Samsung ST550 - Double Delight


Touch, Touch

Much like any other compact camera out there, the ST550 comes with a simple, yet elegant design. The most striking thing about the ST550's exterior is its glossy surface. Needless to say, it'll be a 'smudge fest' on this camera. Though not obvious, the secondary LCD is situated next to the lens, and we think Samsung did a good job in keeping it as inconspicuous as possible. Activating it is as simple as tapping the LCD, which displays an ample 1.5-inch live feed from the sensor. While gripping the device, we tend to activate the said secondary LCD without intending to. What this might mean, is the unnecessary usage of power to light up the LCD without us knowing, since it is situated to the front and not immediately visible to the photographer. To keep itself as streamlined as possible, the ST550 comes with minimal and flushed buttons. In this case, it was too flushed for our liking.

Tap, and thou shalt be seen. The secondary LCD is primarily for self-portraits, but comes in useful for some other features which we'll explore later on.

Usability took a dip in points, since we had to fumble with the flushed shutter and power button. Similarly, the zoom button was too small for our index finger to operate.

The bottom of the device houses a proprietary connector for both data and power. Right beside it is the battery slot, and to our surprise, we spotted a microSD slot within. That means you can't reuse your previous SD cards. However, like most camera vendors, Samsung will be bundling the ST550 with an 8GB microSD card. Looking ahead, the microSD format is now the widely adopted storage medium of choice across all formats. This would translate to more flexibility in using your new 8GB microSD card for not just only the camera, but also your other mobile devices.

We would have wished that there's no proprietary connector involved here.

Nonetheless, the other oddity (albeit a good one) is the use of microSD cards instead of the usual SD card format. Think of the use you can get out of the microSD card across all your other mobile devices, and you'll get our point.

Inserting the battery will require some skill. You'll need to edge the battery to push the blue plastic catch (highlighted here) out of the way, following which you can plug the battery into the device in one swift motion.

As we mentioned, the ST550 is going for a clean and simple look. This is evident with a 3.5-inch touchscreen panel that fully encompasses the device's rear. With no navigational buttons in place, it goes without saying that you'll be dependent on the touch screen user interface for almost everything. Having a 3.5-inch touchscreen has its benefits, since everything is contextual in nature. We'll give a brief introduction of its user interface in the next page.

The generous real estate that comes with the 3.5-inch screen works out great for us. The touchscreen turned out to be responsive, and we'll have a brief demonstration of its interface in the next page.