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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Move over smartphone, here comes the Samsung Galaxy Camera!

galaxycamera

I love my smartphone camera. In bright conditions with a nice close-up shot, it can produce amazing results – pictures that easily rival the quality prints that you get from the best point-and-shoots. But I’m also aware of my smartphone camera’s shortcomings. In low light, the miniature sensors just can’t capture enough light to make a shot respectable, and the lack of an optical zoom means the majority of smartphone photos are still disappointing throwaways.

So it was with some excitement that I finally got my hands on a Samsung Galaxy Camera. Here was a device that supposedly turned the smartphone concept on its head: instead of a great phone with a camera, here was a great camera with a phone (or all the apps and functionality that we have come to expect from a phone).

The first thing that strikes you about the Samsung Galaxy is its looks. The all-black version I got courtesy of Verizon is a sensational looking device. I can’t tell you the number of times people have stopped me to ask about the camera and admire its sleek design and lightweight frame. From the 4.8-inch HD display to the 21x optical-zoom lens, everything is stylishly engineered and perfectly in balance.

Verizon? That’s right – although the Samsung Galaxy has built-in Wi-Fi capability, it can also operate on Verizon’s lightning-fast 4G LTE network. That means your photos can be uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr or anywhere else on the Web instantly and with no need for cables or card readers.

The camera features are extensive, with a wide range of brightness options and shutter speeds complimenting the usual auto settings. However, it was the ‘smart’ modes that really caught my imagination. There are 15 smart modes in all, everything from ‘action freeze’ to ‘continuous shot’ to specialty modes for sunsets, fireworks and even waterfalls.

Your friends and family will be thrilled to know that there is a ‘beauty face’ mode, which brightens the skin tone to hide small facial imperfections, and the ‘best photo’ (burst) and ‘macro’ modes fill you full of confidence, as even beginners like me end up with seriously good photos.

But as I said earlier, the Samsung Galaxy is much more than a camera. The 4G LTE network and the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system turn the Galaxy into a full-blown ‘smart’ device, with a web browser, a myriad of built-in apps, access to the Google Play store, and much, much more.

Once you enter you Gmail account information, the Samsung Galaxy automatically syncs with Google Music, YouTube, and all your other Google accounts, turning your camera into a surprisingly good music and video player. And if you really missing the phone part of your connected device, there is always Skype, which works perfectly over both Wi-Fi and Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

At $549.99, the Samsung Galaxy isn’t cheap but Verizon has made it easy and affordable to stay connected, with no long term contract and a $5 per month access fee on a Share Everything plan.

The Samsung Galaxy may look like a camera and act like a camera but it’s so much more. After years of years of leaving my camera behind and relying on my smartphone, the tables are about to be turned. The Samsung Galaxy might be the only mobile device you need!



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