Gear and Gizmos
One of the most competitive segments of the consumer electronics market is in digital cameras. There are a dizzying array of them on the market and as smartphones have become more popular, fewer people are actually buying dedicated digital cameras any more. This has forced manufacturers to come up with new and interesting ways to stand out from the competition. For Samsung, that means embracing the technologies that have made them successful in other tech markets and developing a “smart camera” for the social media generation.
The Samsung WB250F Smart Camera earns its name by packing a lot of technology into a compact body. This little point and shoot includes a 14.2 megapixel sensor, a 24mm wide – 18x optical zoom and a three inch LCD touch screen. It features built-in image stabilization, a powerful pop-up flash and a fast, intuitive user interface that makes it all very easy to use. The camera is capable of recording video in resolutions up to 1080p at 30 fps and capturing bright, detailed images of everything from portraits to landscapes.
Of course, many cameras on the market boast similar specs and if you were to judge the WB250F on these features alone, it might not necessarily standout from the crowd. But Samsung has leveraged its considerable experience in the smartphone market and integrated special features into this camera that make it unlike nearly any other device on the market. This “smart camera” lives up to its name with some unique abilities that few others can match.
At the core of these features is a Wi-Fi chip that makes the Smart Camera a device capable of connecting to wireless networks as well as other devices. That gives the WB250F the ability to do things like receive notifications of firmware updates and automatically back-up photos to Picasa or other cloud storage services. It also allows the user to share their images with friends on Facebook directly from the device.
These are certainly welcome options for a camera with a network connection, but it is how the WB250F interacts with smartphones that really opens up its functionality. Samsung offers a companion app for both Android and iOS devices that allows a smartphone to connect directly with the Smart Camera, allowing the user to download images directly to their phone smartphone or tablet. This option allows you to back-up your photos while on the go and since smartphones tend to have an always-on Internet connection, it is possible to share photos on your favorite social network from anywhere. Visiting the Grand Canyon? Snap a shot, transfer it to your smartphone and send it out on Twitter for all your friends to enjoy.
That isn’t the only trick the Smart Camera has up its sleeve. It is also possible to connect with a smartphone or tablet and use that device as a remote control – complete with a remote screen as well. This comes in handy when you want to snap a photo of yourself at your destination and no one is there to take for you. Simply fire up the app, connect to the WB250F and use it to take the photo. You can even see what the photo is going to look like before you take it right on your smartphone’s screen. This could completely change how the “selfie” is taken, although admittedly there is a possibility for this feature to be abused as well.
Of course, this interaction with other devices begs the question of why you wouldn’t just use your smartphone to begin with? That’s easy to answer when you look back on the basic features on the Smart Camera. That 14.2 megapixel sensor and excellent zoom lens are better than what most smartphones have built in. Image quality should be substantially better coming from the WB250F and the zoom will certainly be unmatched. The Smart Camera gives you the best of both worlds – great photos and the ability to share on social media. The fact that the camera is small and lightweight means it won’t add much bulk to your pack either.
If you’re in the market for a great compact point and shoot camera, the Samsung WB250F Smart Camera delivers a lot of bang for the buck. Not only does it take great photo, it is also very easy to use. Throw in connectivity options with Wi-Fi networks and other devices, and you get a truly unique feature set that few other cameras can match. Samsung sells their smart cam for $249, although it can be found online for far less. When you consider all of the technology that is packed inside its compact body, the Smart Camera is actually quite a nice bargain. Those same features make it an excellent option for travelers who like to share their experience with friends and family while on the go.