Samsung is not one to shy away from trying something new (remember the Dual View cameras?), and more recently they've been blurring the lines between Android smartphones and traditional digital cameras. Only one of the company's four products was actually a phone: the Galaxy S4 Zoom. The Galaxy NX and original Galaxy Camera offered 3G and 4G connectivity, but you couldn't make a call on them (unless Skype counts). Samsung's latest model is the Galaxy Camera 2, which goes Wi-Fi only but is otherwise a nice upgrade to its predecessor.

The benefits of having an Android-based camera are pretty clear: you can take photos with the built-in or third-party apps and get them on their way to any social media/photo sharing site within seconds. As hinted at about, there is a catch, which is that since the GC2 lacks 3G and 4G connectivity, you'll need to be near a hotspot in order to actually share your photos and videos.

Galaxy Camera 2 key specifications:

  • 16MP 1/2.3" BSI-CMOS sensor
  • F2.8-5.9 23-483mm equivalent lens (21X zoom)
  • Quad-core 1.6GHz Samsung Exynos 4412 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean)
  • 4.8" 720p touchscreen LCD (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • 1080/30p video
  • Headphone jack
  • microSD card slot

That's a pretty impressive set of specs, especially that huge HD 'White Magic' (RGBW) LCD display that really is the core of the Galaxy Camera 2. Speaking of which, the Exynos 4412 quad-core processor is nothing to sneeze at, either - you can expect performance pretty close to 2012-2013 smartphones (it's the same SoC as in the Galaxy S3).

One bummer is that the GC2 is behind the times in the Android world, running version 4.3 (Jelly Bean) rather than 4.4 (KitKat) which, among other things, improves battery life (Android 5, aka Lollipop, would be even nicer).

The focal range of the lens is fairly standard for a compact (well, semi-compact) travel zoom and, as you'd expect, is optically stabilized. While it has a ridiculous amount of auto modes, Samsung thankfully put in some manual controls for more advanced photographers.

Galaxy Camera vs Galaxy Camera 2 key differences

 

Galaxy Camera

Galaxy Camera 2
Sensor
16.3MP BSI-CMOS
Lens
F2.8-5.9 23-483mm equiv.
Processor
1.4Ghz quad-core Exynos 4412
1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4412
RAM
1GB
2GB
Android version
4.1
4.3
Display
4.8" 720p touchscreen LCD (16:9)
Wi-Fi
802.11a/b/g/n/a (dual band)
NFC
No
Yes
3G/4G connectivity
Optional
No
Video
1080/30p (MPEG-4)
Battery capacity
1650 mAh
2000 mAh
Battery life (CIPA)
340 shots
400 shots
Dimensions (WxHxD)
71 x 129 x 19 mm
71 x 133 x 19 mm
Weight
302 g
285 g

As you can see, the Galaxy Camera 2 is mostly a spec bump compared to its predecessor. The most welcome feature is a larger battery, something that's much needed on a camera that will spend most of its time with its huge LCD turned on. It's a slightly larger camera, but not by much. There are a few new features as well, such as the 'Smart Mode Selfie Alarm'.