In this age of instant sharing and social networking, having a camera that can wirelessly zap photos directly to your Web gallery or profile page makes sense. The good news is that, at around £140, the compact Samsung SH100 offers Wi-Fi connectivity without costing a small fortune.
A pleasant handful
The SH100 is a pleasantly designed piece of technology. It's available in three colours -- an all-black version, a silver model and a two-tone red and black edition. The body is slightly angled, so that, if you stand it upright, it seems to lean backwards. From the front, it looks much like many of the other cameras in Samsung's 2011 range.
The lens housing is slightly raised, with a built-in flash just to the left. The top edge features three buttons -- power, play and a combined shutter release and zoom. On the rear, you'll only find one button. That's because everything else is controlled via the SH100's 3-inch touchscreen. It's a fairly good interface too.
Press the 'home' button and you can flick through the camera's main functions. Tapping on an icon takes you through to further options, where there are any available. Depending on your shooting mode, you may find icons for yet more options -- timer, flash and so on -- running down the side of the screen as you compose your shot. There's a 'menu' button on-screen too but the menus themselves are, thankfully, pretty minimal.
Samsung is fairly generous when it comes to providing tools aimed at encouraging your creativity. There's a good selection of filters, for example, including soft focus and miniaturisation. Dedicated modes for vignetting and palette filters allow for a certain amount of customisation, and there are slider-based tools for altering colour temperature, highlights, skin tones and more.
If you're not interested in any of that, then the smart-auto mode does its best to handle all settings on the fly with barely any need for human intervention. All in all, the SH100 is not only simple to use but also easy to take full advantage of, which will be refreshing for anyone who has ever found their camera's more advanced features unwieldy.
Storage-wise, the SH100 uses microSD cards rather than the standard-sized SD variety. It's not a huge deal, although microSD cards are slightly fiddlier and easier to lose. It may also mean you have to shell out for a new card even if you already have several standard SD cards hanging around.
Wi-Fi? Why not?
A 14.2-megapixel sensor and a wide-angle (26mm equivalent) 5x zoom lens provide all the SH100's photo-taking necessaries. Neither is particularly noteworthy, although we can happily report that, together, they help the camera to produce some pleasantly eye-catching snaps. Colours pop out, with good amounts of detail present in every frame.
Strong colours can look almost overwhelming, although whether you find this off-putting or appealing is a matter of taste. Nature shots turn out very well too, with plenty of variation in green tones. It's not all good news, however. Look closely and you'll notice some grain in areas of solid colour, as well as some lens distortion around the edges of the frame, particularly on the left-hand side for some reason.
Low-light performance isn't a strong point of this camera, either. Despite the high ISO settings available -- up to 3,200 -- picture noise soon affects the quality of the shot when the camera is used indoors, so you're best off using the flash where possible.
Video performance is roughly average for a camera of this type. At the top setting, you can record 720p, high-definition clips, but the quality isn't particularly impressive.
The wireless feature may sound gimmicky but it's actually pretty convenient if you like to share your snaps online. The SH100 lets you post pictures and video directly to Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, Photobucket and Samsung's own online photo service. The wireless feature is also very easy to set up and use.
We uploaded our first photo to Facebook within a few seconds of connecting to our wireless router. An on-screen touch-sensitive keyboard helps when it comes to entering network keys and login details. It's also handy for adding comments to your pics.
You can also back up your photos to your PC over the air, as well as browse photos in your online galleries on the camera, and connect to the Web via 3G devices that support tethering. All very handy.
Deep down, the Samsung SH100 is little more than a simple point-and-shoot camera, but it's very appealing. It's small, takes a fairly good picture and comes with some excellent features for a price that won't break the bank. Online connectivity might not be a necessity for everyone but the SH100 provides a good alternative to uploading blurry, low-res shots directly from your phone's camera.
Edited by Charles Kloet