We're not certain if the new 'WB' designation in the Samsung WB700's name -- which has been used in other markets for some time -- is intended to be applied in the US market, or whether it will bear a different model number in this country, as its predecessors have received the HZ and TL-series monikers in this market. Certainly, the US press release we've received carries the Samsung WB700 name, suggesting that the company might be synchronizing its product names worldwide, a move we'd definitely support (and that we wish more manufacturers would adopt.)
Fairly few details are available about the Samsung WB700 at the current time. The WB700 is advertised as featuring 24x zoom range, but in actual fact features a Schneider-Kreuznach branded 18x optical zoom lens with 24 - 432mm equivalent focal lengths, plus a 1.3x "smart" (aka digital) zoom function. Resolution has been boosted from Samsung's most recent generation of long-zoom compacts, which featured twelve megapixel sensors. The step to sixteen megapixels (of which fourteen are effective) sounds more significant than it probably is in the real world, likely equating to somewhere around 10% more linear resolution, although we don't have precise image resolution figures from which to make an exact calculation. Importantly given its zoom range, the Samsung WB700 includes true optical image stabilization, which will help to fight blur caused by camera shake.
Other features of the Samsung WB700 include 720p H.264 movie capture, a high definition HDMI video output with Consumer Electronics Control support (or Anynet+, in Samsung parlance), plus a built-in flash, dedicated movie recording button, aperture / shutter-priority and manual shooting modes, Smart Auto mode for both still and movie capture, and a variety of fun filter effects such as soft focus, half-tone dot, cinema, fish-eye, miniature, and sketch. There's also a Zoom Noise Reduction function that aims to cancel out noise from the zoom drive mechanism that would otherwise be noticeable during video capture.
The Samsung WB700 goes on sale from April 2011, priced at around US$300.