All-in-one devices seem like a good idea on paper, but when they finally come out, they tend to disappoint. Historically, putting a camera together with an MP3 player cripples both functions. Samsung tries to change that with the NV3, a 7-megapixel snapshot camera with media-player capabilities.
The Samsung NV3's stylish, metal, iPod-size body is not even an inch thick and weighs less than six ounces, making it eminently pocketable. Samsung hides stereo speakers under twin metal discs on the camera's top edge. Both the power and shutter-release buttons, also atop the camera, are smaller than the speakers, and it might take a few tries before you train yourself not to press the speakers.
As a camera, the NV3 has fairly standard features for a high-end compact. Its 38mm-to-115mm-equivalent lens zooms entirely within the camera. The camera's sole display is a 2.5-inch LCD screen that washes out easily in bright light. With both antishake and ISO 1,000 modes, the NV3 is well suited for low-light shooting. It also comes with a video mode that can capture MPEG-4 movies in both standard VGA and 720x480 wide-screen modes. While it can't replace a dedicated camcorder, the movies are good enough for e-mailing and showing to friends.
Though it has a bit of a learning curve, the NV3 is a competent media player. Music and text files are easy to work with; just dropping them onto your SD memory card in their respective directories will make them readable to the camera. Video files are a bit more awkward. The NV3 uses a modified XviD MPEG-4 file format, and nearly every video you want to view on your camera has to be converted to that format with the included software.
Once on the camera, a simple media player interface lets you play, pause, fast-forward, and navigate your songs, movies, and documents. While functional, the controls aren't nearly as intuitive or as direct as those of an iPod or other dedicated media player. MP3s and movies play back effortlessly. Unfortunately, the camera lacks any useful playlist features for your music.