By KHOR SOW YEE
Samsung Electronics announced the launch of Galaxy NX, the world's first 3G/4G LTE interchangeable lens camera running on Android, taking the company's foray into the camera market to the next level.
Boasting a 20.3-megapixel APS-C Sensor, DRIMe IV Image Signal Processor, and Advanced Hybrid Auto Focus (AF) System, the Galaxy NX is also capable of phase and contrast detection for crisp shots, while the 1/6000 sec shutter speed and 8.6fps shooting lets you capture the action as it's happening.
Another selling point of the NX is that it is also fully compatible with the entire range of Samsung lenses, so if you had already invested in the Samsung camera ecosystem, you're covered.
As for the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS, Samsung aims to utilise the functionality of a smartphone to improve the photographic experience.
One obvious example is allowing users to choose from an entire universe of Android apps to help personalise their Galaxy NX and do more than just shoot amazing photographs and video, from editing images to adding special effects.
The camera is also packed with more than 30 Smart Modes to help users take exceptional shots: 'Multi Exposure' merges two different shots together to produce one distinctive image, 'Animated Photo' connects continuous shots of up to five seconds, creating a moving GIF file; 'Sound & Shot' stores sound and voice together as the picture is taken; and Camera Studio allows users to easily customise settings with their most frequently used applications or camera modes.
The built in 3G/4G LTE technology means photographers will be able to stay connected and allow seamless connectivity.
But it's not all just work and no play - more fun functions like Photo Suggest provides location based recommendations based on your GPS location and displays pictures taken by others of the same spot you are, while Story Album allows you to compile pictures in one timeline, even creating digital photo books via a partnership with blurb, a function that is also available on the S4 Zoom.
However as there were limited units of the NX available for hands on testing at the launch (plus there's only so much you can do with the device when it's locked to the table) we can't really vouch for the true picture quality of the device until we get our mitts on it for a proper review.
Galaxy S4 Zoom
Billed as the only smartphone with a 10x optical zoom, the Galaxy S4 Zoom combines some serious hardware - 10x Optical Zoom, 16-megapixel BSI CMOS Sensor, OIS and Xenon Flash - with some fun and intuitive software like a built in Optical Image Stabiliser and Smart Mode Suggest, a feature which can assess the scene for you and provide a short list of the best options for your consideration based on surrounding factors such as light levels, focal length, or face detection.
We had a chance to fiddle with it more and tried the Zoom Ring, which instantly launches the camera and gives instant access to multiple camera modes including Auto, Gallery and Smart Mode.
You can also perform some basic image manipulation with in camera settings, such as enlarging the eyes, slimming the neck and cheeks and so on under the Beauty mode (although we won't be able to say for sure if the effects look natural or cartoon-ish until we get our hands on an actual review unit).
The Zoom Ring also allows for a quirky new feature called In-Call Photo Share. In a move that's sure to make over sharing enthusiasts happy, as the name suggests, if you're in the middle of a phone call and you're suddenly seized with the desire to share something you saw, a quick twist of the Zoom Ring brings up the camera mode so you can snap a pic and instantly send it to whoever you're talking to, all while the call is still in progress.
As with the Galaxy NX, there is also a Photo Suggest and Story Album feature.
The Galaxy S4's DNA is apparent in the S4 Zoom, especially in its shared Touchwiz interface running on Android Jelly Bean 4.2. The Zoom boasts the new Samsung Hub, a one-stop destination for all the latest entertainment, and Group Play to let you share all of it instantly with your friends' Samsung devices, without the need for a WiFi or cellular signal.