Samsung Galaxy NX Review
Samsung Galaxy NX Conclusion
In this day and age, the popularity of the smartphone being used as the camera-of-choice for many people continues to skyrocket. As a result, many camera manufacturers are feeling the squeeze as sales decline in favor of these multi-purpose, pocketable devices. Camera companies have started adding Wi-Fi and NFC features to their cameras to help bridge the gap between dedicated cameras and smartphones. The aim is to make it quicker and easier for photographers to transfer their work from their more advanced camera onto their social network of choice.
With the Galaxy NX, Samsung's gone in a different direction. Instead of enhancing the connection between your smartphone and your dedicated large-sensor, interchangeable lens camera, Samsung has pretty much put a full-on smartphone right inside the camera. Right off the bat, Samsung deserves some praise for attempting such a bold device. Unfortunately, this marriage between the ILC and the smartphone is a bit of an awkward affair.
There are some great qualities to the Galaxy NX, however: image quality is very good with excellent high-resolution images at low to mid ISOs; the impressively large LCD screen is bright, colorful and easy to see in bright sunlight; and the use of the Android OS expands the functionality of the camera with all sorts of powerful apps for editing, sharing, and even capturing images. If you're an Instagram addict or a mobile photography power-user, the workflow has never been more streamlined to use an interchangeable-lens camera for sharing photos on the go.
However, there are number of downsides and frustrations with the Galaxy NX. Since the camera runs a full version of the Android operating system, startup time is excruciatingly slow compared to dedicated cameras -- about 25-30 seconds. So if your camera is not powered up and ready to go, be prepared to miss a lot of photographic opportunties. Even the standby "sleep mode" takes about 2-3 seconds before it's ready to take a picture.
The lack of external controls can also be frustrating for fans of the physical buttons and dials that adorn the typical DSLR. With a single, unmarked multi-function control dial, the primary interaction with the camera leans heavily on the touchscreen. And sadly, the software-based user interface is all over the place, radically changing depending on the shooting mode. The UI looks completely different menu to menu, making it difficult to know your way around the camera.
Other issues such as aggressive noise reduction for JPEGs at higher ISOs, slower than average shutter lag and AF performance (especially in low light), a shallow RAW buffer and slow buffer clearing make the camera part of this chimera quite underwhelming. And then on the smart device side of things, with standard Android features like web browsing, text messaging and email, the Galaxy NX feels like it's trying to replace your smartphone or tablet, but given its design, size and limited cellular connectivity, that just seems impractical.
Perhaps some slack should be given, though. This is Samsung's first attempt at such a radical device -- apart from the initial forays into "smartphone cameras" with the Galaxy Camera and Galaxy Camera 2 -- and, who knows, perhaps the next iteration of the Galaxy NX will address many of the performance shortcomings. However, as it stands now, as our reviewer Tim put it, the Galaxy NX feels like too much camera for someone who wants a smartphone, yet too much smartphone for someone who wants a camera, so we can't award the Galaxy NX a Dave's Pick.
Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.