I love to use gadgets that are truly innovative, or at least gives me something genuine to talk about and easy for me to blog about. The Samsung ST550 is certainly one such device, which I got my hands on yesterday afternoon. Offering my review within a short use of any device reflects how well the device is designed to work for your lifestyle, not the other way round.

The specs for the ST550 include:
– 4.6x optical zoom: 27 – 124.2mm, f3.5-5.9
– 12.2 megapixels 1/2.33″ CCD sensor
– Dual Optical Image Stabilisation
– Focus range from 3cm (super macro)
– 3.5″ TFT LCD display with 1,152,000 pixels
– 1280×720 HD HQ recording 30fps
– Internal Memory 55MB
– ISO 80 – 3200

My list of favourite features:

1. 2nd LCD screen in front – why hasn’t anyone thought of that? You can preview yourself for self-portraits. The screen shows a clown animation to get the kids attention. There is a countdown for self-timer.

2. Responsive touchscreen – the last time I touched a Samsung digital camera touchscreen, it was rather bad. The ST550 is improved tremendously, in fact, somewhat too sensitive. Actually, it’s because my fingers have little space to rest outside the touchscreen. It’s a trade-off for compactness.

3. Motion recognition – you can change modes by twitching the ST550. Very convenient for one-handed operation. You can also wave at the camera to invoke the self-timer countdown. You can delete photos by crossing the screen.

To say that a device doesn’t have its issues is being naive. The lens at f3.5 to 5.9 is not bright. The ST550 is somewhat laggy when starting the video recording. I often missed out the first few moments. There are no cursors to move around the menu items: once you press, it’s considered selected. But you can workaround by holding the item to read the description, and if you don’t want that selected, just slide your finger away. The battery capacity is alarmingly small: only 720mAh, and the manual already states that the battery is good for only 180 shots. Price to pay for being compact, and certainly the features cannot satisfy a pro-minded photographer, but that’s not the target segment for this camera.

For the next few weeks, the ST550 will be tagging with me to capture images and videos, thanks to Shawn Chung from T3 Magazine Singapore.


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