Wed, 06 Jul 2011 Samsung WB650 review
The WB650 introduces GPS to the Samsung snapshot range, along with a 15x optical zoom, for a fair price
- Manufacturer: Samsung
- Pros: Very affordable at current street pricing; on-board GPS and decent zoom range; colourful results straight from the camera; AMOLED back screen
- Cons: Plastic-y buttons and controls; GPS map feature needs to be separately installed; drab design; pixel fringing and loss of highlight detail
- Price: £299
- Star rating:
The Samsung WB650 adds GPS to its 12.2-megapixel resolution, 24mm wide angle lens and 15x optical zoom, so there’s a relatively unobtrusive antennae and GPS on/off switch on the edge of the Samsung’s top plate. It’s the only camera here to offer an AMOLED rear display rather than LCD, for, theoretically, more clearly defined viewing. And it costs £50 less than the only rival here to also offer GPS, the TZ20.
The Samsung’s video resolution is pegged at 1,280 x 720 pixels at 30fps with stereo sound, and the camera features a dedicated record button. Though generally sturdy, some aspects of the build, like the controls themselves, feel a tad plastic-y. While lacking the outward sophistication of the identically priced Nikon S9100, in its favour the Samsung does offer a smattering of hands-on control.
This includes aperture priority and shutter priority shooting modes on the top-plate dial. Plus, with a press of the bottom of the rear command pad, you get a degree of control over manual focusing via a distance slider, running from macro (as close as 3cm) to infinity. There’s also a broader than average light sensitivity range here starting at ISO80 and peaking at ISO3200 at full resolution, plus the ability to individually adjust contrast, sharpness and saturation levels, if shooting in Program mode and selecting the Image Adjust option.
That being said, users can just point and shoot from the off if desired, via a choice of Auto, Smart Auto, and Program Auto shooting modes. If you want to use the on-camera map feature that forms part of the GPS options, this must be first downloaded from the Samsung website and installed, which isn’t as user friendly as it might be. Image wise, colours really stand out and edge-to-edge detail is well maintained, though there are familiar issues such as visible pixel fringing between areas of high contrast and burnt-out highlights under strong sunshine.