Samsung Galaxy Camera review: Half-press to play

GSMArena team, 25 January 2013.

S Voice and Google Now

Samsung released S Voice as an answer to Siri before Google came out with its own solution in Google Now. S Voice is the culmination of Samsung's ongoing effort at integrating voice commands into the Android experience, an effort which goes back to the days of Vlingo. You may remember the voice activation (saying "Hi Galaxy" to trigger S Voice).

S Voice can do the usual - search the web, make calls, send texts (which Android natively supports and so does Vlingo), but you can also use it instead of the notification area toggles, start the camera and take a photo, control the music player and stop or snooze alarms all with voice commands.

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S Voice has plenty of options

It's also a tool for quickly looking up facts - it's powered by Wolfram Alpha (which handles some of Siri's answers too). It has an enormous database covering topics ranging from Culture and Media to Physics. S Voice can also be used as a calculator.

Samsung has decided to keep S Voice alongside Google's solution as the two do differ in functionality. Jelly Bean has the unspoken Google Now info cards, but it also brought Google's Knowledge Graph, which can answer factual questions.

Google Voice Actions can handle stuff like sending messages (SMS or email), asking for directions, taking a note or opening a site. Since the latest update, Google Now can also launch apps, check and manage your calendar and look up nearby places of interest and stuff like movie openings in theaters.

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Google Now is also on board

One big advantage of Google's Jelly Bean is that the voice typing functionality doesn't require an internet connection to work. You can enter text by speaking anywhere you can use the on-screen keyboard - be it the Messaging app or a note taking app - without the need for a data connection as long as you have pre-downloaded the needed language packs (and those only take about 20-25MB of your storage per pack).

Making voice typing available offline also made it faster as it's not dependent on your connection. What's even more impressive is that the transition hasn't cost it anything in terms of accuracy.

Synthetic benchmarks

This feels odd - talking about benchmark performance on a camera. But the Samsung Galaxy Camera is the fastest camera we've ever benchmarked. Sure, it's the first one we've benchmarked, but on several occasions it outperforms the Samsung Galaxy S III.

That should come as no surprise - there's a Galaxy S III inside the Camera. The same Exynos 4412 chipset anyway - with a quad-core Cortex-A9 processor at 1.5GHz, 1GB of RAM and Mali-400 GPU.

Our CPU benchmarks show that the Samsung Galaxy Camera is very close to the Galaxy S III in terms of raw CPU power, just slightly behind. Compound benchmarks like AnTuTu and Quadrant, however, rate it higher.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    305
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    330
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    350
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    359
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    362
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    381
  • Nexus 4
    431

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    214.3
  • Nexus 4
    213.5
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    189.1
  • HTC One X+
    177.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    165
  • HTC One X
    160.9
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141.5

Geekbench 2

Higher is better

  • Nexus 4
    2100
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2000
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1845
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1727
  • LG Optimus G
    1723
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    1634
  • Apple iPhone 5
    1601

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    15758
  • Nexus 4
    15146
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    13562
  • HTC One X+
    13519
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    12288
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    11820
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    11633
  • LG Optimus G
    11226

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • HTC One X+
    7632
  • LG Optimus G
    7439
  • HTC One X
    5952
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    5916
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    5710
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    5450
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5170
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    4814
  • Nexus 4
    4567

The Galaxy Camera can play games too - while the GLBenchmark 2.1 (720p off-screen) results are pretty good, the GLBenchmark 2.5 (1080p off-screen) score is better than a Tegra 3 chipset can offer. You shouldn't have any problems idling the time away between shoots. If you've got backup for the not too impressive 1,650mAh battery.

GLBenchmark 2.1 Egypt (720p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • LG Optimus G
    113
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    105
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    99
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    80
  • Nexus 4
    78
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    64
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    61
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    56

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • LG Optimus G
    29
  • Apple iPhone 5
    27
  • Nexus 4
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    15
  • HTC One X+
    12
  • HTC One X
    9

Some web browsing is very much an option too - that 3G or LTE connection is good for more than just beaming a picture of your lunch to Instagram. The Samsung Galaxy Camera actually outran the Google Nexus 4 in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark and beat the Galaxy S III in the BrowserMark 2 HTML5 test. It even edged out the S III and the Nexus 4 in Vellamo.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Ativ S
    891
  • Apple iPhone 5
    915
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    910
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    972
  • HTC One X+
    1001
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    1059
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1134
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1192
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1312
  • LG Optimus G
    1353
  • Nexus 4
    1971

BrowserMark 2

Higher is better

  • LG Optimus G
    2555
  • Nexus 4
    1794
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    1774
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    1760
  • Samsung Omnia W
    1632
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1582
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1247

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2418
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    2078
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1697
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1641
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1468
  • Nexus 4
    1310

If you're wondering why you would need that much processing power in a camera, you should consider that the advanced functionality enabled by the Android OS opens a lot of possibilities if the device has the computing power for them. You can edit 1080p videos right on the device, no need for a computer, and that takes power. It's also capable of complex live effects - if the Galaxy Camera becomes popular, we should start seeing apps on the Play Store that squeeze the Exynos chipset for all it's worth.

And then there's the other thing - you can use the Camera as a thick, weird phablet. It's not as snazzy as a Galaxy Note II, but it can play games and browse the web almost as well.

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