Samsung Galaxy Camera – Review

Cameras are a part of our lives these days. Be it taking photos of your lunch and posting it to Instagram, taking photos of your ugly children and posting them to Facebook or even taking photos for a living.  I take a lot of photos every day, normally with my phone or my compact camera. I have toyed around with super zoom bridge cameras and decided I just couldn’t be bothered with the size and the thought of a DSLR just scares me.

When I saw the trailers and the promotional material for the Samsung Galaxy Camera I thought “this camera is made for someone just like me”. The weeks that followed were spent wondering how much it was going to cost me. When I found out I was shocked, then I realised quite what it was capable of and how it could easily transform the photo taking side of my life.

I never got round to buying one, other things distracted me like Windows Phone 8 and the Galaxy Note II. Then I heard that Clove were going to send us a Galaxy Camera to review and to tell you the truth I was a little scared. I have reviewed dozens of phones over the years and none of them have ever been so unwittingly complicated.

So where on earth do you start in reviewing something like the Galaxy Camera? Well after having used it for a few weeks I’ll give you the good and bad points first.

Good Points

  • Design wise it looks great
  • Being able to install apps like Instagram and Facebook mean sharing photos is a doddle
  • Being able to edit photos on the fly is also a great benefit
  • Auto Upload feature of many of the Cloud Storage services is useful

Bad Points

  • Price seems steep compared to phones or compact cameras
  • Having most of the controls done onscreen feels odd at times
  • Using the camera outdoors in cold weather is tricky, gloves etc


We were sent the white version of the Galaxy Camera, which for me is probably the best thing that could have happened. I love white gadgets; to me they always seem a little more premium in white. When I opened the box I was surprised by the size of the Galaxy Camera, with a 4.8” touch screen it really is quite big compared to my compact camera.

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The screen dominates the back of the device leaving not much space for anything else, the screen does have onscreen software buttons for functions like back, home and some other options that vary throughout the OS.

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The top of the camera houses the flash which is popped up with button on the left hand side, along with the power button, the shutter button and the zoom controls. The microphone for video recording is also on the top of the camera.

Samsung Galaxy Camera   Review

The bottom of the camera has a standard tripod mount and a big battery cover which houses the battery, the MicroSD card and a SIM card and also Micro HDMI port (which is also accessible without opening the big flap).

Samsung Galaxy Camera   Review

The left-hand side of the camera has the flash popup button and a small speaker and the right-hand side has a lanyard loop connector, Micro USB port for charging (behind a flap) and a 3.5mm headphone socket. The right-hand side of the camera also has a bulge to act as a handhold, which feels a little awkward as your thumb finds it way onto the screen in this position.

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The Galaxy Camera certainly does look great and I could easily see myself using this on holiday or at a press event. I also think it could be thrown in my rucksack before going about my daily adventures, although I think I’d want some sort of thin case to protect the large touchscreen. The contrast between the dark black and blues of the screen and the bright white of the camera make for an impressive looking camera. Most people I handed it to were impressed. The weight of the Galaxy Camera is quite high compared to similar sized units.


The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a sort of hybrid device with a sort of hybrid spec. Here is the full spec for the Galaxy Camera:

Network/Bearer and Wireless Connectivity

  • GSM 3G , HSPA-PLUS, HSPA+21      (850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100)
  • 802.11a/b/g/n, 2.4GHz / 5GHz
  • DLNA, HDMI 1.4 support


  • Quad Core 1.4GHz CPU

Physical Specification

  • Dimension – 70.8×128.7×19.1mm
  • Weight – 300g


  • Battery Capacity – 1650mAh
  • Standby Time : Up to 280 hours (3G)


  • Android 4.1 (Jellybean)


  • 3.87GB Memory


  • White, Cobalt Black


  • Assisted GPS / GLONASS available


  • HD Super Clear LCD (TFT) 4.8″ 1280 x 720 (HD)


  • Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyro-sensor, Gyro-sensor (for OIS)


  • USB v2.0
  • MicroSD External Memory Slot (SDXC 64GB)
  • MicroSIM
  • Micro USB available

Notable features are the Quad Core Exynos CPU/GPU which really helps make everything the camera does fly past. Transitions from screen to screen are really speedy. The screen is also really nice, it’s a typical Samsung affair with nice bright clear colours and it even faired well outdoors.

The camera has 3.87GB of internal memory which is best used for apps, I would invest in a large MicroSD card to use with the camera for storing photos and videos. I would also recommend setting up Google Instant Upload or Dropbox Camera Upload to keep a copy of your photos. I do this with my Windows Phone devices and it is handy having access to your shots from whichever device you choose to pickup. Especially if you have the equivalent desktop app installed allowing you almost instant access to your photos.


The Galaxy Camera comes running Jelly Bean, which means you can access the latest apps and it can easily sync with your other Android devices. Although the version of Android it comes with really wouldn’t hinder the camera much as it is all bespoke software from Samsung.

Out of the box there are quite a few Samsung supplied apps pre installed, basically to make the initial experience as good as possible. Being able to add various filters within the camera app is really useful and also being able to edit photos afterwards is great. It means you can on the road or on your travels, take some shots, edit them and then upload them or email them without having to use a tablet or laptop. I can see many instances this would be useful. Take MWC for instance. Our team will be running round taking photos and videos like crazy, having a connected device like the Galaxy Camera would make the whole upload process a whole lot easier.

The galaxy Camera has the following pre-installed

Instagram,  Paper Artist, Dropbox, Gallery, Photo wizard, Video Editor, AllShare Play, S-Suggest, S-Voice

Using the camera is a fairly intuitive process. Out of the box the camera is in total power off mode and once powered up you have to configure the whole Android side of things, which is best done on WiFi as the account syncing process can eat up your data allowance. Once setup you get the expect Android homescreen along with a persistent Camera shortcut. Once pressed this loads up the camera app and the fun starts.

There were a few thing I didn’t like within the software of the camera. First of which was the onscreen controls. Throughout most of the apps and on the homescreen you get onscreen back, home and menu buttons, which in landscape are at the side and in portrait are at the bottom, yet within the camera app and some of the Samsung supplied gallery apps you get back and home arranged along the top or at the side or hidden. It made finding my way back to the homescreen overly fiddly.

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The second thing that got me was the implementation of the “sort of instant on” camera mode. Imagine your camera and your phone (not a HTC). Turn both off and then have a race to see which powers up quickest. Your camera will win every time. This is why we leave our phones on all the time and why cameras are so handy to have in a bag whilst on holiday. So how do Samsung compromise between the phone startup and the camera startup. They’ve done something similar to what HTC do with their Android phones, in that when you hit “Power off” it just hibernates. Meaning that when you grab the camera and press power on you only have to wait a few seconds before it’s ready. This all sounds good so far, leave the camera for more than an hour though and it really powers down. Meaning you have to wait for it to fully power up before you can use it. This for me was a little annoying, I can see why Samsung have done this, to save battery life mainly. But unless you are getting the camera out a lot it’ll soon get tedious waiting for it each time.

Which leads me to battery life, an afternoon of taking photos at a kids party killed off a full charge. I took about 100 pictures without flash and it was done. So if you’re planning on getting one I’d invest in a few spare batteries as well. In normal day to day use the hibernation thing was actually a handy way of conserving battery power.

The Camera

The camera itself has a pretty decent spec:


  • F = 4.1 ~ 86.1mm (35mm film equivalent : 23 ~ 483mm)
  • 2.8 (W) ~5.9 (T)
  • 21x Zoom Lens

Shutter Speed

  • Auto : 1 /  8 ~ 1 / 2000sec Manual : 16 ~ 1 / 2000sec

White Balance

  • Auto WB, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten, Custom

Image Stabilization

  • Optical Image Stablisation


  • Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual Exposure
  • Multi, Spot, Centre-weighted, Face Detection AE
  • ±2EV (1 /3EV steps)
  • Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200

Still Image

  • 1. Auto 2. Smart (15 Mode) : Beauty face, Best photo, Continuous shot, Best face, Landscape, Macro, Action freeze, Rich tone, Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Fireworks, Light trace3. Expert Control (5 Mode) : P (Auto+), A (Aperture Priority), S (Speed Priority), Camcorder, M (Manual)
  • Normal, Vintage, Black & White, Autumn Brown, Negative, Nostalgia, Colour Fade, Retro, Sunshine, Old Photo, Comic, Pastel Sketch, Gothic Noir, Impressionist

Audio and Video

  • Full HD (1080p) Video Recording & Playback available
  • Recording up to 30fps

Image Sensor

  • 1 / 2.3″


  • TTL Auto Focus (Centre AF, Multi AF, Face Detection AF)
  • Normal : 80cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 350cm ~ Infinity (Tele) Macro : 10cm ~ 80cm (Wide), 150cm ~ 350cm (Tele) Auto Macro : 10cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 150cm ~ Infinity (Tele) Manual : 10cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 150cm ~ Infinity (Tele)


  • Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash Off, Red-eye fix
  • Wide : 0.2m ~ 6.2m (ISO Auto), Tele : 0.5m ~ 5.1m (ISO Auto) , Flash EVC : ±1EV(1 / 2 steps)
  • Approx. 4sec.

Movie Clip

  • Normal, Vintage, Black & White, Autumn Brown, Negative, Nostalgia, Colour Fade,      Retro, Sunshine, Old Photo, Comic, Pastel Sketch, Gothic Noir,      Impressionist

The camera has three modes, Auto, Manual and scenes and what this means is that you can easily just snap away in Auto mode relying on the camera to adjust all of the settings to take what it thinks is the best possible photo. The modes setting meant that you can flip between modes like “Night Time”, “Macro” or “Best Shot” easily.

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Some of the modes it even warns you to use a tripod, which is a nice touch. Especially as the camera has a full size tripod mount. The manual mode is for the photography purists out there, the ones who can look at a landscape and know instantly which settings to tweak to improve the shot. I don’t personally have a clue what to change, I found the auto setting and the modes perfectly adequate for my needs.

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The camera itself excels at whatever you ask of it, with a little patience, a tripod and some fiddling of the settings you could create some really amazing pictures. It is a shame the only time I had with the Galaxy Camera everything was covered in snow, but as you can see it still took some nice photos.


The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a great device and I loved my time with it, it wasn’t ideal that every photo I took was snowy, but the shots I got were really nice. I found I could take low light photos better than any device I’d used before, including the Nokia Lumia 920.

As to who the Galaxy Camera is designed for, it would suit someone who is very social and who takes a lot of photos. Or just the gadget geek who loves to have the latest device regardless of whether it fits into their life.
There is an awful lot you could do with this camera it is basically limited only by your imagination, personally I think if I was going to spend a lot on a camera I would rather a nicely connected camera like this one, having WiFi and a SIM card built in made managing my photos a  lot easier. Although I can see how some would prefer higher specifications and a bigger footprint.

Lastly a big thanks to Clove who sent us the Galaxy Camera, if you fancy getting a Galaxy Camera then head over to Cloves page here or for an ex demo unit here.

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  • John Kyle

    Good review, although it requires more shakey one handed videos filmed in a car. This is CSP after all!

    • James Pearce

      haha cheers. One day all reviews will be done in a car whilst on a lunchbreak.

      • John Kyle

        It’s how Gears would want it! :)
        Have you sent the camera back already? If not can I have it?! :)

  • Martin

    Cracking review, one of the best I’ve read on here. Do you know if you could use a SGS3 headset in it? Then…… download a VOIP type app and use it as a phone?