blade camera

Samsung has some heavyweight touchscreen cameraphones on the market, including its flagship 12-megapixel M8910 Pixon 12, but the Blade is much lower down the pecking order. Like the Tocco Lite, the Blade's 3.2-megapixel camera is a fixed focus unit, so lacks the versatility for precise image capturing that an autofocus camera offers.

It has a digital zoom, but only at lower resolution and not in full 3.2-megapixel mode. The Blade does have an LED flash for low-light illumination, though, providing some added illumination in murky situations, but is otherwise quite a limited shooter.

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SAMPLE: The Samsung Blade's fixed focus 3.2-megapixel camera cam take reasonable snaps. Here, colours are well-balanced

Its touchscreen user interface is, however, very user-friendly and intuitive, based around a system of large, clear icons framing the viewfinder image.

Press the camera button on the side of the phone, and the Blade's camera fires up in a couple of seconds, switching into landscape viewfinder mode. Three control buttons are ranged either side of the viewfinder on a see-through panel. Pressing any of these brings up further large icons onscreen, giving you easy to identify options to choose from.

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SAMPLE: Again, colours are well rendered, although there isn't the level of detail you'd get from a higher grade camera

The main controls provide fast access to camcorder mode, flash mode selection (on, off, auto), brightness control, shooting mode – which includes a Smile shot option for detecting when a subject is smiling before the camera snaps, plus multi-shot and panorama views.

A settings button allows further options, including white balance control, colour effects, timer and image resolution and quality. Another button brings up a quick view of your image gallery – one of several ways of viewing and browsing your pictures on the phone.

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SAMPLE: The camera does lack the precision for focusing on individual subjects in the viewfinder, though its auto metering system deals well with subdued light

Images can be uploaded straight to social networking site and online services, including Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket, MySpace and Friendster.

While the camera is a doddle to operate, the limitations of the fixed focus shooter are apparent in the results you can achieve with it.

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SAMPLE: On a gloomy afternoon, the camera captures reasonable shots; the screen and signs around the stadium can be read, although it does lack precision when it comes to the grey sky

It puts in an acceptable performance for this grade of cameraphone, but doesn't surprise in terms of overall quality. Images look fine for snaps, but you can't get the precise focus on some subjects that you can with an autofocus shooter.

Picture detail looks reasonable but is limited in what you can achieve and in gloomier conditions or indoors, shots can appear a bit soft. Colour rendition is generally natural and in bright light rich with vivid saturation.

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SAMPLE: Mid-distance shots come out OK, but close-up definition is limited

In dark situations, the flash does help throw some light on subjects, but it's not as powerful as some of Samsung's mobiles. It only has limited brightness and is insufficient when over a metre or two away.

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SAMPLE: The Blade's LED flash provides low-light illumination indoors or out. Its range is limited to quite close up, but it does allow you to capture images in dark places

Camcorder mode is average for this level of shooting device, but is again limited; it shoots in maximum QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) resolution at up to 15 frames per second maximum, so produces typically unrefined mobile phone footage.

As you'd expect, there are editing tools onboard, which are quite easy to apply using the touchscreen.