Review: Samsung NV3 digital camera

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The Propaganda

Yes, that’s the Samsung NV3, as in eNVy. Strangely, on the box the tagline is "A digital camera that others can only envy" which seems to refer directly to Samsung’s competitors, rather than consumers. Odd. The idea behind this one is that it’s not just a digital camera, and a 7.2 megapixel camera at that, but it’s also a media player. It takes music, text and movies for you to turn it into an all singing all dancing media player

The Good

So, the NV3 is designed to allow you to dump your various media players, integrating it all into your camera. Whether it will stem the tide of people dumping their camera for their mobile phone remains to be seen. It’s got two built in speakers positioned on the top of the camera, to take advantage of the MP3s you’ll store, as well as a headphone jack for when you want to keep it personal.  Headphones are included out of the box, further indicating it’s media player capabilities.

A key selling point for the NV3 is the design – they’ve gone for brushed gunmetal grey, highlighted with a very Samsung-esque blue light surrounding the lens and the power button. Overall, it’s light and pocketable, and they’re right, it does provoke envious glances.

The screen is clear, and at 2.5" takes up the majority of the back of the camera. It also completely does away with the traditional view finder still found on many digital cameras. The screen is used not only to frame pictures, but gives a visual representation of the mode you choose via the click wheel on the top, as well as displaying text and videos when it’s in media playback mode.

The camera itself is quick to respond in most settings, and offers 11 different presets – more than the average person will ever need from their camera. It also allows you to manually change the ISO, for those that want to have a bit more control over the photos. There are the inevitable options that make owning a camera that much easier/complicated (depending on how you look at it) such as Wise Shot. This takes to successive photos – one with flash and one without, so that you can pick the best one.

The movie capture won’t win anyone any Oscars, but is adequate for short holiday films and for sticking up on YouTube. There’s also  the ability to edit the videos using software in the camera, although this is fairly limited to trimming and inserting within your clips.

The Bad

The two speakers on top of the camera are positioned so that the one on the right is larger than the shutter button, and it takes a little while to get used to it. It’s a strange design, as the speakers protrude from the camera casing by quite a lot, and ruin the lines of an otherwise sleek camera. The headphone jack is also 2.5mm, rather than the more standard 3.5mm, so you’d need to find an adaptor to use headphones other than those provided.

The internal memory on the camera is none existent, and on it’s highest setting I couldn’t get anymore than 3 photos out of it. It takes SD and MMC cards, so is easily expandable, but since these aren’t included in the box it’s a pain. Bearing in mind the media capabilities they are so keen to push, it would be useful for the camera to be bundled with something that allowed you to take advantage of this.

The media capabilities all work fine, and the menus are relatively intuitive. There’s no way of creating a playlist of your tracks, though. The text reader is also a fairly harsh green on black, and it’s doubtful that it would hold anyone’s attention for long without provoking headaches.

The camera functions are all easy to get to, although it’s perhaps over-spec’d for it’s audience with 7 megapixels and 11 different presets. However, the anti-shake mode, which does exactly as you’d expect, takes significantly longer to process and move on to the next picture – about 6 seconds, which is an age if you want to take another picture.

Geek Sheet

Image sensor: 7 megapixels

Lens focal length: NV Lens f = 6.3 ~ 18.9mm  (35mm film equivalent :38~114mm)

Shutter speed: 2 ~ 1/2,000 sec. (Night : 15 ~ 1/2,000 sec.)

File formats: Still Image : JPEG (DCF), EXIF 2.2, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0
                    Movie Clip : AVI (MPEG-4)
                    Audio : WAV

Audio format: MP3 (MPEG-1/2/2.5 Layer 3),

Dimensions: 94.5 x 57 x 17.5 mm

Weight: 142g (without battery and card)

In our opinion

For £190, this is a really nice compact camera. The number of megapixels means that you can always be sure of getting a high quality picture, and there are enough features to make the most of what you’ve got. Whether it would ever be used as a media player as they intend is up for debate. Personally, I think it’s trying to do everything, and not succeeding in many, and would never replace my other devices with this alone. But if you’re pushed for space, or want to minimise luggage, it might just work.

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3 comments

  • this is a fab slimline camera, perfect for travelling etc. i do use the mp3 player (although not all my music files work on it as it doesnt support all formats) and although the headphone slot is smaller than standard, the headphones provided are good quality. the picture taking can be a bit temperamental but the quality is high when you get it right.
    i had problems with the USB cable/charger at the start but rang up customer support (i bought it online) and they sent a new one out promptly. not sure if they would replace it if it had been lost though?
    anyway, handy little camera.

  • This Samsung NV3 is the BEST! I LOVE IT! i love how you can do sooo much with it! uploading and loading VIDEOS and MP3? thats wild!!! also TEXTS! this is just crazy! but it’s the best if ur into the whole “technology” stuff!

  • But if you’re pushed for space, or want to minimise luggage, it might just work.

    thats the point…i travelled 2,5 years over asia, had a ricoh caplio RR10 with MP3 and video with sound and was really happy about this…
    now you can zoom with video and have a good resolution
    that you can recharge the cam over usb makes it even better….only that you cant use normal batteries 🙁 sooner or later you looose the charging equipment…i know that….and then?
    great that it has inbuild speakers…

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