The Galaxy Camera: Android On One Side, Full-Size Point-And-Shoot On The Other
Google's Android is a pretty versatile operating system. Though designed mainly for smartphones, companies and users alike have also installed the OS onto things like smart wristwatches, car stereos, TVs, refrigerators and, of course, tablets. So it may seem fairly logical that Android would eventually find its way to point-and-shoot cameras. Indeed, Samsung's new Galaxy Camera does just that, pairing the guts of a powerful smartphone running Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” with a fairly respectable point-and-shoot camera chassis, complete with 21x zoom lens.
The Galaxy Camera's 1/2.3” CMOS sensor boasts a 16.3-megapixel resolution and measures 6.17mm by 4.55mm. The highly elusive flash, not visible even in any of Samsung's own photos, pops up from the top of the unit. The company boasts 1080p and 480p video recording at 30 and 120 frames per second, respectively, and handling processing duties is the powerful quad-core Exynos 4412 SoC running at 1.4Ghz. Flip the unit over and you'll find, instead of physical buttons, a 4.77” touchscreen display with a 1280x720-pixel resolution. Onboard storage is 8GB, with a microSDXC slot available for future expansion.
Being an Android device with access to the Google Play store, the Galaxy Camera is naturally compatible with all of those apps available for download (Instagram, anyone?) and Samsung bundles a few of their own. Smart PRO Mode is your typical multi-profile shot enhancer, while Slow Motion Video works in tandem with the 480p 120fps video recording capability mentioned earlier. Voice Control allows you to, predictably enough, tell the device directly to zoom in, zoom out, or take a picture.
The Galaxy Camera offers 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and 3G/4G cellular networking, allowing, among others, a function that “automatically saves your precious family photos into the cloud the instant you take them,” as Samsung puts it. There is no mention of NFC support, which is a little bit disappointing. Simply tapping the Galaxy Camera against someone else's smartphone to share a photo would be hilariously cool. Samsung redeems itself a bit with Wi-Fi Direct, however, which automatically and instantly sends a freshly captured photo to up to eight other registered devices at the same time.
Despite the cellular connectivity, the Samsung Galaxy Camera will apparently not include phone functionality. Whether this is a glaring omission or not depends on the consumer, and personally I would prefer the device to include the capability. In any case, expect to find the Galaxy Camera in stores sometime during the next month or so.
Postscript: Latest version of the Samsung Galaxy is now available at Amazon.com, as well as various other retailers.