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Review: Samsung SH100 Digital Camera

01 Jun 11

One of the hassles of owning a digital camera is the constant need to back your snaps up to your computer hard drive. The SH100 from Samsung aims to remove that hassle altogether with its new PC Auto Back-up feature; after installing the appropriate software, the camera can wirelessly back up photos to your computer. It can do this provided that your camera and computer are both connected to your wireless network. It’s a brilliant feature that means you no longer have to hunt out your USB cable to connect to your PC, or even wait for the transfer process for that matter. After a few quick button presses (three, to be exact), the SH100 should do its thing. You can even leave it to do its thing while you go about your usual business; you have the option to switch off both the camera and the computer automatically once the back-up is completed. However, the SH100 failed to establish a connection to the “server” multiple times during my testing, which is quite concerning. Often, it would just attempt to search for the server ad infinitum on my office network, and I never actually managed a successful back-up whatsoever on my home network.

Another nice use of the SH100’s wireless capabilities is that the camera can connect directly to a wireless- and DLNA-enabled HDTV. This means that you can present your snaps to an audience instantly and easily.

The SH100 also allows you to connect to wireless hotspots so that you can upload clips and stills directly to YouTube, Facebook and more without the need for a computer. The problem with this feature, though, is that it’s part of a paid service called Boingo Mobile Wi-Fi. The cost of this service is additional to any you might incur in using said hotspot (say, such as buying time at a net café). If you’re about to embark on an overseas sojourn and want to keep your friends and family posted on your adventures, it’s potentially a very handy option worth your consideration. But it’s far from mandatory for the rest of us, and a bit cheeky that you’re required to pay for it.

Networking capabilities aside, the SH100 is a fairly run-of-the-mill contemporary digital camera, which is to say that it’s fairly decent. It makes use of a 3-inch WQVGA touchscreen, which means that it’s relatively free of buttons. Most of the options are well labelled on screen, and there’s a “home” button from which most of the functions can be accessed. In fact, the interface has taken a few cues from Apple’s iOS, with app-style icons and horizontally-scrolling pages for ease of use. The camera itself is capable of capturing snaps at a resolution of 14.2 megapixels (with a 26mm wide-angle and 5x optical-zoom lens) and also HD video at 720p.

PROS: The wireless connectivity aspect, when it works, is a winner. And even without it, the camera itself is up there with the best of the current consumer, point-and-shoot crop. Easy and intuitive to navigate.

CONS: The wireless functionality was very temperamental in my testing, and it only works for Windows-based PCs. The “Boingo” service should be free and not a paid subscription service.

VERDICT: In theory, the SH100 is a brilliant, consumer-focussed digital camera, and hopefully a sign of things to come. However, I was concerned at the low rate at which it successfully managed to wirelessly back up since it’s the camera’s key selling point. Aside from this (possibly personal) experience, the SH100 is a perfectly competent, compact and functional camera.

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