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Samsung Galaxy GC110: Camera, Android device, or neither?

Derrick Story | Aug. 29, 2013
With a lot of strengths and a few key weaknesses, the hybrid phone-camera could be your ideal all-in-one or a hamstrung all-in-none.

There are a couple ways to look at the Samsung Galaxy GC110 digital camera. It's either an all-in-one device, or for some, it may be all-in-none. Its unique capabilities—blending a capable zoom-lens compact with the brains and display of a smartphone—could make it the only device you need to pack. Or, it could be just too bulky to serve as a compact camera, and its lack of cellular connectivity hamstring it as a tablet or phone replacement. Either way, it's worth a closer look.

Cross a (semi) compact camera with a (tiny) tablet
As a camera, the GC110 houses a 21X optical zoom with a range from 23mm on the wide end to a 483mm telephoto, and its 16-megapixel CMOS sensor provides plenty of resolution. It includes settings you'd expect from a high-end compact, including PASM (program, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual) exposure modes, a variety of metering patterns, ISO sensitivity from 100-3200, auto focus, optical image stabilization, HD video, scene modes, a pop-up flash, and even 8GB of internal storage.

But the camera is only half the story. The entire back of the device is consumed by a beautiful 2.34 x 4.16-inch LCD—perfect for reviewing images, reading mail, browsing the Web, perusing Instagram, posting to Flickr, checking the weather, or running just about any Android app.

The entire operation is powered by a 1.4GHz processor and Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean). The GC110 includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connectivity, but not cellular. Over weeks of testing, it had no problem connecting to networks in hotels, coffee shops, or at home. If you already own an Android device, you'll probably feel comfortable with this Samsung.

Image quality
The GC110 is a good camera. It excelled in indoor lighting, providing excellent exposure and sharpness. In midday contrasty conditions, it was prone to slight overexposure, but well within acceptable quality.

Generally, tones are a bit on the cool side when using auto white balance outside. And switching to one of the white balance presets didn't necessarily improve results. The Daylight preset was a bit too warm, and Cloudy had an orange cast.

Casual shooters might be satisfied with the Auto WB setting outdoors. But enthusiasts most likely will be disappointed with the presets. And since the camera captures in JPEG only, any color correction in post production will require recompression.

I was most impressed with the camera while shooting indoors with existing light. The Galaxy felt comfortable in that environment, and the resulting pictures were terrific.

Autofocusing and Smart mode
Under most conditions, focusing was swift and accurate, especially indoors. However, compositions with lots of texture sometimes confused the camera. Shots of deer in a grassy field or objects floating on water required a bit of patience to capture the image I wanted. But when shooting objects that are isolated, focusing was fast.

 

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