Samsung created an entirely new cell phone market category at its Unpacked event in Berlin when it presented a brand-new device called the Galaxy Camera. This is a hybrid of a 4.8-inch smartphone with basic specifications — which are identical to that of Galaxy S III (quad core Exynos and a 4.8-inch HD screen) — and a digital camera with a 16-megapixel sensor, 21x of optical zoom, and a pop-up Xenon flash.
In short, this is a device that will instantaneously become the most coveted mobile device for millions of Instagram enthusiasts, as well as those who use their smartphone primarily as a camera. Samsung, which manufactures digital cameras as well, has openly admitted that smartphones are ruining the compact market and this converged type of device, whose back-facing camera is not inferior, has a bright market future.
When held in hand, it can be sensed that this is the first gadget of its kind that Samsung has manufactured. It is rather heavy and big (305 grams and 19 millimeters thick when the lens is down), which means it is hard to imagine someone carrying it and using it as a phone or for browsing the web. Still, the same suspicions rose precisely a year ago at the launch of the fist Galaxy Note and it turned out to be one of the most successful Samsung products of all time, after just 12 months.
The Galaxy Camera’s performances are perfect; the back of the camera really does act as a Galaxy S III, especially when it comes to the incredible speed, with an added bonus: we have Jelly Bean skinned with TouchWiz and not just Ice Cream Sandwich.
The imaging is a bit darker with a hint less sharpness and color vividness than the Galaxy S III provides, given that it uses Super Clear LCD technology and not Super AMOLED. It is clear why Samsung decided to make this move; the contrast with this matrix on direct sunlight is the only better thing it provides than the Super AMOLED screen, which is very important for frequent camera work.
The photographs are convincingly better that those taken by any other smartphone, even those by Nokia’s 808 PureView, especially in poor lighting conditions, due to the solid flash that only the most advanced compact cameras have. I loved the option of widening the shooting angle (23 mm), the smile detection option, optical image stabilization, and the ‘hipster’ filters that come with the shooting application, which means that an ‘artsy’ touch can be given to the photographs.
The camera’s design is a mixture of retro style and, again, the roundness which is reminiscent of Galaxy S III. For the first hybrid of its kind, this is a very successful device that has raised the bar particularly high for competitors that will want to offer something similar.