Samsung's Android-powered Galaxy Camera was the first dedicated shooter that let users instantly upload their photos to their favourite social networks. And while it offered better image quality and controls over a smartphone's built-in camera, at $599, plus the cost of a data plan, it was a tough sell. But at just $200, plus a monthly fee to your local carrier, theQ camera is a slightly sweeter deal.
The 5-megapixel camera includes a non-swappable, 24mm wide-angle manual focus lens with a reasonably fast f/2.4 aperture. And to improve shots in low-light conditions a diffused LED ring flash surrounding the lens is built-in. On the back you'll find a 2.7-inch LCD display for previewing shots, but what you won't find is a slot for memory cards.
Instead, theQ requires a microSIM card and a 3G connection, since every single photo you decide to keep is automatically uploaded to an online account, called theQ LAB, with unlimited storage. And in the event you happen to be shooting somewhere with limited cell service, 2GB of internal memory temporarily stores about 1000 shots until they can be later uploaded.
In addition to the default online storage where every photo is uploaded, you can also choose to share a particularly great shot on social networks like Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter by hitting the camera's upload button a second time. And nine different filters can be applied to further enhance a photo.
Considering you still have to pay for a separate SIM and data plan to use theQ, it's still a hard sell if you've already got a smartphone with a decent camera on board. But keeping a separate camera means you won't drain your phone's battery as quickly if you're a heavy snapper, and theQ is actually waterproof to a metre or two, so you're free to use it even when you're paranoid about pulling your smartphone out. [theQ Camera]