Samsung's newly-announced i8 follows the i85 as the latest in the company's series of digital camera-slash-media players. As a digital camera it seems nondescript, with an 8-megapixel sensor, a 3x optical zoom lens, and a slightly larger-than-usual 2.7-inch LCD screen. It offers a unique SVGA movie mode at least, giving you the option of shooting 800 x 592 video clips at, Samsung claims, 30 frames per second. If you switch the i8 into PMP (Portable Media Player) mode, though, it really starts to stand out.
As a media player, the i8 can play movies, music, and even read text files. It lacks the simple, intuitive interface of dedicated media players like the iPod or the Zune, but it can still play the same files, offering at least the option of enjoying a movie or some music while on the bus without carrying around an additional gadget. To ensure compatibility, the camera ships with Samsung's Digimax Converter software, an application that can convert most MPEGs, AVI,s MOVs, WMVs, ASFs, MP3s, and even WAVs into formats palatable to the i8.
Like its media-playing predecessor, the i85, the i8 also includes Samsung's World Tour Guide feature. By downloading various guides from Samsung's Web site, you can load tourism information for a variety of countries and cities onto the camera.
The Samsung i8 ships in February for a suggested retail price of $300.