Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 review

Another mongrel from Samsung's smart device collider ...

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

We like to imagine that deep under South Korea somewhere Samsung has its own CERN-style particle accelerator. Except that it uses it to fire various smart gadgets at each other at incredible speeds and then sell whatever comes out of the digital atomic collision. Sometimes the results are brilliant, such as Galaxy Note ‘Phablet’ range, but the Galaxy Camera didn’t impress us quite so much.

The new Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is in many ways a refinement of the original, slightly bonkers design. It’s still the same mongrel-child of a compact camera and a smartphone, and it still can’t take phone calls, unlike its confusingly close sibling the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. The new model has a number of updates, but oddly they are largely confined to the Android parts of the device, rather than the imaging bits.

The Galaxy Camera 2 still has the same small 1/2.3in compact camera sensor with 16-megapixels packed onto it, so we’d expect the same fairly typical compact camera snaps we saw from the Samsung Galaxy Camera, so plenty of noise inside thanks to too many pixels on the small sensor, but pretty good snaps outside, with the long zoom proving to be a revelation for those used to a mobile phone camera.

Samsung has made a lot more effort elsewhere. One area that will benefit every aspect of the device is a bigger battery, up from 1,650mAh to 2,000mAh. Battery life was one of our main concerns with the previous model, and this should help somewhat. It’s quicker too, with the quad-core processor running at 1.6GHz rather than 1.4GHz, and a doubling up to 2GB of RAM. Plus it’s running Android 4.3, so everything feels very slick indeed in use. However, that hasn’t seemed to solve the problem of fairly long boot times from being powered down.

Android means you can have lots of fun editing photos and video before uploading them, but you could just use a smartphone of course

The new model has NFC too, though we’re not sure what you’re going to pair it with, another Wi-Fi enabled camera, or a smartphone, pretty pointless either way as it’s both of those already. It has some funs new modes though that should appeal to whoever it is it’s supposed to appeal to. Our favourite is the Selfie mode that detects when your face is in the middle of the frame and then takes five snaps for you to select from.

We’re not huge fans of selfies, but we tried our best … kinda

It’s also lighter than the original by a handful of grams, but largely the same size. It has expanded inside though, so to speak, with 8GB of storage space, up from a measly 4GB.

It’s not that the Galaxy Camera 2 is badly executed, it’s a very nice thing, we’re just not sure who wants to buy a very expensive compact camera (RRP £399) with Android onboard when you can just use your smartphone, or buy a smartphone with a built-in zoom (like the S4 Zoom).

We’d much rather see a phone-camera hybrid with a very small zoom multiplier, say 3x and a larger, more capable sensor. Something along the lines of splicing a Panasonic LX7 with a Samsung Galaxy Mega. Creating a device that takes far better photos than any phone or compact camera and has a big screen to show them off on immediately.

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