Is the Galaxy Camera a true all-in-one device?

galaxy cam

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is, without a doubt, one of the most inventive, innovative, next-gen pieces of hardware on the market. It hits all the right trends: It’s all about mobile. It’s all about photo-sharing. It’s all about social networking. And it’s really, really good looking. 

But with great capabilities come great expectations – and large price tags. The $500 device is an attempt at all things, one of the true hybrids of the current electronics landscape. That’s a tall order to live up to … so, can it? There’s only one way to find out, and so I’ve forsaken as many connected devices as possible in favor of the I-can-do-it-all Samsung Galaxy Camera. My mission: to find out if it really can do it all.

For taking pictures

Let’s start off with the obvious: The Galaxy Cam can take pictures. In lieu of my Canon Rebel XTI or iPhone 4S, I used the Samsung camera for most of my picture-taking needs. Since I recently reviewed the camera, there weren’t many surprises here. It’s a very decent point-and-shoot with a very engaging and interesting user interface (UI). I actually found it easier to use than most point-and-shoots because the camera’s in-screen, virtual setup made it a breeze to get find what I needed, alter settings, and start shooting.

taking photos

That said, the convenience factor is missing. I can’t whip out the Galaxy Cam like I would my iPhone, nor do I instinctually take it everywhere with me. The idea is that I should be able to, but that fact that you can’t make actual phone calls with it (although, there are workarounds – we’ll get to that) means that I still need to bring my phone everywhere. So that’s two devices I have to bring with me.

As far as using the Galaxy Cam as my primary camera, it remained as entertaining as I originally found it. Picture quality falls squarely between the two devices I most often use (the previously mentioned Canon Rebel XTI and iPhone 4S), and while I could get higher quality photos or more convenient use out of my other two go-to cameras, the fact that I still thoroughly enjoyed using the Galaxy Cam despite these factors speaks to how great and user friendly it is.

For “phone calls” and texting 

As I mentioned, there’s no real way to make phone calls with the Galaxy Camera. You can make Skype calls (or other chat apps), but it’s a poor substitute and there’s one big, glaring, horrible reason for that: The person using the Galaxy Camera can’t see the video. Unlike most smartphones, there isn’t a second camera on the Galaxy Cam. You have to hold and point the camera at yourself for the duration of the call. You could set it on some surface and play the “am I still in the frame?” game with the person on the other end, of course. Basically, your options are limited and the experience isn’t great.

It’s simply impossible to use this device as a phone. You can use workarounds all day long but the fact remains that people use phones,  not chat apps, to talk.

However, if you’re anything like me, you defer to texting more than talking most of the time. There are really only a handful of people I need or want to talk to on the phone, and everyone I can deal with over SMS.

While you can’t port your phone number to the Galaxy Cam and start messaging away, there are obviously a great many texting apps that can help. Imo.im, Whatsapp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger are just a few examples. Of course, this means you have to defer here to text your contacts … meaning they also have to install and use these apps in order to respond or initiate conversation with you. Which means I did a lot less texting and a lot more prodding of my social circle. Dear friends, please let Facebook Messenger send you push notifications so you actually respond to my damn text messages.

Which, of course, all really just means that I couldn’t depend on the Galaxy Cam for my communication needs.

The device’s touchscreen also isn’t as responsive as I’m used to on my iPhone. It’s fine, and arguably better than most touch-enabled cameras out there, but it’s not inherently built for you to text; it’s built for you to push and prod your settings and for hitting the ever-present “Share” button. Going through to enter your passwords or lengthy messages is not fun and it takes too long. Not too long for a camera, but way too long for texting. You’re not going to like it. You’re going to get your phone back out, and you’re never going to let it go. 

For productivity

The Galaxy Cam did and didn’t work when it came to the most practical purposes. Setting up my Google Calendar was as easy as installing an app, and the same goes for email access and apps like Evernote and Mint. Maybe most of the friction came from the fact that I’ve barely used Android devices before, and the way notifications and alerts work were unfamiliar. However, once I got more used to these functions, I found the system perfectly adequate.

At least, adequate for looking at. Reading emails, checking my calendar, looking through my notes … that was all fine. The Galaxy Cam’s 4.77 inch HD display means your view is super clear and easy to see in a variety of lighting settings. Beyond reviewing, things get complicated in the same way they do with texting. The camera simply isn’t built to be a PDA. Composing emails is a drag, as is instant messaging, as is trying to take notes, as is updating your calendar. Don’t plan to make this thing your personal assistant. You shan’t be pleased – or organized. 

Screenshot_2012-12-31-14-51-37

The Galaxy Cam’s 4.77 inch screen with its 1260 x 720 pixel display is clear, crisp, and great for entertainment. Games, social sites, everything: It’s responsive and incredibly fun and easy to use. The large screen actually makes it better for this purpose than my iPhone, and the bulkier body is easier to hold in two hands – it feels a lot like a PSP, actually. Entertainment and photography are where the Galaxy Camera shines. 

Verdict

No, the Samsung Galaxy Camera cannot replace your smartphone. It doesn’t make calls and getting all your friends to get on board with a separate messaging app is a losing game. It needs regular texting. If those gaps in what the Galaxy Cam has to offer were filled, however, I absolutely see myself picking this thing up and using it in place of my iPhone. The all-in-one device is the dream, and this gadget is one step closer to getting us there. But… just not yet. Galaxy Camera, you’re ahead of your time.

Product Review

Samsung's Galaxy S10 phones are its most refined yet. Be prepared to pay up

Samsung has unveiled its lineup for its most popular smartphones, and it includes the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. The two flagship phones boast hole-punch cameras, fingerprint sensors embedded in the display, and beefier batteries.
Smart Home

OK Google, what else can you do? The best tips and tricks for Google Home

The Home functions in a similar fashion to its main competitor, the Amazon Echo, but has the added benefit of select Google services. Here are few tips to help you make the most of the newfangled device.
Product Review

If price is top of mind, Samsung’s Galaxy S10e is the flagship phone to buy

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus are joined with a new entry into the Galaxy S family -- the Galaxy S10e. It costs a little more than the original price of the Galaxy S9, but it’s meant to be the more affordable phone compared to the…
Product Review

Fascinating Finney phone is crypto in a nutshell: Exciting, but also terrifying

The Sirin Labs Finney phone is to cryptocurrency what the iPhone is to Apple Pay. It facilitates the payment, processing, and exchanging of cryptocurrencies on a smartphone, and surprisingly does it in a user-friendly way.
Deals

Protect your iPhone or iPad with the IPVanish VPN, on sale through February

One of our favorite virtual private networks for iPhones and iPads, IPVanish, is now offering a huge discount on its two-year subscription as part of its 7th-birthday promotion. Read on to find out more about how this VPN works and how you…
Mobile

Verizon is launching real standards-based 5G in 30 cities in 2019

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Mobile

Samsung’s wide range of Galaxy products means there’s something for everyone

Samsung launched a host of new products on February 20, with prices ranging from just $35, all the way up to nearly $2,000. This was not by chance, and the company believes it has something for everyone in 2019.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs. OnePlus 6T: Can the Flagship Killer survive?

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the new affordable flagship on the block, but at $750, it's $200 more than the OnePlus 6T. Does the Flagship Killer stand a chance against the new generation of flagship devices? Let's take a closer look.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for February 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a brilliant combination of value and comfort

With six hours of battery life, an extremely comfortable fit, sweatproofing, and a very palatable price tag, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are putting all other true wireless earbuds on notice.
Deals

Amazon drops a sweet deal on the Kate Spade Scallop smartwatch for women

Unlike many other smartwatches geared toward women, the Kate Spade Scallop offers a more chic and minimalistic look. With this Amazon sale going on right now, you can get it for $109 off its retail price.
Cars

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.
Deals

The 5 best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…