Samsung Galaxy Camera Australian Hands-On: A Selfie's Best Friend

When Samsung announced the Galaxy Camera, I'll admit, I laughed a bit. "Who needs Android on a camera?!" I exclaimed to an office that is sick of hearing my voice. The answer to that important question is: nobody. Nobody needs an Android camera, but if you want one for social sharing, by the power of Android, this one is amazing.

The Galaxy Camera is a curious little product. It's like a giant Galaxy Player, only with a 16-megapixel camera attached.

It's packing an f/2.8 wide-angle lens with a 23mm equivalent. It's got 21x optical zoom, a whole bunch of automatic, scene and manual shooting modes, a 4.8-inch touchscreen and it supports 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. Yes, you read right: a camera you can put a microSIM card in.

Optus and Telechoice will range the Galaxy Camera, perhaps even on plans, before the end of the year. We'll bring you more information on that when we have it. As for outright purchase price, you can expect to pay $599 when it lands in all major retailers before the end of the month.

The brain of the outfit is a whopping 1.4GHz quad core processor powering a modified version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. That makes it more modern than the Galaxy S III 4G and the Galaxy Nexus for pete's sake!

That means it has full access to Google Play and can install just about any app. Instagram? You got it. Image editors? You got it. Any of our favourite android apps? You betcha. That's truly incredible. Combine that with the weight and the speed of the unit and Samsung's really onto something here.

As far as the imaging is concerned, the Galaxy Camera takes a top shot. Different shooting modes are split across three sections: full automatic, smart and expert modes. Each offers different levels of customisation and control. Automatic is pretty self-explanatory, smart mode drops you into 15 different scene options, and expert contains all the nifty manual functions you expect from a digital camera these days.

My only concern with the Galaxy Camera is the battery life. The device takes the same 1650mAh battery as the Samsung Galaxy S II. Cameras are notoriously battery-hungry when combined with Android, and with the addition of 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, the situation becomes twice as dicey.

Samsung say the camera is good for 340 shots on one charge, whatever that really means. Let's say one shot takes me five seconds to line up, shoot and process before moving onto the next one, that means that by the time my battery goes dead, I will have been using the device for 28 minutes. I don't want to throw nasty words around here, but that's rubbish. We'll test that thoroughly when we get it, although if our maths is correct the tests wont take long.

So perhaps nobody needs Android on a camera, but with specs and features like these, it'd make sharing those selfies a lot easier...

Should Android be on a camera?



    "Samsung say the camera is good for 340 shots on one charge, whatever that really means. Let’s say one shot takes me five seconds to line up, shoot and process before moving onto the next one, that means that by the time my battery goes dead, I will have been using the device for 28 minutes."

    (1) If you're taking only five seconds to compose and shoot each frame, for 28 minutes non-stop, then you have no idea about photography. (2) Removable, replaceable battery.

    Wait, so you can make phone calls on this? I know a few girls who would love a full blown digicam phone.

      Sadly not. Think of it like a tablet: you can make calls via Wi-Fi if you have an app that supports that kind of thing, but it doesn't have a bespoke calling ability out of the box.

        Ah that's a shame. I remember a few full blown camera phones were released and being announced just as iPhone and Android took off. They were let down by the terrible symbian based software that was on them.

        I think there is definitely space for something like this on the market.

        I guess it'd have a mic and speaker, for video recording. If those are accessible to apps, then I see no reason you couldn't make VoIP calls through the camera, over a 3G data connection as easily as wi-fi.

    Is that a lens in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

    this is a great concept. android + serious dslr would be mind blowing. as a phone OS, i hate android but this is where android could be incredible.
    also, are you sure 'selfie' doesn't mean something else? *snort* =)

    I have a 12MP cam here that will take 900 shots on one charge, so that means it only lasts 2.5 times linger and has nothing but a small LCD display.

    Since this has a super computer built in, that's not bad.

    I'm actually loving the white, it's a really nice design.

    Man, if i had cash to just throw around i would so get this. Unfortunately, cash no, no cash here.

    I've been on holiday and using an old point and shoot camera. I have to admit at several times I wished there was some sort of android component to the camera. Whether that's me just being use to a big LCD screen being able to do more than just look at pictures I don't know. The battery life does sound like an issue tho but for an every day camera it sounds about right. Will add this to the cameras I look at for my next :)

      actually i just thought of something. is this something you leave on all the time like a phone or something you turn off when you're not using it? If you turn it off how long does it take to turn on with the android OS in place? the ability to turn your camera on and be ready shooting as quickly as possible is very important.

        Excellent question.

        ~400 shots is pretty common for camera batteries, so 340 doesn't sound far out of line (though does that include some flash usage, wi-fi etc?). But assuming that cold startup won't be much faster than other Android devices, standby life is crucial.

    I absolutely love this camera, bought it 2013 for my european holiday, Wow! took amazing photos for me a novice photographer. I snapped 6000 pics while overseas (thats True!) I did find the battery power ran out before days end, eventually bought an extra battery (wasn't easy finding one in Italy, but got lucky) Recommend this camera for all its functions ie; multimedia, social sharing,ease of use and recommend a second battery for back up. No complaints here. Love it! Love It!

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