April 9, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Samsung’s Galaxy Camera, the Android for iPhone People, Doubles as a Music Player


All smartphones have cameras. This one is a camera.

Let’s just get this out of the way, too: the Samsung Galaxy EK-GC100, which comes with Android 4.1 (Jellybean), can be used as a phone. We connected headphones with an inline microphone, fired up Skype for Android, and made calls to and from normal phones. Easy-peasy.

If you want to (try to) be the coolest kid at the party, you might even consider abandoning your phone completely, and only carrying around this camera. It is the first one available in the United States that comes with its own data plan (and the second to run Android, according to CNET). After all, it can do everything a regular Android can do, other than make calls over a voice network, but it even has an optional 4G AT&T or Verizon data connection — and yes, the Skype app works fine over that connection.

However, I have a feeling there’s another market for this magnificent chimera, whose only major fault is being big and heavy (and there’s nothing to be done about that, considering the awesome optical 21X zoom lens): iPhone users. Apple doesn’t sell anything like this, so we imagine Apple folks who are a little bit Android-curious (and frankly, Android runs most of the same apps anyway) might be tempted to snap one of these up, disregard the data plan, and tether it to their iPhone.

We can’t overstate how awesome it is to take a picture and then upload it to Tumblr or Facebook with a single tap, even without WiFi around. And that’s before you take into account the advanced image and video editing features, which you can read more about on Samsung’s site or another publication, because I am not now, nor have I ever been, a professional reviewer of cameras.

However, I have reviewed music hardware, software, and apps full-time for around 14 years now, and I can verify that the Samsung Galaxy EK-GC100 makes a fine music player, and that it runs all the Android music apps you’d want to run, so long as they are compatible with Android 4.1, on its bright, clear, responsive touchscreen.

The only drawbacks are the size and weight. Hey, you can’t have it all… but if you don’t care too much about the extra weight and a little more size, and you love taking great photographs, and listening to music, this camera might be crazy enough to work as a primary device, and would definitely pair well with either Android or iPhone, as a secondary device.

But wait… How do you adjust the volume of your tunes with a camera?

Samsung, which seems to have thought of everything here, offers a neat solution: You just tweak the zoom lever back and forth, and Bob is your proverbial uncle. Bonus: If you use this camera as your primary music-listening device, you’re saving your smartphone battery for calls, texts, calendaring, and other “important” tasks.

Thus we declare the Samsung Galaxy Camera the only Android an iPhone person might want, although it would pair nicely with a smartphone of any stripe, if you’d prefer better zoom, optics, onboard photo/video editing options, and panoramas than you’ll get with any traditional smartphone on the market. And it could even be the only device you carry, if you’re the adventurous type.

Okay, there is another drawback: the Samsung Galaxy Camera EK-GC100 costs $500. But for the right person, something this neat will be worth it.