We know, digital cameras have taken a back seat in the gadget kingdom as of late with tablets and smartphones being the consistent talks of the town. However, new compact shooters like the Samsung SH100 have been rolling out recently that aim to be different and bring back a piece of the tech spotlight. The question is, is it special enough to warrant a piece of our attention? Let's see.
Looks and feel
There's not much going on with the SH100 when it comes to appearance. It looks, well, average. But that doesn't mean it looks bad. It's simple yet elegant and feels robust to the touch. And, weighing just 110g, it's quite light too which means you'll have no qualms lugging this one around.
Interface and navigation
The SH100's interface is very different from those we normally see on digital cameras of the past. It has an icon-based LCD display, not unlike what you see in, say, smartphones, which makes navigation and tinkering with options easier. Features are laid out visually like apps and you scroll through them by swiping across the screen. Entering text, too, is like typing on a handset as a virtual full QWERTY keypad pops up when needed.
Like many of the cameras that have been popping out as of late, the SH100 comes with a touchscreen display that measures 3 inches diagonal. The size is ample given that it's a compact shooter. Sadly, the display is not of the capacitive multi-touch type so you're fingers will need to exert extra effort to get it done right. Also, we didn't like the fact that the display reflects sunlight like crazy at times that will make outdoor shooting more difficult.
What sets apart the SH100 from most shooters in the market is its Wi-Fi connectivity. Nope, it's not limited to transferring images from the device to your PC (like how some older cameras did it a few years back). Without the intervention of a PC, the SH100 can beam your photos and videos straight from the camera to an email address or to social media sites such as Facebook, Picasa, or even YouTube. We tethered it to our trusty Smart Netphone 701 and we were able to share photos even while on the go.
Transfer times depend on the size of the images although a full 14-megapixel photo took less than 30 seconds to be uploaded. HD videos however, took much longer which is to be expected since they are much larger.
Neat extras aside, the SH100 is a pretty basic shooter. It's usable outdoors with colors coming out just right and not too saturated even if you left everything to the Smart Auto feature. Coming in with an ISO range of 80 - 3200, the SH100 has the sensitivity to handle lighting that comes with normal shooting situations. However, when it comes to indoor or low-light shooting, quality somehow diminishes with noise appearing in ISO 800 and above. We kind of expected this given it's a common problem of compacts in the SH100's class. Image quality is decent most of the time with not much problems with white balance although there seems to be a bit of softening in the edges and detail which is, again, something you might expect with a shooter like the SH100.
In the power-department, the SH100 is quite impressive having lasted almost a whole work week even with heavy use and with constant sharing and transfers via Wi-Fi. Certainly good news especially for those who are always on the go and put a premium on instant-sharing of media files online. Had this camera been installed with a SIM card and 3G connectivity, we could be looking at potentially one of the world's best handset in terms of imaging capabilities that could be better than the likes of the Nokia N8 in terms of snapping quality photos.
Wi-Fi functionality is clearly the Samsung SH100's crowning glory and its so-called differentiating factor. If you have unlimited data tethering on your phone or a portable pocket Wi-Fi device and if you are looking for a shooter which you can use to capture images and share them on the fly, then we recommend getting one. But if you're strictly looking out for something that can produce excellent photos, then this might not be the one for you. To put it simply, without Wi-Fi, the SH100 transforms into an average digital camera with a not so expensive price tag of P11,100. If you deem having Wi-Fi as something that's too big a deal, then go get one. Otherwise, you could be better off looking some place else.
Click here to view the Samsung SH100 in the Buyer's Guide
Check out the gallery below for sample photos and product images