The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 seems to be aimed at quite a niche area of the compact camera market. For those who want something with a huge screen and Android functionality, but are willing to compromise on some aspects of image quality, this is an ideal choice. For everybody else, it's a confusing entity.
For a compact camera that sits at this high price range, we'd normally expect image quality to be much better. While overall, images are bright and punchy, they don't display a huge amount of detail and there's disappointing performance at the telephoto end of the optic.
There's a good range of functionality here though, and the automatic options are useful, while the ability to take full manual control will be appreciated by experienced photographers. That said, most enthusiast photographers may be put off by the lack of physical controls and the fiddly size of the touchscreen controls. Admittedly though, the touchscreen is responsive.
A couple of quirks have also made their way onto the Galaxy Camera, which seem to come from a smartphone way of operating, but are off-putting for those used to a 'proper' camera. The jump of the AF point back to the centre of the frame after each shot is annoying when you want to take shots in succession with the same AF point, for example.
Some people won't get on with the huge size of the screen. Its 4.8-inch size is far larger than the average camera, but it certainly makes it stand out from the competition. As there are no physical buttons, the whole back of the camera is dedicated to the screen, which is just as well, since having it any smaller would make those fiddly virtual buttons even trickier to use.
If you're after this camera mainly for Android operation, you won't be disappointed. It works well – and quickly – and of course the ability to add as many different apps as you want makes this much more customisable than your average camera.
The responsive touchscreen is big, but it works well. You can use it to set the autofocus point right across the scene. It's also helpful for navigating menus and, naturally, the Android section of the camera. It's a shame some of the options aren't bigger though, as they can be hard to grasp.
Samsung has clearly made some compromises in trying to offer a camera that has the best elements of a smartphone combined with those of a camera. While it works for the majority of cases, the 21x optical zoom lens could be better, and some of the handling quirks could be improved to make it more camera-like and less phone-like.
While it's definitely not the best compact camera on the market, nor the best that offers a high zoom range, it's a much more unusual option than the standard compact.
For those who want the maximum amount of creativity, coming in the form of hundreds of available photography apps, this kind of camera will surely appeal, while the large zoom range elevates high above the average smartphone.
The ability to share images quickly – if you have a Wi-Fi connection or are willing to tether it to your phone – is perhaps one of its most appealing prospects, although it's no longer particularly special in terms of specifications, since more and more cameras come equipped with this ability. The removal of 3G/4G connectivity makes it less able when travelling, so that's something to bear in mind.
In terms of an upgrade, there's not much here to distinguish the Galaxy Camera 2 from its predecessor. It's an ever-so-slightly different shape, but not enough to be noticeable, and the processor makes a small, if not hugely significant, difference to the overall speed of the camera.