Samsung has introduced its Galaxy Camera 2, an updated version of its smart-connected point and shoot camera featuring the Android operating system. DigitalCameraReview had a chance to try out the new Galaxy Camera 2 at a Samsung event, and we were impressed with its upgraded design and features.
At first glance, the Galaxy Camera 2 is undoubtedly attractive, with a faux leather design replacing the plastic body of the previous model. At DCR, we love the look of the faux-leather. It gives the camera a more polished look while also making it comfortable to hold with some added traction. It is noticeably slimmer and more compact than the previous model, with a reduced hand grip and thinner body. The flash on the Galaxy 2 pops up and can be tilted back to create bounce and achieve other more sophisticated flash techniques. While a useful feature, the flexible flash is a bit sensitive when pushing back on it, so users may want to handle the flash with care to avoid any accidental damage.
The Galaxy Camera 2 boasts a quad core 1.6GHz processor with 2GB of RAM, which is increased from 1.4GHz and 1GB in the previous model. It houses 8GB of internal memory storage with a microSD slot to expand up to 64GB. The Galaxy Camera 2 is lightweight and compact, measuring in at 5.22 x 2.8 x .76 inches, and weighs just .64 pounds. Samsung upped the battery to a Li-on 2000mAh to allow for greater battery life than its predecessor.
With a 16 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, users are able to capture high quality images with the ease of point and shoot technology. The 21x optical zoom on the device remains unchanged from the previous model, but is certainly more than enough to suit users' needs. The Galaxy Camera 2 shoots video at resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 at 30fps and 1280 x 720 at 60fps. The Multi Motion Video feature also lets users take videos in slow motion by adjusting the capture and create speeds.
We found that the Galaxy Camera 2 starts up quickly, presumably thanks to its faster processor and RAM, making it easy to take a photo in seconds. The 4.8-inch display dominates the back of the camera, and its touch screen capabilities allow users to navigate the menus without dedicated buttons. Within the menus, users will find 28 smart modes, which Samsung focused heavily on with this device, after feedback from Galaxy camera users that they appreciated the easy to use modes. The menus are easy to navigate and amateur photographers will find them user friendly enough. The ease of use combined with high quality functions makes the Galaxy 2 camera a great option for those who want high quality images without the investment and commitment of a DSLR.
The Galaxy Camera 2 ships with Android Jellybean 4.3, giving users full access to apps and features in the Google Play store. Samsung's intention with the Galaxy camera line was to blend smartphone functionality with a camera, since smartphone photography has risen in recent years. Thanks to its Android operating system, users will also be able to download their favorite smartphone apps to edit and share videos outside of the camera's base functions.
As with the last Galaxy camera, the Galaxy 2 features a host of connectivity options thanks to its Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and NFC compatibility. With NFC, users can easily share photos with other NFC enabled devices simply by bumping the devices together, without any previous configuration. Users can also opt to automatically upload photos to a cloud storage service or another smartphone or tablet. The Remote Viewfinder application also allows users to control their camera via a smartphone or tablet using the compatible app. As an added bonus, the Galaxy Camera 2 comes with Dropbox pre-installed as well as an offer for 50GB of free cloud storage for up to two years, making it easy to free up storage on the camera while away from a computer.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 will be on display at Samsung's booth at CES 2014 in Las Vegas. The company has not released information on pricing or the release dates as of this writing.