Overall, we were impressed by the images produced by the Samsung NX210. Colours are represented very well on the whole, with lots of vibrancy without being over the top.
The 20.3 million-pixel sensor is able to resolve lots of detail, and the camera is certainly able to rival a budget DSLR in terms of image quality, especially when shooting in good light.
Auto white balance does a good job of reproducing accurate colours, even when shooting in artificial or mixed lighting conditions. If you find it doesn't quite match, changing the white balance setting is easily done via the iFn button on the lens, or the Fn button on the back of the camera.
There are three metering options, Multi, Centre-weighted and Spot. Multi does a good job in general conditions, while changing to Spot is a good idea if the camera is likely to be confused by a mixed lighting source.
Noise performance is reasonable, if a little worse than the Samsung NX200's. Our lab tests (see next page) show that the Sony NEX-5N, which also uses an APS-C size sensor is a much better performer, putting the Samsung NX210 more on a par with smaller sensor cameras.
At ISO 800, noise is certainly visible, but on the plus side there doesn't appear to be too much evidence of smoothing or over-sharpening.
On occasion, the Samsung NX210's processing times aren't particularly quick. This is especially true when shooting at a high frame rate, or using a Magic filter, meaning you sometimes need to wait a few seconds between shots before being able to use the camera again.
Focusing is reasonably quick, locking onto subjects with ease in the majority of cases. It can struggle to lock onto smaller subjects, even when using the macro lens. This can be helped along by changing the size of the focus area, though it can be a little frustrating as it hunts for focus in these conditions.
The 621k dot AMOLED screen works very well in bright sunlight. In all but the brightest of direct sunlight, composing an image on the screen was pretty easy.
Unfortunately however, images played back on the Samsung NX210's screen look a little dull, and on occasion as if they are slightly out of focus. These days, 621k dot is not particularly high, which may explain this problem.
If this is the case, it's worth zooming in on previewed images to make sure accurate focus has been gained.
The ability to connect the camera to a smartphone or tablet is very appealing. However, with extremely limited functionality, this can only be so useful. A dedicated Android app is available, and we're told that an iOS version will also be available soon.
Unfortunately, the only control this gives is the shutter release, with no other manual controls. As this can only be reached via the Wi-Fi mode, you also don't have the ability to determine settings beforehand.
Hopefully, Samsung is working on a way to make this a lot more useful, and give a lot more functionality, in the future.
Aside from Remote Viewfinder, Wi-Fi mode also contains other useful options, such as Social Sharing and Email. Once you've set up a Facebook or email account, for instance, uploading images is quick and easy. Unfortunately it's a laborious task entering a caption using the on-screen keyboard, so it's best to keep those to the absolute minimum.
Digital filters are proving extremely popular on cameras these days, in the wake of Instagram and other popular smartphone apps.
The Samsung NX210 includes a Magic Mode, which includes a number of Magic Frames and Smart Filters. The Magic Frames, are quite frankly, a little bizarre, and we're not sure who they are likely to appeal to.
The Smart Filters fare a little better, but are still not as creative or interesting as some of those on offer from Sony, Panasonic or Olympus.
It's also worth noting that these Magic Effects can only be shot in JPEG mode, meaning that if you decide you'd like to remove the effects afterwards, you can't. If you want a bit more flexibility then there is the option to use Picture Wizard, in any of the semi-automatic or manual modes.
This gives options such as Vivid and Landscape, as well as more creative options such as "Classic" (which is basically black and white), "Calm", which makes colours appear more muted, and "Retro" which adds a sepia tone to make images look like they were shot in the 70s. Again, some of these options will be more popular than others, but it's good to see that these can be shot in raw format for post-capture removal.
The battery, which Samsung promises lasts for around 330 shots, lasted all day during our testing. By the end of the day it was still showing a full battery charge, but then suddenly lost power very quickly, dropping from apparently full to completely empty in the space of just a few minutes.
It seems redundant to have a battery gauge at all if it works in this manner, because you have no real way of telling how full it is – especially if returning to it after a couple of days away.