Review: Samsung's WiFi Cam Shares The Love

Written by Tony Ibrahim     28/05/2012 | 00:59 | Category name i.e.DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Should you buy Samsung's WiFi camera or upgrade to a new smartphone? Find out.

For the most part, Samsung's WB150F resembles any typical point and shoot cam. On the top is a shutter key, the back is a 3" WVGA AMOLED screen and the front a lens. There are a couple of subtle differences though, such as the dial atop featuring a 'WiFi' option and the flash at the front cutting into the grip.

The lens barrel is coated with a studded texture that alludes to pro cam pedigree, but much like a car with painted stripes: it has no effect on its performance.

Most cameras rely on their photographic repertoires to draw customers, but the WB150F has an ace up its sleeve in the form of exceptional connectivity options.

Inside the cam is a WiFi radio that will communicate with smartphones, tablets and TVs. At present there are iOS and Android applications that allow users to share content from the camera to their smartphone (MobiLink) and an app that displays the camera's viewfinder—along with zoom controls—on your smartphone so you can snap portrait/group pics remotely (Remote Viewfinder). Both of these applications are a free download from their respective application stores.


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After you snap a pic, you can share it directly from the preview screen with your Facebook, SkyDrive, Picassa and Email accounts, or to other WiFi Direct devices. If that wasn't enough, the camera speaks fluently with Samsung AllShare devices, communicating images and videos to TVs and home theatre systems. In theory, the AllShare philosophy is simple enough, but to watch HD vids on your TV without buffering, you're going to need a fast internet connection.

When it comes to camera quality, the WB150F captures photos that are marginally better than that of a top-tier smartphone. Images are competent enough up to ISO 200, but once you breach ISO 400, images become grainy to the extent that you wouldn't print full resolution photos. In fact, noisy images seem to be a constant with the WB150F, even in optimal lighting at its lowest ISO setting.


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When condensed, images in ripe lighting render impressively.

 


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It's not forgiving in dim environments, struggling with light and dark contrast


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Cropped image: Noise results in a loss of detail

It's the kind of camera that eagerly depends on the flash, struggling with images snapped inside or in conditions that are anything other than ripe. Users relying on the camera's Auto settings won't be impressed by its performance as it lacks the intuition needed to articulately comprehend varied lighting.

Compensating for the camera's intelligence are aperture- and shutter-speed-priority modes and a manual mode, but the ordinary image quality produced by the WB150F deems the options a futile additive. Aperture settings start from f/3.2 to f/7.2 at the wide end, and range between f/5.8 and f/7.5 with zoom engaged. Shutter speeds range from 16 seconds to 1/2000 of a second.

Samsung has endowed this point and shoot cam with a myriad of filter and effect options. There's Live Panorama, magic frames, split shots, picture in picture, artistic brush and an on board photo editor. On top of that, there's a vast variety of photo and movie filters that can be applied before and after an image has been snapped, often at full resolution. The rest are captured at 5MP.


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Video recording is captured at HD (720p) resolution and is a little disappointing. Although the camera rapidly autofocuses, it struggles with colour range, often flushing out background lighting in shady areas, showing a limited colour gamut. It is possible to operate zoom while recording, but Samsung's noise filter muffles the soundtrack when in use, perverting the experience. Like its photographic counterpart, video recording is best used for online posts and not the hearth-like HDTV.

 

The notion behind Samsung's WB150F is that it features the sharing options of a smartphone with the photographic prowess of a point and shoot cam. Unfortunately the connectivity options are good, only let down by an interface inferior to that of a smartphone, while its imaging repertoire benefits from optical zoom. If you own a top-tier phone, you have to ask yourself: is optical zoom worth $249?

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Excellent connectivity; MicroUSB charging; abundant in photo-editing options;

Cons:

Not suitable for full-res print outs; muffled audio when zooming;