Samsung Galaxy Camera review

Android apps on a 'proper' camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera
It's got a huge touchscreen and controls to suit novice and enthusiast photographers

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

We think Samsung has a hit on its hands with the Samsung Galaxy Camera, which is priced at £399/AU$599/US$499.99. It seems to have grabbed the attention of lots of people. Many of the people we showed it to - both photographers and non-photographers - have told us that they want one.

The combination of a compact camera-sized sensor and a 21x optical zoom lens in a relatively thin body with a huge (by camera standards) touchscreen is very enticing. The good news is that this isn't all window dressing, the Samsung Galaxy Camera delivers the goods.

Some people have an issue with the camera's size, saying it's a bit on the large side for a compact. But we think that Samsung has got it about right.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera needs to make a statement and stand out from the crowd so that people recognise it for what it is - a camera that combines the best elements of a compact camera with those of a smartphone.

Shrinking it down in size would make it less easy to distinguish from standard touchscreen compact cameras. It would also mean a smaller screen and more fiddly operation.

We liked

Samsung's Galaxy Camera has responsive touchscreen controls and intuitive operation, making it quick and easy to use. Uploading images to your favourite social media site is a doddle via a 3G or Wi-Fi connection, and on the whole the images are worth sharing.

Photographers will love the fact that you can use the advanced exposure modes you are used to from your DSLR or CSC, but novices will find you are also well catered for. Both camps will find it hard resist the draw of modes such as Best Face.

Then there's the apps - we love the apps that enable you to do so much with the camera, from helping with day to day chores to turning your shots into retro masterpieces.

We disliked

As we mentioned earlier, some may find the camera a little too big, and while we disagree on one level, it might be nice if it could be slipped into a jeans pocket. This would have major implications for the screen and lens, though, and image quality might be compromised.

One of the first questions everyone asks about the Samsung Galaxy Camera is "can you use it as a phone?" The answer is no, which seems a shame.

On a photographic note, we'd like a quicker route to the macro focusing option. It would be useful to be able to change focusing modes direct from the screen.

Final verdict

It may not be the best compact camera on the market, but the Samsung Galaxy Camera is certainly one of the easiest and most fun to use. The image quality is also good, way beyond what the average phone can produce and on a par with some of the most popular compact cameras on the market.

Enthusiasts are likely to be willing to forgive it any image quality shortcomings because they want it to take more creative shots than their phone can manage and then share them with their friends and followers. It is also smaller, lighter and better connected than DSLRs and CSCs.

For the moment the price seems very high compared with compact cameras such as the Panasonic TZ30, although it is low in comparison with a smartphone such as the iPhone 5.

When Samsung first announced the Samsung Galaxy Camera, we were told the price would be around £100/$160 less than it is on sale for now. While we can expect the price to drop over the coming months, consumers are currently being asked to pay a high premium for the camera's connectivity and Android operating system.