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Operating on Android Jelly Bean, the new Samsung Galaxy Camera turns you into an instant social networking artist

Launched with the slogan "shoot, enjoy, edit and share", the Samsung Galaxy Camera is guaranteed to give its owner hours of pleasure capturing impressive quality snapshots for instantly upload to Facebook wall via a 3G network.

It is the first camera from Samsung to run on the Google Android operating system. And it goes one better than most Android phones available in Thailand, as it runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is used by Samsung Galaxy Note II.

And it comes with all the functions of an Android smart phone except a voice call function, so you can think of it as a junior tablet with a 4.8 inch screen.

The Galaxy camera features 16.3 megapixel BSI (backside-illuminated) CMOS sensor and a bright 23mm wide-angle lens with 21x optical zoom with 483mm highest focal length in 35mm equivalence. The lens is bright with aperture of f/2.8 at its widest angle.

It has 8 gigabytes internal storage, which is upgradable with a microSD card. It comes with 4.8-inch 308ppi, HD Super Clear Touch screen and supports up to 3,200 ISO sensitivity.

It can capture stills in full automatic shooting mode or advanced shooting modes of Programme Exposure, Manual Exposure, Shutter speed priority and Aperture priority. There are also 15 "Smart Pro" shooting modes, including Macro, Rich Tone, Action Freeze, Waterfall Trace, Light Trace, Beautiful Sunset, Landscape, Silhouette, and Vivid Fireworks, with more likely to be added through the OS at a later date.

The ladies will love its Beauty face shooting mode, which had the females in The Nation newsroom gasping in delight at the flattering skin tones.

The Galaxy Camera is also capable of recording Full HD MP4 video at 1920 x 1080 pixel at 30 frames per second and capture slow motion video at 768 x 512 pixels at 120 fps.

For its smart phone function, the Galaxy Camera sports 1.4 GHz quad-core processor. It supports 3G connection of HSPA+ at 850/900/1900/ 2100 MHz. It also has Wi-Fi a/b/g/n connections and comes with all Google Mobile services, including Google Maps, Gmail, Google Latitude, Google Play Store, Google Plus, YouTube, and Google Chrome Browser. It also has a contact book that syncs your Facebook and Gmail contacts automatically.

I tested it on TrueMove H's HPSP+ network and was able to post the captured photos to my Facebook wall very fast. I could also update and check feeds on my Facebook page and check into my Foursquare account as well as checking mails and browsing websites fast and conveniently on the easy-to-read screen. Captured shots could also be sent via my Hotmail without any problem.

The Galaxy Camera also comes with Dropbox app, which lets you automatically back up the captured photos and videos to your Dropbox cloud storage.

The camera also has an Instagram app that lets you monitor Instagram feeds and capture high quality photos and apply your choices of Instagram filters and upload them to the social network.

If you want to use other photo editing apps, simply download and install them from Google Play Store. The camera is preloaded with Photo Wizard app that makes it more than just a camera. You can edit, crop and apply various colour effects as well as adding decorations, like frames and stickers to the photos before posting them to your Facebook wall or Picasa web album.

While editing with Photo Wizard, you can use auto adjustment or add brightness, contrast or saturation to each photo. The app's fun effects include Vintage, Old photo, Pop art, Sepia, Retro, Blue wash, Oil paint, Posterize, Sketch and Airbrush. All in all, Photo Wizard offers 35 editing options for touching up your photos.

The Galaxy Camera can also function as a high-quality MP3 player. It has a standard 3.5mm stereo jack. I tested it with premium Sony in-ear earphones and was impressed with the music quality.

As a camera, the Galaxy has very good performance and captures pleasing quality photos in most lighting conditions.

The camera took only about two seconds from the start-up to be ready to capture the first photo. I didn't notice any shutter lag during the test.

Once turned on, it will bring up the camera mode screen. Tap the home icon at the top left to bring up the home screen of the smart phone or tablet function.

Galaxy Camera's navigation and controls are intuitive and mostly done on the menus on the touch screen. The camera has only a power on/off button and zoom control button plus a flash release button.

Tap the mode button on the screen of the camera function to select full Auto mode, Smart mode or Expert mode. The auto mode makes the camera very easy to use while the expert mode is for advanced users to have more control by selecting either P, S, A or M shooting exposures.

The fun shooting modes are available under the Smart Pro option. Aside from the popular Beauty mode, the Best photo mode was also successful with staff during the test at The Nation newsroom, who liked being able to review the eight photos taken in a row before choosing which to upload.

If you want to shoot a waterfall to look like a trail of white foaming water, you can do it easily with the Waterfall Trace shooting mode but you will need a tripod to prevent any shaking as the mode takes a shot with long exposure.

The Landscape mode is for travellers who want to capture the contrast between the blue sky and the greenery. The mode makes the colours more intense.

Samsung has also added HDR (high dynamic range) shooting mode to its camera. This mode is called Rich Tone option under the Smart Pro option. It takes the same scene with several exposures and merges them into single shot to create a scene with soft and rich colours.

An interesting shooting mode is the Best face mode. It is for taking a group picture of up to five persons. It will take five shots and focus on each person's face and merge them into a single shot so that everyone will be in focus. It's a nice way of cheating.

If you like to capture lights at night, you will enjoy the Night shooting mode. This takes a few shots then combines them into a single shot without using flash. The camera doesn't recommend tripod use but I think you should use one to prevent your hand from shaking while the camera is firing off the shots. I found that this mode did not capture as sharp and colourful shots as the handheld night scene mode of other brands, but this mode is useful anyway.

The Light trace mode is also fun to use and this one does requires a tripod. You can capture light trails on a road as the mode will use long exposure.

With the built-in Wi-Fi adapter, Galaxy Camera has Share Shot function for sending the captured shots to a preferred mobile device, like Galaxy S III or Galaxy Note II.

I just wish the camera came with a Super HD AMOLED screen because although the provided HD Super Clear display can be used to frame shots under bright sunlight, I found it very hard to make out the colours of the composed frame under the sun.

Its 21x zoom was very good. It produced sharp result with optical image stabilising (OIS). I managed to use the 21x zoom to capture sharp and clean shots of people walking on the opposite side of Bang Na road from the 31st floor of The Nation's building.

Samsung Galaxy Camera is ideal for anyone that wants an all-in-one mobile device with excellent camera function and at Bt16,900, it's worth every baht.



Key specs:

_ Image Sensor: 16.3 effective megapixel 1/2.3" BSI CMOS

_ Lens: F2.8, 23 mm, 21x Optical Zoom Lens with OIS

_ Display: 121.2 mm (4.77 inch), 308 ppi, HD Super Clear Touch Display

_ ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200

_ Network: 4G, 3G (HSPA+ 21Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz

_ Processor: 1.4GHz Quad-Core processor

_ OS: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

_ Memory: 8GB + memory slot: micro SDSC, micro SDHC, micro SDXC

_ Video: MP4 (Video: MPEG4, AVC/H.264, Audio: AAC)

_ Full HD 1920x1080 30fps; Slow motion Video 768x512(WVGA) 120fps

_ Video Output: HDMI 1.4 (micro HDMI port)

_ Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi HT40, GPS/GLONASS Bluetooth 4.0

_ Battery: 1,650 mAh

_ Dimension (WxHxD): 128.7 x 70.8 x 19.1 mm

_ Weight: 305g


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