An Android Camera Review: The Samsung Galaxy

Samsung Galaxy CameraSide view of GalaxyOk, the initial “wow” factor is pretty long-lasting. I love this camera. My 69-year-old mother loves this camera, my 15-year-old daughter loves this camera, and even my professional photographer and videographer boyfriend was impressed (and now wants one!). Verizon has this camera.

I was just thrilled to have the opportunity to play with it and offer a personal review of this new device.

It’s an Android

Android Back Panel of Galaxy Camera

Duh. It’s powered by Android and looks like a cutting edge android phone (with a nice big screen) that has been fused together with a great looking zoom camera on the other side. Seriously, it looks like wicked magic, which may be hard to tell from this grainy shot I took with my cell phone. 🙂

It’s a Camera

I must say that the colors and the details on this 16MP camera are impressive. Click this image to see a full size version:

Details and color on Galaxy Camera

It’s Connected

It has its own SIM card, so you can upload directly from the camera to any social networking site or website — or you can email your digital gold to anyone, and you can do it without a cord, a conversion, or a download to another device. That’s sweet!

The Zoom

OMG! A 21X zoom. It’s awesome and wowed everyone who saw it. You can’t help but play with it. It’s addictive! It also means you can get high-quality close up shots from across a football field. I know, I did it. It worked:

Partial Zoom across a football field

Excellent Video

For a hand-held device, it does a great job. Watch a clip from a band competition I taped using the camera. The extra zooms were to show you the range. I did not use a tripod, so pardon the less-than-perfectly-stable result (that’s all on me, not on the Samsung!) Be sure to adjust your YouTube experience to 720 HD to see the best version of this clip.

Great Display

The huge back display means reviewing your shots is a snap and showing them off to family and friends is simple and impressive. The mini HDMI port means you can hook it up to a large computer monitor, or even a giant TV to show them larger than life.

Ongoing Cost

They camera is not cheap — running $550.00 on Amazon. Obviously, to enjoy all the features of this camera, you will have to buy a cellular (data) plan for uploading and downloading. Depending on how much you use it, this could get expensive. Obviously, you could set it to upload when it has a wi-fi connection and delay the immediate gratification, but that sort of defeats the purpose.

As much as I enjoyed playing with this device, I would worry about attaching it to my data plan without an unlimited data option. The model I reviewed didn’t limit me, which was awesome, but in my life — I would eat up a LOT of data with it. A WHOLE LOT.

Access to Cellular Service

The range on the antenna is less than impressive. So, the uploads sometimes are “scheduled” to happen later, when a signal can be re-established. It wouldn’t connect at all in several areas I tried to use it, including my farm.

Limited Memory Onboard, But Expandable

The on-board memory is nice, but you need a micro SD card for any great number of photos or video clips. I put a 32 gig class 10 microSD in there and didn’t want for more space the whole time I was playing with the camera. Video and series “burst” shots (one of my favorite features) eat up memory quickly.

Battery Life

Battery life is lacking – It sports a 1650 mAh battery, but I wanted to shoot for many more hours than the battery would permit when I was out shooting an event for the whole day. For shorter events, the battery would probably be fine.

Unlike a my cell phone, I can’t add a larger, thicker battery — but I can buy extras and carry them with you (since the bottom door to access the SD card and the battery makes swapping things out easy!)

However, I will say that the “standby” battery seems unaffected when the camera is not on. After a week of being left untouched, the battery was still at nearly 100% when I turned it on again. That would be important for occasional users.

Camera Layout on Screen is Sometimes Awkward

I kept hitting the “timer” function unintentionally. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but when it happened at my daughter’s play I got the “stink eye” from the parents in front of me because the thing beeps, and it’s loud, for several seconds before the picture takes. Two seconds before the shot the every one-second beep goes to many beep-beep-beeps and it’s quite obnoxious. The second time that happened during the play, I shut the camera off.

During intermission, I went into the android settings and turned off the audio.

The Flash

The Oh-So-Cool flash disappears so it’s there when you need it, but doesn’t interfere with the form factor when it’s not:

Flash-1 flash-2 Flash-3

 Conclusion

I think this is a great camera for people who carry and regularly use pocket cameras. I’m more likely to use my smartphone to capture a shot because it’s always with me. I don’t like carrying too many things (despite the indication to the contrary from the size and “stuffed” nature of my bag).

I got to play with this lovely little tech toy for nearly two months, but I kept getting out while I was reviewing it and thinking, “Gee, I wish I had that Galaxy Camera with me!” but I seldom did. It may be something that requires “getting in the habit” of carrying — I’m not sure.

Would I buy a phone that had the camera option with a zoom lens on it, even if it made my phone thicker and heavier? Probably.

If I didn’t carry a smart phone, would I carry this? Oh YES! The ability to text and surf the web and take great shots and play games would be an amazing thing if only my needs didn’t include occasional voice calls.

Honestly, I’m using voice less and less as time goes on… so this type of device might be where I end up in the future. But for now, it’s crazy fun… but probably not something I’d carry enough to justify the cost.

Disclaimer: I reviewed this product on request and gave my honest opinions of the strengths and weaknesses. There was no agreement as to the content of my review and the opinions expressed herein are my own.

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