It is ironic that the point-and-shoot category of cameras now has a poster child from Samsung — the very company whose other devices were responsible for the decline of compact cameras. With the Samsung Galaxy Camera, the concept of a connected camera is finally a reality. The question is — can the love child of an Android phone and a point-and-shoot camera really do it all, or does it land somewhere in the middle? Read on to find out!
Pick it up and it looks just like a regular camera from the front, though it is a tad supersized for a point-and-shoot and feels really large in the hand. Flip it around and you get a large 4.8-in 1280 x 720 pixel touchscreen not unlike Samsung’s Galaxy line-up of phones.
Now, since it runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, you can use it much like you would any other Android device — you can surf the web, check your email and download apps. And of course, you can use these apps to edit your photos and upload them to the social network of your choice — all over Wi-Fi or over the 3G connection when you’re on the move. Despite having a SIM, you cannot SMS or make calls on the camera, but I’m certainly not complaining — can you imagine holding a camera to your ear to make calls?
As a camera, the Galaxy Camera produced rather average results and shooting at even moderate sensitivity levels resulted in image noise levels. All in all, the results lag behind similarly priced cameras, but are better than what you would get from most phone cameras today. With that 3G SIM, Wi-Fi and the massive touchscreen, battery life takes a hit as well, and the device does drag its feet at times.
The redeeming factors in the form of an impressive 21X optical zoom and optical image stabilisation contribute to the heft of the camera. I can’t help but feel this is really a Version 1.0 of the category in terms of its size, price and image quality concerns, but without doubt, the Galaxy Camera offers a tantalising glimpse of the next generation of connected point-and-shoots.
Price: Rs 29,900
Play it cool
Assassin’s Creed is back with its long-awaited third chapter, and while the game has largely remained unchanged, Ubisoft has still kept enough in Assassin’s Creed III to have veterans coming back for this version. AC3 has you playing a new character Connor Kenway, a half English, half Native American based on the US East Coast of the late 1700s, but much like the previous games, you will also spend time as the series’ connecting character Desmond. Even if you’re new to the series, the story keeps explaining relevant bits to keep you from getting confused.
There’s much to like — the open worlds of AC3 are outstanding, the gameplay and combat precise and the sheer sense of freedom, in terms of movement and action, you get during this game is unparalleled. All in all, AC3 ends up as a remarkable game and worthwhile purchase for anyone who hasn’t played the series yet.
Price: Rs 2,799
Take a great phone and add a ‘+’ to the name, and what do you get? In the case of the HTC One X+, it may just mean a lot of dissatisfied folks who bought the original device and see an upgrade this soon! From the outside, it looks practically identical to the One X, but it’s under the bonnet that the real upgrade has happened. The One X+ is packing a 1.7GHz quad-core chip, 64GB of storage and a souped-up battery, plus it has Android 4.1 pre-installed with the Siri-beating Google Now voice assistant as well. If you’ve been eyeing the One X after my strong recommendation of it last year and like HTC’s treatment of the Android interface, this is the bleeding edge device to buy!
Price: Rs 40,190