesn't sit flush with the bottom of the camera, and has a weird sub-door that hides the device's microHDMI port.

Where To Buy: Those interested can grab the Galaxy Camera from AT&T for $499.99 with a qualifying monthly data plan.

In Short: The Galaxy Camera takes good photos, feels solid, and has the convenience of mobile sharing through your favorite apps. That being said, the market for a device like this is unproven, and it isn't clear whether the marginal increase in convenience outweighs the price of the camera plus data.

Build Quality and Design

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Samsung's Galaxy Camera is solid. It's fairly heavy without feeling like lead, and it's a pleasure to hold. Its grip takes the display's black bezel around a whiplash curve to the front of the device, and covers it in a great-feeling grippy surface.

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The camera is big, though. While its 4.8" display is luxuriant, the camera is not thin, and I could deal with a smaller display if it meant a more compact camera. The Galaxy Camera is in a tough position because its thickness is due in large part to its camera components, but as a smart device focused on acting as a dedicated camera, it would be more appealing in a smaller, more manageable package. The camera fits well in a back pocket, but if you want to sit down, you'll need to find somewhere else to put it.

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The Galaxy Camera and Nexus 7

On the front of the camera, you've got the lens and that great grip. On the left side is the microUSB port with a little door that's begging to come off after a few months of use, plus a wrist strap loop and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

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On the other side is a speaker and the pop-up flash button. The back of the g-cam is purely a screen with a perilously thin bezel, while up top lives the power button, flash, zoom controls and shutter release.

DSC_1788 top

The bottom of the camera is where things get a little weird. There's a tripod mount, which is helpful, and then there's the battery door. The door itself is pretty flimsy, with an action-less release – you slide it one way to open the door, and then when you close the door, you have to slide it back the other way. Another thing is that the door never seems to sit quite flush with the bottom surface of the camera.

Oh, and the camera has microHDMI out. But guess where the microHDMI port is – it's under the battery door (with the microSD and SIM slots). If that isn't confounding enough an idea, the port is accessed through what I'll call a "sub-door." That is, a smaller door that is part of the actual battery door.

bottom

Camera Hardware

Sensor

The Galaxy Camera's sensor is 1/2.3", one of the smallest available for compact cameras. For comparison, a full frame DSLR will usually carry a sensor with a diagonal measurement of ~43mm. A typical high-end P&S will have a 1/1.7" sensor with a diagonal of ~9.5mm. The Galaxy Camera's sensor has a diagonal measurement of 7.66mm. The Galaxy SIII, for those curious, uses Sony's 8MP 1/3.2" sensor (which, by the way, is the same sensor found in the iPhone 4S).

What does this mean? Well, you can check out a great explanation of the importance of sensor size at Digital Versus, but the short version is that 16MP (that means effectively 16 million pixels) crammed onto a sensor with a 7.66mm diagonal will be a lot smaller and less powerful individually than the same number of pixels spread across a 43mm diagonal. This means a 1/2.3" sensor will have more noise issues at high ISOs, less depth-of-field control, and more iffy picture quality in general.

Lens/Zoom

Another important thing to consider is zoom. This is where the Galaxy Camera has a leg up on the smartphone market (besides its slightly larger sensor). Samsung's camera packs a 21x optical zoom lens. Mobile cameras, for the most part, utilize strictly digital zoom when taking photos. For those unaware, I'll attempt a quick explanation of the difference. Optical zoom is what it sounds like – the camera's optical elements do the work. With optical zoom, the camera lens' glass elements move relative to the camera sensor, thus magnifying the real life image on the sensor plane. With digital zoom, the lens remains fixed, and the image is magnified digitally, or essentially cropped and enlarged, to fit the sensor's resolution.

Since the Galaxy Camera doesn't have a viewfinder, it lacks a mirror. A dedicated shutter is also absent, which accounts for the camera's insufferable shutter sound effect.

Image Samples

Auto Performance

Of course, many consumers in the P&S market aren't looking for super fine-tuning capabilities in a camera – they want to hit a button, snap some quick photos, and be done with it. For that reason, it's important to take a look at the Galaxy Camera's performance when simply set to Auto mode.

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Shooting on Auto mode provided more than acceptable results. Fine-tuning your exposure will almost universally achieve a better end product, but for quick photos, the Galaxy Camera performed well.

One thing I noted, however, was that the camera's touted image stabilization did very little in the way of preventing slight motion blur, particularly when shooting at full or near-full zoom.

Sharpness

When shooting in close proximity to the subject, the G-cam's sharpness is excellent. Here's a quick sample followed by a 100% crop. The detail holds up very well, and shooting at ISO 100 there's pretty much no noise.

orchidc

image

When shooting from farther distances, maintaining the same fidelity is a little tougher. This isn't entirely surprising, but take a look:

lo image

The detail loss isn't terrible, but it also isn't ideal. The quality change, again, is due in large part to the camera's small, densely-populated sensor. That being said, photos like these will rarely be viewed at 100%, so slight detail loss isn't anything to really be concerned about.

High ISO Performance

High ISO performance is another important question for the P&S set. While users may not constantly calibrate ISO values before snapping a quick pic, the camera will opt for higher ISOs even in Auto mode when the lighting is low. Here's a quick lineup, from ISO 200 to 3200 (the camera's top value).

20040080016003200

200Full3200Full

Top: ISO 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 Bottom: 100% Crop ISO 200, 3200

You can see that at the high end, the g-cam gets quite noisy, details don't hold up, and there's a slight magenta shift. The good news, though, is that even in Auto mode, the camera will very rarely hit 3200 ISO – most of my low light shots opted for 800 or below.

White Balance

White balance controls on the Galaxy Camera are fairly straight-forward. If you're shooting in one of the "Expert" modes, you'll have access to five presets – Auto, Cloudy, Daylight, Fluorescent H, and Fluorescent L. There's one more preset called "Custom," which allows you to sample part of a scene for a custom white balance, but more often than not it will match what you'd get when opting for the "Auto" setting.

autocloudydaylightfluoroHfluoroL

Auto, Cloudy, Daylight, Fluorescent H, and Fluorescent L on neutral gray.

The preset list also includes a "custom" option, which will allow you to sample a nearby white surface for a custom color temperature. Seeing the color shifts above is handy, but how is the real-world performance? Here's a shot in the same sequence of presets:

whb

Top: Auto / Bottom: Cloudy, Daylight, Fluorescent H, Fluorescent L

It's clear that Auto white balance does just fine, and frankly I find preset white balance values are often too extreme for normal use. In this case the preset that should have worked best was "Cloudy," and it came pretty close to a correct exposure, but in most cases Auto will get you the shot you want.

Video Sample

Video recording on the Galaxy Camera is not fantastic. It isn't terrible, and I'd honestly consider it decent for a smartphone camera, but the Galaxy Camera isn't a smartphone camera, so I'd hoped for better. The level of detail is decent, and under the right lighting conditions video may even look vibrant, but the actual process of recording is iffy – in auto mode, pressing the camcorder icon will instantly start recording video. The camera takes a second to refocus when something is moved or when the scene is zoomed, and the microphone (like most built-in mics on P&S cameras) is very sensitive to wind, and doesn't pick up great sound otherwise. Here's a quick sample clip:

Camera Software

The software that controls the camera functionality of the Galaxy Camera is obviously the bread and butter of the device. For this reason, it should be polished and well-made, and by all accounts it is. Navigation and control is pretty easy, with plenty of redundancy in the manual modes to allow for versatility when shooting. In auto mode, there's literally nothing you'll need to touch except the shutter button. You can still tap-to-focus, or hit the bottom arrow for some fun filters, but it couldn't be much easier to use.

Screenshot_2012-11-30-17-05-31

M, A, S, and P

Thankfully, the Galaxy Camera includes Manual, Aperture, Shutter, and Program modes for those that like to fine-tune their exposure settings. Even if you've never messed with Manual settings on a camera, the G-Cam has you covered – each setting has a helpful little word bubble that will explain briefly what you're looking at. Again, controlling this camera could not be much easier. Once you've adjusted all the "dials" to your liking, you're ready to shoot, and the faux-lens interface will get out of your way.

Screenshot_2012-11-29-23-08-37

Metering, Focus, Flash, and More

settings

The Galaxy Camera has plenty of advanced settings tucked away in the manual adjustment mode. Among these are the typical settings like white balance, flash, focus, timer, face detection, image quality, and others, but there are a couple of more advanced options worth mentioning.

First among these is Drive, which allows for single shot, continuous shooting, and bracketing. Bracketing, for those who don't know, is shooting a photo at multiple exposures (often used in making HDR photos).

The list goes on to include focus area adjustments, and metering. The Galaxy Camera's metering modes include spot, multi-zone, and center-weighted.

In case you're wondering, metering is what allows a camera to determine a scene's exposure.

Users can choose spot metering to meter just one spot of a scene, multi-zone to come up with a sort of average exposure for a scene (like if you wanted to expose someone's backlit face without losing the sky behind them), and center-weighted metering puts emphasis on the center, spreading sensitivity outward from the middle of the scene. This means the center of the frame will (ideally) have an even exposure, with things getting slightly more chancy as you move outward.

 

 

'Smart' Modes

Smart Modes are just what they sound like, offering things like macro shooting, some automated functions like "Best Shot" and "Beauty Face" which do some automated retouching, and then specialized modes like "Rich Tone" or "Light Trace" which allow for easy shooting of photos that may take a while to set up in Manual mode.

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System Software

The system software included on the Galaxy Camera is just what you'd expect and largely the same as what you'd find on the Galaxy S III. There are a few Samsung or AT&T-specific apps to be found, which is mildly annoying, but otherwise nothing of note.

The Galaxy Camera, unlike the SIII, relies on a system navigation bar, but the bar is not always present – in some apps, like Photo Wizard, Gallery, or the Camera, the bar disappears, sticking you with navigation buttons at the top of the screen that change depending on where you are in the app. The lack of system buttons in the camera app is understandable, but it makes for an inconsistent experience everywhere else, and one that takes some getting used to.

Of course, the camera includes two main apps that may make your life easier when you want to quickly edit photos or videos before uploading – Photo Wizard and Video Editor.

Photo Wizard

For those that don't want to pick up a third party app but still want to tinker with photos before sharing them, Photo Wizard will get the job done. It includes basic adjustments like cropping and rotation, along with some visual effects, filters, and "decorations" including a variety of stickers and other miscellaneous flair.

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It's not the most powerful editor in the world, and frankly I'd recommend Pixlr Express over Photo Wizard any day.

Video Editor

Unlike Photo Wizard, Video Editor relies on the system nav bar, adding extra navigation buttons to the rest of the screen when necessary. Actual editing in the app is pretty straight forward – first, you'll need to choose a theme (or forego a theme altogether) and choose your video files. After that, you can manipulate the video's time line, adding effects and trimming as necessary.

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Interestingly, the Video Editor app has an "Auto Edit" option, which attempts to splice together your video files in a cohesive manner. The key word here is "attempts" – during my test, I found that the Auto Editor sliced out seemingly random portions of video in favor of fade-to-black transitions, and made speed adjustments on a totally unknown basis. Your mileage may vary, but I found this particular feature to be of little use.

In the end, neither of these apps are fantastic at what they do, and users would be better served by paying a visit to the Play Store and grabbing a few apps like Pixlr Express for on-the-go-editing.

Battery Life

Battery life is one of the biggest questions we had about the Galaxy Camera. 1650mAh certainly does not sound like a beastly battery capacity, and it isn't. But Samsung has made a few calls that allow the battery to last as long as you'd expect for a P&S camera. Namely, the camera will go into a sort of hibernation after a certain amount of time. It isn't completely powered off, but you'll need to hold the power button until the device buzzes, then press it again to turn the camera on. This is inconvenient when you want to take a photo quickly, but does save the battery. The feature can also be turned off for those who don't want it.

Screenshot_2012-11-29-14-54-43

If you're using the camera just as you would use a point and shoot camera (as above), it will last plenty of time. Even syncing photos, G-Mail, and other services, I got the camera to last just over two days. If you're playing games, streaming video, or otherwise making use of the Android base upon which the Galaxy Camera is built, the battery may sing a different tune. Those thinking of picking up a Galaxy Camera and using it to its full potential would be well-advised to pocket a second battery for a full day of shooting.

Conclusion

The big question, after using this device for almost two weeks, remains – is this a product that answers a question or fulfills a need? The jury is still out. Time will tell if this is something consumers want, but in my opinion it's a strange product entering the P&S market at a pretty bad time.

What I can say without hesitation is that it's a well-built device in terms of design and quality. The camera aspect of things is better than a smartphone, but not as good as some other P&S options, and certainly not as versatile as a DSLR.

Another important factor to consider is the camera's data consumption. Since receiving the review unit, I've used close to 2GB in data simply syncing photos and videos while keeping other services like G-Mail running. That's a lot. Of course, you can down-size photos from their native 16MP resolution before upload, but that kind of defeats the purpose of such a dense sensor.

If Android 4.1 and an ample LCD display provide enough added value to make this camera worth $500 (plus data) to you, I say go for it. If you're looking for a great P&S camera that you'll use primarily for picture taking, I'd look elsewhere.

backoverall

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

    I've said it before, I'll say it again:

    What a useless product. I get that Samsung's "shotgun" approach to form factors has helped get them where they are, but it's not even the price that makes the Galaxy Camera worthless - it's the very fact that it exists as a thing.

    A product designed to fit into the very high end of an already-dying market (point and shoots), but that performs like something that costs half, or less than half, as much. All for the sake of a big touchscreen and mobile data connectivity. Nobody but old people and photographers even want point and shoot cameras anymore, and neither of those demographics have any motivation to buy a device whose entire purpose is being a geeky smartphone-come-camera experiment.

    Build an Android camera that competes (on price and performance) with the likes of the Sony NEX-5R or other entry-level mirrorless compacts and we'll talk. Until then, the failure of the Galaxy Camera was easily called from day one.

    • ScottColbert

      Not even old people, my 71 y/o Mom uses her phone now. She looked at point and shoots before taking her trip to Israel last month and found her camera (HTC One X) did the job fine for her purposes. And much easier to use.

      • http://visionaforethought.wordpress.com/ Oflife

        Yup, we got my mum an iPhone 4S, and I put her excellent (easy to use, good IQ) Nikon P50 camera up for sale. Why? a) iPhone screen makes picture composition easy (like any phone), but most important, the photos are uploaded to the cloud instantly when she gets back home onto WiFi, so she can view them on the iPad we plan to get her. No faffing around!

    • exxodium

      I've got to agree. Also, for not much more than what the GCam commands, you can buy an entry-level DSLR, which will easily last you far longer than this thing will. DSLRs can remain useful for YEARS. This thing's lifespan will probably be limited at best.

      On top of that, my Nikon D5100 lasts DAYS, not HOURS. I can keep it off the charger for damn near a month and it'll have plenty of juice in the tank.

      I think the Nikon Android-based camera might be better. Mostly because Nikon doesn't seem to be positioning it as a camera that can serve as a phone replacement.

    • Freak4Dell

      Maybe I hang out with a different crowd or something, but I don't see P&S cameras dying. People seem to still be buying them up as always.

      That being said, this is a stupid product. But hey, this is Samsung. Their whole philosophy is pretty much making half-assed junk and hoping it works. Don't get me wrong, some of their stuff is good, but it's been a long time since I've seen something that's really great from Samsung. I know somebody is going to mention the S3, but meh. It's ugly. I also like my tablet, but it could be improved. I've pretty much given up any hope that Samsung will focus on quality over quantity anytime soon.

  • saimin

    The high-ISO photos look really awful. I think it was a mistake for Samsung to make their first Android camera a big-zoom, small-sensor model. Most photos posted to Facebook or Instagram are indoor social events like parties or restaurants. Small sensor cameras are terrible indoors and the big zoom is pretty useless indoors. A bigger sensor would require a limited zoom, but that is fine for indoor photos. High-end pocket cameras (like the Sony RX100) are coming out with 1 square inch sensors now, which produces tremendously better indoor photo quality than this Samsung camera. A square inch sensor camera with Android might be a big hit. A tiny sensor camera is not going to be much better than a good cell phone camera for indoor situations.

  • http://halljake.com Jake Hall

    I think Samsung is going about it the wrong way.

    People don't want point and shoot cameras anymore because their phones can do a good enough job that there isn't the need. So rather than launch a P&S that's part phone, they should be focusing on bringing more of the P&S experience to their phones. Look at what Nokia has done with the 920 and its floating lens, for example.

    • digi_owl

      Dunno. I kinda like my phones simple and feature focused. This means they can take a beating and be cheap to replace. Notice how the older GSM Nokia phones were praised for their ruggedness, yet were not specifically designed to be such unlike say Motrola Defy and Samsung Xcover.

  • digi_owl

    I would love to see Sony get into this, as they have a nifty camera design that use mirrors and such to put the zoom inside rather than outside. If nothing else i could then use it as a PDA ;)

  • carlisimo

    There are two things that compact cameras can do better than smartphones: zoom, and indoor quality (i.e. a large sensor). You can either do one really well (superzoom or 1” sensor) or something in between. Samsung went for the superzoom.

    I think it’s the right decision. The time you most want to zoom is when you’re outdoors. In that case you’re more likely to have enough light to use ISO 100 or 200, and you’re more likely to have a camera on you (in tourist mode). What Samsung should do next is release a large-sensor, low-zoom camera (along the lines of the Canon S90 series) that would be meant for indoor use. Thing is, even if it were smaller I’m not sure how many people would want to carry another device with them. Some, certainly, but I think it’d be a smaller market than the one for a superzoom.

  • Jav11 .

    i see a nice camera first step for samsung rest will follow,..

  • HellG

    THIS right here is what makes androidpolice better than any other android related blog out there! you get right people for the right stuff, you dont get one apple fanboy like Darcy or what his name is on the other "famous" with a bunch of hipsters to act like they know anything about android, you guys actually know what you are talking about, much respect :)

    • FrillArtist

      Why would an apple fanboy want to work at an Android related blog?

      • HellG

        easy, did you see when the iPhone 5 came out? did you see their articles? its all about how the iphone (feature bla bla bla) is better than what android have, i mean everything! its would be great if it constructive crictism but it was plain bs o_O
        Did you check the Galaxy S3 review? they said it has a better screen than the One X then they bashed it when compared to the iPhone saying the one in the One X is much better and the one that is comparable to the iphone...OKEY!
        Did you see their drop tests of the iPhone? they dropped the iphone on its side everytime when the other phone facedown EVERYTIME, and i remember saying omg its so durable it must be using a Gorilla glass 3...lol!
        now go watch any drop test,review and you will see the truth, they bash android in the worst way when AP actually critasize android in a truely professional way and give them replacements and better ideas and they even made a great thread for things they hate about android! that's for me professionalism compared to a bunch of hipsters...

  • http://twitter.com/BGSorin Beldie Sorin

    It looks pretty awesome to me!

  • itsgonnalast

    I wouldn't pay $500 but I am really liking this camera. I'd skip the data plan and sync via wi-fi. I love megazoom cameras, and the interface seems well thought out. Even better, I could charge the camera in my car with a micro-USB cable.

  • hyperbolic

    No sim card...enough said.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      The Galaxy Camera actually does take a sim card - the slot is tucked away under the battery door. (Unless I misunderstood your comment)

  • Simon Belmont

    Nice review, here. I, especially, loved the airport imagery for the example pictures and video (big private plane fan, here).

    I don't see myself plunking down $500 for a dedicated Android-based camera though. It looks like a nice piece of kit though.

  • Phil Vignola

    I have been waiting for this review for a while. I am considering picking one up but after this review I will hold off for sure. As a Galaxy Note, P&S, and dSLR owner I don't see a place for this in my stable of cameras. The Note takes great shots at 8MP and while it doesn't have an optical zoom I can crop most of my shots to make them look pretty good for most of my photography needs. Should I really need to get into some serious photography I can break out my Nikon which does a great job in almost all cases but is a but bulky and can be a pain in certain situations. My 14MP Canon P&S takes great photos and 720P video so I find that it is fits situations where I want to get some (semi)serious shots but don't want to lug around my dSLR. On my recent trip to China I exclusively used my Note camera and I am not a bit disappointed with the results. I was excited to hear about an Android powered camera and I had high hopes but it seems the first iteration of this camera falls short where it matters in the "camera" department the good news is that if we just wait 3 -6 months Sammy will come out with a newer, faster, shinier, better camera. Thanks for the review.

  • Derrick Hodges

    I'd love this capability in my RX100!

  • Brian Inglut

    If this thing was 199 it would be awesome. Its all about the price. I actually think if it was proved reasonably people would buy this product I would at least. A camera phone is still not ideal or close to what I consider acceptable in all conditions.

  • http://twitter.com/cezeOne cezeOne

    As always, I appreciate your reviews, AP. I'm a complete photo novice and would like to increase the quality of my phone review videos. The review helped me know what to look for in a camera under $500

  • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

    After close to two weeks of use, everything on my review unit was intact, and the shutter/zoom mechanism seemed pretty stable and solid.

    • http://htchien.tw/ Ted Chien

      Glad to know that, thanks for the reply!

      The customer has sent the device back to Samsung and got an replacement immediately. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ivan.tafare Ivan Tafare

    Another angle: I was looking for a cheap MID, like a 7" tablet, on a cellphone-company plan--the likes of S3 or Note or OneX were better factor for pocketability, but out of price range. Then I realized the Gcam hit the stores, and whent for hends-on experience: the 4.8"screen is pretty much enough for my browsing [AND email AND SMS] needs, and--guess what--costs the same as a 7" tablet in the plans! > So, ta da!, I get the P&S for free--no extra cost! I'd rather see it slimmer, but it's more pocketable than a tablet (in terms of glass breaking), and I still have all those leather belt-bags from when cell phones were a different form-factor [I kinda miss that movement as I go for the gun].

    Also, no one of you guyz thought of using it for video streaming? Like on Ustream, Livecast, etc. Somebody is probably already working on an Gcam-optimized video-streaming uploader.

    The things that bother me at this point is the getting out of focus during zooming that Liam mentioned, and the JITTERS that are obvious when the zoom extensions move (forward or backward) and hit the mechanical limits--it all STAYS on-the-record. Tell me what to do about THAT? Don't tell me that I should use the zoom only before shooting. The other pain-in-the-ass characteristic has not been solved in HDV video until now--and probably w'ant be by any upcoming Gcam upgrades: the video pan movements are more than noticably rickety! I gave up on that one, but still have to ask: does anyone have any tips?

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